"what do i need to know before starting?"
Private Pilot is the first license everybody earns as they start their aviation journey. Earning your Private will allow you to fly in fair weather, and will also allow you to earn more ratings if you so choose. Additional ratings offered by us can be found here - Additional Ratings
To earn your Private Pilot License, you must log a minimum of 40 flight hours, 20 of which must be with an instructor, 10 of which must be solo. Note that the national average of flight hours is closer to 70 before earning your license. Complete requirement details can be found here - CFR 61.109
Our estimated total cost for a Private license at CFC is $16-19,000, with the timeline for completion varying wildly depending on the students' schedule, maintenance, and weather. A 4-9 month timeline is a good reference point!
Cessna 172: 65 Hours - $11,375
Flight Instruction: 45 Hours - $2,925
Ground Instruction: 30 Hours - $1,950
Written Exam & Check Ride: $925
Total estimate: $17,125
Now that you know what's involved for earning your Private Pilot License, let's..
step 1: intro flight!
An introductory flight, or "intro" flight is a great way to get in the air with no commitment, as well as seeing what training will look like day after day. We strongly recommend completing an intro flight before starting training, but it's not required. We offer half hour and whole hour intro flights. The flight does count as flight time if you do decide to proceed with training!
Half hour - $160
Whole hour - $260
If you've flown a small aircraft before, skip this step!
Step 2 - Get your FAA Medical!
You MUST have a Medical before you can get your Pilot’s License. You are not required to have a FAA Medical before starting training, but it’s highly encouraged. At a minimum, we recommend at least scheduling your Medical exam prior to starting. The minimum medical class is a Third Class, and is best suited for students looking to fly recreationally. If you plan (or think you might at some point) want to fly professionally, we recommend getting a First Class medical. Before the visit, you’ll need to go to this website - MedXpress to fill out your medical information.
First Class Doctors
Dr. Perry - 1790-64B East Market St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. His number is 540-564-5700.
Dr. Stankiewicz - 144 A Resource Ln, Ste C, Louisa, VA 23093. His number is 570-490-3987.
Dr. Simpson - 7255 Hanover Green Dr, Mechanicsville, VA 23111. His number is 804-730-1111.
Second/Third Class Doctors
Dr. Murray - 3263 Proffit Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22911. His number is 434-654-4600.
Step 3 - Schedule your first lesson!
All you need to do for this is email/call/text us your available dates and times for training! We’ll look at our schedule and get your lesson(s) booked per our availability!
Note: Weather, maintenance, and schedule changes happen, we do what we can to minimize cancellations. If a cancellation does happen, we’ll get you rescheduled as soon as possible!
Step 4 - Forms and documentation needed:
We’ll need copies of the following from you prior to your first day of training. These are preferred to be emailed ahead of time, but can be brought in on the first day!
Driver’s License (front and back)
Birth certificate or Passport
Signed Renter’s Agreement
AFSP Approval (if not a US Citizen) https://www.fts.tsa.dhs.gov/home
We’ll get copies of these as you get them throughout training:
Pilot License (front and back)
Renter’s Insurance (prior to first solo)
additional resources as you progress through PRivate pilot training
Knowledge Test Preparation:
The knowledge test is the second-biggest hurdle for most pilots. The knowledge test (known as the “Written”) is a test that you must take prior to your check ride (known as the final exam.) The most affordable way to study/prepare for this test is by using an online ground school course. These are typically $250-$300, but are well worth the cost, as you can study the material at any time vs having to be in-person with an instructor. Two courses we recommend are linked below! Other courses can be found online as well, like Sporty's!
Jeppesen - https://shop.jeppesen.com/All-Products/Training/Instrument-Commercial/Online-training/Online-Trainin g/p/10025785_10011167_63567-63367-63335
Insurance is not required until prior to your first solo.
We generally refer people to Avemco. The coverage is good for one year! Here’s the link! Avemco Insurance
You're welcome to get your insurance elsewhere, but the following coverages are still required:
$25,000 Bodily Injury/Property Damage
$10,000 Aircraft Damage