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Step 4: Getting Started: Taking Flight Training Lessons

Step 4 explains the entire flight training process.
Discovery / Introductory Flight
Obtain a Student Pilot/Medical Certificate
The Flight Training Process
Tests (Medical Exam, Knowledge, and Practical Tests)
Flight Training Costs
Flight Currency
How to Pay for Flight Training




Discovery / Introductory Flight
A Discovery Flight is an introductory "mini flight lesson" that gives you the opportunity to see what’s involved in learning how to fly an airplane. This "mini flight lesson" generally involves spending a few minutes on the ground learning about the airplane (i.e. preflight, radio operations, etc.), and a 30-minute flight with a certified flight instructor that will allow you to actually take the controls and fly the airplane, with the guidance of the instructor. Your Discovery Flight will help you determine whether or not you would like to become a pilot and/or train at that particular school.

Discovery Flights cost approximately $50 (costs vary at each school), which includes both the airplane and instructor. If you are thinking about learning how to fly, contact a local flight school and schedule a Discovery Flight. A Discovery Flight makes a great gift for anyone interested in becoming a pilot. You can also use Discovery Flights to compare different flight schools.


Obtain a Student Pilot/Medical Certificate
A Student Pilot/Medical Certificate is equivalent to a driver’s learning permit when flying. This certificate is not required to start flight training. However, it is highly recommended that you obtain your Student Pilot/Medical Certificate prior to starting any flight training to ensure that you meet the FAA medical standards. Finding out immediately whether or not you meet the medical standards could save you time and money.

It is a requirement at some flight schools for students to obtain their Student Pilot/Medical Certificates before starting their flight training program. As a student pilot, you are restricted from carrying passengers, and can only fly in the area or to the airports that your flight instructor has authorized.

To be eligible for a Student Pilot Certificate, you must:
1. Be at least 16 years of age
2. Be able to read, speak, and understand the English language
3. Hold at least a current Third-Class Medical Certificate or in the case of a glider or balloon, certify that he or she has no known medical defect that would make him or her unable to pilot a glider or balloon.

Cost
The cost for a FAA medical certificate range from $80 - $120 depending on your location. When the Student Pilot Certificate is issued by a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), there is no charge.

How to obtain a Student Pilot/Medical Certificate
There are approximately 6,000 Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) throughout the U.S. (and the world) authorized by the FAA to issue airmen medical certificates. To obtain your Student Pilot/Medical Certificate, contact an AME for an appointment. You can locate an AME near you by searching the FAA’s Online AME Directory. You should also seek the advice of fellow pilots when selecting an AME.

During your visit, you will be required to complete FAA Form 8500-8 (Download PDF - Adobe Acrobat Reader required).After completing this form, the AME will conduct a 3rd Class medical examination and determine whether or not you meet the medical standards to ensure that you can safely perform the duties of a pilot certificate. Normally, the medical examination can be completed within one day. It may take longer if specialized tests must be performed outside the physician's facility. If you pass the medical examination, the AME will issue you a 3rd Class medical certificate and it will also serve as a Student Pilot Certificate on the reverse side. This combined certificate is valid for 24 calendar months.

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The Flight Training Process


Written by: Sedgwick Hines Copyright 2004-2011 AvScholars Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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Learn to Fly: Become a Pilot is your one-stop source to information on flight training, flying lessons, flight schools, and helicopter schools. Learn about the entire flight training process to help you earn your pilot certificates or ratings such as student pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, and others.

Copyright © 2003 - 2011 AvScholars Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.