Learn to fly with Latitude Aviation

The first question you should ask
yourself is: Why?

Looking for adventure?

Flight Training Experience AwardPilots, as a general rule, are adventurers by nature and seek to go places and see things that can only be experienced by those who fly.  Even the very process of earning your Pilot’s License here at Latitude Aviation is an adventure – you’ll learn maneuvers, absorb knowledge, and then put it all into use as you ply the friendly skies around Coeur d’Alene Idaho.  We can show you how to access adventure safely in some of the most unique areas and destinations in our region – from the backcountry of Idaho to restaurants right by the airport; from the gorgeous glacial lakes of Canada to the civilized refinement of the wine country of Washington.  See it all from the best view in town – the cockpit!

Looking for a good job?

There’s a reason a lot of young people want to be an airline pilot: once you’re left seat, it’s a great job.  Good benefits, great retirement, and a relatively open work schedule are all yours.  For those that don’t want the airline life (it’s not without challenges), there are a multitude of ways to earn a living in an airplane: crop duster, firefighter, air taxi pilot, bush pilot, aerial survey, fisherman, military service… the list is quite long, and the job market has never been better.  Pilots are in amazingly high demand, and the time is now to start your journey towards a rewarding career.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream?

Old or young, many people have simply always dreamed of flight.  You’re just wired that way, from the first time you saw a jetliner fly overhead or perhaps the first airshow your parents took you to.  Whatever the reason, it’s finally your time and you’re going to do it – become a Pilot.  At Latitude, we get that; we have the sickness too, perhaps worse than you do!  We understand that this is an ultimate achievement for some, and we understand that a dream is being realized every time you climb into one of our airplanes or your own.  We’re here to help, and we can’t wait to get you airborne because we want to go flying too!


Here's How

What's involved?

You are embarking on a dream – a dream of flight.  To get to that dream, you have some work to do.  Let’s break it down.

  • Ground training:
    • Ground school or home study.  You can elect to join us for an official ground school (info here!) or you can purchase one of several different online ground schools from the big names like Sporty’s, King Schools, Jeppessen, Gleim etc.  You do not have to take a ground school unless you want to, but you do have to prepare somehow for the knowledge test.  More on that in a minute.
    • You do not have to complete ground school prior to beginning your flight training.  In fact, you can start flying and pick it up as you go along.  Your best results will come from completing some flight training prior to ground school, because that makes the school very relevant.
    • Each flight lesson will have some ground training specific to your upcoming flight.  Bonus points: study ahead of the lesson and come prepared.  Your CFI will be happy, and you will save time and $$.
  • Flight Training:
    • The FAA minimums are as follows (slightly condensed, full version here):
      • 40 hours flight experience.
      • 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor.
      • 10 hours of solo flight time.
      • 5 hours of solo cross-country time
  • Eligibility:
    • 17 years old.
    • Read, speak, write and understand English.
    • You must have a 3rd Class medical certificate and Student Pilot License.  Call CDA Flight Medicine at 208-772-6647, they’re right here on the field.  Get this early, you have to have it before you can solo!
    • You must be endorsed for, and pass, the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test.  Some online ground schools do offer an endorsement, otherwise you need to convince your CFI that you know it.
  • Latitude provides the ground school and flight training.  We do not currently offer testing for the knowledge tests.
How much will it cost?

Short answer: About $8000*.

Long answer:

To many people, this is the first question of the day – how much will this cost?  Well, like anything worth doing, there is a dollar value attached to your license.  Most want to learn to fly bad enough that the cost is worth it.  Here at Latitude, we respect that – and we also feel it’s one of our missions to try and maximize your dollar value.

Most people achieve their license in somewhere between 50-70 hours of flight, with about 2/3 of that being dual instruction (an instructor riding with you).  The FAA minimum under Part 61 is 40 hours total time.

At Latitude, if you took the low average of 50 hours to earn your license, you would expect to spend somewhere around $6500 or so.  Add $150 for books and random supplies, $400 for your checkride, and $200 for a headset.

*The next question usually is: How can I reduce this cost?

How long will it take?
This is a loaded question. If you can fly two sessions a week, averaging 2 hours flight time per session, you can complete your license in about 12-14 weeks assuming a steady pace.  This takes commitment – you should know that earning your pilot’s license in the midst of a life loaded with family, kids, job and the dog is a major undertaking and not to be underestimated.  The rewards are among the most privileged and unique on earth. Latitude also offers accelerated training courses – show up with your ground school done, and do nothing but fly two or three sessions a day for 14 straight days (a day off or two along the way is OK).  This concentrates and saturates your learning, and is an attractive alternative to busy professionals.
How can I manage the cost?

We’ve got some ideas:

  • Buy a flight simulator setup for your home PC.  A good one with rudder pedals and X-Plane 10 (like this one from Sporty’s) will run you about $350.  Buy a book about learning to fly with a simulator.  Then, study the Private Pilot PTS and Airplane Flying Handbook to learn the maneuvers you will have to fly.  Learn to fly them in the simulator – on your own time, not burning any fuel (great activity during the winter by the way!).  If you can get to where you can a) know the maneuvers by heart b) know how to evaluate your performance per the PTS and finally c) fly the maneuvers to the standards, you will easily transition to flying the real thing, and save yourself a lot of hours in the cockpit – which is where the money is spent.  Better yet, to get to this point, you will have learned a lot about flying a real airplane and how to use the controls, read instruments, land and take off, etc.
  • Do your homework.  Your instructor will almost always give you a lesson plan ahead of your lesson, and we fly a specific and well-planned syllabus.  If you can talk intelligently about everything on the lesson plan, or at least show up with good questions, your lessons will be much more efficient.  The more you invest in your training, the better your training will progress, saving you money.
  • Consider an accelerated training – two weeks of nothing but airplanes.  The saturated environment and protected time and attention will usually let you achieve your license in less than the national average, saving you money.
  • If you can’t do an accelerated course, at least set aside time and energy to fly at least twice a week.  You’d be surprised how much learning you lose if you fly only once a week.
  • Complete a ground school – we of course would prefer you sign up for our live class, but online courses can be good as well.  This will give you a base of knowledge that will let you learn about flying the airplane, instead of learning about all the signs, rules, patterns etc. at the same time.
  • Find a flying club – or start one.  Flying clubs are an airplane that is co-owned by a group of pilots, and are a stunningly underutilized way to reduce the cost of ownership and operation of an airplane.