Learn to Fly and Become a Private Pilot
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"Sue has a ton of great flying experience -- she's flown for airlines, competed in air races, and has been providing flight lessons for many years. She draws from these experiences to offer insights and examples to help her students learn.
She is genuinely interested in understanding each student's unique background, personality, and learning style and molds her lessons and teaching style around her student's individual differences. She knows we all learn a little differently and asks for feedback to continuously improve her methods of teaching.
Learning to fly with Sue has been a great experience -- I've learned a lot, always felt comfortable and safe, and her passion for flying is contagious!"
If you have always dreamed of Learning to Fly, you have come to the right place. You will learn everything you need to pass your FAA exams and become a Private Pilot.
President & CEO HP Inc.
"I have always operated by the principal that if you are going to do something, do it well, do it obsessively, be the best you can be and lay strong foundations. When I committed myself to become a pilot, I signed up for a lifelong journey of learning and growing. As the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, I have a lot of people that depend on me, so it was of paramount importance to me that I find an instructor that would work with me to make me the safest, most diligent and capable pilot I could be.
I spent a long time researching flight schools and instructors in the Bay area and refused to compromise on finding the very best experienced coach that would guide my journey. After significant due diligence, I signed up with Sue and she not only lived up to her tremendous reputation, but she went above and beyond to ensure that she solidified strong foundations that would stand me in good stead for the remainder of my aviation journey.
She was relentless in her pursuit of perfection in the foundational skills associated with stick and rudder coordination, landings, situational awareness, process and procedure, radio work and more. In her pursuit of this perfection, Sue would always work to find new and creative ways to adapt her teaching style to make her point and provide the patience to ensure that we spent the right amount of time until the skill was nailed.
She then stitched it all together into a tight package to form a cohesive and well rounded set of basics that will stand me in good stead for years to come. Since my private pilot certificate, I have gone on to my instrument rating, multi-engine rating, sea plane rating and am working on my Gulfstream type certificate. All this would not have been possible without the strong skills and foundations that Sue instilled in me during my Private Pilot training.
Sue was able to work with me in advance to knock out a schedule that made sense for both of us, not an easy task given how busy we both were.
I could not recommend her highly enough."
Cessna is a great airplane to learn to fly in
"Contact" me today to find out how you can Learn to Fly
Contact me today to start your Flying Lessons.
Purchase below or Go HERE to purchase Flying Lessons.
"Flying alone! Nothing gives such a sense of mastery over time, over mechanism, mastery, indeed over space, time, and life itself, as this." -- Cecil Day Lewis
"Try to stay in the middle of the air. Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees, and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there." -- Anonymous
(All purchases are non refundable after 3 days. Applicable transaction fees + 25% apply for any refund. Rescheduled flights due to weather may be redeemed for an equal value for another date and time. Purchase price VALID FOR ONE YEAR from date of purchase and must be redeemed within one year. 48 hour cancellation notice applies for rescheduling or full amount will be charged/forfeited, excluding weather cancellations. Waiver must be signed. Minimum age - 16 yrs. Weight restriction applies).
What will your flying lessons consist of and look like?
The process of learning to fly is divided into three phases;
In the first phase of lessons you will learn about:
• Aerodynamics - how the airplane flys
• Flight controls - how the flight controls work and how
they move the airplane around on the ground and in
• Maneuvers - you will learn specific flight maneuvers
• Instruments, checklist, communication, airspace, weather,
weight and balance, performance, and safety.
During each 3 hour flying lesson we will first discuss that day's lesson
as it directly applies to flying the airplane. Then we take to the sky
where you take the controls and apply what you've learned.
We will practice turns, climbing and descending, and take-offs and
landings. After we fly for an hour or so, we'll land and debrief.
When you have learned how to safely fly the airplane and feel comfortable, you'll be ready to solo - fly the airplane completely by yourself.
The second phase of lessons is all about leaving your local airport and flying to other airports. Together we will take several short flights to nearby airports to prepare you for your first solo cross country flight - a solo flight to an airport more than 50 miles away.
You will also learn advanced takeoff and landing techniques such as landing or taking off from a short runway or a grass strip.
In this phase of lessons you will perfect your skills and fly several solo cross country flights to various airports:
• Cross country airports such as Modesto, Salinas, Hollister, and Santa Rosa, etc.
• We will also do some night and instrument flight.
• We will then review everything you have learned to prepare you for your final checkride.
Your training is complete and you are now ready to take your checkride with an FAA Designated Examiner to earn your Private Pilots Certificate. The checkride is typically 4-5 hours and consists of discussion about regulations and everything you have learned. You will then go out and fly to demonstrate your skills.
You pass...and you are now a Private Pilot...Congratulations!!! A whole new world of opportunity will open up to you.
Imagine flying to Tahoe for the weekend and being there in 90 minutes from the Bay Area. How about San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara for lunch? Even Oregon or the LA basin are within 2-3 hours by small airplane. Whether you are 15 or 90 years young, it might be just the right time to take Flying Lessons.
If all this sounds great, how about trying an Introductory Flight with me today! "Contact" me today to find out how you can start learning to fly
What to Expect From Flight Training
Everyone starts out as a student, so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. As your flight instructor, I am here to guide you through the process to achieve your goals and dreams of flying.
Student Pilot Requirements
You can start taking flying lessons at any time, as long as you can reach the rudder pedals and see out of the airplane.
After you have trained for a while with your flight instructor, you will be ready to fly the airplane by yourself, or "solo". To do this you will need to be at least 16 years old and pass a 3rd Class medical exam given by an FAA designated doctor or an Aviation Medical Examiner, or AME. You will also have to pass a pre-solo knowledge exam and get an endorsement from your flight instructor. Then you can fly in the local area by yourself.
What's required to get a pilot's license?
You must be 17 years of age, and be able to read, write, and speak English fluently. The FAA requirements are 40 hours of actual flight training, but the national average is around 65-75 hours, or more.
20 hours of dual flight instruction to include:
• 3 hours of cross-country flight to airports more than 50
• 3 hours of instrument training
• 3 hours of night flight including a 100 nautical mile round
trip and 10 night takeoffs and landings
• 3 hours of flight instruction within 60 days prior to your
10 hours of solo flight including:
• 5 hours of cross-country flight including a 150 mile trip
• 3 takeoffs and landings at an airport with a control tower
You must also pass the private pilot knowledge test with a score
of 70% or better. Laser Grade or CATS Testing is available at Palo Alto Airport.
Then comes the practical test with an FAA-Designated Examiner. This will include both an oral exam and a flight test. The Practical Test Standards (PTS) gives all of the requirements.
Flight School or Flying Club?
Traditionally, the way to learn to fly was to go to a Flight School. In recent years, there seem to be more Flying Clubs emerging than Flight Schools. Most of the operations in the Bay Area are Flying Clubs.
A flight school has an owner and is usually run according to only what that owner wants.
Typically, in a flying club, the airplanes are individually owned and put on leaseback with the club to help cover some of the costs of the airplane owner. The airplane owners set the prices for their own airplanes and can make them as competitive as they want for the renters. The Flight Instructors are all independent contractors and thus have more flexibility to meet the needs of the clients.
The progressive format of this type of Flying Club benefits the airplane owners, the flight instructors, and most importantly, the renters/clients.
Ground School or DVD Course?
Included in your training will be some type of Ground School. This could be a formal ground school, usually once per week at one of the Flying Clubs, or you could purchase a DVD course, (such as Sporty's Private Pilot Course), and study on your own. Many find the DVD course very convenient as you can work on your own computer or device at your leisure.
You will learn all about how the airplane flies, what the flight controls do, how to read the instruments, the weight and balance of the airplane, how the airplane performs, navigation and chart reading, and of course weather. The ground school or DVD course are both designed to educate you as well as prepare you for the Written Test.
All of these subjects will be reinforced by your flight instructor and will be taught from a practical sense to fly the airplane.
How much do flying lessons cost, how long does it take?
The ideal schedule would be to take a flying lesson 1-2 times per week. The more often you fly, the quicker your flight training will move along, and usually less hours are needed. If you fly less, it will take longer to learn and retain the material, and will require more hours. If you fly two or three times per week, you may complete everything in 4 - 6 months. If you fly less, it could take 6 months to a year or more. But who's in a hurry? The process of learning to fly should be just as enjoyable as actually being a pilot.
If you are shopping prices for flying lessons, be sure to compare apples to apples. Many schools or clubs will quote you a cost based on the minimum 40 hours required by the FAA. This will not likely be realistic, especially in the Bay Area.
You should budget a minimum of $18-20k for flight training, depending on what model of airplane you choose to fly, and how often you will be taking flying lessons per week.
A good way to benefit the most from your flying lessons with your flight instructor is to be as prepared as possible. Consider taking a ground school, available at West Valley Flying Club and San Carlos Flight Center, and/or purchasing and utilizing Sporty's Private Pilot Course concurrently with your flight training.
When you purchase flying lessons, you will then need to join a club for aircraft rental prior to the first lesson. We can discuss the different clubs/locations to decide which one best fits your needs. See the "Contact" page for clubs/locations. (Not required for the Introductory Flight)
Contact me today to find out how I can help you start your adventure to Learn to Fly!