Maybe you’ve always dreamed of becoming a pilot, or perhaps you just discovered the exhilaration. Either way, we’re excited to help you determine whether flight school is right for you! In addition to the questions we commonly hear, it’s important to ask yourself a few. How much time can you dedicate to training on a regular basis? How big of a financial investment can you afford to make right now? What flight schools are nearest to you? If you’ve already decided to take the next step and enroll in flight training, read on for answers to some frequently asked questions.
Flight School FAQs
What do I need to be able to start flight training?
No experience? No problem! Many of our private pilot students are brand new to aviation. After your first discovery flight, our training program will provide you with the education and understanding necessary to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oral and knowledge exams, complete your necessary flight time, and pass your checkride.
You need to be at least 17 years old to take the flight test, though you can begin training at any age. All pilots—even pilots in other countries!—need to be able to read, write, and speak English. Before your first solo flight, you’ll also need to obtain an FAA medical certificate.
Do you offer private and commercial pilot license courses?
Yes! Independent Helicopters is a Part 61 and Part 141 Flight School that offers a variety of flight school courses. In addition to private and commercial pilot license programs, we offer: instrument rating, certified flight instructor (CFI), certified instrument flight instructor, and helicopter airline transport pilot (ATP) training courses.
Is an instrument rating required to receive a pilot license?
We always strongly suggest obtaining the instrument rating. Although it’s not required, an instrument rating will definitely help you in many ways. Instrument flight training teaches students the skills necessary to fly a helicopter under conditions of restricted visibility, utilizing only instruments and communication with air traffic control for navigation.
Is your ground school online or in-person?
Independent Helicopters offers a premier online ground school course for our flight school students, and we encourage all of our students to take advantage of this online platform, which can be accessed anywhere, from any device. Our private pilot training course covers everything you need to know to pass your FAA helicopter knowledge and oral exams.
How long will it take to complete my training?
It typically takes between two to six months to complete your private pilot’s license requirements, depending on your availability and learning curve. The commercial pilot license training can take up to a year, and the CFI usually takes approximately two months to complete after that. From no experience to a Certified Flight Instructor takes on average 1 ½ to 2 years at which time you’re employable.
How does scheduling work?
With our online ground school courses, students can study at their own pace. For in-person instruction, we accommodate any schedule and are very flexible with mornings and evenings. Currently, we have six instructors who are able to meet the needs of our students. Most flight times need to be booked a week in advance, but occasionally we are able to arrange something on 24-hour notice.
Are there weight restrictions for flying a helicopter?
Helicopters are sensitive to weight and balance. The Robinson R22 can carry up to 240 pounds per seat, but we recommend being no more than 220 pounds. The R44 can carry up to 300 pounds per seat; again we recommend that the passenger/student weigh no more than 260 pounds. These numbers are based on fuel, balance, flight time, etc.
Are scholarships available for students enrolled in flight school?
There are many scholarships available through a variety of sources. We offer a yearly scholarship through our Marius Ivascu Aviation Foundation. Pilot Finance is another company that is very familiar with flight training financing. There are also a variety of grants and scholarships available through the FAA. You can also check out groups like Women in Aviation International for scholarships available to support their members’ education.
Does Independent Helicopters use a simulator for flight training?
Simulators are cost-effective tools and should be used during all phases of flight training. There are many benefits to using a simulator. Emergency procedures, instrument training, and even learning how to hover can all be accomplished in a flight simulator at a fraction of the cost of flying the real helicopter. At Independent Helicopters, we use the Frasca TruFlite H™ simulator for training purposes.
Do I need my own insurance when I fly?
Typically, the flight school carries insurance that covers you, however, they may require you to obtain aircraft damage insurance or deductible insurance to cover the cost of damages incurred up to the deductible.
Deciding whether flight training is right for you can be exciting (and a little overwhelming). For more information on the types of courses available to you, check out our website. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on our schedule of events, learn more about helicopter flight training, or schedule your own private adventure.