Taking to the Sky
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a pilot? If you or someone you know is interested in learning to fly, here is a little help to get you started. Before you commit to training, take a demonstration flight. All you need to do is contact Express Flight at Rosecrans Memorial Airport at 233-3444 and they will get you on the schedule. This will give you a sense of what it is like to fly in a small airplane. We are willing to bet once you get in the seat and take the yoke, that’s pilot talk for a steering wheel, you’ll never look back!
The next step will be to get your medical certificate. Getting your medical certificate can be obtained by finding the closest aviation medical examiner and scheduling a physical. Doing so can save time and money in pursuit of your private, student or recreational pilot certificate. Since you must have your medical certificate before you can solo, it is smart to do this first so you can discover early whether you have any health issues that could impact your ability to fly.
Next will be the book work and once you’ve completed ground school training, you will take the FAA test, which is a computer-based multiple choice exam to assess your knowledge of the theories covered in ground school. You will be required to pass this test with a grade of 70 percent or better. You can study at home with the help of books, videos or computer training programs.
Many people do the book work and prepare for the test while taking the flight lessons as this will allow you to apply your ground school knowledge in the aircraft. During the flight portion of your training, you will perform takeoffs, landings and performance maneuvers. You will handle radio communications and put your knowledge of airport operations, ground reference and emergency procedures into practice.
After you have completed the written test and a series of endorsements like:
- Solo flights, both on your student pilot certificate (one-time) and in your logbook (every 90 days)
- Solo cross-countries
- Written knowledge test
- Practical test readiness
Your instructor will schedule a checkride. The checkride is a test with an FAA designated examiner and consists of an oral and practical test of your aviation skills which brings together elements from every aspect of your training. After you have passed your checkride, you will be one of the few who can call themselves a pilot.