When a plane passes over, do you wish you could be flying high above the ground, soaring like a bird?  You can be at Maine Instrument Flight.


You can know the freedom that pilots experience as they travel the limitless sky.


If you think that flying a plane is only for those who joined the military or became commercial pilots, think again.  You can be part of general aviation.


The term general aviation refers to all aviation that is not military or commercial.  Each year more than 100,000 people in the United States take flying lessons to learn how to fly general aviation aircraft.  When asked why they want to learn to fly, most say, “because it’s fun”.


Some of the people who learn to fly are salespeople who want to expand their business territories or doctors who need to reach patients in remote areas.  Others fly for recreation, like going on vacation or flying off on scenic weekend getaways.  You’ll also find that some people learning to fly are teenagers getting a head start on a piloting career.


And not only is flying fun, but it’s also efficient.  Many trips that normally take a whole day by car can be made in half the time, or less, in an airplane.


Piloting your own plane also increases the number of destinations you can reach directly by air.  In the United States, about 800 airports serve commercial airlines, but more than 5,300 airports are opened to general aviation pilots.


If you think you’d enjoy flying and wonder if it’s more than an impossible dream, then read on.  This “Learn to Fly” brochure will tell you all the general aviation basics.  It answers the questions most frequently asked of flight school instructors the world over. You’ll learn about the physical and written examination requirements, the training costs, and the time it takes for flying lessons.

How Do I Know That I Can Learn To Fly?

Somewhere there is someone just like you who recently became a pilot.  Although the average student pilot is 32 years old, anyone can learn to fly an airplane; there are no minimum or maximum age requirements for taking flight lessons.  People from every occupation and every geographic location in the nation are pilots.

How Difficult Is It?

As with any other skill you master, flying is learned step by step.  It’s a fascinating experience, but it’s not particularly difficult.  It can be learned by practically anyone who is willing to invest some time and effort.


Pilot training has two aspects: ground training and flight training.  Ground training takes place on the ground.  It covers flight rules and regulations, how an airplane flies, flight planning, navigation, radio procedures, and weather.  Most of your training at Maine Instrument Flight is combined, with each lesson consisting of a little ground instruction with actual hands-on flight training under the supervision of a certified flight instructor.  You will learn to fly by actually controlling the airplane yourself.


The goal at MIF is to train pilots at their own pace until completely proficient and thoroughly prepared for whichever certification or ratings sought.

What Special Skills Do I Need to Fly?

When learning any new skill, the main ingredient for success is motivation.  Once you’re ready to invest your time and effort in learning to fly, then it’s time to take the first steps.

What is the First Step?

Deciding to learn to fly is obviously the first step and often the most difficult one.  Before you make the big decision to take flying lessons, you may want to experience flying in a small plane.  Once you’ve viewed your community from the perspective of a general aviation aircraft and felt the sensation of the flight you’ll know whether piloting is for you.


MIF offers a $140.00 introductory flight.  This will allow you to experience the fun of flying and to see your community from the air.

What Are the Requirements?

As a pilot, you’ll be governed by regulations set by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).  The more responsibility you take as a pilot, the more stringent the FAA requirements become.

Private Pilot Requirements

To obtain a private pilot certificate, you must be at least 17 years old and have a minimum of 40 hours of flight time.  You must also pass the private pilot knowledge test (a multiple-choice exam) and a flight test (check ride) with an FAA examiner.


Unlike a driver’s license, a pilot certificate is issued for life; it has no expiration date.  As a private pilot, you can fly alone or with passengers.  Special weather requirements pertaining to visibility and cloud conditions must be met, and you must continue to pass your third class medical exam every two years.  You may not be paid for your services as a private pilot.

Instrument Rating Requirements

An instrument rating allows you to fly when the visibility is poor and the clouds are low in the sky.  To obtain this rating, you must receive at least 40 hours of instrument flight training.  You must then pass an FAA knowledge test and an FAA flight test (check ride).

Commercial Pilot Requirements

Commercial pilots can “fly for hire”.  To exercise the full rights of a commercial pilot, you must have an instrument rating, be at least 18 years old, hold a second class medical certificate and have a minimum of 250 hours of flying time.  You must also pass an FAA knowledge test and an FAA flight test (check ride).  A commercial pilot certification can be achieved without an instrument rating but your privileges as a commercial pilot would be restricted.

Certified Flight Instructor Requirements

To become a certified flight instructor, you must be 18 years old and hold a commercial certificate with an instrument rating or an airline transport pilot certificate.  You must also pass two FAA knowledge tests and an FAA flight test.  As a certified flight instructor, you may instruct private or commercial students.  You may also obtain additional instructor ratings to teach instrument or multi-engine students.  (If the instructor applicant wishes to expand his certificates and training, a separate ground instructor certificate can be obtained after passing the appropriate knowledge tests.  A ground instructor certificate is not a requirement.)

Multi-Engine Rating Requirements

To earn a multi-engine rating, you must receive instruction from an appropriately certificated instructor.  A knowledge test is not required, and the FAA does not specify a minimum number of flight training hours required, but there is an FAA flight test, after which you’ll be certified to fly airplanes with two or more engines.  Most students need about 10 hours of flight training to prepare for the flight test.  You may hold either a private, commercial or airline transport pilot certificate.

How Long Will My Training Take?

Most people receive their private pilot certificate after about 65 hours of flight time, which includes time spent with an instructor (dual time) and time spent flying alone (solo time).


How long it takes to accumulate this flight time is largely up to you.  We recommend that a student fly at least two hours per week in order to progress through the program in a minimum amount of time, so as to avoid costly reviews caused by the excessive time between lessons.  MIF has flight instructors on duty seven (7) days a week.  All flying is done on your schedule and payment is made for each lesson after the lesson has been completed (no advance payment necessary).

What Will My First Flight Be Like?

First, a pre-flight briefing will be conducted to familiarize you with the training aircraft.  This will include inspecting the airplane, a discussion of how the airplane is controlled, and the proper use of instruments and equipment.


After the pre-flight briefing, you and your flight instructor will take off.  Once airborne, your instructor will let you take the controls.  With your instructor’s guidance, you will control the airplane through turns, climbs, and descents.  Soon you’ll feel the exhilaration of flying and become impatient for your next lesson.

How Much Does It Cost?

Compared to the costs of training in other skills, becoming a certified (licensed) private pilot is a good value.  Prorated over a lifetime, it is probably one of the best bargains you’ll ever find.  The cost of becoming a pilot is a solid investment in your future.

MIF Is an FAA Part 141 Approved Flight School

MIF is one of only a few FAA Part 141 approved flight schools in the Northeast.  In order to maintain this approval, a flight school must comply with certain quality standards such as accurate and stringent student records and employ instructors that meet strict FAA qualification requirements.  Additionally, each training course given by the school must obtain the FAA’s approval.  This designation allows our school to follow an additional set of flight training rules which can benefit the student with better training programs that offer a tighter, more outlined learning platform and the potential for reduced training costs. Please contact us for more information regarding the requirements and benefits of training under part 141 rules.

MIF Also Offers V.A. Training

Qualified veterans and active duty personnel can receive advanced training (after the private certificate). For flight students with Montgomery G. I. benefits, the V.A. (Veterans Administration) will pay for 60% of your training. Post 9-11 benefits will cover up to 100%. This training includes ground as well as dual and solo flight time. If you qualify, the savings can be enormous. A flight school must be FAA Part 141 approved in order to offer these V.A. benefits. Please call for more details. Note: The VA will NOT pay for Private Pilot training unless associated with a degree program. Ask for more details about our partnership with UMA.

Is Flying Safe?

General aviation airplanes are built to rigid federal specifications and they are constantly checked and rechecked to make sure they are mechanically and structurally safe. MIF has FAA-licensed mechanics on its staff that maintains our fleet of training aircraft in top condition. Our instructors will teach you to fly the airplane safely.  Flying as pilot-in-command of the airplane puts you in charge.  A well-built and well-maintained airplane in the hands of a competent, prudent and well-trained pilot makes flying safer than many other forms of transportation.

What About Insurance?

Life Insurance – The insurance companies have come to learn how extremely safe flying is.  Most new policies don’t even mention general aviation flying.  If you have an older policy, restrictive clauses for private flying can be removed at little or no cost.


Liability and Hull Insurance – Solo/renter insurance is available at reasonable rates.  This insurance provides protection that you may wish to consider, please ask us for details.

What Learning to Fly Can Do For Me?

Learning to fly opens the door to a wide variety of career, business and travel opportunities.


A career pilot has many different types of flying opportunities.  Flight activities are divided into the following categories: (1) general aviation (2) airline (3) military (4) aerospace.  Within the general aviation field a commercial pilot may be involved in air charter, aerial patrol, aircraft sales, ferrying aircraft, aerial survey and photography, agricultural support, cargo handling, corporate pilot, flight instruction and a multitude of other uses.


Flying may also complement your career path in business or sales or a profession that you haven’t chosen yet.


When it comes to personal travel, renting or flying your own airplane will give you a whole new freedom not experienced by most people.


General aviation is a unique industry, combining the romance and enthusiasm of our heritage with the high-tech equipment and modern proficiency skills of today.  It is a superb tool of business and a personal time-saving machine.  It is a partner in our nation’s productivity.  Learning to fly can lead to your discovery of rewarding career opportunities.

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