The checklist to the right will help guide you through your process of getting into the cockpit. Winged Aviation’s goal is to simplify this process and help you grasp and understand the mass amounts of information and requirements by colleges, flight providers, and the FAA and lastly, the Veterans Affairs.
Veteran Education Benefits are something that you may have earned if you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged Veteran. If you were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, you may be able to take advantage of this opportunity as well. This benefit may be used for Flight School, listed below are the steps.
Attending a college-linked aviation program gives the benefit of an accredited degree along with the flight ratings, building a stronger resume for the future. Many flight programs are connected to a two-year associate’s degree. Generally a Bachelor’s degree is preferred by employers; however, it is not a barrier to getting a job and many associate degrees can be transferred to a four-year school at a later date if needed.
Flight schools are a separate entity from their connected college. The flight school is responsible for the actual flight lessons and ground school. The flight school will provide you a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and your school will become your first employer when your training ends. Selecting a quality flight school is as important as the college program and maintaining a professional attitude and image is key to your initial job prospects upon graduation.
The college and flight school are connected, but they are not co-located, so understand that much of the paperwork or communication you have with one may need to be duplicated with the other.
The amount of flight school costs covered by your Veteran Education Benefits varies by eligibility percentage, so you may incur some personal costs.
All pilots (except sport pilots) must possess a valid medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their airman certificates. The periodic medical examinations required for medical certificates are conducted by FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiners, who are physicians with special training in aviation medicine.
Most flight schools will require you to have at a minimum of a second-class medical, however, we suggest you apply for a first class medical if you have a dream with the Commercial Airlines. Don’t count yourself out if you have a medical concern, reach out to an AME and you may be able to attain a waiver or a limitation on your certificate.
FAA IACRA is the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA’s airman application process. IACRA helps ensure applicants meet regulatory and policy requirements through the use of extensive data validation. It also uses electronic signatures to protect the information’s integrity, eliminates paper forms, and prints temporary certificates.
All flight schools will require you to apply for your Airman Certificate and have it approved prior to flying. Upon approval, you will have a paper copy which is good for 180 days or until you receive your hard copy of the Airman Certificate – which is like a driver’s license for pilots.
Yes! Most flight schools who are partnered with colleges offer a Professional Pilot Degree. As part of your degree, flight labs are a required “class”. Flight labs are built in to enable you to earn your Private Pilots License and up to multi-engine/turbine ratings while also working towards your Professional Pilot Degree.
Yes! Many programs have a low loan default rate because, within 2 years, you will begin working as a pilot. We like to answer this question with a short discussion on “return on investment”. If you invest $75,000, and within 5 years that investment is earning you $75,000 per year; then it was a good investment. Hard work, determination, and willingness to make sacrifices are all requirements of making any investment work.
Aircraft vary by flight provider but here are a few common ones with associated ratings:
Airplanes: Cessna 172 (Single-Engine Private and Instrument), Beechcraft Bonanza (SE Complex), and Beechcraft Baron (Multi-Engine).
Helicopters: Robinson R22 (Private), Robinson R44 (Instrument), Schweizer 300 (Private and Instrument), Bell Jet Ranger (Turbine and Long Line), and Bell Long Ranger.
You may get a private, instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor (CFI), certified flight instrument instructor (CFII) along with the possibility of multi-engine training for fixed wing, and turbine, mountain, external load, and night vision goggles training on the helicopter side depending on the flight provider. Many flight programs are associated with a college, so you will be earning a degree along with your flight ratings.
This depends on which route you take:
If your flight provider in NOT* associated with college degree program it will probably last 12 to 14 months to reach your commercial flight instructor rating.
If your flight provider is connected to a college degree program* it will generally be 24 months to reach commercial flight instructor rating and graduate with an associates degree.
*Note: most Veteran Benefits recipients will be enrolled in a degree program in order to receive full benefits; however it is possible to use benefits and not pursue a degree.
This answer varies by flight provider chosen. For some schools, you do not need a headset to start flight training. Leading Edge for example, has headsets that you can use at no charge. At some point though, you will want to get your own.
This varies by flight provider, but generally you do not need to wear a flight suit for flight training. Most will require you to wear closed toed shoes and appropriate attire for flying.
You may be able to get both helicopter and fixed wing ratings. You will want to work on one airframe first before you can move into another airframe. It is not recommended for students to go back and forth between airplanes and helicopters. We recommend a student get all the ratings in one airframe and then get add on ratings in the next type of airframe.
Yes, many flight providers hire their own students as instructors. The reason they do this is because they like to have their students who know the company, how they train, and the region. Students make the best instructors because the standard of training is so high that they want the new students to have that same standard of training right from the start.
Students should try to fly at least 2-3 times per week. The more you are flying the better you will retain lessons from previous flights and build on your skills rather than spending time refreshing skills. When you initially start flying expect to fly less as each flight will be exhausting and will require more down time to fully absorb all you are learning.
No, you must see a doctor that has been approved by the FAA as a medical examiner.
- 1st class medical- Is used for airline transport pilot
- 2nd class Medical-Is used for commercial pilot
- 3rd class Medical- Is used for recreational pilot, student pilots, and flight instructors
Please see our FAA Medical Certificate for more information.
Medical issues such as diabetes. Felonies and DUI’s, and some medications may cause problems in obtaining a medical certificate.
Please visit our FAA Medical Certificate page for more information regarding FAA Medical standards.