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Flight Academy: Getting Started

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 Aviation for a list of medical examiners).
Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their pilot’s license – there are three classes; 1st (most stringent, good for six months and typically required of airline & turbine aircraft pilots), 2nd (good for one year and required for use with a commercial rating or flying for hire), and 3rd (good for three years if you are under 40, two years if 40 or older). A medical certificate is required for a student pilot to solo. A pilot may later upgrade his or her medical certificate at any time simply by having a reexamination by a FAA medical examiner.
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.

Selecting a Flight School

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 Aviation 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!”
Cessna Pilot Centers must meet higher standards than the typical flight school in order to be eligible to operate under the Cessna logo. They must be clean, neat, and provide superior customer service and flight training. They must make available for flight training fully insured, new Cessna 172 aircraft that are currently under factory warranty. Most importantly, Cessna Pilot Centers are the only schools that utilize Cessna’s integrated computer-based instruction – a revolutionary method of teaching ground school that is easy, thorough and fun. Sawyer Aviation is a Cessna Pilot Center.
Sawyer Aviation is a Cessna Pilot Center and has been synonymous with flight training since 1961. Sawyer goes many steps further by offering: additional aircraft models to choose from (Cessna, Cirrus and Diamond); having exacting standards for Sawyer Instructors (uniformed, random drug screening; tiered-selection process); computerized aircraft maintenance tracking; a full-time Flight School Manager; a fully-enclosed state-of-the-art, flight training device (flight simulator) for training on almost all ratings except multi-engine; a new multi-engine PC-Advanced Training Device or PCATD (flight simulator); Sawyer Aviation works with Bank Of America to offer financing for training; Sawyer Aviation is an approved FAA written testing center; at Sawyer you can even earn college credit.
Sawyer Aviation 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 – Transporation Safety Administration (TSA) or provide original proof of U.S. citizenship to Sawyer Aviation BEFORE commencing ANY training. To begin application process notify Sawyer Aviation (via phone or training@sawyeraviation.com) of your intent to begin training, complete all Sawyer Aviation 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.

Discovery Flights

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 Aviation 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.
Discovery Flights start at $89 and go up to $399. Discovery Flights can be purchased online. Sawyer Aviation offers the following Discovery Flights: Cadet $89, Captain $199 and Explorer $399. All Discovery Flights include a free logbook.
Visit Sawyer Aviation online at www.sawyeraviation.com to view and purchase Discovery Flights and then call to schedule your flight! Print your personalized Discovery Flight gift certificate from home!
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.

Flight Training

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. If a customer of Sawyer Aviation purchases a new Cessna Aircraft with two-year warranty – they will receive $3,000 towards their flight training – payable after they obtain their license.
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). Almost every manufacturer of aircraft with glass cockpits can provide references for training, or the avionics provider may provide training. 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 Aviation Instructor about additional benefits of flying the G1000.

Private Pilot Rating

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). Sawyer Aviation averages 60-70 hrs through use of the Cessna Pilot Program materials. 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 Cessna 172, 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!

Aircraft Management: Opportunities and Benefits

Tax benefit eligibility varies based on a number of factors but there are substantial tax benefits to aircraft ownership. Aircraft depreciation across a 5-7 year period, fuel tax, upgrades and modifications, etc. some of the areas where substantial tax deductions may be available. How the aircraft is operated, associated operating agreements and how you and your company account for the flights can be very important. Having your aircraft professionally managed, and in some cases on Sawyer Aviation’s charter program, can maximize the defensibility of the tax deductions that you as an aircraft owner may be entitled to. Sawyer Aviation’s detailed statements, reporting and tracking help ensure that the information needed by your tax professionals is available.
The effect a private aircraft can have to do good and to give back is vast and powerful. There are several meaningful ways that your aircraft can make a difference. Sawyer Aviation can work with you to learn about what causes you are passionate about to find ways for you and your aircraft to make a difference in those areas.
The average aircraft owner flies their aircraft 100hrs-400hrs annually with an average of less than 200hrs. 200hrs in a year is only :30 minutes a day. With an average of 3hrs per flight day, that is still only five-days a month the aircraft is flying. What is your aircraft doing the other 23:30hrs in the day, or 8,577 available-hours and 298 days in the year? The correct answer is, it should be working for you! Making your aircraft available for charter use requires little or no cost. Sawyer Aviation’s fleet insurance policy can sometimes have charter-usage added to your aircraft coverage at little or no cost. The crew’s recurrent training can include any required aspects of charter usage and there is usually little or no additional maintenance required on top of a comprehensive maintenance program that any aircraft owner would already have in place. The more your aircraft flies your fixed costs (insurance, hangar, debt service, etc.) can be spread out over a broader hourly basis making it actually cheaper the more you fly your aircraft. Sawyer Aviation can show you how.
Yes. You can generate revenue to offset the costs of ownership through charter or rental activity. This does not mean that you will be always generate a profit month-after-month but you will substantially reduce your costs. Revenue generation combined with the fleet-discounts, increased availability from proper maintenance management , and Sawyer Aviation can provide further details and show you how saving $100,000s may be attainable with your aircraft.


Your aircrafts status and everything about your aircraft is tracked electronically by Sawyer Aviation’s management systems. We watch flight schedules and match them to upcoming maintenance intervals, schedule the routine inspections (even having them carried out while you sleep) and get your aircraft back up and ready to fly in the morning. Furthermore, when an unexpected event occurs, our coordination and expertise with maintenance personnel at home or away will cut hours or days off of response times so that the correct action is taken immediately and your trip is not delayed any more than it has to be.
Your pilot(s) are responsible for flying the aircraft safely, efficiently and getting you to your destination on time. They need help to do this. Our systems for tracking and managing such items as your pilot’s Department of Transportation Drug & Alcohol testing programs to ensure compliance, initial and recurrent safety training, Human Resources functions, aircraft stock, etc.
Sawyer Aviation provides consolidated expense tracking that can easily be optimized by your tax professionals where applicable.
Our procedures for ensuring aircraft legality adhere to commercial aircraft standards and on turbine aircraft FAA on-demand Air-Carrier standards.
While you are in the air, Sawyer Aviation is tracking your flight. If the trip changes whether it is for diversion for weather, longer than expected client meeting, or last minute request Sawyer Aviation’s ground team is here to support your flight. We see to it that every aspect of your trip is taken care of and triple checked. You want your pilots focused on the safety of flight and not making rental car, hotel, dinner reservations and catering reservations. When landing at an international airport or maybe just an out of the way place afterhours, we are there to support you, your flight and the flight crew to ensure everything goes smoothly. This service is included with every aircraft we manage.
Penguins are proof that just because something has wings does not always mean that it can fly. The same is true of pilots. Sawyer Aviation can screen and select pilots much more so than someone who has not been in aviation for decades.
Sawyer Aviation provides qualified, trained, professional crew-members for your aircraft either on a contract basis, day-rate or full-time. Our hiring, screening and training process ensures that the professionals flying your aircraft are experts. All human resource functions, drug-testing, recurrent training, etc. for your pilots are managed by Sawyer Aviation for you.