Learning to Fly

Vail Flight Lessons

Learning to Fly at Eagle Airport, Colorado

Imagine taking the ultimate 2 seat sports car and adding wings. That’s the feeling you get when you take to the skies and learn to fly. Flying represents the ultimate freedom allowing you see the world from a different perspective. Flying is a precise blend of art and science.

Whether you are learning to fly for fun, to enhance your ability to conduct business, or as a new career, it will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

Alpine Flight Training offers private pilot ground and flight training as well as instrument training at the Eagle County Regional Airport located in Eagle Colorado.  Our training features a Diamond DA-20 Eclipse, one of the safest training aircraft in the industry, The DA-20 is the primary choice of flight schools through the nation as well as the training airplane for the US Air Force initial flight screening program.

Our location at Eagle County Regional Airport is ideal for new pilot training and a convenient drive from Vail, Eagle, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Minturn, Avon, and Gypsum, Colorado.  Students learning to fly at Eagle Airport will learn mountain flying first hand from our team of professional instructors.  Our proximity from Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Steamboat Springs provides our students with a diverse selection of airports and challenges ideal for learning safe mountain flying.  Learn more about Alpine Flight Training by visiting our website or call us today at 970-401-5105.

Learning to Fly for Fun

Many people take up flying for recreational purposes.  Flying represents the ultimate freedom.  Whether you use your new skill to travel the country, or simply to cruise around the local area, learning to fly is a tremendous amount of fun.  If you are simply interested and fascinated with aviation, a flight simulator pro, or a RC airplane pilot, getting your private pilot’s license is a great next step.

Learning to Fly for Business

For many entrprenuers and business owners, daily travel to remote sites is a fact of life.  If you do a great deal of travel of this type, learning to fly can save you time and money.  As an example, let’s say your home office is in Eagle, Colorado, and you have stores in Telluride, Montrose, Durango, Alamosa, and Buena Vista Colorado.  As part of your monthly management oversight you check on each of these offices once a month.

A typical visit of these offices by car would probably require 3 days of drive time, and two nights of lodging along the route.  When your trip to visit each of these store is finally complete you have accumulated 900 miles on you vehicle, spent approximate $300 on lodging, $150 on food, $200 on gas, and spent three days.

You could complete these same 5 stops in a single day using an airplane.  The total flight cost would be $600, using a rented aircraft, and slightly less for a self-owned aircraft.

Learning to Fly for a Career

Aviation is a great career path.  If you like to travel and are not opposed to working hard to achieve the necessary advancement the salaries for piloting corporate or airline aircraft provide a good standard of living.

So how does one become a professional pilot?  There are a couple different avenues to becoming a professional pilot.  To a large degree the requirements fluxuate based on supply and demand of pilots.  About 10 years ago, a person with a commercial pilot license and 1000 hours of total time and 200 hours of multi-engine time could get an interview and many would be hired at that level.  Over the last couple years the demand has been lower and the supply of pilots much greater so hiring for airline positions have been much more competitive and thus the applicants being granted interviews had much more time and higher levels of ratings.

Over the next 10 years, pilot hiring is expected to surge, meaning that demand will be high, supply will be short and the requirements to become emplyeed as a professional pilot will likely be reduced.

Regardless of the exact time requirements, the basic training necessary to become a professional pilot are very straight forward.  The process begins with a private pilot’s license.  The private pilot’s license will require between 40-60 hours of flying for most people to accomplish.  Once you have you’re private pilot’s license the next step is to acquire an instrument rating.

The instrument rating is a license that allows a pilot to fly the airplane solely by reference to instruments.  An instrument rating is a requirement for nearly all commercial and professional flying opportunities.  An instrument rating will require between 30-50 hours of flying for most pilots to complete.

Between the private pilot’s license and completion of the instrument rating, most pilots will have around flown between 80-120 hours.  The next step is to obtain a commercial license, which requires 250 hours of flight experience.  Many people will simply rent an aircraft and use the plane to travel.  As you near 230 hours, it’s a good time to begin thinking about a commercial license.  Even though you cannot take the checkride to aquire a commercial license until you have 250 hours, you can begin the training before that point so that you are ready for the commercial checkride as you reach 250 hours of total time.

Following issuance of a commercial pilot’s license a pilot is technically employable, however jobs that accept a 250 hour commercial pilot are somewhat scarce.  Some people will seek job opportunities such as air tours to begin building time in small planes, the more common route however is to acquire a flight instructor license and instead build additional time as an instructor training private and instrument pilots.

The barrier to being gainfully employed as a airline or corporate pilot is generally a a minimum of 1000 to 1500 hours or more of total time, so whether you simply rent an airplane and fly around, teach, or work in some sort of small plane business such as air tours, you’ll need to accumulate the necessary time.  Somewhere in the accumulation of that time you’ll also need to complete a multi-engine add on rating, thus making yourself a multi-engine commercial instrument pilot.

Alpine Flight Training is conveniently located at the Eagle County Regional Airport.  We are a short driving distance and the best location of choice for leaning to fly in the Vail Valley, Vail, Beaver Creek, Gypsum, Minturn, Eagle, Avon, and Edwards.