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Phone Number 858-694-0198
8690 Aero Drive Suite 116
San Diego, CA 92123 USA
How much does a pilot's license cost?
The overall costs vary depending on the aircraft you fly and the hours that you need. In flight training you are paying by the hour for an aircraft and an instructor. If you were to complete the Private Pilot Course in the FAA minimum of 40 hours in a Piper Archer or Cessna 172 with 30 hours of dual instruction and 10 hours of additional ground instruction, the cost would be $6720. Then there is the cost of the check ride examiner ($550), ground school DVDs ($215), and additional pilot supplies (headset, charts, kneeboard, fuel tester; approximately $250). So even though it is possible to complete the Private for about $7800, it is recommended to have a budget available of about $9,000 to allow for sufficient extra practice time to gain the proficiency and confidence to pass the check ride. You can "pay as you go" and you are not required to place funds on account prior to your training.
Beware of schools that "guarantee" a license for a set amount. All they can really guarantee is a rate per hour. But you still must achieve the proficiency to pass a check ride with an objective pilot examiner designated by the FAA and not the school. Unfortunately some schools believe that once you have spent a great deal of money, and you finally figure out that it is going to cost a lot more than what you were led to believe at the beginning, that you will still continue with them just to finish. And if you get frustrated and leave;... well they already have the money you've spent, and now they do not have to take a chance that you may fail and have another failure on their school record. Many schools are operated by "businessmen" who are not pilots and have little enthusiasm for flying. They often quote low prices based on an inexpensive, slow, and small Cessna 152 that nobody really ever flies (because it is uncomfortable and less capable than the Cessna 172 or Piper Archer). And they will conveniently leave out many of the additional expenses as mentioned above. Many schools will even have an "enrollment fee," fuel surcharges, and just about any other fee they can dream up to take more of your money. Also beware of requirements to place large sums of money on account. Should you decide to leave they often have complicated, unfair, and arbitrary means to get a refund, if at all! But, of course, they will have your signature on a multitude of documents with fine print & legalese that you had to sign when you enrolled and had no idea what you were really signing. When researching schools or flying clubs, please ask yourself; "Is this where I really want to learn to fly?"
Learn To Fly San Diego is owned and operated by pilots for pilots. We are motivated to get you through the training safely, competently, and for as little money as possible. We want you to fully enjoy the experience and we hope that you will want to continue training in the future for additional ratings, rentals, and currency. We want you to love flying! We hope you will want to take your friends and family out to experience the thrill of flying in Southern California and beyond!
Learn To Fly San Diego rates per hour:
Elite RC-1 FAA approved Enclosed Cockpit Simulator AATD: $45
Cessna 172: $115
Piper Archer: $115
Piper Archer with GPS & advanced avionics: $125
Piper Archer with Garmin 430, speed modifications & advanced avionics $130
Piper Arrow Complex Single-Engine with GPS: $140
Piper Seneca Multi-Engine with six seats: $230
Prices include fuel (wet).
There are no dues, enrollment fees, or fuel surcharges.
You are not required to pay in advance, or maintain a minimum balance. You can "pay as you go." You are asked to pay at the end of every lesson.
A typical lesson would last about 1.3 hours of flight with .5 of pre/post-flight ground-briefing and cost about $250.
Some lessons will be longer or shorter. Some will have more ground instruction or no flight at all. Some will be solo flights with no instructor.
How much time does it take to get a pilot's license?
If possible we recommend flying 3-4 times per week. At that rate you should complete the training in 3-4 months. We have had many students fly every day and complete the training in 5 weeks, but you should only consider the accelerated option if you are dedicating yourself full-time. An instrument rating has about the same time frame. If you are considering a professional career the training can be completed in 10-18 months from beginning to end. A multi-engine add-on can normally be done in about 2-3 weeks.
How do I make a career as a pilot?
The first step is earning the Private Pilot Certificate, which makes you a pilot, but with limitations. (takes about 50 hours - Costs about $8,000)
In order to fly in the clouds and fully utilize the Air Traffic Control system, you then need an Instrument Rating. (another 40 hours - Costs about $8,000)
In order to be hired and paid as a professional pilot, you then need to earn the Commercial Pilot Certificate Single-Engine. (another 160 hours - Costs about $14,000)
In order to fly aircraft with more than one engine, you need a Multi-Engine Rating. (takes about 15 hours - Costs about $4,000)
How do I enroll?
It's easy and takes about 20 minutes to read and sign some forms required by the FAA. Just make an appointment at your convenience.
We are required by the FAA and TSA to have on file a copy of either a US Passport or a birth certificate and photo ID.
We will also need a copy of your Medical/Student Pilot Certificate prior to your first solo.
What is a Medical/Student Pilot Certificate and how do I get one?
The Medical/Student Pilot Certificate can only be issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner after completing an examination that includes a vision test (yes, you can wear corrective lenses), a hearing test, blood pressure, and urine sample. There is no blood sample taken or anything invasive about the examination. You will be asked to list any medications you may be taking and if you have any medical condition that might preclude you from flying solo. We can provide a list of AME's in the San Diego area. You are encouraged to get the Medical as soon as possible before you invest a lot of time and money in flight training just in case you may have a previously unknown condition that prevents you from solo flight.
What pilot supplies do I need?
We sell the Sportys Pilot Kit which consists of 7 DVDs of required aviation subject areas and costs $215. We also recommend the FAA Flying Handbook & FAA Book of Aeronautical Knowledge which we sell together for $38. You will need a logbook to record your flight training ($12). You will also need an aviation headset. These can be very expensive but we suggest getting a relatively inexpensive one at first for about $90. After you gain experience in flying and you pass a check ride you may want to treat yourself to a more expensive headset and keep the less expensive one for your passengers. You will also need a kneeboard ($45) which literally rests on your knee and provides a flat solid surface on which to write information and store checklists & charts. You will need a fuel tester ($9) to sample and examine the fuel of your aircraft. You will need a Terminal Chart of the San Diego area ($5) and an airport facility directory AFD ($5). Eventually you will also need a Los Angeles Sectional Chart and you will need to have an appropriate flashlight for night flying.
Do I need a college degree?
No, but it looks good on a resume.
Degrees are not required to be a professional pilot. But if you are looking to get an aviation degree, your pilot certificates and ratings can be used for college credit. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has an extended campus here at Montgomery Field San Diego and they will grant 33 credit hours towards a degree if you earn a Commercial Multi-Engine Certificate with an Instrument Rating. That would be the equivalent of almost two years tuition, which would save you that much time and money if you desire a degree (Bachelors or Masters). Some of us are Embry-Riddle Alumni and we can assist you with the process.
Do I need proficiency in math or science?
Any math required for pilots is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
You are only required to understand and explain very basic principles of flight as it pertains to pilots, which is part of your training.
Do you offer financing or financial assistance?
Until recently, Sallie Mae and Key Bank were the leading providers of financing for pilot training. Unfortunately, due to the recent recession, at the end of 2009 they decided to stop financing pilots at all flight schools. There is a company "Pilot Finance, Inc." that will offer financing but with high interest rates and difficult credit approval. We do not recommend them at this time. Most student pilots use credit cards, borrow from friends or family, or get an educational loan from their bank. Remember that you can pay as you go, so some pilots will wait until they have saved enough for their next lesson. We will do our best to make sure you get the most out of each and every lesson.
Do you accept VA Benefits?
No. Currently we operate under Part 61 of the FAA regulations. We are not able to process VA benefits. Only flight schools operating under Part 141 of the FAA regulations can be certified to process the VA paperwork. However, for military personnel who would like to use their VA benefits, understand that veterans can use those benefits for flight training at 60% reimbursement, but only after they have earned a Private Pilot Certificate entirely at their own expense. Our Part 61 training for the Private Pilot Certificate is considerably more affordable than 141 schools and leads to the exact same Private Pilot Certificate.
What is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 schools and programs?
Both have FAA oversight and require the use of instructors certified by the FAA. When a school has been granted 141 approval, an FAA inspector annually inspects the school facilities, aircraft, structured syllabus, student records, and flies with the chief instructor who must subsequently fly with the instructors under his supervision. The school benefits by being able to accept VA benefits, issue I-20 forms for international students, and have the slightly less hour requirements for the pilot courses. Whether you study under 61 or 141 makes no difference to the end result of the pilot certificate you aspire to earn. It really depends on any prior experience that you may have as to whether you should enroll 61 or 141. Currently the only real benefit of 141 comes with the Instrument Rating requirement for 50 hours cross-country PIC under part 61. But if your intention is to eventually earn a Commercial Pilot Certificate you will need that cross-country time anyway.
What is the difference between a flight school and a flying club?
A flight school usually operates under a more structured environment with exclusive access to aircraft and instructors. Flight schools can apply for 141 status. A flying club is technically a "non-profit" organization. However the key officers of the organization often pay themselves a handsome salary. Flying clubs often claim to have lower rates than flight schools but they have membership fees and monthly dues. Often the aircraft in flying clubs may become unavailable when a member takes an aircraft for a long period (vacation, business travel, etc.). Flying clubs can not operate under 141. Instructors who work at flying clubs do not have any accountability to other instructors and have no official additional supervision or oversight from the FAA like flight schools have.
Why should I train at your school?
Because we are the best.
Seriously. We would have it no other way.
There is no other school with better experienced instructors, better quality aircraft, facilities, simulators, and prices.
While we are a new school, the reputations and results of our instructors are unmatched by anyone. Period.
Unlike other schools, our instructors are well-paid, while keeping the costs to you lower.
Most other schools do not pay their instructors well. Those instructors, while many may be good-intentioned, have little motivation but to build hours and move on to the airlines as quickly as possible.
We encourage you to research and visit other schools & flying clubs and decide for yourself.
Can I come in for a tour of your facility & aircraft?
Just email or call for an appointment with the Chief Instructor, Christopher Sluka.
His office hours are 9 am - 1 pm Monday through Saturday.
In the afternoons he flies.
What makes a plane fly?