Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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 training focused flight school that is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Part 61 of the Federal Regulations. 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. With so many variables that can affect any training flight, why be held to a rigid schedule or syllabus?

    The other flight schools that you may have seen a brochure or advertisement in the area, are regulated under Part 141. These flight schools have a rigorous training syllabus that requires each flight be followed by another objective flight and each flight is validated in reference to the requirements of each flight. If the weather did not allow a requirement to be completed during the flight, the flight will be recorded as incomplete and that requirement will have to be redone on the next flight. There is no flexibility or customization when these types of programs are required to be completed in such a short time.

  • 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 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!

  • 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.


  • How do I start flight training if I’m not a US Citizen?

    Race City Flight Operations is approved by the Transportation Security Administration to provide flight training to foreigners. The first step is to apply as a Candidate in the Flight Training Security Program here.

    During the application process, you will search for our flight school name “Race City Flight Operations” and a Category 3 approval (aircraft under 12,500 lbs) and our aircraft type are Cessna 172.

    Once you apply, we get an email to approve your request and we’ll get fingerprints together and send them to the background search folks. The whole process can take between 2 weeks and 2 months.

    Call us today to get started!

  • 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!

  • Do I need to buy renters insurance?

    Race City Flight Operations does require all solo students and renters to purchase renters insurance. Renters insurance, like other insurance, is the insurance that’s very nice to have in case something happens but you hope you never 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, the Bronze coverage package, which is only $147 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, it’s as easy as completing this online form and submitting payment!

    Renters Insurance

  • 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.

  • How Much Does it Cost to Learn to Fly?

    Our Cessna 172 rents for $145 per flight hour and our instructors are $60 per hour. Our RedBird Simulator is $55 per hour.

    For Private Pilots, some flight time is flown solo or without your instructor and some flight time is with the instructor. Your instructor will work with you and on a day when you have a lesson, you may have a pre-flight briefing, a flight and then a post-flight debriefing. As an example lesson, the total time you spent with your flight instructor was 2 hours. The total flight time was 1 hour and 18 minutes (1.3 hours). Your total cost for this lesson would be $266.50: $188.50 for the airplane and $78 for the flight instructor. Later in your training, when you fly alone, the only charge would be for the flight time.

    For Instrument students and beyond, use of the simulator is $55 per hour in addition to the flight instructor that will “fly” alongside you and will run the simulator.

    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 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 kind of airplanes will I be flying?

    Race City Flight Operations has a 1999 Cessna 172S equipped with a Garmin 430W and round “steam” gages; and a 2000 Cessna 172S equipped with a Garmin 430W and 2 Aspen PFD/MFD gages in our currently growing fleet. We elected to offer two identical airplanes with different gages for our students to allow commonality between airplanes but enough differentiation that allows for future airline pilots to start getting used to glass panels.

  • How do I get started in the process ?

    Give Race City Flight Operations a call at (704) 662-6227 and we will schedule your first lesson. Or if you prefer we can schedule a Discovery Flight*, where you experience the thrill of flying the aircraft.

    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.

    *Must be 15 years or older.

  • 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.)


  • 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 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.

    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 to fund your flight training. Check out our financing page to find out how to start today!

  • 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 give us a call and we email you the certificate. You can purchase gift certificates for discovery flights or towards flight training. For example, if you purchase a $1000 gift certificate, we can apply that towards the students flight training bill.