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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question concerning our flight instruction?
 Check our FAQ below to see if we have an answer.

 If you have any other questions,
 please feel free to
contact us for a personal response.


Can I learn to fly?

People of all ages and backgrounds can learn to fly safely and proficiently. You must be at least 16 years old to fly solo during your training and at least 17 years old to receive your Private pilot certificate and carry passengers.

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What are the requirements?

There are three basic requirements for learning to fly powered airplanes in the United States.

  • You have to be at least 16 years old.
  • You have to be in good health.
  • You have to be able to read, speak, and understand English.

You can apply for a student pilot certificate if you are at least 16 years old. When you're 17, you can apply for a private pilot certificate. There is no maximum age limit as long as the personís physical health meets the FAA minimum qualifications.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires everyone who wants to be a pilot to pass a routine medical exam every two years. This requirement ensures that pilots do not have medical problems that could interfere with their ability to fly safely. Allowances are made for many physical limitations. For example, glasses and contact lenses are perfectly acceptable. The physical exam can be obtained anytime from one of many FAA-designated medical examiners. We recommend that you visit an FAA medical examiner to review your health history, medications, and any physical limitations prior to beginning flight training.

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How difficult is it?

Flying is learned step by step in a logical building block approach.  It can be learned by practically anyone who is willing to invest some time and effort.

Pilot training has two aspects: ground training and flight training. Ground training takes place on the ground and covers flight rules and regulations, flight planning, navigation, radio procedures, and weather. During flight training, you learn how to fly by actually controlling the airplane yourself. Under the supervision of a certified flight instructor, you learn how to take off, land and fly cross country to other airports.

To date, over 600,000 people have learned to fly. By the time you're ready for your private pilot check ride, you'll be confident that you are a safe and competent pilot.

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Do I need special skills to fly?

No. Perhaps the most important element in successfully learning to fly is desire. Once you're ready to invest your time and effort in learning to fly, then it's time to take the first steps.

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How do I pick a flight School?

We think the best place to learn to fly is with Capital City Aviation, Inc. at the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus.  

Choosing the right one for you depends on your specific needs and reasons for learning to fly. Most flight training programs use a mixture of audiovisuals, textbooks, and workbooks designed for ground training. You may receive your ground instruction from your certified flight instructor (CFI) individually or as part of a ground training class. Certified flight instructors have been specially trained and examined by the FAA to ensure that all of your training is the safest and most effective possible.

Many people learn to fly through a local Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) or through a local flying club that offers flight training. Vocational and technical schools, colleges and universities offer aviation programs that include flight training.

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What is the first step?

Deciding to learn to fly is obviously the first step and often the most difficult one. Before you make the big decision to take flying lessons, you may want to experience a flight in one of our aircraft. Once you've viewed Columbus from a general aviation airplane and felt the sensation of flight, you'll know whether learning to fly is for you.

To arrange for an introductory flight, contact us online or phone at 614-459-2541.   

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How long will it take?

Most people receive their private pilot certificate after about 55 hours of flight time, including time spent with an instructor aboard (dual time) and time spent flying alone (solo time). Training will include some night flying, some instrument flying (flying solely by reference to the airplane's instruments), and some cross-country flying. The minimum time required by federal regulation is 35 or 40 hours of flight time, depending on the type of school you attend.

You can fly in the early morning, during the day, or on weekends. Scheduling your flying is up to you and your instructor.

How long it takes to accumulate flight time is largely up to you and your instructor. Usually two or three hours flying per week is a good learning rate, with more hours during weeks when cross-country flights are made. Statistics indicate that the average student pilot completes the requirements for a private pilot certificate in four to six months. Depending on the schedule and number of hours spent flying, some people will complete it sooner and others will take longer.

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What will my first flight be like?

Your instructor will introduce you to the plane you'll learn to fly. You'll be briefed on the instruments, controls, and equipment in the plane and on what to watch for when you're flying.

After the preflight briefing, the instructor will coach you during the take off and assisting you as needed.  Once you are at a safe altitude and clear of the OSU traffic pattern, you will take control of the airplane and be coached on how to maintain altitude and headings, climbs and descents and change airspeeds. It will be unlike anything you've experienced before.

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What kind of tests will I take?

A pre-solo open book written test is given by your instructor prior to flying by yourself in the airport traffic pattern.

Prior to being issued a private pilot certificate, you will take a computerized 60 question test covering various aviation topics such as FAA regulations, weather, cross country flying, etc. that  you have studied in your textbooks.

Once the computerized test is passed with a 70% score or higher, you will meet with an FAA inspector or a designated examiner to demonstrate your aviation knowledge and skills to safely operate an airplane and carry passengers.  This examination is called a practical test and the FAA publishes guidelines for the applicants and examiners of the tasks and subjects that must be covered.  You and your instructor will practice each task thoroughly and conduct a practice check ride prior to taking the practical test.

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How much does it cost?

Flight training costs vary depending on the frequency of the lessons, lesson preparation and review by the student, training airplane chosen, and each studentís abilities. Fuel prices, maintenance, and insurance costs are but a few of the variables. You can expect to pay between $6,000 and $7,000 for a high quality private-pilot flight-training program.  Click here for a breakdown of this estimate.

Compared to the costs of training in other business skills, becoming a licensed private pilot is a good value. Prorated over a lifetime, it's probably one of the best bargains you'll ever find. The cost of becoming a pilot is a solid investment in your future.

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Is flying safe?

General aviation airplanes are built to rigid federal specifications, and they are constantly checked and rechecked to make sure they are mechanically and structurally safe. The key to a safe flight is a well trained and proficient safety oriented pilot.  Your flight instructor will emphasize exercising safe judgment and constantly evaluating the flight conditions.  You will be shown how to prepare backup scenarios to allow you to safely complete the flight and handling in-flight emergencies and/or system failures.

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What happens if the engine quits?

Aircraft engines are considered to be very reliable and rarely completely fail due to mechanical issues.  If a complete failure did occur, the aircraft would be unable to maintain altitude and would then glide to a landing off the airport.  You will receive through training in how to troubleshoot a failed or rough running engine and restore its power.  If the troubleshooting does not restore power, your training will allow you to prepare for the off airport landing.

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What about insurance?

Liability and hull damage insurance coverage-  This type of insurance is available to cover the aircraft policy loss deductible and related liability risk via several aviation insurance underwriters for an affordable premium. 

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Do I have to own an airplane?

Not at all! Of course, owning your own general aviation airplane will give you complete freedom to set your own schedule. But many pilots don't own their own planes. Often pilots belong to flying clubs-groups who pool their money to buy and share a plane. Other pilots find a one or two person partnership allows for ownership of aircraft not financially feasible on an individual basis.

Most pilots rent airplanes and hourly rental fees are based on a meter charging only for the time the aircraft engine is operating.

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What happens after I get my pilotís license?

You'll never be quite the same person you were before. You'll have access to a whole new world of personal freedom. You'll think of travel in terms of hours, not miles. You'll know what it means to make your own schedules, go your own way, far above the crowds, the congestion, the hassle, and the annoyances of ordinary transportation.

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