How can I get started?

What airplane will I use?

We have low-wing (Piper) and high-wing airplanes (Cessna). They are essentially the same except for the wing configuration. They have the same horsepower and seating capacity, but the view out the windows is slightly different, and is largely a matter of preference. You can try both and see which “fits” you best. We also have two-seat Piper Tomahawk trainers which are suited for smaller students. Once you settle on one particular model, it’s best to stick with it for familiarity.

Call any of our locations to schedule an introductory airplane lesson or just come on down to the airport. We are typically able to schedule introductory flights as soon as next day and, on occasion, even the same day.

How do I choose an Instructor?

We will do our best to match you with an instructor, but you may feel free to try a couple – or more – as needed to ensure you are comfortable. We want you to have a good learning relationship, so ease of communication and understanding is paramount. Occasionally, you will conduct a lesson with a progress check instructor to make sure all is going well. You can feel free to discuss any issues with the progress check instructor (or any staff member) to ensure your needs are being met. As with airplanes, it’s important to eventually settle on one instructor for continuity – you don’t want to explain where your training is with someone new every lesson!

How often should I plan to fly?

Learning to fly safely requires a lot of attention to detail, so trying to do too much too soon is not productive. Likewise, waiting too long between lessons can be frustrating if you need to review everything several times. It’s usually best to plan to fly once every three to four days if your schedule allows. Plan a two-hour block of time per lesson. You will need about 15 minutes to brief and then pre-flight the airplane, and then about 1.1 to 1.4 hours of flight instruction. A post-flight inspection and de-briefing will close each session.

How long will it take to get my license?

The absolute legal minimum set by the FAA is 40 hours of instruction. In reality, it takes most folks around 55-60 hours to become proficient to safely pass the practical check-ride. This will vary with each student, but if you can fly every three to four days, you can expect to be ready for your check-ride in about 6-9 months.

What about ground training – the basic “bookwork” – before I fly?

You don’t need to spend weeks or months in ground training before you fly – you can do your ground training while you are taking your lessons. This helps merge the theory with the practical and allows you to build on your skills each time you go flying.

There are several ways to do the ground training on your own schedule and at your own pace. We can recommend both King Schools and Sporty’s on-line ground school modules. Each has its own strong points, and you can review what you have learned each lesson with your instructor to make sure you understand the subjects. Your instructor can also help you with subjects you find difficult during ground training session when the weather keeps you from flying. These on-line or DVD based apps cost between $250-$400, and some can be downloaded to your portable devices. As a stocking Sporty’s dealer, we can offer their course products at a discount.

What else do I need to do while I am training?

  • Before you can solo (minimum age 16) you will need to obtain a simple Third Class Medical exam from an Aviation Medical Examiner. AMEs are physicians who have additional training in aerospace medicine, and many are pilots themselves. If you can drive a car, you can probably pass a third-class medical easily. The main impediments are color-blindness and diabetes, but there may be ways to overcome these restrictions. See our hand-out for a list of local medical examiners to find one near you. You can also check on-line at https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/
  • You will need a Student Pilot Certificate, which your instructor will assist you in getting via the FAA “IACRA” website.
  • A written (actually computer-based) knowledge test is required about 2/3 of the way through your training. Your instructor will work with you and when you are ready to take the written test, you will receive a logbook endorsement from your instructor allowing you to take the test. Most on-line ground schools (See Kings Schools and Sporty’s above) also can provide you with a written endorsement to take the knowledge test. We conduct knowledge tests at all of our locations.
  • Finally, you will take a practical check-ride with a designated examiner (we have one on staff), which is like taking your driving test at the Motor Vehicle department. When you pass, you will receive your pilot license immediately! Note: The minimum age for a Private Pilot Certificate is 17.

Can I finance my training?

We do not offer financing, however you may pay for your training as you go. Our students pay for their training in one of two ways:

  • Cash, Check, or Debit Card – East Coast Aero Club offers block bonuses when a certain amount of money is put on account with the club with cash, check, or a pin-debit card. (See our rate sheet for more information)
  • Credit Cards – We also accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover

We do require students to maintain a minimum balance of $100 on account with the Club – that way if you decide to pick up a chart, book, or other item after we have run your charge for the day’s lesson, we won’t have to run a separate transaction.

What are your hours of operation?

Aircraft are available for training and rental 365 days per year. Our offices are generally staffed 8:00am to dusk every day, but aircraft can be scheduled any time of the day.

Do I have to pay dues to be a club member?

No monthly dues are required. We ask that you establish an account and keep a $100 minimum balance in that account.

Are there any additional fees added to the rental rate of the aircraft?

There are no fuel or other surcharges at East Coast Aero Club. Fuel is included in the hourly aircraft rate unless you require fuel away from our base airports.

Do you sell gift certificates?

Yes, we sell gift certificates for any amount. Gift certificates may be used for anything we sell, including flight lessons, aircraft rental, and pilot supplies. We can help you determine the proper amount, whether it’s for an introductory flight or a gift for an exprerienced pilot, just call any of our locations and ask!

What is required for a checkout?

Tomahawk | Warrior | Skyhawk

  • Student pilot or higher
  • Minimum one hour checkout with any of our flight instructors

Arrow | C182T 

  • Private pilot or higher, 125 hours total time
  • Written quiz
  • If no time in make & model (PA28R-201, C182T or SR20), minimum 5 hour checkout
  • If 5 hours in make & model (PA28R-201, C182T or SR20), checkout
  • If 50 hours complex (for the Arrow) or high performance (for the C182T), checkout


  • Private pilot with instrument rating or higher, 200 hours total time
  • Written quiz
  • 10 hours if no Cirrus experience and less depending on experience with a 1 hour minimum

Is training conducted under FAR Part 61 or Part 141?

All training is currently conducted under Part 61.

Are you approved for VA benefits?

We are not currently approved for VA benefits.

Are you able to issue an M-1, F-1 Visa or INS form I-20 to foreign students?


If I take an airplane for a full day, is there a minimum number of hours I have to fly?

If you reserve an airplane for 8 or more hours in a single day, you must fly or pay for at least 3 hours. For  example, if you take an airplane for a weekend (Saturday morning through Sunday evening), you must pay for at least 6 hours, or the time you fly, whichever is more.

How do I maintain my currency in East Coast Aero Club airplanes?

In order to maintain currency, each member must fly at least one hour every 90 days in each make and model of aircraft he or she wishes to fly. Currency in one aircraft does not imply currency in another. If currency lapses, the pilot may regain it by flying with a ECAC certified flight instructor or obtaining other authorization.

Do you have any restrictions on the runways you allow your airplanes to land on?

Except for certain airports, such as Katama on Martha’s Vineyard, we require our customers to use paved runways at least 3,000 feet in length. Please review Runway Requirements for more information.

Can I use my foreign pilot’s license to fly in the U.S.?

Yes, follow the instructions on the FAA web site.

How can I finance flying lessons?

Most people pay as they go or use personal credit cards to finance flying.  There are several financing options including personal loans from a bank or credit union.  AOPA and pilotfinance.com are additional resources that should be considered.  Also, Lending Tree offers a flight school loan option.  There are many organizations such and the Aero Club of New England and The Ninety-Nines that offer scholarships for flying.