Q: Why would I want to fly tailwheel?
A: The tailwheel airplane offers a challenge in that it is necessary to keep the nose aligned with the direction of flight on landing. Learning to accomplish this will polish your flight skills and improve your landings in any airplane. The Piper Cub, among other aircraft, also requires the critical skill of proper rudder work.
Q: Why is the tailwheel more of a challenge than a tricycle gear airplane?
A: The center of gravity is behind the main landing gear in a tailwheel plane. This means that if the plane starts to move to one side and the motion is not corrected the plane will try to swap ends and enter a condition called a ground loop.
Q: What kind of airplane do you use for tailwheel training?
A: I use a Piper J-3 Cub.
Q: What’s involved in the flight training process?
A: You’ll need to pass two tests: an FAA written test and an FAA practical (flying) test. The training required to pass these tests has two components: ground school and flight training. Ground school can be completed on line, at home, or in a classroom. Flight training consists of a series of 1 to 1 .5-hour lessons. During each lesson, you’ll typically spend an 45 minutes to an hour in the airplane. The rest of the time is spent with your instructor on the ground before and after the flight.
Q: Do I have to complete the ground school before I start flying?
A: No. Most students prefer to work on ground school and flight training concurrently. The two complement each other.
Q: How much will it cost to get a pilots license?
A: It depends. The Sport Pilot Certificate (The correct term for a pilot’s license is “certificate”.) requires 20 hours of training; as opposed to twice that amount for a Private Pilot Certificate. Beyond that, many variables can affect the final cost, but for budgeting purposes plan on $3,500 to $4,500 for a Sport Pilot Certificate. See our pricing page for more details. The best way to minimize cost is to fly frequently (2 to 3 times per week), and come prepared for each lesson.
Q: How long will it take to get a license?
A: No two people learn at the same pace, but if you put in consistent effort you can plan on about 20 flight lessons for a Sport Pilot Certificate. If you fly twice a day, every day, you can get a Sport Pilot Certificate in 10 days. If you fly once a month, it could take a year and half or more. How long it takes is ultimately up to you.
Q: If I earn my Sport Pilot Certificate, what will it take to get a Private Pilot Certificate?
A: There are some specific areas required in the Private Pilot curriculum that are not covered in the Sport Pilot program. Therefore, you will need some additional flight instruction in the areas of night flight, radio navigation, instrument flying, and operating at towered airports. These additional requirements will require approximately 10 hours of flight training. Additionally, you’ll need to complete another written test and practical test.
Q: Do all the hours I fly as a Sport Pilot count toward the Private Pilot rating?
A: This is complicated, as I am a CFI-SP (Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor) rather than a traditional CFI. The current interpretation of an FAA regulation dictates that only the hours you fly solo will count. Everyone in the industry agrees this makes no sense. Several trade groups and pilot organizations are petitioning the FAA to change the rule, and we expect the change to take place soon. However, if you think you’ll pursue a Private Pilot Certificate, and are worried the rule change won’t take effect, you may want to consider all your options for flight instruction.
Q: What sort of insurance will I need?
A: You are “named insured” on our policy. As such, our policy will cover any damage or injury caused while you are operating our aircraft (up to the policy limits), and the insurance company cannot come after you for reimbursement of its payouts. Since the insurance deductible for this policy is high, we require anyone operating as Pilot in Command to carry renter’s insurance in the amount of $5,000. This policy costs about $200/year. As a student, you will not need renter’s insurance until you start flying solo. Up until then, your instructor is responsible for any damage. You can sign up for a renter’s insurance policy quickly and easily on-line by clicking on this link.
Q: What sort of equipment or materials will I need to purchase for training?
A: I recommend purchasing a Jeppesen training kit, which contains everything you’ll need except an aviation headset. The kits range in price from $100 to $365 depending on the product. Aviation headsets range in price from $100 to over $1,000. You can rent a headset from us for $5/flight if you’re not ready to commit.
Q: I have a strange work schedule. Can you be flexible in my training program?
A: Yes, I’m a small business owner (Coastal Sewing Machines), so I have flexibility to a certain extent. I’ll try and work with you. However, I still have a greater commitment to my family, church, and business. Thus I’ll prefer to stick with early mornings, some evenings, and Saturdays (no Sundays).
Q: Can I take an introductory flight with your school before committing any more time or money?
A: Yes! In fact I encourage it. For $100 you can go on an introductory flight lesson. This roughly 30-40-minute flight, which counts toward your training requirements, will teach you the fundamentals of flying. It also gives you the opportunity to meet with me and get all your questions answered.