When I was a kid I took piano lessons but never learned to play. Someone should’ve said, “Sit down, kid, and start picking out tunes. It’s fun.” Instead, I took lessons, which felt too much like homework and stifled my musical dreams. Flying is sky music, and to begin your quest for flight, I invite you to climb into an airplane and fly…with a flight instructor on board, of course. I fill that instructor’s role and have been doing so for over 25 years.
We’ll need an airplane. That’s a must. Running about the airport flapping our arms doesn’t satisfy FAA requirements. Some student pilots purchase an airplane and hire a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) to teach them to fly. I usually don’t recommend that route, although, as a CFI, I have taught several pilots in their own airplanes. Instead, consider renting an airplane while you learn and, then, after earning your certificate, shop for the airplane you’ll call your own. So, where to rent?
Mostly, I teach at Knoxville, Iowa Municipal Airport. Knoxville Aviation offers a rental Cessna 172 that meets all our requirements. We reserve the airplane for a few hours at a time and return it when done, and you only pay for the time the engine was running. Fuel is included in the hourly rate. The flight instructor is a separate expense.
Flying side-by-side with a CFI is called “dual instruction.” Until you are authorized to fly alone—or solo—you’ll have me at your side, teaching every aspect of flying the Cessna 172. Once I determine you’re qualified to fly solo, I’ll climb from the airplane—hopefully, while on the ground—and send you aloft to fly. Frankly, for most of us, it’s the greatest achievement in our lives. But, there are more great moments to come.
As a student pilot you’ll fly both dual and solo trips. We’ll fly together on daytime and night cross-country trips. You’ll, then, be authorized to fly 5 hours of solo cross-countries, as well as unlimited local solo flights to practice your new skills. Yes, it’s challenging, but all good things in life are. But, most importantly, it’s fun. And, because it’s fun, you’ll eagerly tackle the bookwork necessary to pass the FAA’s 60-question multiple-choice written exam. This does involve studying (no, it’s not like homework!), and to begin that I recommend my Private Pilot Beginner’s Manual (for Sport Pilots, too).
Once I’m certain you’re safe to not only fly alone but to also carry passengers, I’ll recommend you for your practical exam—the check ride—conducted with an examiner. I’ve never had a student fail a check ride, so anyone I send for the test will be a confident Private Pilot, even before the exam begins.
Learning to fly takes time and commitment, but becoming a pilot could be one of your greatest accomplishments and is certainly the launching point to the limitless possibilities of flight. So, let’s get into the sky and fly!
There are more details, and I’m happy to answer any questions.