Frequently Asked Questions
Learning to fly is a thrilling and educational experience that is, unfortunately, often shrouded by questions. At FCA we aim to make learning to fly as transparent as possible and work hard to show students the attainability of their aviation goals. Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions. Don't see your question? We love to talk about flying, so don't hesitate to call, we'd be happy answer any questions you may have (978-345-0373).
Q: "Do you fly in the winter?"
A: Absolutely, we fly year-round. There is nothing better than sitting in a cozy cockpit looking down at the snow covered landscape beneath you! The air is smooth, sky is clear, and weather is more predictable.
Q: "Am I too old/young to learn how to fly?"
A: It's never too early or late to start flying. That said, however, you do have to be at least 16 before you can solo an airplane and 17 before you can be issued a pilot certificate. We have students with ages ranging from 12 to 50+.
Q: "What will I do on each lesson, how will they be structured?"
A: All of our lessons are personalized and done on a one-on-one basis with just you and your instructor. Our instructors will tailor each lesson to meet your specific needs as a student pilot, but lessons generally consist of approximately 30 minutes of ground training followed by an hour to an hour and a half of flying.
Q: "Can I switch between instructors and book whoever is available?"
A: We generally encourage our students to work consistently with one instructor so that he or she can develop a detailed understanding of you as a pilot; however, many instructors will recommend that you go for a check flight with another instructor prior to major milestones in your training such as your first solo and prior to your final check-ride with the examiner."
Q: "What is a Student Pilot Certificate, when do I need one, and where can I get one?"
A: A Student Pilot Certificate, used to also be known as a Third Class Student Medical, and was required prior to your first Solo Flight. Per the new FAA regulation, students now need a separate student pilot certificate from their medical certificate prior to solo. The medical certificate is issued by an Airman Medical Examiner (AME) after a medical exam; essentially a slightly more detailed physical you might get from your physician. Please give us a call and we can direct you to an AME near you.
Q: "What is renter's or non-owned insurance and when do I need it?"
A: This is a big question, in fact we've dedicated an entire page to it.... to read more click here. Want a quick summary?: As a student you are covered by FCA's insurance policy as long as you are flying with one of our Flight Instructors. You will need a Renter's Insurance Policy prior to your first Solo or when renting the aircraft after you're rated, essentially the rule of thumb is: if you are flying without an FCA Flight Instructor, you need Insurance. These policies are relatively easy to come by and can be applied for online. To learn more, visit our Non-owned Insurance page.
Q: "How long will it take to learn fly?"
A: There are many variables that come in to play when determining training time toward your Pilot's Certificate. Under FAA regulations part 61, the legal minimum flight time for a Private Pilot's Certificate is 40 hours. The national average for flight training is about 70 to 80 hours; however, we pride ourselves with an average of 40 to 60 hours. The time spent training is extremely dependent on frequency of your lessons. We recommend 2 to 3 lessons per week for the fastest program completion; the more time spent between lessons, the more material will have to be relearned at the beginning of each lesson. For this reason, flying 2 to 3 times per week will likely yield a complete program in 3 to 6 months and a total flight time close to the legal minimum; with more scarce lessons, total training time will become longer with more flight time. Despite this recommendation, we do understand the financial and personal challenges with committing so much time to flying and our instructors will work with you to help you complete your training as quickly and efficiently as possible in a manner that meets your needs.
Q: "What's the best airplane for me to train in?"
A: We offer Cessna 172's a Cessna 152 and a Cirrus SR-20 for training/rental. The C-152 is the smallest of the fleet with 2 seats and is perfect for younger students and smaller individuals and is the cheapest option. The C-172 our most common trainer and is perfect for adults and teenagers with 4 seats and a roomier cockpit. The SR-20 is a much faster and more luxurious airplane but also a bit more expensive. In general we recommend training in what you plan to fly in after you are rated and is within your budget.
Q: "After I get my Pilot's Certificate, do I have to buy a plane to fly?"
A: Of course not, all of our planes are also available for rental after you are rated. You'll be able to take your friends and family for trips and soar the skies in a plane that you are familiar with. Of course, if you are interested in aircraft ownership, we will be more than happy to help you find a solution that fits your needs. Whether it be fractional ownership with a few members sharing costs, a flying club with multiple members, or private ownership, we can help keep you flying.