"Most Experienced
Flight School
 In North Carolina"
3815 N. Liberty Street
Winston·Salem, NC  27105
(336) 776-6070
Discovery Flight
Learn To Fly
VA / GI Bill Program
Pilot Shop
Computer Testing
Our Fleet
      Cessna 172L/M
      Cessna 172SP
      Piper Archer
      Piper Arrow
      Piper Seneca
Visit Us By Ground
Visit Us By Air
Flight Scheduling
Learn To Fly
Frequently asked questions:
       What's involved in getting a Pilot License?
       How long does it take?
       What does it cost?
       What privileges does a Private Pilot certificate offer me?
       What comes after Private Pilot?
       About flying solo
       Part 141 Curriculum versus Part 61
       Why PFT?

What's involved in getting a Pilot License?
Getting a Pilot License involves
  • acquiring knowledge via Ground Instruction in the classroom
  • acquiring experience via Practical Training in the aircraft
  • acquiring medical clearance from an Aviation Medical Examiner
    (just basic health; glasses and contact lenses are not a problem)
  • passing a written (multiple-choice) knowledge test via computer
  • passing an oral (interview-style) knowledge test with an FAA Examiner
  • passing a checkride (with the same FAA Examiner) in the aircraft

How long does it take?
You set the pace. We will customize your training to suit your schedule. Having said that, a regular and frequent pace will serve you better. If you train full time, you could earn your Private Pilot certificate in as little as one month. At a pace of two to three lessons per week, plan on it taking four to six months. The shorter the time gap between flights, the faster your training will progress. Weather can influence your pace. While some training can be completed on rainy and cloudy days, the majority of your flights will require good weather. You will also be required to complete some training during night hours. Another influence on time to completion is your unique learning style. Some students rapidly pick up hands-on skills but find classroom work an effort. With other students, the reverse is the case. The biggest influence on time to completion, however, is the rest of your to-do list. If flight training is something you squeeze in every other weekend, plan on it taking a long time and costing more due to having to catch back up with yourself. If, on the other hand, you put flight training at the very top of your priority list, you will quickly and thoroughly acquire the skills you need to earn a Private Pilot certificate.

What does it cost?
A dedicated student can plan on a total cost of about $8000 to earn a Private Pilot certificate. Fuel and rental of the airplane are the biggest parts of the cost. See the rates table for more detail. The Solo column shows the cost per hour of renting each type of aircraft in our fleet. The figures in the Dual column are the Solo rate plus the cost of having the instructor in the plane with you during that hour. In addition to flight training, you'll need to receive ground instruction, which is just the cost of the instructor, and which can either be one-on-one or in a classroom setting. Our Part 141 program accepts Guilford Technical Community College course work as full credit for required ground training. Anyone can sign up for Private, Instrument, and Commercial ground courses at GTCC. We also work with other learning institutions such as Wake Forest University, Forsyth County Career Center and area High School ROTC programs, but most of our students study solely at our facilities. The written exam is a flat fee, as is the cost of the checkride (the final practical test where you fly with an FAA examiner). Also, there's the cost of materials: headset, books, charts, navigational tools, etc.

What privileges does a Private Pilot certificate offer me?
Do you want to fly the family to your next vacation? You can. Do you want to take your friends on a sight-seeing flight? You can. Do you just want to get in an airplane and take to the sky? You can. The Private Pilot certificate is comparable to the driver's license that most people carry. A standard driver's license permits you to drive for fun, and to commute to a place of work, but it does not qualify you to earn money from driving. If you want to be a chauffeur or drive a truck or a taxi or a bus, you need additional licenses/permits. Likewise, someone who holds a Private Pilot certificate can fly for fun and commute, but cannot fly for hire or let passengers pay more than their fraction of the cost of the flight. The Private Pilot certificate also qualifies you to fly only the type of aircraft in which you were trained (just as learning to drive automobiles doesn't qualify you to drive a motorcycle). With additional training, you can earn ratings in other aircraft types.

What comes after Private Pilot?
The most common next step after Private Pilot is the Instrument rating, which qualifies you to fly in and through clouds via IFR (instrument flight rules) instead of being limited to VFR (visual flight rules). After that, a Commercial Pilot certificate is the minimum requirement for earning money directly from flying, while an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate is required before captaining an airliner or a corporate jet. Other ratings qualify you to fly different types of aircraft such as multi-engine, jet, helicopter, blimp, etc. Also, especially if a career in the airlines or the corporate world is your aim, along the way you'll most likely become certified as a flight instructor.

About flying solo
There's a point in every student pilot's life when it's time to fly the airplane alone. That point is never the same for any two students. It won't be time for you to fly solo until two things come true: you think you're ready, and your instructor thinks you're ready. A student's first solo flight is brief and as simple as possible: take off, make four turns, and land on the same runway in the same direction as your take-off. In essence, you fly a rectangle. This rectangle is called a Traffic Pattern. Be assured, before your instructor lets you take off alone, the two of you will have flown this exact same pattern until it's so familiar that you'll find yourself doing it in your sleep. After your first solo flight through the pattern, while your adrenaline is running high, you'll fly a second and third takeoff and landing as well. Don't be surprised if your instructor has to talk you out of flying a fourth pattern. Some students schedule their solo flight in advance, often inviting family and friends to witness the event. Other students prefer to make the final decision on the spur of the moment, often while flying the pattern with the instructor when it occurs to both of them that the student is "in the groove" and conditions are perfect. Either way, it's entirely your choice.

Part 141 Curriculum versus Part 61
The FAA has defined two broad instruction methods for flight training. We are qualified to instruct both methods, but favor Part 141 because it is usually the more efficient. Part 141 requirements allow for less total flight time than Part 61 in the course of earning your certificates and ratings, allowing you to save money. Under Part 141, students can complete their Instrument rating with the approved 35 hour course instead of having to build 50 hours of cross country time under Part 61. Students can also save money under Part 141 by completing their Commercial certificate in as little as 190 hours as opposed to the 250 hours required under Part 61. Either way, we can format the training to fit your schedule and your needs.

Why PFT?
Winston-Salem is an ideal training environment, especially for solo flight. Smith Reynolds airport is what is known as a Class D airspace, meaning it has a manned control tower but rarely has intense levels of traffic. As a result, students who learn to fly at PFT are introduced to the procedures of flying out of a towered airport, yet are not delayed by the constant rush of airline traffic found at larger airports such as Greensboro and Raleigh (Class C) and Charlotte (Class B). Here in Winston, we can calmly begin every flight, then gradually boost your confidence and skills by practicing over open countryside just south of Pilot Mountain where there is very little air traffic.