Can I learn to fly?

Virtually anyone can learn to fly. It does take time and energy on your part, but with a little determination and guidance from your instructor, you too can become an FAA certificated pilot. The hardest part is getting started, and by accessing this site and reading these pages, you’ve already taken the first steps!

How difficult is it?

As with many other skills you master, flying is learned one step at a time. It’s a fascinating experience, but it’s not particularly difficult and can be learned by practically anyone who is willing to invest some time and effort.

Pilot training has two aspects: ground training and flight training. Ground training takes place outside the airplane, covering flight rules and regulations, flight planning, navigation, radio procedures, weather and more. Flight training will teach you how to fly by actually controlling the airplane yourself. Under the supervision of a certified flight instructor, you will learn to take off, land, fly and navigate between many different points.

Millions of people have learned to fly. By the time you’re ready for your private pilot certificate, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’re a safe and competent pilot, ready to learn more each time you fly!

Does flying require special skills?

Not really. At first, the most important element in successfully learning to fly is desire. Once you’re ready to invest your time and effort in learning to fly, then it’s time to take the next step and call us to set up an appointment. It’s that easy! We will teach you everything you need to know and more!

What will my first flight be like?

To begin your first lesson, your instructor will introduce you to the airplane you’ll learn in. You’ll be briefed on the instruments, controls, and equipment in the plane and on what to watch for when you’re flying.

After this pre-flight briefing, the two of you will take off. Once aloft, under the expert supervision of your instructor, you’ll take control of the airplane. It will probably be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Soon you’ll feel the exhilaration – and like many before you, you'll find yourself looking anxiously forward to your next flight!

What happens once I’ve earned my Pilot’s license?

In short, you’ll never be quite the same person you were before. You will have access to a whole new world of personal freedom - thinking of travel in terms of flight hours, not miles. You’ll know what it means to make your own schedules, go your own way, far above the crowds, the congestion, the hassle, and the annoyances of ordinary transportation.

You’ll likely find a new sense of personal fulfillment in your ever-growing flying skills. You’ll push the old boundaries of your life forward and have the opportunity to plan, seek, and find new experiences that will enrich your life in countless ways. You’ll gain greater self-reliance and confidence as well (after all, how many of your friends can claim to be pilots?).

Through your own initiative and effort, you’ll soon be a master of our 20th century’s most distinctive and rewarding art – flying.

Is flying safe?

It’s often been said that the most dangerous part of a flight is the drive to the airport, and statistics tend to support that folksy wisdom. General aviation airplanes are built to rigid federal specifications, and they are constantly checked and rechecked to make sure they are mechanically and structurally safe. People who fly tend to be especially safety conscious, and as the pilot-in-command of an airplane, you’re also in command of most variables that affect flying safely. Safety is the most important word in the general aviation vocabulary.

During training, your flight instructor will emphasize the skills and practices needed to operate the airplane safely. Flying as pilot-in-command of an airplane puts you in charge. A well-built and well-maintained airplane in the hands of a competent, prudent, and well-trained pilot makes flying safer than many other forms of transportation.

The aircraft that you will be flying here at Frederick Flight Center are maintained to the highest industry standards. All of our technicians are highly trained and FAA-certified. Frederick Flight Center has its own maintenance facility and staff dedicated to the maintenance of our aircraft.

What if the engine quits?

An aircraft engine is a piece of finely built machinery that is designed to keep running. If the improbable should happen, however, you won’t simply fall out of the sky, Without engine power, your airplane descends slowly and smoothly in a well controlled glide. If this ever happens, you’ll simply select the nearest safe landing site and land there without power - a skill you will practice with your instructor.

Do I need to buy an airplane?

Not at all! Of course, owning your own general aviation airplane will give you complete freedom to set your own schedule and a pride of ownership like nothing you’ve known before. But many pilots do not own their own planes. Most pilots rent airplanes while learning and let all of the details of ownership and maintenance be taken care of by the agency renting them. Rental fees are normally based on an hourly rate for actual flying time. Once licensed, many pilots belong to flying clubs – groups who pool their money to buy and share airplanes, thus reducing each member's costs and keeping the airplane flying more often (this is better for the airplane than sitting parked on the ground).

How much will it cost?

There are many variables when considering cost. First, different aircraft have different costs, which will obviously affect the total cost of learning to fly. The frequency of your lessons also makes a difference. While learning, you can fly at your own pace, whatever feels comfortable for you, but if possible, we recommend 2 – 3 times per week as this is the best balance of flying often to maintain proficiency while keeping plenty of time to think, plan and do all the rest of the things in your life. The average investment, spread out over the span of your training, works out to about $8,000 to $12,000 for a certificate that will last a lifetime. In addition to your flying and books, you will need to pay for a 3rd class medical certificate ($50-$100-see Q&A below) and your final flight test (“check-flight” or “check-ride”) with an FAA-designated examiner. Most students also purchase a communication headset, which can run anywhere from about $80 up to as much as $1,000 for the top of the line (with the most common choices being in the range of $300), but that decision can come later on, after you’ve learned more about them. Meanwhile, we’ll provide you with a unit to use as you bring training.

Is financing available?

Yes! We coordinate with multiple programs to assist pilots in achieving their goals. The easiest and most direct is through Pilot Finance, Inc. who offers affordable flight training financing. With no maximum account size and an easy application process, Pilot Finance is a fast and no-hassle way to start your flight training. To apply, ask for the simple two page application at the front desk or from your instructor. Typical approval time is between 24-48 hours, so you could be only two days away from achieving your goal of flight.

Other methods involve being enrolled in a College program of study either through our affiliation with Utah Valley State College and their “distance-education” aviation program, or through our affiliation with the Community College of Baltimore County, or the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. See the Chief or Assistant Chief Flight Instructor for information regarding the loan programs available through those organizations.