Great Planes Aviation

Q: What are the requirements to become a member of GPA?

A: To join Great Planes Aviation, you must be a member of good standing in the community.

Q: Do I have to be a pilot to join?

A: No. In fact, joining a flying club is a great way to learn to fly for less money. Currently, our membership ranges from student pilots with less than 10 hours of flight time to pilots with 6500+ flight hours.

Q: What is the advantage of joining the Great Planes Aviation versus flying at a flight school?

A: First, you will be joining a club, where you will have the opportunity to play an active part in the day-to-day activities of a flying organization. This is a valuable opportunity to gain valuable business and leadership experience. Second, flying with the Club is usually less expensive than flying with a flight school. And finally, the camaraderie of being in a club is something you will not find at a flight school.

Q: Are the courses for college credit? Do I have to start training at the beginning of the semester?

A: As of now, none of the courses are for college credit. You can begin flight training as soon as you are a Club member (pending acquisition of an airplane) and are ready for a fun, challenging adventure (non-US citizens must first pass a TSA background check before starting flight training). Ground school start dates are posted on the website. They usually start at the beginning of each semester and end well before the beginning of final exams.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: The total cost to obtain a private pilot license varies from student to student. Generally, you can expect the total cost to be at least $5000.

Q: Are there things that I can do to lower the cost of learning to fly?

A: Yes. Taking the Private Pilot Ground School is an economical way to prepare you for the Private Pilot Knowledge Test. Preparing for your flying lessons by doing the reading and studying assigned by your instructor will also reduce your training costs. And most importantly, fly as frequently as possible to minimize the amount of time and money you spend getting back up to speed after an extended break from flying. Flying two or three times a week is ideal.

Q: What do I need to learn to fly?

A: Besides meeting some basic medical certification requirements and the training requirements, you will need the three following things: time, money, and motivation.

Flight training is a lot of fun, but it does require a time commitment both in and out of the cockpit. The more frequently you are able to fly, and the more time you spend studying the required knowledge, the less time (and money) it will take you to learn to fly. It is not a cheap hobby, although GPA is striving to be the most economical way for WSU students (and any other college students) to learn to fly. We encourage you to shop around the Wichita area and compare flight training rates. Motivation is also very important. Successful flight students (regardless of whether they seek an aviation career or not) are usually very passionate about aviation, realistic with their expectations, and are motivated to learn as much about aviation as possible.

Q: I’ve shopped around Wichita and while the local flight schools are more expensive, they have new airplanes with some nice avionics. Why should I learn on older technology equipment when I can learn to fly with the latest technology?

A: The fact is that there is still a large number of airplanes that use mostly old technology avionics and instruments. It is a more difficult transition to go from an advanced airplane to an older one than vice versa. Also, training in simpler, older technology airplanes will ensure a firm grounding in the basics of airmanship, situational awareness, and navigation. Additionally, since younger pilots tend to be very tech-savvy, transitioning to newer, advanced cockpit airplanes is not difficult, although you should get thoroughly trained in the equipment.

Q: I am a WSU/Other college student, and I am interested in becoming a professional pilot. Can joining GPA help me reach that goal?

A: Our goal is to help anyone reach his/her aviation goals. Regardless of whether or not you are a student, our goal remains unchanged. We are especially interested in members willing to go through the training required to become flight instructors. These people will be essential to ensuring the continuity of the Club.

In US aviation, working as a flight instructor is a traditional first step to a career in aviation. Being a flight instructor and club member will give you a substantial pool of motivated flight students. Also, as a flight instructor, you will earn money while gaining valuable flying experience. Our chief flight instructor is an experienced professional pilot and instructor and is willing to mentor or answer questions about flying as a career.

Q: What certificates and ratings can I earn as a member of GPA?
A: This is a very basic breakdown of FAA pilot/flight instructor certificates and ratings:

Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land

  • Allows you to carry passengers in single engine airplanes
  • Cannot fly for compensation or hire
  • Requires: 40 hours flight time

  • Instrument Rating Airplane

  • Allows you to fly in IFR weather conditions (lower visibilities than normal, clouds, etc.)

  • Commercial Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land

  • Allows you, under limited conditions, to fly for compensation or hire.
  • Requires: 250 hours

  • Certified Flight Instructor Airplane Single Engine (CFI)

  • Allows you to give flight instruction to others working towards the private and commercial pilot certificates.
  • Requires: Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating or ATP Certificate.

  • Flight Instructor Instrument Rating

  • Allows you to give flight instruction pursuant to an instrument rating.
  • Requires: CFI Certificate

  • Q: I am already a flight instructor. Can I instruct at Great Planes Aviation?
    A: We are always looking for professional, organized, and motivated CFIs of all backgrounds and experience levels. Approved Club instructors are freelance instructors and not employees of the Club, so they get to keep the money they earn, and they get to work for the student. GPA instructors are essential to the continuity and image of the Club. Please contact Adam Schneider at adam@flygpa.com if you are interested.