Frequently Asked Questions

What type of training do I have to go through to become a commercial pilot and fly for the airlines?
USAA offers an ab-initio (from zero time) flight training package, which trains you from your private up through your commercial certificate with multi-engine and instrument ratings. When you have completed one of our flight training centers, the most common career path for our students is to become flight instructors. As an instructor you can build necessary flight experience before you start applying for a job with regional and commuter airlines. If you already have a private, we will merge you into the program and start with your instrument training.
What facilities are offered?
  • USAA conducts its non-degree flight training out of its flight training facility at Denton Municipal Airport (DTO).
  • 642 foot elevation 7,002 x 150 foot runway
  • 50 ft. semi-parallel taxiway
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) approaches
  • Instrument Landing System (ILS)-109.1
  • Non- Directional Beacon approach
  • PAPI(P4L) Runaway 36
  • MALSR. PAPI (P4L) – Runway 18
  • Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) – 119.32 UNICOM 122.7
  • UNICOM – 130.57 or 940-383-2484
My vision is not perfect. Can I still become a pilot?
Yes, as long as you meet the requirements of an FAA Class 1 or 2 medical your vision will not be an issue. It is necessary that your vision is correctable to 20/20; however, it is not necessary to have perfect uncorrected vision. Each airline has specific requirements for their employees.
My vision is not perfect. Can I still become a pilot?
Yes, as long as you meet the requirements of an FAA Class 1 or 2 medical your vision will not be an issue. It is necessary that your vision is correctable to 20/20; however, it is not necessary to have perfect uncorrected vision. Each airline has specific requirements for their employees.
What kind of medical examinations do I have to go through to qualify for the program?
USAA requires (at a minimum), its students to hold an FAA Class III to train with the school; however we highly recommend a Class I medical for all professional pilot program students. It is necessary that you have obtained your medical prior to starting training, which can be done either locally or by accessing Federal Aviation Administration Office of Aviation Medicine Civil Aeromedical Institute.
What are the minimum requirements for low-time hire airlines?
In the past the required flight time has been based on demand varying from 250 hours to 2,000 hours. Since August 2014, airlines have required most pilots to have 1500 hours. However, aviation degree programs may be eligible for small reductions to this minimum.
I don’t have a college degree. Can I still become a commercial pilot?
Regional airlines are often willing to hire those with just an associate’s degree, but there is a strong preference for four year degrees in the “major” airlines. For this reason our degree programs have various ways to continue on to a bachelors.
What Flight Certificates Can I Earn and What Can I Do With Them?
The general progression of earning flight certificates and ratings is detailed below, although there are many routes you may choose to follow.
Private Pilot
A person will first earn his Private Pilot Certificate, which will give him the privileges of flying alone or with family and friends in good weather. A Private Pilot is not allowed to fly for compensation or hire, to fly in and out of clouds or fog, or in areas of very low visibility. This means that the pilot is limited in some of the things they can do, mainly due to safety-related reasons.
Instrument Rating
The next step is to obtain an Instrument Rating, which is basically an amendment to your Private Pilot License that says you may now fly in and out of clouds and low visibility, because you have advanced training in using and relying on only your instruments to fly. However, it is not another license, therefore, you are still limited to the restrictions of your Private Pilot’s License of not being able to fly for hire.
Commercial License
The next certificate you will earn will be your Commercial License. This allows you to fly for hire, and it requires a good deal more flight time. The FAA is looking for more experience. They expect you to demonstrate mastery of the aircraft and, therefore, require you to perform to stricter parameters than what was previously required as a Private Pilot. Now you will be able to fly for money!
Multi-Engine Rating
If you are looking for airline or charter employment and have done all of your training in a single-engine airplane thus far, you will want to get what’s called a multi-engine add-on. The requirement here is the ability to fly to Commercial and Instrument standards in a multi-engine aircraft.
Certified Flight Instructor
A great way to build experience, and the flight hours necessary for advancement to an airline position, while earning money is to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). If you want to teach Instrument students you will want to get an Instrument Rating attached to your Flight Instructor Certificate (Certified Flight Instructor Instrument-CFII). The last of the instructor certificates is your Multi-engine Instructor Certificate (MEI) which allows you to instruct in multi-engine aircraft.
What is a typical day like? A training day is between 6 and 8 hours in length and consists of a combination of ground and flight training. What if I don’t pass the check ride the first time? If you do not pass a check ride, you will do a review flight covering unsatisfactory items. After the review flight you can be submitted for another check.Will we lose training days due to bad weather? Denton enjoys nice weather and training is flexible enough to allow for changes. Training timeline estimates include allowances for training time lost to normal weather patterns.
[Body Copy]: Before you can enjoy your first solo flight and to keep your pilot license valid, you need a medical certificate. There are three types of certificates available:[Subhead]: 1st Class for Airline Transport Pilots [Body Copy]: Valid for six months[Subhead]: 2nd Class for Commercial Pilots [Body Copy]: Valid for twelve months[Subhead]: 3rd Class for Private Pilots [Body Copy]: Valid for thirty-six months if you are under age 40 Valid for twenty-four months if you are over age 40 Each medical certificate downgrades to the next if not renewed. The exact medical requirements for obtaining a 1st, 2nd and 3rd class certificate are covered under FAR Part 67. As a rule of thumb, you will get at least a third class medical certificate if you are in healthy condition and there is no serious medical problem.
[Subhead]: What does it take to get a private pilot license? [Body Copy]: To get your pilot license, you must: Be 17 years old Be able to speak, read, write , and understand English Pass an FAA Class III physical examination Pass an FAA aeronautical knowledge test Have an FAA flight test. [Subhead]: How long will it take for me to get my pilot license? [Body Copy]: It depends on how often you fly, and how much time and effort you put into studying. The more often you fly, the less time it will take and the more fun you will have! Every student is different, with some people wanting to schedule many hours of training each week and others spreading out their training over many months. It’s up to you. [Subhead]: How often can I fly? [Body Copy]: You can fly as often as your schedule will allow. We recommend that you fly a minimum of 1 day per week. Most students fly at least twice a week. However, some students fly 4-5 times per week. [Subhead]: Can I fly at night? [Body Copy]: Yes. As part of your basic training you are required to have a minimum of 3 hours of night training including a night cross country with an instructor. [Subhead]: Can I take passengers when I get my license? [Body Copy]: Yes. One of the most enjoyable activities when you get your license is taking friends and family for a flight – maybe for the famous “$100 hamburger”. You can share flight expenses with your passengers, but you cannot fly for “hire”. [Subhead]: What is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141? [Body Copy]: At US Aviation Academy we follow the same curriculum for both FAR part 61 and part 141 training. The biggest advantage to training under 141 is that the minimum flight times for each license is reduced which will save you money. We also have 141 self-examining authority which means you will take your check ride with one of our senior staff as opposed to doing it with the FAA or a DPE. All training records are kept electronically for every flight and ground lesson that a student does at the Academy so a clear picture of how the training is going is always available to each and every student. Under part 61 you can do a self-study course where as under 141 you will have to attend ground school. [Subhead]: What about “ground school”? [Body Copy]: Ground schools are typically held each month and are four weeks long. Classes are four hours per weekday, totaling 80 hours per course. Along with ground school, US Aviation suggests using our kit which includes: Private Pilot Manual Maneuvers Manual Oral Exam Study Guide Airman Knowledge Test Guide Presolo Written Exam FAA Exam Package Headset E6b Plotter In addition ground briefings will be given prior to, and following each flight to discuss procedures and your progress. You will typically spend 30 minutes to 1 hour of ground briefing/instruction for each hour flown with your instructor.

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