Is Flying Once a Week Enough?
You live in New York City, and you been bitten by the flying bug. Your new goal is to earn a private pilot certificate. According to the U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics, there were 149,121 active Student Pilots and 162,455 active private pilots in 2017., including foreign pilots training in the US.
Note: Want to know more about the process to become a private pilot is? If not, visit our blog about Training for a Private Pilot Licenses.
Flight Training is like going to the gym: you need a personal trainer, the gym should be conveniently located, and most importantly, you need to stay focused and motivated to keep up reps.
To set yourself up for success, it's good to fly 2-3 times per week and pass the written test requirement early on in your training. But can you spare the time to fly 2-3 times per week? Most people answer "No".
Most people can only fly once a week, but miss out on the practice they need. The more we practice a new skill, the quicker we are able to understand it and have it become second nature. If you fly 2-3 times week, you are more likely to finish your Private Pilot Certificate in two to three months, while flying only once a week could take you over a year. (When only training once/week, realistically, you'll probably only fly about 30-40 flight lessons in a good year. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, illness, work, and bad weather will all get in the way.)
Another factor that has a negative impact on your flight training is the length of your commute from NYC to any of the local General Aviation Airports. Driving during off-peak hours to the nearest general aviation airport takes about 45 minutes, and during peak hours, up to 2 hours. Public transportation, at least 1.25 hours, plus the time of a cab from the train or bus stop to the airport.
When you get to the airplane, you are just beginning. You need to Pre-Flight the aircraft and get a weather brief (30-60 minutes). Then you will brief the flight with your instructor (15-30 minutes). Next, fly for 1.5-2 hours, secure the airplane (15 minutes), and finally, debrief the flight (15-30 minutes). Added up, you're using up a quarter of the day for a 2-hour flight, and much of this time is unproductive.
If you fly once a week, you will probably be close to the 60-80 hour national standard Private Pilot Certification, according to AOPA. This is also well above the 40-hour minimum the FAA requires for a Private Pilot Certificate. If you fly 2-3 times per week, you are much more likely to finish at or around the minimum 40 hours required by the FAR’s.
How we can help: Using a simulator to train allows you to stay active in your flight training without having to leave NYC. Our office is located in Midtown Manhattan. If you plan to fly once a week, you can complement your flights with sessions in our simulator. Take advantage of our experienced flight instructors (all current airline pilots) and practice real world skills on our simulator. Simtech Aviation helps you maximize your time and efficiency, honing your skills and enabling you to achieve pilot certification in the minimum amount of time.