How Do I Get Started In The Process ?

Check out How to Become an RCFO Student!

If you’d like to see the airport first hand before jumping into the world of aviation, come by the hangar and talk to any of our friendly flight instructors or service professionals and get introduced.

We’re located at 149 Yeager Rd in Mooresville, NC 28117.

Race City Flight Operations is in a blue hangar, which is the furthest hangar on the left as you drive through the gate.

How Do I Start Flight Training If I’m Not A US Citizen?

Race City Flight Operations is approved by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide flight training to non-US citizens through the TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program. Registration and application only applies to those seeking “Initial Training” (Sport, Recreational, or Private Pilot Certification), Instrument Rating, or Multi-engine Rating.  The steps are quite simple:

1)      Go to the TSA’s website and register for an account in the Candidate Registration Portal here.

2)      Once you have entered your information and created an account, you will then select a service provider (Race City Flight Operations) and provide the specifics about the flight course you want to take. If you are interested in Private Pilot or Instrument Pilot programs, you would fill this in. You will be using a Cessna 172 or Cessna 152 aircraft.

3)      You will be training under “Category 3” since the airplanes you will be training in are under 12,500 pounds. Once you completed and submitted the registration, the TSA will review it and notify the flight school to ensure we are aware of your request.

4)      Once the TSA receives the flight school’s response, they will email you a link to have a preliminary background check performed. This will cost about $130 and can be paid online.

5)      Usually within 1-day, the background check will come back and both you and the flight school will be notified that you have “preliminary authorization” for training, but you still cannot fly yet. This email will additionally provide instructions on the final step of getting your fingerprints taken and having them processed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database.

6)      Approximately 3-4 days from getting your fingerprints taken, both you and the flight school will receive another email that you now have final approval and you may now begin your flight training! As a final step in the process, when you come in for your first lesson, we will need to take a picture of you to upload to your TSA account.

Once you have completed your course of instruction, we will simply notify the TSA and that account will be closed.  If you plan to take an additional course that also requires approval (e.g. Instrument Rating), you will need to go through the course selection process again, but do not have to get fingerprinted.

Remember, we’re with you every step of the way and available if you have questions or need help!

Call us today to get started!

What Equipment Do I Need For Flight Training?

Most of the equipment you will need is provided in our ground schools, but beyond ground school you will need a logbook, and an up to date aeronautical map (we call it a sectional).

There are many optional things you can end up picking up, such as extra learning aids, headsets or flight bags.

We charge a $5 per flight charge for headset rental, but this lets you try out various headsets before picking the right model for you. Flight bags really depend on your mission and what you will plan on doing later. Kneeboards are also a good addition for any prudent pilot.

Most of this equipment is available for sale at the flight school, or if you want opinions on iPad models or apps to be used, we can help with any of those big decisions!

What Is A Private Pilots Certificate?

The Private Pilots Certificate is like a driver’s license. It allows you to fly anywhere in the United States. You can carry any number of passengers. Once you earn your license, you are free to wander around in the skies to your heart’s content. You might take the family on a trip to see relatives in a distant state or use an airplane to shorten the time it takes to make business trips to another city.

What If I Want A Career In Aviation?

If you want to be an airline pilot, a mechanic or an air traffic controller, a pilots license is a great way to get started in aviation. A great person once told me

“If you don’t know what you want to be in life, become a pilot!”

This saying really stuck with me, because it really makes sense. By learning to fly, you will get exposed to so many aspects of life that may spark an interest and thus a lifetime career that you will enjoy! During pilot training, you will learn about maintenance, regulations, meteorology, physics, math, map reading and so much more. Maybe you decide that meteorology is the topic you’re truly passionate about, and becoming a pilot showed you that amazing topic-it can happen here!

What Form Of Payment Do You Accept?

We take it all! We accept cash, checks, and credit cards. We try to make everything as easy as we can.

Also, we offer a deposit program with a bonus towards your flight training, for a minimum deposit of $10,000. For example, if you deposit a $10,000 check in your account, Race City Flight Operations will offer a bonus 5% credit, or $500, as another service to our students. In this example, most students end up spending between $10,000 and $14,000 for their private pilot license, if you take advantage of our deposit program, you get a 5% discount on your training-something you may not find at your other “big” area flight schools. If you decide to stop flight training without using your entire deposit, a pro-rated refund will be issued within 30 days minus any bonus or credits.

We have also partnered with Meritize and Stratus Financial to offer financing for students training! Check our financing page.

Do You Offer Financing?

For questions about how to pay for all of this flight training, Race City Flight Operations is proud to be partnering with Stratus Financial and Meritize to fund your flight training. Check out our financing page to find out how to start today!

How Long Does The Flight Training Take?

The FAA Require 40 hours of flight to receive a Private Pilots Certificate. This is a minimum, our average students become licensed pilots between 50 and 65 hours. These hours are broken up between flying with an instructor and by yourself (“solo”). Some students earn their Private Pilots Certificate in as little as a month. This all depends on their schedule and commitment to focusing on becoming a pilot. Race City Flight Operations has instructors who can accommodate any schedule and any timeline to get you to your goal!

(Depends on the airplane availability, weather conditions, and customer’s availability.)

How Much Does It Cost To Learn To Fly?

Usually our students will spend between $12,000 and $15,000 for their private pilot license. The instrument rating may cost between $5,000 and $9,000, and the commercial license may be another $5,000 or $9,000. There are requirements between each license that may take more time or money.

For questions about how to pay for all of this flight training, Race City Flight Operations is proud to be partnering with Stratus Financial to fund your flight training. Check out our financing page to find out how to start today!

What Are The Requirements For A Private Pilots Certificate?

-You must be at least 17 years old.

-You are able to read, speak and understand English.

-You hold at least a current third-class Medical certificate.

The training to get to this point is where you’ll go through a ground school in preparation for the written test, and the flying portion of your adventure. This won’t come easy or fast, but like anything in life that is worthy of dreams, the reward once you’re finished is unimaginable.

To fly by yourself, “solo”, the student must be at least 16 years old, but does not require to have a drivers license. YES-You can fly an airplane by yourself BEFORE you can drive a car by yourself!

Will My Previous Flight Training Count?

If you started your flight training adventure decades ago and received 35 hours of documented training, we can get you right back into the flight training groove and finish up the training. The FAA minimum is 40 hours, that doesn’t mean you have to fly with Race City Flight Operations for 40 hours, but instead the requirements means you need a logbook that has 40 hours of flight recorded! If you can’t find your logbook that shows the previous training, we will make every attempt to help you but our instructors can only go by what is properly documented and signed off by other instructors.

What Is The Difference Between Race City Flight Operations And Some Of The Other “Big” Schools In The Area?

Race City Flight Operations is a small, student and safety focused flight school that is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Part 61 of the Federal Regulations, using the ASA Syllabus as a flight plan for your training adventure. Under Part 61, Race City instructors will instruct you based on your schedule, the weather and the circumstances of each and every flight we take. To become a pilot, the student must master maneuvers, flight planning, weight and balance calculations and performance characteristics for the airplane. As an example, if you have a flight scheduled with your instructor on a rainy day, other flight schools might cancel your flight or go flying even though the weather won’t be conducive to your training.

At Race City Flight Operations, we have the flexibility and training centered focus to keep you training and moving forward, so we may change the flight from a maneuvers flight to instead review the weather, meteorology and other flight planning factors that may affect a similar flight in the future once you become a pilot.

What Are The Main Steps To Becoming A Pilot?

We’re often asked about flight training, how long does it take, why does it take so long, and wondering what the path is to becoming a pilot. Below is a picture with the 3 main sections of flight training. The pre-solo section is the bulk of the training you will spend your time in. Remember: by the time you fly by yourself for the first time, you will basically have become a pilot-your flight instructor must ensure you are safe and can keep yourself safe given any number of scenarios that may happen during your flight.

Do I Have One Instructor Throughout My Training? Do I Get To Chose?

Flight instruction is a very intense and adrenaline pumping adventure. The flight instructor-student relationship is very important to ensure safety and a sense of confidence in all aspects of each and every flight. You certainly can chose your flight instructor, but once you select or fly with an instructor, by no means are you locked into that specific instructor. There are advantages to flying with one instructor for the first phase of training “Pre-solo”, but once you have started flying by yourself, there are benefits to flying with different instructors. Also, during training we like to have stage checks-checkpoints that ensure your level of training is up to our satisfaction and that you are truly prepared for the next phase of the adventure. All of our instructors work as a team, so there is not competition or a used car salesman commission mentality concerning students and flight time-we’re all here because we love flying and love teaching!

It is important to choose a flight instructor who is qualified and experienced, but ultimately, the most important factor is finding someone who is a good fit for you and your learning style. Some things to consider when selecting a flight instructor include their qualifications, such as their flight experience and any additional certifications they may have; their teaching style and approach to instruction; and their availability to work with you. It is also a good idea to talk to other students or pilots who have worked with the instructor to get a sense of their reputation and effectiveness as a teacher. Ultimately, the most important thing is to find an instructor who you feel comfortable with and who is able to help you achieve your goals.

Do I Need To Take Ground School First And Then Start Flying Afterwards?

This is a great question. It depends on your learning style and time availability. If you are all in for learning how to fly, and want to get your license quickly, we recommend flying and taking ground school at the same time. The ground school classes are the classroom side of learning-math calculations for weight and balance, cross country flight planning, weather theory etc. The flight training is the hands on part of learning to fly. Here we will demonstrate climbing and descending, maneuvers and of course learning how to land.

Do I Need To Buy Renters Insurance?

Race City Flight Operations requires all solo students and renters to purchase renters insurance. Renters insurance is great to have in case something happens and most likely, you will not have to use it. The flight school insurance covers the airplane but has certain limits if you as a student were to be named in a lawsuit for negligent damage. We recommend, at the very least, Single Limit Bodily Injury and Property Damage for Non-Owned Aircraft amount be $250,000 and Liability for Non-Owned Aircraft

Physical Damage amount be no less than $5,000,

which is only around $170-190 a year. Our insurance broker would be happy to answer any questions you may have, if you want her name and number just give us a call. To sign up for renters insurance, click the link below and get started!

Renters Insurance

How Do You Pick The Examiner For My Final Checkride?

This is primarily based on schedule. If the student is prepared and is ready, the instructor or instructors will reach out to the area examiners and find their upcoming schedule for checkrides. Schedules are always changing, and weather can delay or cancel the checkride, so we are always balancing the needs of the student and the examiner with airplane availability and weather. Just like the rest of flight training, there are a lot of variables that can affect when a flight happens. But don’t forget, there are two parts to a check ride: the oral portion, where the examiner will sit and ask you questions and talk out flight plans and problems; and then the flight portion, where you are in the airplane and the examiner specifies a maneuver that must be demonstrated and then you must perform to the FAA specific minimum standard.

I Was In The Military And Have My Faa Commercial Helicopter License, Can Race City Flight Operations Help Me Get My Commercial Fixed Wing License?

YES! You will need:
-50 hrs PIC
-required XCs by 61.129 in a single engine airplane to include up to 10hrs PIC XC airplane.  
-10 hrs complex or TAA in airplanes.
-5 hrs instrument training in airplanes.
-3 hrs check ride prep within 60 days.  
-No knowledge test is needed per 61.63 (b) (4).  

Required endorsements:
A.1, A.35, and A.74.

Checkride required testing items listed in page A-12 is just a basis for DPE oral questions. Pilot Examiners can ask more, since you are already commercial rated you should already know these types of questions (flight planning, commercial ops, etc).

How Do I Properly Log Simulator Time?

  • Not all simulators are created equal. The first step is to find out what class of flight simulator you are using.

    Here at Race City Flight Operations, we have an Advanced Aviation Training Device (RedBird LD) and a Basic Aviation Training Device (RedBird TD2) that are approved by the FAA.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classifies simulators under three categories:

    • Full Flight Simulators (FFS) — Levels A through D

    • Flight Training Device (FTD) — Levels 1 through 7

    • Aviation Training Device (ATD) — Advanced and Basic

    Unless you are going for a type rating in an Airbus, it is very unlikely to see a Full Flight Simulator at a flight school. These are multi-million dollar devices that give the illusion that you are actually flying somewhere—They are truly incredible. The most common of these simulators are Level D.

    Flight Training Devices can be found at larger schools, like universities. Usually, FTDs are specific to one aircraft and will behave very closely to that aircraft’s handling capabilities.

    Finally, we have the most commonly found simulators, AATD and BATDs. A professional flight school will most likely have one of these. The benefits are truly there as they allow students a chance to realistically put their knowledge to the test.


    Basic Aviation Training Device (Letter of Authorization)

    Under part 61 you can log the following hours of training:

    Under Part § 141.41(b) you can log the following hours of training:

    • Appendix B — Up to 15% towards the total Private Pilot training time requirements;

    • Appendix C — Up to 25% towards the total Instrument training time requirements;


    Advanced Aviation Training Device (Letter of Authorization)

    Under part 61 you can log the following hours of training:

    Under Part § 141.41(b) you can log the following hours of training:

    • Appendix B — Up to 15% towards the total Private Pilot training time requirements;

    • Appendix C — Up to 40% towards the total Instrument training time requirements;

    • Appendix D — Up to 20% towards the total Commercial Pilot training time requirements;


    In order to find what we can legally log, we must look at FAR §61.51. Under this regulation time on an AATD must include the following:

    • Date

    • Lesson Time (Dual Received)

    • Type and Identification (ex. Type — AATD Identification – Redbird LD)

    • Simulated Instrument (only the time in instrument meteorological conditions or IMC)

    • Location and Type of Approaches (if required for §61.57)

    • Flight Instructor Endorsement

    • Remarks (Syllabus lesson or training performed)

    Logbook Entry

    Here is what a logbook entry would look like.

Do You Offer Leasebacks On Airplanes?

YES! Race City Flight Operations is a flight school, offering flight instruction in a fleet of Cessna 172 S and R models and Cessna 152s. If you have similarly equipped models and want to lease your aircraft back to us, please give us a call!

Can I Purchase A Flight School Gift Certificate For A Friend Or Relative?

Yes, you can purchase gift certificates at the front desk of the FBO, or online store. You can purchase gift certificates for discovery flights or towards flight training. For example, if you purchase a $500 gift certificate, we can apply that towards the students flight training bill. Once the gift certificate is purchased, just let us know which lucky student will get your help and we’ll add it to their account.

Student Preparedness Policy

You must arrive well-prepared for each lesson. This means that you will arrive with all reading assignments complete, all videos watched, and home study work complete.

Lesson No-Show / Late Cancellation Policy

Race City Flight Operations will impose a fee for tardiness, lack of preparation, and cancellations within 24 hours. Per the Renters Agreement, section 6)

Renter agrees to cancel a reservation with no less than 12 hours’ notice. Failure to do so will result in a service charge, up to and including the full reservation charge. Last minute cancellations such as weather, bereavement or sickness will be forgiven, unless cancellations become a common occurrence. For flight school students, no call-no show students will be charged up to and including the full reservation charge, per the below schedule. All cancelation notices must be received before the close of business the day prior to the flight. If the student cancels between close of business the day prior and 2 hours prior to the scheduled flight, the students preferred method of payment will be assessed a one (1) hour instructional fee; between 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to the scheduled flight, the student will be assessed 50% of the complete scheduled service. For cancelations and no-show students within 30 minutes of scheduled lesson, 100% of the scheduled service will be assessed. For students that are delayed during a scheduled lesson, the student will be charged for instructional time based on the original scheduled start time.

If you are scheduled for a simulator lesson or flight training event, and weather or maintenance become a factor, you are still expected to arrive on-time for training. Your instructor will decide the appropriate course of action which may include substituting the planned lesson with another suitable to the conditions.

Race City Flight Operations understands that extenuating circumstances do occur, and will allow exceptions to this policy at its sole discretion. Any time your account incurs a cancellation fee, payment must be received before any further training will be scheduled.

Private Pilot: 61 Vs 141

Are you trying to figure out what the difference is between part 141 and part 61 private pilot training? Here is what you’re looking at. Most of these numbers are measured in Hours, some are Nautical Miles.

Part 61 Part 141
Ground (Hours) 0 35
Flight (Hours) 40 35
Dual (Hours) 20 20
XC (Hours) 3 3
Night (Hours) 3 3
Night XC (100nm, 10 full stop landings)               YES               YES
Instrument (Simulated or Actual) (Hours) 3 3
Checkride Prep (Hours) 3 3
Solo (Hours) 10 5
XC (Hours) 5 3
XC NM Req, 3 landings (NM) 150 100
Control Tower landings 3 3
Simulator Allowed (Hours) 2.5 15% (5.25)

Instrument Rating: 61 Vs 141

Are you trying to figure out what the difference is between part 141 and part 61 instrument rating training? Here is what you’re looking at. Most of these numbers are measured in Hours, some are Nautical Miles.

Part 61 Part 141
Instrument Ground (Hours) 0 30
Flight (Hours) 40 35
Dual (Hours) 15 35
XC (250nm, 3 IAP) YES       YES       (100NM leg)
Checkride Prep (Hours) 3 3
Total XC PIC (Hours) 50 0
Instrument (Hours) 40 0
Simulator Allowed BATD (Hours) <10 25% (8.75)
AATD (Hours) <20 40% (14)

Commercial Pilot: 61 Vs 141

Are you trying to figure out what the difference is between part 141 and part 61 commercial pilot training? Here is what you’re looking at. Most of these numbers are measured in Hours, some are Nautical Miles.

Part 61 Part 141
Commercial Ground (Hours) 0 35
Flight (Hours) 0 120
Dual (Hours) 20 55
Day XC (Hours) 2 2
Day XC (NM) 100 100
Night XC (Hours) 2 2
Night XC (NM) 100 100
TAA/Complex (Hours) 10 10
Instrument (Hours) 10 10
Checkride Prep (Hours) 3 3
Solo (Hours) 10 10
XC (Hours) 5 3
XC NM Req, 3 landings       300 Total     (250NM leg) 250 Total
Night (and 10 TOL @ CT) (Hours) 5 5
Total (Hours) 250 190
Simulator Allowed BATD (Hours) 0 0
AATD (Hours) <50 20%