What is a Private Pilot Certificate?

A private pilot certificate is much like an ordinary driver's license, except it allows you to fly an airplane. The ability to fly, besides being great fun in itself, puts most destinations in the Northeast within a couple of hours' travel. Cape Cod or the Chesapeake are an easy two-hour trip away. Business trips are also more efficient and enjoyable.

What are the requirements to become a Private Pilot?

1. You must be 17 years of age (16 years to solo), and write, speak and understand English.

2. Obtain a third class FAA Medical Certificate from a FAA Medical Examiner. FAA Medical Examiner Locator 

3. Fly a minimum of 35 hours: including 10 hours solo, 20 hours instructional, 5 hours solo cross-country (that is, more than 50 nautical miles... not to California), 3 hours at night, and 3 hours on instruments only. These times are all bare minimums. The national average for completion is somewhere around 70 hours. 

4. Pass a 50-question multiple-choice knowledge test given at the club at our FAA Approved PSI Testing Center.

5. Pass a practical flight evaluation with an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

How long does it take to get a Pilot Certificate?

To make reasonable progress, you should try to fly two or three lessons a week. The Jeppesen Curriculum that we use includes at least two hours of ground training for every hour of flight training. It is a self-paced course which you complete in modules as you fly each lesson. Before you enter the plane for a flight, you have studied that lesson's maneuvers. This method of teaching has proved very efficient in creating pilots that have both the skill and the knowledge to be confident pilots after certification. Every lesson is carefully organized and presented so you know the completion standards of each lesson and where you are in the entire flight program. Three written quizzes and three briefings are required during flight training and ensure that all the knowledge you need is thoroughly mastered.

When you earn your certificate here, you are a skilled, knowledgeable, and confident pilot!

Why learn at the East Hill Flying Club?

We have been teaching flying safely in Ithaca for over 60 years. The club is maintained to the highest FAA standard: 14 CFR 141. This designation is what makes the school an FAA Approved Flight School which assures that your flight training is of the highest quality, organized carefully and supervised continuously by the FAA. The club is also a not-for-profit corporation. Though your training is of the highest quality, it is also very reasonably priced. Included in the club membership is full insurance coverage. The club meticulously maintains its nine aircraft and has installed the latest GPS navigation systems. We currently have six instructors teaching seven days a week and all the scheduling and dispatch is online. You can create and view reservations from your home or office to fit your schedule.

How do I get started?

First, schedule a Discovery Flight. On this flight you'll be at the controls of one of our Cessna aircraft with an instructor in the other seat while you fly over the beautiful Finger Lakes. This is a "test drive" to ensure you enjoy the experience, to meet the instructors, and to visit the school as well. The current prices are $130 in a Cessna 152 and $150 in a four seat Cessna 172. Most larger people are more comfortable in the four seat plane, or you can bring a friend along for the ride. You will experience the beauty and excitement of flying and see how easy it is to progress through the basic maneuvers. Most people love this experience and want to know how to get started in flight training.

How do I join the club and start flight training?

If you are excited about learning to fly, we want you as a member! Be sure to get an application from your instructor at the end of your Discovery Flight. Another essential part of getting started is reading through the Rules of Operation (Updated September 2021). These guide all of our everyday operations and keep us safe in the air. Once you have read these guidelines and filled out the application, arrange a time to meet with our manager/chief instructor so you can get oriented and enrolled. This takes about an hour. Be prepared to pay the initiation and deposit at this time, as well as buy the Private Pilot ground school kit. Your first fee is currently $1340, but $700 is your refundable deposit. The fee includes insurance, books, supplies, and club membership. This may seem like a lot, but if you train with a private instructor at another airport, you will be required to purchase insurance which will cost more than $700. You will also need to obtain a Third Class FAA Medical Certificate from a FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. You must bring us your passport or birth certificate to comply with TSA requirements. We can guide you through these steps at the initial meeting to ensure your success. Upon joining, you will receive access to our online scheduler system where you can set up your flight training schedule to suit your needs. We fly seven days a week. Each member initially gets four reservation slots. A typical flight lesson is a two-hour time block. Your syllabus, included in the kit, will explain what ground school training you should complete before each lesson.

If you have more questions, please email us or call us at (607) 257-1313. 

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