Obtaining a Pilot License

A. A Cessna product for a start. That is reason enough to get excited for some people. Cessna Aircraft Company will only release or manufacture an airplane after it has passed rigorous design reviews and thorough testing.

They have about seven decades of accumulated knowledge and experience in building and refining aircraft.
A. In Cessna Aircraft Company’s view, it is a flying machine, which fills the void between walking & driving. And, being sardine-canned in a big airliner with all kinds of security delays and terminal nonsense. Skip security lines, drive up to your Cessna plane, and fly away!

It offers a transportation mode, which combines the best of all worlds:
The comfort of a car, and the modern navigation & computer technology of an airliner.
Add to this, the ability to travel 2 to 3 times faster than a car. And eliminate the zigzags of the road by flying directly from A to B, and you have a pretty impressive transportation device!
A. It may not be immediately obvious how your plane flies. And it may take a few lessons before you will have figured out how the laws of aerodynamics work. But most of your doubts will soon pass as you get the hang of it. The most difficult aspect – mastering landings, will come sooner, rather than later.
A. It depends upon how frequent you fly. If you take a 2-hour lesson once a week – consisting of both a Ground Briefing and In-Flight Instruction – it may take you about 20 to 30 weeks to obtain a Solo Pilot License. If you would fly twice as much, it would take you roughly half that time.
A. You can find cost estimates on the LEARN TO FLY page for the following pilot licenses:
• Solo Pilot License
• Sport Pilot License
• Private Pilot License

What can I do with a Pilot License?

A. You can fly, for example, to another State, in a simple morning’s flight. From Palo Alto, California, you can take a trip over San Francisco, or fly around the SF Bay in an hour. You can pop over to Half Moon Bay Airport, with a 10-minute flight, walk to the HMB Harbor and have lunch.
You can go hiking anywhere in the Western United States. Go skiing in Lake Tahoe or Durango, Colorado, or go sailing in Puget Sound or San Diego. You could fly to places where they offer zip-line tours, see a Shakespeare Play in Ashland Oregon, visit Santa Fe, NM . . . . You name it, and you can fly there, within a relatively short amount of time.

For some students, obtaining a Pilot’s License made them stand out on their College / Job Applications and Resumes.
Some other Members like to volunteer “Angel Flights” (They help ferry patients).
And some other Members like to use their Pilot License to visit family / dates, or commute to a 2nd home. In general, as a pilot, you can cut your travel time by hours, and, road-miles by up to 1/3.

Learning to fly can provide magnificent views. It will broaden your horizons, figuratively as well as literally.

Getting Technical

A. Every Club approved plane is equipped with the latest computer avionics to provide flight / weather information and terrain proximity awareness. All planes have on-board GPS that can help you with your navigation.
A. A Cessna-162 Skycatcher is the only 2-seat plane of its kind. Airplanes with 2 to 6 seats are not new, but Cessna was the first to create and thoroughly test such a 2-seat plane. Cessna offers a comprehensive dealer service network, and an online flight training system.
While there are dozens of airplane manufacturers (like Mooney, Cirrus, and Piper), Cessna has been the leader in the manufacturing of training planes, propeller planes and business jets. All new Cessna planes come with Garmin GPS based navigation devices.
A. Between 1937 and 1948, the Piper Aircraft Company built the venerable Piper-Cub. It was a tandem-seat 2-seat plane built of tube and cloth, and had a ‘tail-dragger’ configuration. Initially powered by a 40 H.P. (30 kW) engine, in 1938, it sold for just over $1,000. The plane became so popular, that its name almost became a generic term for a small aircraft. Around 1970 Cessna built various models high-wing metal aircraft and became the dominant general aviation aircraft manufacturer. However, hundreds of Piper-Cubs are still soldiering on today, giving enjoyment to those who like to fly slow & low.
A. For a start, the C-172 is bigger and has 4 seats. The C-162 has 2 seats, weighs less, but uses about half as much fuel per hour as a Cessna-172. It has a correspondingly lower cost per hour. Many Students choose to learn to fly in a 2-seat airplane and after obtaining their Pilot License, switch to a 4-seat plane.
A. Garmin is the manufacturer of various aircraft displays and navigation devices. Most new planes are equipped with Garmin computers with ‘glass’ screens – to display engine gauges, flight instruments, navigation maps, and other flight information – commonly referred to as a ‘glass cockpit’ system.
Garmin named the instrumentation used in C-172 aircraft, its G-1000 system. Garmin subsequently designed a similar, more user-friendly glass panel system for C-162 aircraft: the G-300.
A. The newer aircraft available, offer voice technology, to announce, for instance, nearby air-traffic, system warnings, or minimum safe heights.
A. An airplane’s ‘Payload’ consists of the weight of the people (Pilot, Passengers) and the Baggage it can carry.
A plane’s ‘Useful-Load’, is the weight of the people, baggage, and, fuel.
A. Pilots can navigate using one or more of the following:
• ’Pilotage’ (This is a method whereby you look out of the window and/or use a chart).
• A compass.
• ‘VOR’ radio navigation beacons, which are situated all over the USA and maintained especially for aircraft navigation purposes.
• 'GPS' / 'Satellite Navigation'. A Garmin GPS will show exactly where you are, how to fly to your destination, and how long that will take you (figuring in existing wind conditions).
In desolated or busy areas, Air Traffic Controllers will sometimes assist and direct you how and where to fly.
There are a number of iPad/GPS applications, specifically made for flight planning and aircraft navigation.

Health and Age Questions

A. There are no age limits to take flying lessons.


A. Club aircraft with the Garmin ‘TIS’ [Traffic Information Systems], such as the G-1000 system, ‘can see’ and display the proximity of other aircraft. There are areas in the US for which no on-screen traffic information is available. In many of those areas, Air-Traffic Controllers can provide traffic advisories by radio.
A. When for example, you need to travel coast-to-coast, for about 2,900 miles, flying the airlines will be safer than driving your car for 42 hours (Or walking 948 hours, according to Google maps). The safety of flying your own plane will depend on your proficiency and the kind of plane used.
A. Stanford Flying Club has the best safety record of any flying school or club in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. No Member was ever injured in an airplane obtained through the Stanford Flying Club.

Learn to fly

  • Call (650) 858-2200 to get started or schedule an introductory flying lesson.

    Or request a phone call