Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the best way to get started?

Start by taking a discovery flight. During this flight your flight instructor will demonstrate how to prepare for a flight and operate the airplane systems. You will be at the controls for takeoff and in-flight, and assist in the landing. The introductory flight lesson will give you a taste of the fun and excitement of learning to fly. Once you start, your instructor will ensure that your training is efficient, thorough and fun.

What special skills are needed?

Learning to fly, while challenging, does not require any special skills or ability other than a strong desire to do it. If you have the motivation to learn, then you are ready to begin flying. Flying does not involve math skills beyond basic high school math.

How much does is cost?

Many flight schools offer canned packages for a stated price. In our opinion this kind of marketing is misleading and in most cases, fail to give you an accurate quote, leaving out key cost items such as exam fees and fuel surcharges. We know that each person is unique, and each person’s “learning curve” is therefore unique, so we don’t package our training courses into a “one size fits all.” At Blue River Aviation, you will only pay for the products and services that you actually need and use – and – we will tell you up front what all you will be paying for. Take a look at our pricing estimates to get an idea.

Is it safe?

Everything we do involves some level of risk and flying is no exception. When flown by well-trained competent pilots, light airplanes are a safe and efficient means of transportation. The mechanical reliability of light airplanes is excellent – the systems are simple and time-tested.

What other licenses and ratings can I earn?

After the private license, you can work on your Instrument Rating, which allows you to fly in low visibility weather conditions. With this new skill you may fly in a greater variety of weather conditions, thereby increasing the usefulness of your private pilot license. You can also earn a Multi-Engine rating, and fly airplanes with more than one engine. To purse a career as a professional pilot, you can earn a Commercial or Airline Transport Pilot certificates. If you like to teach, the Certified Flight Instructor ratings allow you to teach others how to fly.

What is the weather like in Alaska? Do you fly year round?

Yes, we train and fly year round! The summers in Alaska are amazing and offer plenty of good weahter and long days for training. Like anywhere you go there are days that we can not fly due to bad weather. In the winter we keep most of the planes in hangars and plugged in so they are warm and ready to go even on the coldest days.

Do you guarantee that I will get my certificate/rating?

Let’s be totally honest here. No one, regardless of what they may advertise, can guarantee you a rating or a certificate. What we do promise is that we will provide a training experience that is second to none, with meticulously maintained training aircraft, mature and experienced flight instructors, and the best views on the planet.

I started my training with another flight school. Can I finish my training at Blue River Aviation?

Many of the students who come here have received previous training somewhere else, so we are quite used to finish-up training. We will be happy to help you finish up

I am not a US Citizen. Can I still train to become a pilot?

Yes, but you must complete the Department of Homeland Security AFSP (Alien Flight Student Program) requirements. Visit them online at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov, or call them at (571) 227-4544


What are the requirements to become a private pilot?

• Be 17 years old, but training may start at any age • Pass an FAA Third Class Medical exam • Complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight time (Blue River average is 45-to-55 hours) that includes 20 hours with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight • Pass the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test and the Practical Test.

How long does it take to earn the private pilot license?

It all depepnds on the student... To master the skills necessary to be a safe pilot, most students take longer than the 40 hours required by the FAA. With a reasonable effort, you could get your license in 45-to-55 hours.

How often should I fly?

The more often you fly, the faster you'll earn your license. Also, flying frequently avoids having to review previously learned skills that become "rusty" through lack of practice. We recommend taking lessons at least 2-to-3 times per week until you solo and one lesson per week thereafter.

What can I do as a private pilot?

You may carry passengers (but not get paid for it) in a single engine airplane, day or night, in visual flying conditions. An airplane allows you to turn weekends into full, two-day vacations, eliminating long car rides and traffic jams.

I want to come and get my Private Pilot License. Do I need to get a medical examination before I come for my training?

This is not an absolute prerequisite but is highly recommended just to make sure there are no medical issues that would prevent you from becoming a certificated pilot. To find an FAA medical examiner near you, just go to http://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/ , to see a list of FAA medical examiners close to you.