Earn your wings at Heart of Virginia Aviation!
Heart of Virginia Aviation at Hanover County Airport offers many options for getting your private pilot license. Instruction is offered from open to close everyday and we have several aircraft available to rent for training purposes.
Our programs are designed and supervised by highly experienced personel. Our instructors strive to give the highest quality flight training available at very competitive rates. Our fleet of training aircraft include three Cessna 172's, two Cessna 152's, one Diamond Eclipse DA-20, and our new Piper Warrior.
Please use the form on this page to contact us. Please tell us about yourself and your goals as a pilot...our staff is ready to assist you in earning your wings!
Heart of Virginia Aviation is now hiring CFIs
Frequently asked questions
Q. Do I need any previous experience or qualifications to become a pilot?
A. No, you need no previous experience before starting you private pilot course.
Q. What are the main stages in getting my license?
A. The process takes anything from 6 to 18 months depending on how much time you make available. You will learn straignt and level flight, normal and steep turns, stall recognition and of course, take-offs and landings. You can expect to solo in 15-20 hours thence dual and solo cross-country and finally, a checkride with a FAA designated examiner. Home study is a vital element, it keeps you current with your flight instruction an prepares you for the FAA ground knowledge test. Prior to soloing, you will need a 3rd class medical certificate issued by a FAA designated medical examiner.
Q. Will I automatically get my license after 40 hours of flight training?
A. No. 40 hours is the minimum requirement laid down by the FAA for a person to hold a private pilot license. Sometimes it can take people a few more hours to meet the standard required by the examiner. At Heart of Virginia Aviation, safety is paramount. Students will be signed off for their FAA checkride only when their flying is up to the FAA Practical Test Standards.
Q. How many flight hours should I target each week?
A. There is no set time. You can do as much or as little, as you wish. However, factor in that people tend to suffer from a lack of continuity if they spread the course out over a long period. Our experience suggests that 1 - 2 hours per week helps to maintain continuity.
Q. How old do I have to be?
A. The minimum age requirement for a private pilot license is 17 years. If someone younger than 17 wishes to start flight training, there is no problem but he/she would not be able to solo until his/her 16th birthday. As in driving a car, the ability to reach all controls is a prerequisite.
Q. Do I get a license automatically when I've completed the course?
A. No, just as in learning to drive, you take a test at the end of your training when you have demonstrated the standards set out in the FAA practical Test Standard.
Q. Where do I go to take my checkride?
A. The FAA designated examiner will select the venue. It may be at one of our locations or at another nearby location. Your instructor will spend time helping you become familiar with the selected venue immediatly prior to your checkride.
Q. What are the medical requirements?
A. You may start your training without holding a medical certificate though we encourage you to have your exam will in advance of your first solo, we have a list of approved medical eexaminers. The medical exam is not as stringent as many insurance checkups but pays close attention to blood pressure, hearing, eyesite, etc. Note that color blindness does not necessarily preclude you from holding a medical certificate.
Q. Can I get a job as a pilot when i have my private pilot license?
A. The holder of a private pilot license is entitled to fly an airplane for his/her own private use with family and friends. In order for you to work as a pilot and recieve compensation, you must become a commercial pilot or a flight instructor.
Q. How long is a license valid for?
A. A private pilot license is valid as long as the holder maintains a current medical certificate.
Q. If I train in a Cessna 152 and wish to fly a different sort of airplane, what must I do?
A. You must receive flight instruction and be signed-off by an instructor for each make and model of airplane. The scope will vary from checkout to instruction, according to type. For example, complex and high-performance aircraft will require additional log book endorsements by an instructor. You may need upwards of 5 hours of instruction time.
Q. When I get my license, do I have to buy an airplane?
A. No, you can continue to rent an airplane from Heart of Virginia Aviation when you get your license.
Q. Where can I take an airplane and can I land it anywhere?
A. You can take an airplane almost anywhere and land at any civil airport subject to its terms and conditions. Landing at non paved strips in a Heart of Virginia airplane, requires prior approval at the time of the rental.
Q. Rental rates are quoted by the hour, what does this mean?
A. You only pay for the hours you fly, as measured by the hobbs meter on the instrument panal of the airplane. Fuel is included in the rental rate. If you rent an airplane overnight there is a minimum charge of 3 hours rental for each night away from the location you rented from. If you buy aviation gas offsite this will be reimbursed at the price paid but not to exceed the current price charged by Heart of Virginia Aviation. During student flight training, some instruction will be on the ground as pre-flight and post-flight briefings.
Q. Is an airplane safe?
A. Yes, air travel is statistically safer than travel by road. In the hands of a sensible, well-trained and current pilot, an airplane is an excellent mode of transport.