Frequently Asked Questions
- WHERE DO I LEARN TO FLY? Great Basin Aviation obviously wants to be the place where you learn to fly, but we encourage you to evaluate other schools and pick one that can best meet your needs. Considering that you will have your pilot certificate for the rest of your life, it is important where you get that certificate. It is important for you to be comfortable and able to communicate with your instructor. It is important to get your training in a type of aircraft that you intend to fly later and one that is suited for the environment in which you train. Consider training with a flight school that is open 7 days a week so that you can fly when it is convenient for you. Our instructors are not just pilots, but experienced communicators and teachers. Before you pick a flight school, make sure you stop by Great Basin Aviation and give us a chance to show you why we think that we have the best flight school you could possibly select for your flight training.
- HOW MANY HOURS OF TRAINING DO I NEED BEFORE GETTING A PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE? The Federal Aviation Administration requires that you have a minimum of 40 hours total flight time with 20 of those hours being with a Certified Flight Instructor. This of course is a minimum and each individual learns at a different pace. The national average for a person to get a private pilot's certificate is 65 hours. That is about our average, too, but we have seen folks earn their rating at barely 40 hours or much over 65. A lot depends on the student. You will be signed off when you are ready but that isn't always at the minimum hours.
- HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? It depends on how often you take lessons. Some people can do it in as little as two months, while others may take 12 months or more. The average is about six months.
- HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? It depends on how quickly you learn. With everything included from ground zero to your certificate, it costs anywhere between $15,000-$18,000. Most lessons run between 1.3 – 1.7 hours long so depending on the aircraft that you are flying, it will be between $350-$400 a lesson. You don't pay this amount up front. You pay as you learn. You need just $250 to start your training which is the cost of the Discovery Flight. Some lessons, such as long trips to distant airports, may cost more than the average. The bottom line is you pay as you go. Great Basin Aviation offers block rate purchase incentives, which save students hundreds of dollars.
- WHEN WILL I SOLO? You will solo after you pass a third-class medical, a pre-solo written exam, and your instructor and you are confident that you are able to fly safely by yourself. On the average this happens after about 20 hours of flight training. The requirements for solo can be found here.
- WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS? The FAA states that an applicant for a student-pilot certificate must be at least 14 years old for the operation of a glider or balloon and 16 years old for other categories of aircraft. Some teenagers solo an airplane on their 16th birthday. For licensing, the minimum age for a private pilot certificate is 16 for balloons and gliders, and 17 for powered flight.
- DO I HAVE TO TAKE GROUND SCHOOL, BEFORE I BEGIN FLYING? No. Flight training starts immediately. Ground school does not need to be classroom formal. It can be self-study or with an instructor. Our instructor will provide you with the necessary ground training before and after each of your flight lessons. Our computerized test preps and workbooks ensure you of passing the FAA Aeronautical Knowledge Written Exam.
- DO I NEED ANY SPECIAL EDUCATION? No. Anyone with any amount of education can learn to fly and get a private pilot certificate.
- CAN I BECOME A PILOT IF I WEAR GLASSES? Yes. 20/20 vision is not necessary, as long as your vision is correctable with glasses or contact lenses to the point where you are able to drive a car.
- WHAT IF I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION? Only severe medical conditions will prevent you from becoming a pilot. Please call Great Basin Aviation if you have a question about any particular medical conditions. We will put you in contact with an Aviation Medical Examiner, who will be able to assess your situation. (Click Here for more information from the FAA website)
- CAN I BRING A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER ON TRAINING FLIGHTS? In many cases, yes; however they may not fly with you when you fly solo. If a Flight Instructor is on board and he or she is ok with someone joining you for a flight, you can usually bring members with you. However, keep in mind that during your training, some of the maneuvers that you'll become comfortable may not be expected by your passenger. Your instructor will definitely make the call whether it's a good idea to have anyone join you on a flight.
HOW YOU CAN BE SURE TO HIRE THE BEST FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR? An article written by John B. Brown, CFI.
What is it that makes some of us humans feel the need to fly?
Recent studies, conducted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), indicate the primary reason is the sheer thrill and enjoyment of flying and being in the air. This is closely followed by a feeling of accomplishment, pride and enhanced personal confidence. And lastly, the freedom and independence one achieves when they become a pilot. While not all of us aspire to become professional pilots (those who earn their living flying aircraft), a significant number of us have great respect for those who have mastered the profession; and we willingly entrust them with our lives. Additionally, studies have shown that more than half of all adults have, at some point in their lives, been aware of a desire to pilot an airplane.
Now a question might come that, given this relatively widespread respect and admiration of aviators and the innate desire to fly, why are less than one in fifteen hundred of us pilots? The answer to that question, I believe, is based primarily upon the flight instructor one selects to teach them how to fly.
Certainly, this fact is well known by those of us in the industry. But how do we help those who want to become pilots, find a professional flight instructor who is genuinely interested in students and their goal to earn pilot certifications? One way might be to give the aspiring aviator a questionnaire to help profile the selection process of a professional flight instructor. These questions may include; does he/she: ask you about why you want to fly; show a genuine interest in you and what you plan to do as an aviator; give you the big picture of what it takes to become a pilot (both in tasks to be performed and costs to be incurred); provide you with a resume of his/her qualifications and a track record of their students success; provide you with an example of lesson plans to be followed; give you a comprehensive list and explanation of tools and equipment that you will eventually require; invite you to inspect his/her tools and equipment and to compare the way they train versus that of other area flight schools; make you feel a part, in fact the most important part, of the flight training experience; introduce you to other individuals (students, instructors, pilots, management, examiners, etc.) in the local aviation community.
If a majority of the above items aren’t addressed by the potential flight instructor, you may be making a mistake in selecting that instructor. In the final analysis, you must be convinced that you can communicate with that instructor and that he or she is genuinely concerned and dedicated to your success.