Private Pilot - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of training?

The estimated cost of training varies with airplanes. The minimum amount of flight training required is 40 hours of flight; the national average for flight hours for a new pilot is 65 hours. Most Private Pilot students who complete training with Pacific Air finish in 50-60 hours.

The following are realistic estimates for the total course of training. Of course, there is a likelihood that you will spend a lot less over the course of training. With Pacific Air, you pay at the each flight lesson and their are no upfront fees. The following estimates takes into account the instructor and airplane rental:

60 hours in a Cessna 152: $10,000
60 hours in a Cessna 172P: $12,000
60 hours in a Cessna 172S G1000: $14,000

BE CAREFUL: Several flight schools offer training estimates for 40 hours of flight. What they don’t mention is that their students are completing their training with far more than the minimum required 40 hours. For the sake of comparison, here are our 40-hour estimates:

40 hours in a Cessna 152: $6,500
40 hours in a Cessna 172P: $8,000
40 hours in a Cessna 172S G1000: $9,500

What is included in the estimates?

Our estimates include the airplane and instructor. There will be additional costs that every student in every school must be aware of. These include, but are not limited to: testing fees, pilot gear, study materials, etc.

Are there additional costs?

Unlike at most schools, you will pay only for the time you train with the instructor, not the whole time scheduled. Furthermore, regardless of where you train, you can expect to encounter the following additional costs: 1) Ground School Material The most common form of ground school is an online, home-study course. The average price is for this home-study course is $240. You can minimize this cost by simply purchasing a $20 study-guide book, however, the interactive online version has proven to be extremely effective in teaching all the necessary elements. Another option may be taking a course at a local community college, or a flight school that offers Private Pilot ground school. 2) Pilot Gear Pilot gear is a combination of tools and charts (maps) that a student will need. Although not all items are required, there are several tools that will make life easier on a pilot. These items include: flight “computers,” books, kneeboard, flight bag, etc. The essentials will only run you about $120, but can exceed that if you decide you need more than the essentials. 3) Testing There are 2 exams that a student must pass in order to get their Private Pilot Certificate. The first one will be a computerized written exam that costs $150 to take. The final test—commonly known as the “checkride”—can range in price with FAA examiner, but is usually around $700. 4) Medical/Student Pilot Certificate A Medical Certificate is required for all pilots wishing to utilize their pilot privileges. As a student, it will also serve as a Student Pilot Certificate. The Student Pilot Certificate is an official pilot certificate that will allow students to fly solo once they reach that phase of training.

What is ground school?

Ground school is the coursework required to attain a thorough knowledge of flying. This includes, but is not limited to: regulations, aerodynamics, weather, flight planning, etc. You can learn everything from just reading a selection of books; however, it is a lot easier for most students to complete an interactive course. Ground school is required for flight training. Completing an approved ground school course will allow you to take a required written test (much like the written test required for a Driver’s License). This written test must be completed prior to taking your final practical test (i.e., the checkride).

Do I have to pay for the entire course?

No. Most students pay on a pay-as-you-go basis. That is to say, if you fly for 1 hour with an instructor, all you pay for at the end of the day is for the airplane rental fee and the instructor fee. There are no hidden fees.

How do I get started?

Whether you’ve taken a demo flight in the past or not, the best way to get started is to schedule a demo flight with us. A demo flight is the best way to get a taste of flying & get a good understanding of what flight training is like. In addition, it will give you an opportunity to get answers to any questions you may have. From takeoff to landing, we guarantee it will be a memorable experience.

What is a medical certificate and where do I get one?

A medical certificate is required by all pilots (except those exercising the privileges of a Sports Pilot’s Certificate). A medical exam is administered/issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). There are three classes; the “third class medical certificate” is intended for those who fly recreationally. To locate a Medical Examiner, go to the website below: The exam takes approximately 15 minutes and once certified, it will be good for up to 5 years (2 years for those over the age of 40).

Does it matter if I wear glasses/contact lenses?

No. The medical certificate allows you to wear corrective lenses, much like a driver’s license. The only vision limitation that may be a factor is color blindness. Depending on the severity, it may only impose some limitations on your medical certificate. For further assistance, please contact your local AME.

How long will training last?

This really depends on your schedule. It is recommended that you train at once or twice a week. With that type of schedule, you can expect to be a Private Pilot in less than six months. The total time of training will vary with every student. You can schedule as often or as spread out as you’d like, but it is recommended to have at least one lesson per week.

What privileges will I have once I get my Private Pilot Certificate?

Are you thinking of taking ski trips? How about a weekend vacation in Las Vegas? Want to take a quick tour around the city? Well, you can do it all with a Private Pilot’s License. The great thing about the Private Pilot Certificate is the freedom it provides. As a Private Pilot, you will be able to fly your friends and family around. You will be allowed to fly into any airport (with the exception of military airports, of course).

What type of airplane will I be using during training?

There are various airplanes that can be used for training. Deciding on the best choice for you is yours! It all depends on what you’re looking for in an airplane. Some individuals prefer flying technically advanced aircraft (TAA), which are equipped with advanced avionics (e.g., G1000). In other cases, some individuals feel more comfortable flying a standard, and more economical, “six pack” airplane. It should be noted that the most popular airplane for flight training is the Cessna 172, which is available in both the TAA and standard “six pack” set-up.

What will the training schedule be like?

Ideally, you will want to have at least 1-2 lessons per week. Our instructors have great flexibility and are available 7 days a week. Our instructors are dedicated to your training and will work with you on forming a schedule that works with you.