Flight Training FAQs

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Flight Training FAQs

When you first start researching flight schools and the flight training process it can be overwhelming. It can be tough sorting through all of the information and trying to make sense of the process. We have compiled a list of some of the most common questions that prospective student pilots ask. Whether you are looking to become a private pilot, commercial pilot, or drone pilot you will find some answers here. We've also written a number of great articles that provide more insight into what aviation is all about and how to succeed in flight training; Check them out, they are updated regularly. 

To answer this we need to know what kind of pilot do you want to be. Do you want to be a private pilot and fly recreationally? Or do you want to be a commercial pilot and fly for hire? One thing to note is that flight training can be a variable cost that is dependent on each specific person's rate of progress. Be wary of anyone that will give you a solid low price figure as it may be based on an absolute best-case scenario and not average statistics. Check out the link below and click on each license and rating to learn more about the specific costs and requirements. Each one is listed in the typical order in which you might obtain them. 

Licenses and Ratings

Generally speaking, a pilot will spend anywhere from approximately $12,000 to $100,000 to become a pilot depending on what kind of pilot they want to be. Note that ground school is the cheapest part of the flight training experience. The actual flying part of the training is where the big money is spent. Flight schools roughly charge an average of $200/hr for each flight. 

It sounds like a difficult process to become a pilot. Truth is, it's fairly straight forward and you are guided every step of the way. Refer to the following links to learn about the process to become a pilot and the various licenses and ratings. Included in the links is our articles page which is always updated with new content that can answer more of your questions. 

Many online ground school platforms have methods to get in touch with instructors for help. Some also offer student discussion boards or chat rooms. Level Flight offers both options allowing you maximum engagement.

It depends on what kind of flying you are doing. If you are operating a foreign aircraft in Canada and you are legally allowed to enter Canada with that aircraft then you do not. An example would be an airline pilot, or a recreational pilot on a cross-country flight from the USA to visit the Calgary Stampede. 

If you wish to operate a Canadian registered aircraft recreationally or professionally then you will need to do some kind of license conversion process.

Information about finding an exam centre or invigilator near you can be found here on the Transport Canada Website

No. The saying you get what you pay for is oftentimes applicable here. Do your homework, choose a program that is modern, provides many avenues of delivery, and does not simply run you through a PowerPoint presentation. The use of high-quality technology to deliver superior ground schools comes at a cost. This might be reflected in the cost of the ground school but can be well worth it.

If you follow a structured routine that will allow you about 6-8 hours of activity within the course per week you should be able to finish within a few months. Be sure to choose an online ground school that will give you access beyond that time so you can use the ground school as a study resource when preparing for your Transport Canada written exam.

No, we specialize in online ground school and aviation e-learning. We deliver high-quality e-learning which allows you to learn where and when you want. Many flight schools don’t run ground school courses that fit into your life but would be a great school to train with. By separating your ground school and flight training provider you can find the flexibility you need.

It’s dependent on which two ground schools you are comparing. There are a lot of great in-class ground schools available from reputable flight schools but there are also ones that have a revolving door of instructors and outdated PowerPoint slides. This can reduce the true effectiveness of the ground school course. By going online the delivery is more consistent, definitely flexible, and oftentimes higher quality. Choosing a company that invests a lot into creating a quality online ground school can be advantageous to you as a student pilot.

Potentially yes. If you own your own aircraft or are renting an aircraft, insurance requirements might dictate stricter standards. Each case will be different so consult with your insurance company or the operator you are renting your aircraft from.

Obtaining a drone pilot certificate is a fairly simple process. Both Basic and Advanced operations require you to write an exam administered by Transport Canada. Ask yourself the following:

I intend to perform basic operations: You are required to complete the Small Basic Exam.

I intend to perform advanced operations: You are required to complete the Small Advanced exam AND complete a flight review with a qualified flight reviewer. Level Flight can provide this service for drone operators in the Calgary area. Note: After completing the advanced exam you will be restricted to basic operations only until you complete the flight review. 

ONLINE DRONE EXAM ELIGIBILITY

Small Basic Exam: 14 years of age

Small Advanced Exam: 16 years of age

Each of these exams is based on the Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. This document details all of the knowledge requirements for each of the Basic or Advanced operations. You must be intimately familiar with the topics discussed within. Transport Canada strongly recommends taking a Drone Flight School course before attempting the exam. Lucky for you, you are in the right place! Our Basic and Advanced Drone Ground School courses are complete with all of the knowledge requirements you need to pass the exam and conduct safe drone operations. 

You can take your Drone Exams HERE

Please be aware that operating a drone without the appropriate certificate carries the following penalties:

  • $1000 for recreational users
  • $5000 for commercial users

The simple answer is yes. You do need to provide some form of status in order to pursue flight training. This could be a student visa (if you are coming from abroad to study). It could also be a permanent resident card or something to that effect. It is always advisable to consult the Transport Canada website for the most up-to-date requirements.

While every student is different a ballpark cost is $4000. Depending on how much training you have already completed or the experience you have this number could go up or down.

No, unfortunately student loans are not available for the private pilot licence. We encourage you to reach out to your financial institution to find alternative avenues of funding if required. Once you begin your commercial licence student funding becomes available. 

The short answer is no. Unlike university you do not pay a "tuition" to cover the cost of your flight training. Each flight is typically paid for separately as well as your ground school and any other associated fees. That being said, if you join a college or university affiliated program tuition fees may apply. You will have to consult each institution to find out how they structure their payments. Some flight schools may also offer varying payment plans that help with the overall cost of training. 

At Level Flight our ground school courses run on a monthly subscription making it the most affordable ground school in Canada.

No. Many modern e-learning courses provide as much or more engagement than traditional classroom settings. Be sure to look for a course that offers instructor support, engagement avenues, and of course relevant content on a modern platform.

Not with Level Flight! Some platforms may not provide much support. Our Learning Portal gives you several ways to reach out for feedback or engage other learners in discussion groups.

This depends on what your goals are. If you are looking to fly recreationally then you need to decide if you can strike the right balance to ensure you don’t spend money for something you will not finish. If you are looking to fly as a career you need to decide what your priorities are. The quicker you can complete your training the quicker you can start earning those hard fought dollars back. If you just want to dip your toe in the water why not sign up for ground school and see if you like it. Even paying for a full ground school is cheaper than taking several flights.

You can choose to do your flight training at any flight school you wish. By doing this you only have to drive to the airport for your flight lessons. Take advantage of Level Flight’s virtual flight deck and you can “hangar fly” from home too!

  • Must have at least a CAT 3 Transport Canada Medical Certificate
  • Valid identification
  • A recommendation from the instructor responsible for your training
  • Sufficiently competent in one of the official languages
  • 40 Hours ground school instruction
  • 5  Hours of flight training

This is a personal preference. I can tell you from experience that a college program will provide you a more in depth flight training experience. It is however not necessary to go that route. A pilots licence, whether issued from a college program or not is still a pilots licence. Some operators might look more favourably on a college program simply because it comes with a diploma or degree. Normally a candidate with a degree or diploma in a non-aviation related field will be on equal footing than the candidate with the aviation related credentials. Remember, every employer is different and oftentimes post secondary education of any kind is not a requirement for the job. It’s a good idea to do your research on the jobs you wish to apply for in your career to see what the requirements are to ensure you set yourself up for success. 

Another way people answer this question is by thinking about a fallback plan. What happens if flying doesn't work out for you? or You decide to go a different route in the future. Having a fall back in the form of a degree or diploma in a field outside of aviation not only makes you a more well rounded pilot but can set you up for life outside of aviation. Covid 19 has tought us that life is unpredictable and in short order you might find yourself looking for a new career path, even temporarily. You might want to consider taking your flight trainiing at a traditional flight school and complete post secondary education in an alternate field of study that interests you. 

This exam is administered by your local flight school. Your instructor will provide the exam to you when you are ready. Costs associated with this exam are at the discretion of the flight school but many do not charge for this.

Take Flight Now

Level Flight is Canada’s best online ground school. It is our mandate to provide higher quality, more engaging training for Canadian Student Pilots. If you are seeking the exhilarating freedom of flight for a hobby or with aspirations of a career in the skies, Level Flight offers the best ground school experience available. Sign up for our online learning platform now and discover the adventure that awaits you at Level Flight. 

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