FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

A student pilot can begin their training at any age. The Federal Aviation Regulations require an individual to be at least 16 years of age to fly an aircraft solo and 17 years of age to obtain a private pilot certificate. There is not an age limitation on beginning flight lessons with a certified flight instructor. There is no maximum age for acquiring a private pilot certificate. Once someone gets this certificate, they may exercise the privileges of that certificate as long as they continue to get a medical certificate and a biannual flight review.

Student pilots have to pass a pre-solo written exam before solo, a private pilot written exam (FAA), and a practical exam (flight test).

To obtain a private pilot rating, you must obtain at least a 3rd class medical, and these are available from FAA medical examiners (contact Sawyer Flight Academy for a list of medical examiners).

The “Parts” refer to different sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations, and the different Parts dictate different requirements for flight schools. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have less stringent requirements – no chief flight instructor required – and they have the flexibility to progress through their training syllabi as needed. Part 141 schools are legally required to have a chief flight instructor, have their syllabus or training course outline (TCO) approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and progress through that syllabus exactly as outlined – no flexibility. Sawyer Flight Academy uses a part 141 syllabus and training strategy while maintaining the flexibility of the Part 61 program – this makes flying at Sawyer the best of both worlds or “Parts!”

Some medical conditions may require a waiver for a pilot to get a medical certificate, and these are best described by the FAA medical examiner. It is strongly recommended to disclose any preexisting conditions, surgeries, etc on the medical application as the records are checked initially by the medical examiner and later against other databases at the FAA. Failure to disclose may result in revocation of a previously issued medical certificate, halting training and potentially extensive delays. Keep it simple and list your correct medical history.

No, but some insurance companies do specialize in insurance for pilots. Renters Insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Avemco Insurance Company, recommended by the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA), offers custom coverage combinations or convenient coverage combinations – you choose. Obtain an application at the Sawyer Aviation front desk or click on the AVEMCO link.

This depends on why the student is achieving the ratings, but the progression that occurs most often is: private rating, an addition of an instrument rating, then a multi-engine rating, commercial rating, certified flight instructor, instrument instructor and finally, ATP. The commercial rating is necessary for being able to be paid for pilot services, also leads to greater proficiency in the aircraft and potentially lower insurance rates if the pilot later chooses to purchase an aircraft. Flight Instructor ratings are not required to be eligible to obtain an ATP license. The ATP rating is required to fly larger aircraft (above 12,500lbs) and jet aircraft; and requires a number of items be met including a commercial rating and 1,500hrs of total flight time. The next progression is to a commercial rating, and the prior ratings apply to this one.

The “Parts” refer to different sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations, and the different Parts dictate different requirements for flight schools. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have less stringent requirements – no chief flight instructor required – and they have the flexibility to progress through their training syllabi as needed. Part 141 schools are legally required to have a chief flight instructor, have their syllabus or training course outline (TCO) approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and progress through that syllabus exactly as outlined – no flexibility. Sawyer Flight Academy uses a part 141 syllabus and training strategy while maintaining the flexibility of the Part 61 program – this makes flying at Sawyer the best of both worlds or “Parts!”

Sawyer Flight Academy is located in the dry, sunny, southwest. No tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes or coastal fog will ground you for days and weeks while you are focusing on flying. Arizona is the #1 place in the world for flight training; more pilot licenses are issued in Arizona than anywhere else in the world.

Anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security – Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) or provide original proof of U.S. citizenship to Sawyer Flight Academy BEFORE commencing ANY training. To begin application process notify Sawyer Flight Academy of your intent to begin training, complete all required paperwork, go to: https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/ and follow the application instructions. TSA approval may take 30-60 days. Once approved by the TSA and in the U.S., the training requirements for a citizen of another country are the same as for a U.S. citizen.

Wet and dry rate refers to if the fuel is included in the price of the aircraft or if you have to pay for it separately. Here at Sawyer we provide the aircraft using the wet rate. The means that the price you see is the price you pay. No hassle! If you decide that you are going to fill up away from Scottsdale airport bring in your receipt and we will reimburse you up to $5.50 a gallon on your flight rental. You truly get the best of both worlds while flying at Sawyer Flight Academy.

A Discovery Flight is a flight of approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours intended to familiarize a student with the airplane, the airport, and with the flying environment. During most Discovery Flights, the student sits in the left seat, and the instructor allows the student to fly for a majority of the flight. Sawyer Flight Academy offers three levels of Discovery Flights which range in duration and cost. All flight time counts towards the 40 hours required by the FAA to earn a Private Pilot License.

Call Sawyer Flight Academy at (480) 922-2723 to purchase and schedule Discovery Flights for yourself or as a gift.

Yes. Discovery Flight Coupons are valid for one year from the date of purchase, are non-refundable but may be applied towards another type of discovery flight if the recipient later chooses to upgrade or use for store credit.

There is no specific requirement for hours before solo; this is based on the judgment of one’s instructor. Typically student pilots will have accrued 15hrs to 22hrs of total flight time when they take their first solo flight.

Yes. Many do elect to purchase their own aircraft prior to obtaining or even beginning their training. Some will buy an aircraft they can train in; others will purchase an aircraft that better suit their current travel needs and fly it with an instructor onboard.

No. Anyone may purchase an aircraft.

The same way you fly any other aircraft. It’s easy! Glass cockpit aircraft present information in an easier to read and more intuitive manner than legacy aircraft (round-dial or “steam-gauge” aircraft). The most popular and widely used “glass cockpit” system is called the Garmin G1000. Sawyer offers a G1000 equipped aircraft. The G1000 system is supported by the “Cleared to Fly G1000” course available at Sawyer. Ask a Sawyer Flight Academy Instructor about additional benefits of flying the G1000.

In as little as 21 days from zero-time to private pilot with the written portion complete. Training would be everyday for 2-3 hrs/lessons. On average, it takes about 4-6 months, flying 2-3 times per week. You must complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction (the national average is 75) and study to pass the written and oral exams (typically 40 hours of study material). Cost of training actually decreases the faster one goes because there is less time spent refreshing and more time progressing.

The cost varies by location, frequency and the type of aircraft used for training, but the average cost is between $12,000 and $15,000.

Financing is available through Pilot Finance, Inc. 1-800-667-0201. *Block rates also available. Save 10% off your bill each time you fly!

At a minimum you need a current medical certificate and a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) every 24 months. That’s it! To carry passengers you simply have done three take offs and landings in the category and class of aircraft single-engine, like a Diamond-40, or multi-engine land airplane you intend to fly within the last 90 days. If you haven’t, you can do your three take offs and landings the same day, or night and then your passenger(s) can jump in the airplane with you and off you go! It’s just that easy!

The cost varies client to client; however, we estimate the range of cost being between $12,000 and $15,000 dollars. This covers the cost of the aircraft, instructor, and any other requirements to be eligible for the instrument checkride.

With a newer style airframe and a constant speed propeller, the DA-40 provides a true airspeed about 15% faster than a Cessna 172. This allows students to travel further, quicker allowing for a greater range of aviation experiences. You are no longer limited to just the Phoenix Valley while training in a DA-40.

All of our Diamonds come with the G1000 avionic package. This allows students from day one to become familiar with the industry leading avionics package that is more reliable, more accurate, and provides the critical information in a plain manner to the pilot.

You will be allowed to carry people or cargo for hire! For many this is their goal for aviation. To get paid to fly! Whether you are banner towing, flying local scenic flights, or crop dusting this is the first step in many pilots professional careers.

It is difficult to estimate the cost of commercial training due to the dynamic nature of prior training. A client who received their private and instrument ratings at the FAA minimum time would need almost 150 hours of time-building to reach the commercial FAA minimums. This can greatly increase the cost of training. We estimate approximately $10,000 of dual instruction and ground instruction is needed to prepare for the FAA written and practical test.

You do not need your instrument rating to receive your commercial license. However, you will be restricted in the operations that you can conduct if you have a commercial rating without your instrument rating. We at Sawyer Flight Academy highly recommend that pilots complete their instrument rating before continuing on to receive their commercial license.

Absolutely not!! As a private pilot you are eligible to receive your multi-engine rating. However, will not be able to be paid for your services until you complete the commercial rating.

We based the cost of our multi-engine program on 11.5 hours of aircraft time, 18 hours of instruction, and any simulator time that is needed to refine new concepts that are being taught. The cost is $5,499 for the amount of time listed. If a client needs more time they can add to the package at any point using our Legacy pricing.

A current pilot can normally complete the multi-engine program in about 7 days. We request that clients reach out a minimum month in advance to get a checkride scheduled.

While there are multiple reasons to become a CFI the best one is that it makes you, the teacher, a better pilot. The French writer Joseph Joubert once stated "To teach is to learn twice." By becoming a CFI you are not only teaching new pilots, but you are reinforcing the information you are teaching back into your mind. This depth of knowledge is highly sought after in the aviation industry.

The cost is approximately $5,500. While training to become a CFI most of the hours will be spent in the books learning how to teach to students effectively. A student normally only requires 5-10 hours of flight time in the right seat to become familiar with the maneuvers required for the CFI checkride.

Contact Us

Scottsdale Airport (KSDL)
14600 North Airport Drive, Second Floor
Ross Aviation FBO Building
Scottsdale, AZ 85260 USA

Sawyer Flight Academy Office Hours
(Flight Training Department)
Mon–Fri: 9am–5pm
Sat–Sun: 9am–3pm

+1 480 922 2723

[email protected]

Our divisions

Sawyer ext. 1961
Sawyer MX
Saywer Flight Academy