From your first discovery flight to professional transport pilot training, Paragon will ensure you meet your goals, have fun and get to where you want to be. Every person has goals that are unique to their individual needs and lifestyle. We create custom programs to fit the needs of goals each and every one of our students.
The First Step, Your Discovery Flight
So you have finally worked up the courage to take your very first flying lesson and learn to fly. Let us be the first to say, congratulations! Taking the controls of an airplane for the first time is an exhilarating experience that you will never forget.
If you are new to flying, our Discovery Flight is absolutely the best way to get a taste of what it is like to be an actual pilot. This “mini lesson” is only $99 and you will get hands-on flight experience that you can count towards your license.
During the discovery flight, you and one of our FAA Approved Flight Instructors will spend about an hour together. You will start by performing an actual pre-flight of the plane and then you will become the pilot and take the controls to experience the amazing freedom of flight.
We designed our Discovery Flight Program to be a very low commitment way to experience piloting first hand to decide if flying is right for you. If you or someone you know has ever dreamed of flying this is where you start.
After Your Discovery Flight
You have completed a discovery flight and you’re ready to start training, now what?
Most people have no idea what to look for in a flight school or training program. Deciding where to start can be an overwhelming task in itself.
We have done a little homework for you by compiling a “checklist” of important items you need to research before choosing a flight school. This list is a great start and, of course, we think you should choose Paragon! All joking aside, we strongly encourage you to do your own research to ensure you find a school that is a great fit for you.
Checklists are an aviation mainstay that ensures all procedures are accomplished. These few points will help you make better-informed decisions about your flight training options. This is your flight school checklist.
Flight School Checklist
Private Pilot or Sport Pilot Certificate?
Once you have completed your Discovery Flight you will start your training to become a pilot. There are two certificates to choose from, Private Pilot or a Sport Pilot. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; you will need to decide which is right for you.
The Private Pilot is the more popular of the two certificates. It allows you more freedom to fly where you want, when you want and with more than one passenger. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours training but the national average is about 60 hours.
The Sport Pilot is a certificate that was designed to encourage more people to fly. It is a great introduction to the sport because it is generally less expensive and less time consuming to obtain. The disadvantage is that it is very restricted to when and where you can legally fly. The FAA requires a minimum of 20 hours training but the national average is close to 45 hours total.
All of our training courses are designed for Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). Our entire fleet is designated TAA and feature Garmin “glass cockpit” avionics packages. By training in TAA you are ensuring you are getting the most advanced flight training available.
Hang out at a flight school for five minutes and you will immediately notice that pilots seem to have a language of their own made up of acronyms and random FAA numbers. When you are first getting started, understanding this new language can be frustrating and even a bit intimidating.
Don’t worry, you will catch on and fit right in before you know it. In the meantime, here is a short list of a few common terms and definitions to help you get started.
(FAA) Federal Aviation Administration. This is the government agency that oversees and regulates all things related to air travel and safety in the USA.
(PPL) Private Pilot License. This is the most common and usually the first certificate that student pilot will obtain. It allows you to fly just about anywhere as long as the weather is nice.
Sport Pilot License. This is a very new certificate that allows a person to become a pilot. It requires less training hours and the cost is less than a PPL but it has many restrictions.
(CFI) Certified Flight Instructor. This is the person that will be teaching you to fly, a teacher for pilots. All of our Instructors have been trained at the University level or trained by a FAA approved professional flight school.
(ATC) Air Traffic Controller. ATC is in charge of all air and ground traffic for a given area around an airport. Not all airfields are ATC controlled.
(VFR) Visual Flight Rules. The FAA has designated rules to determine when a person can fly and still be safe. The basic license you will complete only allows you to fly in good weather with very good visibility. Basically, you fly by looking out the windows.
(IFR) Instrument Flight Rules. This term refers to FAA rules that allow advanced pilots with a specific license to fly in poor weather or through cloud layers. To sum it up, you fly strictly with the aircraft’s instruments to guide you.
Pre-Flight. This is an inspection of the plane a pilot must complete before every use. The preflight has a checklist that includes all critical parts and systems to ensure the plane is safe for flight.
(SEL) Single Engine Land. This is the official name of the type of aircraft you will be learning to fly in. The plane has one engine and is designed for land-based take off and landing.
Glass Cockpit. This is a term that is used to describe the most advance aircraft instruments available. Glass cockpits have become the industry standard and replace the old round dial gauges because they provide greater visibility, pilot accuracy and improved ease of use.
(ACS) Airman Certification Standards. An enhanced version of the older Practical Test Standards (PTS). It adds task-specific knowledge and risk management elements to each PTS Area of Operation and Task.
The result is a comprehensive presentation that integrates the standards for what an applicant needs to know, consider, and do in order to pass both the knowledge test and the practical test for a certificate or rating.