The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Learn to fly 

Here are some local airports and aviation centers offering flight training.
• 409th Aviation (Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, 1 Airport Road, Manchester, 547-3000, 
• Air Direct Airways (Nashua Municipal Airport, 125 Perimeter Road, 882-5606,
• Brouillette Aviation Training (Nashua Municipal Airport, 95 Pine Hill Road, Nashua, 595-9059, 
• Concord Aviation Services (Concord Municipal Airport, 71 Airport Road, Concord, 228-2267, 
• East Coast Aero Club Nashua (Nashua Municipal Airport, 117 Perimeter Road, Nashua, 595-1395,
• Emerson Aviation (Laconia Municipal Airport, 65 Aviation Drive, Gilford, 293-7980, 
• Hampton Airfield (9A Lafayette Road, Route 1, North Hampton, 964-6749, 
• Harvest Aviation (Nashua Municipal Airport, 129  Perimeter Road, Nashua, 882-1113, 
• Monadnock Aviation Flight School (80 Airport Road, Keene, 357-7600,
• Sky Bright (Laconia Municipal Airport, 65 Aviation Drive, Gilford, 528-6818,

Learning to Fly
Flight lessons and pilot’s licenses let you fly on your own

By Angie Sykeny

 If you’ve ever dreamed about flying a plane, it may be more attainable than you think. Here’s a rundown of what it takes to get in the air on your own.  

Pilot’s licenses 
There are two main types of pilot’s licenses: private and commercial. A private license allows you to fly yourself and your passengers recreationally. 
“That’s the most popular license,” said Michael Johnson, flight instructor for Concord Aviation Services. “That’s what people get if it was always a dream of theirs to fly a plane and be a pilot and they want to get into it as a hobby.” 
To earn a private pilot’s license, you must complete a minimum of 40 hours of flying time, which must consist of at least 20 hours flying with an instructor and 10 hours of supervised solo flying. 
A commercial pilot’s license allows you to fly for hire. Transporting people or cargo, aerial photography, scenic flights and flight lessons are a few of the services you could offer as a commercial pilot. This license requires 250 hours of flying time, also consisting of at least 20 hours with an instructor and 10 hours solo. 
In addition to the flying hours, a prospective pilot must pass a test that includes a multiple choice written knowledge test, an oral interview and a practical flying test with an examiner. 
“The pilot examiner will ask you questions and try to figure out what you know,” Johnson said. “Then, he’ll run you through various maneuvers like take-offs and landings and turns so you can demonstrate that you know how to fly.” 
Flight lessons  
While each flight training center does things a little differently, there is a basic structure that most of them follow. Lessons are typically one-on-one with the student and instructor and run anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half and cost between $100 and $250. 
“The cost per lesson depends on the lesson for that day and how long it is and what the student is doing,” Johnson said. “What we tell people here is that it’s going to cost them around $8,000 to $10,000 total to earn their license.” 
The first half of the first lesson usually consists of ground work and pre-flight instruction. Students learn about the anatomy of the plane, its controls, navigation and communications systems, flight terminology, how to inspect the plane, how weather affects flight and other fundamentals. The second half of the lesson is a hands-on run-through of basic maneuvers such as driving the plane on the ground, taking off, increasing altitude, steady flying, making shallow turns, descending and landing. 
During flight, the instructor sits next to the student and has access to the same controls so he can assist with the maneuvers if needed. 
“They’re there to help, but for the most part, the student is in control,” Johnson said. “Those first couple lessons are about getting comfortable with flying and getting used to what it’s like to control an airplane.” 
The lessons to follow consist of practicing and perfecting the basic maneuvers and learning more advanced techniques like making hard turns, flying at night and flying in cloudy skies. The instructor may also conduct a briefing and analysis of the day’s lesson with the student. 
“We spend time prior [to the flight] to discuss what they’re going to do, and I have them repeat it back to me so I know they understand. It helps them to visualize it first so it’s not overwhelming when they do it in the air,” said Steve Brouillette of Brouillette Aviation Training in Nashua. “Then afterwards we assess what took place and talk about fine-tuning things for the next flight.” 
Once the student is confident in his ability to fly, he can start flying without an instructor in the plane. An instructor still monitors the flight from the ground and stays in constant communication with the student as he flies. 
“The whole point is to become independent,” Brouillette said. “Letting them do it on their own is the only way they can build the proficiency and confidence needed to become independent.” 
While only training time spent in the air counts toward earning a pilot’s license, there are also ground aviation courses and courses online that you can take to help you prepare for the written knowledge portion of the license test. 
Or, if you just want to see what flying is like without spending the time and money required to earn a license, you can take a few individual flight lessons for fun. 
“We get people who do that quite a bit. They just want the experience but not the license,” Johnson said. “They can take a few lessons, and if it turns out they really like flying, then they can go on and get their license.” 

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