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About ATA Flight School
Below is a current list of some of our most popular questions & answers that prospective students have asked us about over the years.

What is a Discovery Flight?
What are the basic requirements to become a pilot?
Is there an age limit for obtaining a Private Pilot rating?
What is a medical certificate / student license?
How do I obtain my Student License - Third Class Medical Certificate?
How soon until I actually fly the plane?
How many hours do I have to fly before I fly solo?
How long will it take to earn my pilots certificate?
Can I bring a friend or significant other on some lessons?
Can I learn to fly in my own plane?
Do I need to be a pilot to purchase a plane?
What is the cost to become a pilot?
What financing options are available for international students?
Does the financing apply only to obtaining a Private Pilot rating?
If I live outside the US, what is required for me to train in the US?
Where can I find information on career opportunities for pilots?
What is the difference between a Part 141 School and a Part 61?


What is a Discovery Flight?
A Discovery Flight is a flight of approximately 30-40 minutes, intended to familiarize you with the airplane, the airport, and with the flying environment. During most Discovery Flights, the student sits in the left seat, and the instructor allows the student to fly for a majority of the flight. Interested? Schedule a Discovery Flight!


What are the basic requirements to become a pilot?
The answer to this question has many parts: 
• You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English Language. 
• You must submit to a physical and hold at least a Third class FAA medical certificate. 
• You must be 16 years old to obtain your student pilot license and to solo. 
• You must to be 17 years old to obtain your private pilot license 
•Your total flying time must be at least 40 hours. 
• Of the 40 hours at least 10 hours must be solo flight time 
• Of the 10 hours solo at least 5 hours must be cross-country (flying from one airport to another at least 50 nautical miles away) 
• You must pass the FAA Private Pilot written exam. 
• You must pass the Private Pilot Oral and Practical (Flying) Exam.

Is there an age limit for obtaining a Private Pilot rating?
The Federal Aviation Regulations require an individual to be at least 16 years of age to operate an aircraft solo, and 17 years of age to obtain a Private Pilot certificate. There is not an age limitation on beginning flight lessons with a certified flight instructor. There is no maximum age for acquiring a private pilot certificate. Once someone gets this certificate, they may exercise the privileges of that certificate as long as they continue to get a medical certificate and a biannual flight review. 

What is a medical certificate / student license?
Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their pilot's license---there are three classes of medical certificates, 1st class medical (most stringent), good for six months, and required for use with an Airline Transport rating), 2nd class medical (good for one year and required for use with a Commercial rating), and 3rd class medical (good for three years if you are under 40, two years if 40 or older). Your medical certificate also acts as a student license while you are in training. 

How do I obtain my Student License - Third Class Medical Certificate?
We will provide you a list of FAA certified physicians who serve as flight medical examiners. Your medical certificate will also serve as your student pilot license. 

How soon until I actually fly the plane?
Immediately! You will be in the left seat from the first moment on. Your first lesson will include takeoff, controlling the airplane, discovering how much fun flying is and landing. These are all done with the instructor’s assistance, but make no mistake about it, we want you to be in control. 


How many hours do I have to fly before I fly solo?
There is no requirement for hours before solo. This is based on the judgment of one's instructor. However; the time is dependent upon you. If you fly every day you will become proficient quicker. Some students solo between eight and fifteen hours. If you fly two to three times a week you can conceivably solo in that range. Others take more time. 


How long will it take to earn my pilots certificate?
Training time is dependent upon you. Your time, budget and desire to learn are the key determinants of the length of time and your success. You will need a minimum of 40 hours flying time, so one can earn a pilots license in a month if they fly every day. Some students become licensed pilots in the matter of a few months. If you fly two times a week you can conceivably earn your license in five months or less. Others take more time, even a year or more if they desire. 


Can I bring a friend or significant other on some lessons?
Yes, on some lessons but always with your instructor. It is nice to bring someone especially cross countries. You can never fly Solo with a passenger until you earn your certificate. 


Can I learn to fly in my own plane?
Of course! Our goal is to help you be comfortable, no matter what airplane you're in.


Do I need to be a pilot to purchase a plane?

No, anyone can purchase an aircraft. If you do plan on purchasing a plane, ask us! We happily will help make sure that the plane is in good condition.


What is the cost to become a pilot?

Flight time and professional instruction are cheaper than you think. We try to make it affordable for most people. We have a special program for financing that is tailored to earning pilot certificates, so there may even be an opportunity to finance your training time. We can help you work out a budget and training schedule to fit your needs. 

For our prices, check our Courses page.


What financing options are available for international students?
Generally, there are several options available for flight training. We recommend a system that gives you a line of credit and you borrow as you go. Using financing you will be able to fly more often and get your license in minimum time thus saving money. Come in and we will be glad to provide you with the details. 


Does the financing apply only to obtaining a Private Pilot rating?
No. Financing is usually available to obtain a Private rating all the way through Instrument, Commercial and Multi-Engine and Flight Instructor rating.


If I live outside the US, what is required for me to train in the US?
Generally the flight instructors and students must be TSA approved. Our instructors are. More specifically it is recommended to visit sites, such as www.aopa.org, where U.S. requirements for foreign citizens are posted. Once in the U.S., the training requirements for a citizen of another country are the same as for a U.S. citizen. 


Where can I find information on career opportunities for pilots?
Aviation-related websites, such as www.beapilot.com, or www.aopa.org. Aviation related magazines are also a good source. 


What is the difference between a Part 141 School and a Part 61?
The "Part 141 and Part 61" refer to different sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s), and the different sections dictate different requirements for flight schools. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have different requirements – A Chief Flight Instructor is not required-and the schools have the flexibility to progress through their training syllabi as needed. Part 61 schools are generally less expensive to attend. Part 141 schools must have a Chief Flight Instructor; they must have their syllabus, or Training Course Outline (TCO) approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).


Learn More & Get Started!
Ready to take the next step to start your flight training, or just have some questions? Use the form below and we will be more than happy to help!

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