You did it. You took your first flight lesson and now you’re hooked. You need to become a pilot! Here’s what you need to do to make that happen:

1: Call or visit us to customize your schedule and choose which type of Cessna is right for you. Horizon recommends flying 1-3 times/week, but many of our students have become pilots flying only a couple times per month. A student scheduled once per week will take approximately a year to complete their license. Remember, about a quarter of all your scheduled flights will be cancelled due to unflyable weather conditions. The Cessna 172 is the most common and well-known training aircraft in the world and is available with traditional round-gauge instruments or with the technically advanced Garmin G1000 avionics suite. Its two-seat counterpart, the Cessna 152, is perfect for pilots six feet and under who are budget conscious or prefer the simplicity of this classic aircraft. The choice is entirely yours!

2: Acquire your training materials. Our status as a certified Cessna Training Center allows students to purchase their online training course and other materials at a steep discount. The course is designed specifically to teach you to fly our Cessna aircraft, reducing the number of flight hours you will spend completing your license, and it prepares you to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) written exam. As you continue through your training, you will need to learn progressively more about the aircraft you’re flying, how to navigate to other airports, and FAA regulations. This information is contained in commercially available materials (see the list below.) Customize your flight bag with a headset, a tablet and a kneeboard to help you stay organized while you fly.

3: Begin studying at home and develop good study habits. Students who spend time studying in a focused manner between their flight lessons finish their license faster, in fewer flight hours. Your flight instructor (CFI) will tell you specifically what to work on, based on your progress through the Private Pilot License (PPL) syllabus. Plan to spend 2-3hrs at home studying for every flight hour you spend with us at the school.

4: Visit a flight doctor for an FAA Medical Certificate. Our locations managers and CFIs can provide you with a list of local Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) who can conduct the exam, and instructions on how to schedule and prepare. In most cases, the medical certificate is approved at the end of the exam. In some cases, students need to provide additional documentation or undergo additional testing for approval. For this reason, we recommend visiting an AME soon after beginning your training in case there is a delay, as you will need a medical before your first solo flight. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) provides a wealth of information about obtaining your medical on their website.

Required items:

  • Cessna Training Center Course and Student Pilot Kit – This package includes a sturdy flight bag, a hardcover logbook for recording your flights, an E6-B flight computer and plotter, and a one-year subscription to Garmin Pilot Premium. A $750 value for $364.
  • Pilot’s Operating Handbook, specific to your type of aircraft – The “manual” for how to operate your aircraft, this book contains essential information regarding safe operation and performance.
  • Horizon Aviation Checklist, specific to your type of aircraft – Our checklists are optimized for training and include essential information about the aircraft that is always at your fingertips
  • Current FAR/AIM – The Federal Aviation Regulations and Aeronautical Information Manual contain the rules of the sky that all pilots are required to know.
  • Current Sectional Chart, NY Region – A two-dimensional map that gives information about all three dimensions that pilots operate in
  • Current Chart Supplement, Northeast – Necessary information about every public airport in New England and New York
  • Current Airman Certification Standards, PPL – The rubric that will be used to evaluate you when you take your FAA practical exam, also known as a checkride

Highly recommended:

  • Kneeboard – To stay organized and ready to copy pertinent information in the cockpit
  • iPad – To run an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB, ex. Garmin Pilot, Foreflight)
  • Headset – High-quality passive or active noise reduction for extra comfort
  • ASA Oral Exam Guide – Self-study with this handy question-and-answer guide to the oral component of the checkride
  • ASA Written Prepware – Additional test questions and practice tests to make sure you nail the written test
  • Jeppesen Rotating Plotter – Longer navigational plotter with swivel feature to more accurately plan your cross-country flights
  • Red Flashlight or Headlamp – The Private Pilot syllabus requires a minimum of three hours of logged night flying and a red light will keep your night vision intact while you look at charts and checklists inside the cockpit