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Learn to Fly

Turn your dreams into a reality!

Becoming A Pilot

Where to Start?

When it comes to learning to fly, there are three common certificates (aka "Licenses") that are available. The one you choose depends on what type of flying you would like to do. Each certificate brings it's own privileges and challenges, but they all open up the beauty of flying: the sport pilot, recreational pilot, and private pilot certificate. In order to be eligible to receive either one of the certificates in a single-engine aircraft, you must meet few requirements.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be 16 years old to fly solo. (Keep in mind, If you are under16, you can still fly with an instructor to gain experience)
  • Be 17 years old to receive your pilot certificate.
  • Read, speak, and understand the English language
  • Meet the medical requirements for flight (this varies by age)
  • As stated earlier, the certificate that you choose should be dependant upon the type of flying that you wish to partake in. In general, most pilots earn their Private Pilot certificate. This allows them the opportunity to fly longer distances for business or pleasure and doesn't take much more training than the other two certificates.

    Certificate Types

    A private pilot certificate is much like a driver's license. The options for flight in the United States are almost limitless. Most foreign countries also accept the license as long as you comply with that countries regulations. You are allowed to carry any number of passengers, and you can share certain operating expense with your passengers. The private pilot certificate contains fewer limitations than the recreational and sport pilot certificate. Once you earn your private pilot license, you are free to explore the skies below 18,000 feet. Taking the family on a trip, visiting distant relatives, or shortening the time on a business trip are now within your grasp.

    In 2004 the sport pilot certificate was created as an attempt to make getting your certificate less expensive and simpler. The certificate does require as few as twenty hours of training. There are however, more limitations that come with it. The Sport Pilot may only fly smaller, slower one to two seat aircraft that have been classified as light sport aircraft. The flight must also be conducted during good weather and daylight operations (no night flights).

    The Recreational Pilot certificate allows pilots to fly a wide range of aircraft, but it limits the distance you can travel from your home base without more training. Recreational Pilots receive fewer hours of cross-country navigation training since they will be remaining within fifty nautical miles of home base. This can be waived if the pilot has obtained additional endorsements. The certificate also does not require you to fly in airspace that requires communications with air traffic control. Night time operations and instrument training are not required as well.

    Our Customers Say

    Saving Money on Your Flight Training

    Dakota Wings does it's best to keep the price down as much as it can, but commercial insurance, aircraft fuel and the cost of the aircraft unfortunately take a toll on flight training costs. The price you end up paying for your pilots license varies by person. Several factors influence the amount of money that you end up paying for the training as a whole. Some of these expenses can be reduced, but some can't. The FAA currently requires that you obtain a minimum of 40 hours of flight time in order to qualify for your private pilot certificate. The most influential thing that can help you get your license without breaking the bank, yet sill completing your training safely is to have commitment.

    Commitment can be in the form of several things.

    • Flying at least 2 to 3 times per week. If you fly less than that, you will end up "relearning" the previous flight and potentially the entire lesson.
    • Chair Fly
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        As silly as it sounds, you can save a TON of money this way. While sitting down in a chair, take the time to go through the maneuvers you have learned in your head. Close your eyes (preferably not while you are driving) and move your hands towards those imaginary switches and knobs when you need to. Put your feet on those foot pedals, and grasp that flight yoke. Picture in your mind what will happen to the airplane and the steps you need to complete the maneuver. Your brain really doesn't know the difference and the best part of all is that it wont cost you a dime. Whether it is after a lesson or preparing for the next one, picture in your mind what it is you need to do and imagine yourself doing it. It only takes a few minutes to do and the next time you need to do the real thing in the airplane you will feel like you have practiced it many times in the plane. That is because you have, it was just done it in your head!
    • Take the time to study
      • Have you ever heard people tell you they just didn't have the time? If you are serious about learning to fly, you will make time. Every person learns at different speeds and in different ways. You need to find that place where you can be free from distractions so you can focus. This may be at your desk, in your back yard, or even in your closet with the light on. Make sure that you set your watch or a time and study in 25 minute chunks. After 25 minute, your brain will tend to drift off onto another subject and you will loose focus. Be sure to treat yourself with some form of a reward for each sprint of studying you do.
    • Take advantage of the debrief
      • Debriefs are SO important to recap what you have just learned. Take this time to review what went well with the lesson and what can be worked on. Don't beat yourself up on the debriefs. If you are not being told what you need to work on, then you won't know how to get better.

      • Piper Cherokee 140

        $ 125 hr
        • 150 Horsepower
        • 4 Seat
        • Fuel Included
      • Instructor Rate

        $ 50 HR
        • Ground
        • Flight