Getting Started

When you join you will receive an orientation into the ways and methods of FMFA. Part of that orientation is an interview with the Chief Flight Instructor (currently Robert Carpenter) or a designated alternate, who will suggest one or more of FMFA's staff instructors. This recommendation is based on the Chief CFI's sense of your needs and abilities and of the compatibility of personalities. (However, you as the student have the final say as to who your instructor will be. FMFA's objective is for you to succeed in getting your certificate.) You and your instructor then set up your training program according to your individual needs.

N.B. FMFA requires a minimum of Private Pilot Certificate to fly its aircraft. Holders of the Recreational Pilot Certificate are accorded the same privileges as Student Pilots.

To get your private pilot certificate you will need: (see FAR part 61.103)

  1. A Student Pilot License which includes a Third Class Medical Certificate (required prior to solo)
  2. Aeronautical Knowledge as prescribed in 14 CFR FAA Regulations (FAR). In particular, FAR part 61.105. This can be acquired through a ground school taught by an authorized instructor or through a home-study course.
  3. A passing grade (70% or better) on the FAA knowledge test
  4. Aeronautical Experience as prescribed in FAR part 61.109 section (a) 'For an airplane single-engine rating'. This experience must include a minimum of 40 hours of flight time. This flight time must include a minimum of 20 hours of (dual) flight training and a minimum of 10 hours of solo training.
  5. Flight Proficiency as prescribed in FAR part 61.107. This proficiency must be acquired by flight training received from an authorized Flight Instructor.
  6. To pass a Practical Test with an authorized Examiner, which includes an oral and flight examination.

For further information, see the FAA information page How do I become a pilot?.

Flight Time and Instructional Costs

Flight training involves an investment in both aircraft rental and a certified flight instructor's (CFI) expertise.

If you're able to learn in one of FMFA's Cessna 152s (usually, if you weigh 190 lbs. or less), the hourly aircraft rental rate can be as low as $62 per hour. If you learn to fly in one of FMFA's T-41C aircraft, the hourly aircraft rental rate can be as low as $83 per hour. Although student pilots vary significantly in their pace of training, a quick estimate of total cost can be made using the following assumptions:

  • 65 hours of flight time ($62 or $83/hr.)
  • 10% discount on aircraft rental for block time*
  • 35 hours of instructor time ($30/hr.)
Using these assumptions, training in a C-152, at the rental rate of $62/hr., would cost $4,677 (65hrs x $62 x 90% +35 x $30).

Training in a T41C, at the rental rate of $83/hr., would cost $5,906 (65hrs x $83 x 90% +35 x $30).

*Block time requires a payment of at least $300 into a rental account. In return, a 10% discount is granted toward the rental fee of FMFA aircraft.

Aircraft and Instructor Hourly Rates

Click here for current rates.

Ground School

Ground school costs range from using study guides for less than $20 to formal ground school costing $270.00 ($150 tuition and $120 Private Pilot Kit).

FAA Written Test

Exam fees are around $80.00 depending where you take the test.

Medical Exam

You must obtain a medical exam (basic physical) from an FAA certified doctor. The cost of the exam ranges from about $75 to $125, depending on the doctor. Click HERE for a list of FAA medical examiners.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Equipment, supplies, charts, etc.
  • $25.00 to $150.00 (depending on individual desires)
  • Headset -- $85 to $1000 depending on student requirements for basic passive headset to exceptionally ergonomically engineered Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset.
  • Kneeboard -- suggested cost $35 (a must in the Washington DC Flying Environment)
  • A Private Pilot "Kit" is available for sale at the FMFA clubhouse for $120. This includes, in a compact black canvas bag, such miscellaneous student necessities as a Pilot Logbook, E6B computer & plotter, Jeppesen-Sanderson Private Pilot Textbook, Private Pilot Training Folder, Private Pilot FAA Written Test Bank of Questions, and other nice-to-have materials.
FAA Examiner Fee

An FAA Inspector does not charge for administering the practical test. However, an FAA-designated examiner may charge for the service, since (s)he is not paid by the FAA.

Monthly Club Dues
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