Frequently Asked Questions

How are the lessons billed?

We bill for the use of the airplane based on Hobbs hours that the airplane is being operated and for the appointment time you have booked the instructor for that day.

Are costs for flight time and class time different?

The cost for flight and ground instruction is the same and it ranges from $85-$100/hr depending on membership level.

What are those costs?

Rates for aircraft are posted on the Aircraft information page. Rates for Instruction range from $85-$100/hr depending on Membership level. There is a 1 hour minimum charge for the airplane whenever you fly. If you have a ground lesson only, you would be charged only for the instructor time. We require that the student have a credit card on file with us. Students are required to have a positive credit on account at all times and they are charged $2000.00 any time their balance falls bellow $500.00. We have different Membership options including a FREE Membership. Paid memberships give you discount on rates and instruction. We require 30 day written notice to cancel your paid membership. Membership is not required to learn to fly with us and we don’t charge an initiation fee. If you don't show up for your lesson or cancel with less than 24 hours, we charge for 1 hour of airplane time plus 1 hour of instruction time.

Do you have open enrollment periods, or can I enroll anytime? 

You can enroll anytime as long as there is an instructor available to work with you on the days/times you are available.

How soon after enrollment can I get started?

If you are a U.S. Citizen you can get started right away as soon as you provide us with the required documents (Unexpired Passport or Birth Certificate, credit card authorization form). If you are not a US Citizen you will need to obtain TSA Approval prior to starting your training. This may take a couple of weeks to obtain.

I understand there’s a FAA medical certificate required--is this needed prior to first lesson? What’s the approximate cost for this?

You will need to get your medical prior to your first solo but not your first lesson. Your instructor will guide you where to go for the medical. The approximate cost is $135.00.

What other course material or flight gear will I need to obtain? What’s the approximate cost for these?

All of our students and instructors use the GLEIM Online Ground School and Syllabus for flight training. You will need to purchase the PPL Kit from GLEIM for part 61 which we provide. Additionally you will need to purchase a headset (we sell this), kneeboard, charts, supplements, and a flight bag, among other supplies that you will get as you progress in the course. The cost for all these materials is approximately $650.00.

Approximately how many hours does it take to receive a PPL (range)?

We budget about 70 hours of flight time for our training curriculum. Not everyone finishes in 70 hours due to the complexity of the airspace in the Bay Area. In addition, the Bay Area can have challenging winds, and weather to deal with that you will not find elsewhere as much. The national average ranges from about 75 - 85 hours. We strive to get you finished in an efficient manner while providing you with a thorough flight training experience.

Our Private Pilot training course is broken down into three separate Units; and the students must pass each unit before continuing into the next one:

  • 1) Pre-Solo (30 hrs)

  • 2) Cross Country and Navigation (25 hrs)

  • 3) Checkride Preparation (15 hrs)

What is the approximate total cost to receive a PPL? (range) What factors will this depend on?

Our estimated cost for a Private Pilots’ License will range from $15,000.00 - $25,000.00. The total cost will depend on a number of factors, such as the aircraft you choose to learn on, the weather, student availability for training, aptitude and ability, and preparation. We find that students who study about 4 hours for every 1 hour of flight, tend to do well. It is important to come prepared for your lessons, having reviewed your maneuvers, procedures, and checklists before the flight. You will need to spend 2-3 days a week studying for your license outside of your lessons.

What’s the timeframe in which a student typically receives their PPL? (i.e. 6-12 mos?)

We've found that on average people finish in about 12 - 16 months. Most students we work with are working adults with other responsibilities and interests. Usually students train 1-2 days per week. If you are able to train at a higher frequency you should be able to finish sooner than average. We are happy to work with you to optimize your training to help you reach your goals sooner.

What does a typical training schedule look like?  How many days per week, how many hours per session?

Typically students train 1-2 days per week on average. We like to do 1 dedicated ground lesson per week and at least one dedicated flight lesson per week. Ideally a student would come in 3 - 4 days per week, but this is not doable for most people. Flight Lessons are typically 3 hours long. Dedicated Ground Lessons are typically 2 hours. When we fly cross-county flights (>50nm) we may need 4 hours for a lesson. It is important that we follow the syllabus and that we review the ground lessons in a timely manner without jumping ahead to much.

Does weekend instruction/flight time cost more than weekday?

Weekend and weekday instruction costs the same.

How is ground school integrated with flight time? (i.e. 2 hours ground school, 1 hour flight time w/instructor, 2 more hours ground school, etc)

Typically we do one day of ground training per week to check on your progress with the online ground school. Each flight lesson will have some ground training including pre or post flight briefings. Typically on a 2-3 hour fight lesson you will have 1-2 hours of ground training but this will vary for each lesson and the stage of training you’re on.

Who are the instructors for the training? What’s their experience? How many students have received their PPLs under them? How many flight hours do they have?

You can review this information on our Instructor Information Page under Flight School.

How large is your fleet of aircraft? What percentage of your aircraft have modern cockpit tech?

Our flight school has a dedicated fleet of flight training airplanes and we are continually striving to grow our fleet and bring in more modern equipment as opportunities come up. Our emphasis is on basic piloting skills and we believe in developing every new pilot's basic airmanship first before introducing glass cockpits and GPS into the equation. Most students begin their flight training in the Cessna 152 which has analog gauges. We have 3 Cessna 152s dedicated for flight training as well as more modern Cessna 172s with Autopilot and GPS. Students are encouraged to use their Ipad towards the middle of their training so they can learn chart reading skills and situational awareness before introducing a moving map into the lessons. We have a total of 8 airplanes on our fleet. Some of our airplanes are used for our air tours.

What is the main DIFFERENTIATION between flight schools in the Bay Area, and which do you excel in? (i.e. safety record, cost, trainer experience, etc)

Every school is different, but we strive to provide a personalized experience to every student. We are not a huge school, so at FlyBayArea everyone knows each other, and this allows for a more intimate experience where you are not treated like just another member paying dues. Unlike other flying clubs around the Bay Area we use a dedicated flight training system and syllabus. All of our instructors are company employees and not independent instructors. Instructors are required to use and follow our GLEIM syllabus, grade, and record each lesson in the online student tracker which allows for better standardization of training and a similar training experience for each student.

When you train at a flying club your experience will largely depend on the quality of the flight instructor that you get. At your typical flying club, the flight instructor works independently and the club does not oversee the training syllabus or system that that independent instructor uses. For this reason training quality at other places in the Bay Area can vary widely and can lack standardization, leaving the student often wondering where they are in their training and when they will finish.

Additionally unlike other flying clubs and aircraft rental centers, our airplanes are mainly reserved for our flight students, so while you're training you can rest assured that you will not be bumped by someone wanting to rent your airplane for 3 weeks while they fly around the state.

Will we be working with the same instructor the entire time, or do you rotate?

Typically you will be working with the same instructor as this is most ideal for your progress. However there may be times when your instructor is not available. When this happens, you are encouraged to use any other instructor at Fly Bay Area as everyone works with the same syllabus and they can quickly look at where you are on the training and pick up where the other instructor left off. You won’t have to put your training on hold because your instructor had to travel for a couple of months.

What’s your flight school’s safety record?

We have not had any incidents or accidents since we started providing flight training in 2006 and flight tours in 2010. We use a standard operating procedure manual for both our flight school and tour operation which keeps everyone operating safely within established safety standards and operating limits.

What kind of airplanes do you fly?

Cessna 152, Cessna 172SP, Cessna 182, Piper Warrior, Piper Archer.

What kind of setup is the ground school and flight training? 1:1 or classroom style?

Our ground training is online through a self-paced study curriculum and is backed up by 1:1 ground training and testing. Student complete the online ground school at their own pace and review their progress through ground lesson with their instructor.

Once you have your PPL, what are plane rental options? What are the approximate per-hour costs?

Once you earn your PPL, you can rent any of our aircraft. The rental hourly rates start are the same as for training and vary depending on Membership Level. You can see our current rates on our Aircraft information page under Flight School.

Are there any ongoing membership/maintenance fees to maintain a PPL?

Per the FAA regulations you will need to maintain currency to carry passengers which involves at least 1 flight every 90 days with 3 takeoffs and landings. Our internal requirements are much higher and depend on the make/model of airplanes you want to fly. But typically you will need to fly at least 1 time every 60 days for most training airplanes and every 30 days for more complex airplanes. Additionally every 2 years you will need to complete a Biannual Flight Review (BFR) with an authorized instructor. You will also need to renew your medical every 2-5 years depending on class and age. Hopefully you will be flying a lot after you get your PPL and won't have to worry about these minimums. We find that pilots that fly weekly or monthly tend to stay sharp after their training which is good for safety!


Ready to take the next step? If your goal is to become a safe and proficient Pilot, please leave us your name and email, and a short message.  We will contact you shortly!

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