- Are the program costs based on the minimum required?
- How does the scheduling of aircraft work? Do I get told when to fly?
- Can I take flights that are not part of the training?
- What kind of maintenance is done on the aircraft?
- What kind of simulators do you use?
- How long has Westwind been in the pilot training business?
- Why does Westwind use Cessna aircraft while some schools use Pipers?
- How important is the number of training aircraft?
- What’s the difference between Part 61 and Part 141?
- Pilot Medical Certification FAQ (Link to FAA)
Career Pilot Training Questions
- How do I get from your program to an airline?
- Given the current condition of the airline industry, is a career in aviation a smart move?
- Seems like all the major flight academies are either in Florida or Arizona. Why is that?
- Can I work and attend the school at the same time?
- I noticed that Westwind seems to have more flight hours and a lower program price then the other major flight academies. How is that possible?
- Can I rent airplanes for fun flights?
- How much do Flight Instructors get paid?
Non-Career Pilot Training Questions
- How does Westwind approach non-career pilot training?
- Is this going to take a lot of time?
- How much does it cost?
- How can I pay for my pilot training?
- What do I need to do to get started?
General Questions and Answers
A: No, our program costs are not based on minimums. Our program is based on an estimate of a normal student. Some students will finish faster and some will finish slower.
A: Your instructor and you will sit down and plan what time works for both of you. You will always be scheduled for about 5 days out, but changes can be made when necessary. Our ground schools are on set schedules but otherwise you have a lot of flexibility. We also have an online scheduling program so you can see what is planned.
A: Yes! We allow our pilots to rent our aircraft for flights with family and friends. Just remember that these flights are not part of the program and are not budgeted for in training expenses.
A: All maintenance is performed by Atlantic Aviation. Our aircraft are very well maintained with both 50 hr and 100 hr inspections as well as the annual inspection. That means that our aircraft get serviced at least once a month.
A: We operate an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD), Flight Training Device (FTD), and Personal Computer Aviation Training Device (PCATD) representing single engine, multi-engine, and turbine aircraft. Click HERE for more information about our simulators.
A: Westwind started as a small flight training organization in 1985 and has grown to be one of the 10 largest professional flight academies.
A: Westwind uses both Cessna and Piper manufactured aircraft. Westwind uses Cessna 172’s, and Piper Arrows for single engine training. For multi-engine training we use the Piper Seminole. If you add up all the current pilots who received their Pilot's certificate in an aircraft other than a Cessna it wouldn't even come close to the number of pilots who learned to fly in a Cessna. There must be a reason for that! Cessna aircraft are rugged and can take a lot of training abuse. Its large cabin (two doors) and high wing make it an ideal training aircraft.
A: Insufficient number of aircraft can severely limit a student's progress. Westwind’s fleet currently exceeds 26 aircraft and simulators and most of them are less than five years old. Westwind is continually upgrading its fleet. Most of our aircraft are equipped with state of the art Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers.
A: Part 61 and Part 141 refer to the sections in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that govern the conduct of flight training. The vast majority of flight training is conducted under Part 61 regulations, especially if it is a small flight school. Part 141 was created by the FAA in an attempt to allow schools to train students at a lower cost if the schools would comply with the very exacting criteria the FAA establish. Part 141 however puts a considerable administrative burden on a school. Westwind is a FAA Certified 141 school but we also train under Part 61. A Veteran who desires to use his/her GI Bill educational benefits would do so under our Part 141 Certificate.
Career Pilot Training Questions
A: There are many ways to build time and get to an airline. We hire our students as flight instructors when they graduate the Airline Direct Track or Flight Instructor Direct Track programs. We also have charter and airline services owned by our sister company Westwind Aviation Inc. Most of our graduates are leaving us for a regional airline when they reach 500-1000 Hours. As you can see, our graduates have many opportunities.
To help you along, we also have a Career Resource Center. There you can get help with resumes, cover letters, and mock interviews. We also have numerous connections with different regional airlines to help you get the job you want.
A: Anyone pursuing a career needs to take a long-term outlook of an industry and avoid the short term viewpoint. Always remember that the majority of commercial pilots currently flying with the major airlines are facing the FAA imposed 60 year mandatory age retirement in the next 10 years. The airlines in general are starting to experience increases in load factor, passenger miles flown and even profit. Several airlines have announced long-term aircraft orders which always spells good news for future pilot requirements. In short... Yes. A career in aviation is a smart move.
A: It all comes down to weather. In fact some schools have campuses in both states. Westwind has chosen to keep our operation at the one location here in Phoenix. We have found that Arizona offers the most ideal location for flight training. More so than Florida, Arizona is the true "Sunshine State" with flying weather almost every day of the year.
A: Yes; however, it is important that you strike a reasonable balance between your flight training and working. A student in the Professional Pilot Program would be hard pressed to work more than 20 hours per week without impacting his/her training progress. If a student does need to work for personal reasons, they can still pursue an aviation career through our Career Pilot Program.
A: Westwind has a very low cost structure that allows us to pass the savings on to our students. The school operates a balance sheet with zero debt and it is not burdened with corporate overheads that drive the program cost out of sight.
A: Yes; However you want to be careful that you make those flights a part of your training or you can easily overrun your training budget if you're not careful. Westwind even rents airplanes to students who attend other flight academies.
A: Starting pay is $25.00 per hour and can go as high as $33.00 per hour.
Non-Career Pilot Training Questions and Answers
A: Westwind School of Aeronautics, the world's largest Cessna Pilot Center, has adopted the Cleared for Takeoff Cessna Computer Based Instruction (CBI) program for Private Pilot training. This program utilizes an FAA approved syllabus that integrates the ground school with the actual flight training, and incorporates state of the art teaching techniques. The CBI program uses over 25 CD's which includes your ground school on full screen video. Since you own the software, you can do your ground school on your own computer, at your own pace, on your schedule. You can start, stop, and review as many times as you want. When using the Cleared for Takeoff program, you always know where you stand on getting your pilot certificate. Every ground session and flight is conducted to set correlated training objectives.
Your flight training will be conducted at the Deer Valley Airport in northern Phoenix. Deer Valley is one of the finest training airports in the U.S. Its two runways, nearby practice area, and a training-oriented control tower make Deer Valley the airport of choice for training in Arizona.
A: Westwind School of Aeronautics offers an 8-week Private Pilot Course for students that can dedicate five days a week to flight training. For those individuals that cannot train that often, we offer a flexible training schedule. We recommend that students train a minimum of 2 to 3 times a week. By training more frequently, students need less review from the previous lesson, ultimately saving both time and money. A student training 2 to 4 times per week will usually earn his/her Private Pilot Certificate in about 4 months. A student training 5 or 6 times per week can usually earn his/her certificate in as little as 8 weeks.
A: The FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight hours to qualify for the Private Pilot Certificate. While many schools estimate the price of their flight training program on FAA minimums, Westwind prefers to quote a more realistic amount. For example, the national average to obtain a Private Certificate is about 65 hours. With our quality training program and professional flight instructors, Westwind students usually obtain their Private Pilot Certificate in 45 to 55 hours of training. We have based our price estimate on 62 hours of flight. Please note that all pricing is an estimate only. You will only be charged for what you actually require.
A: Some students simply pay as they train, while others finance their training. If you are interested in financing your flight training, please make an appointment with Student Admissions or visit our Student Loans page. The applications are simple and usually can be done online.
A: Initially, all you need to do is call or come visit Westwind School of Aeronautics and fill out a simple application form. As you begin your flying, your new instructor will help you with the rest of the process, which will eventually include a simple medical exam by an FAA-approved doctor. You can start at any age, although you must be at least 16 to fly solo and 17 to obtain your Private Pilot Certificate.