FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

AIR TOUR | FAQ

How do I make changes to an existing reservation? 

Simple! Go to your email confirmation and click on the link to review or change your reservation.  You should be able to select a new date. If that doesn't work, just give us a call or email to change or upgrade your reservation.

I tried to change my reservation but it doesn’t allow me to.  What do I do? 

Your reservation must be changed or canceled at least 24 hours in advance.  Please see our terms and conditions page. Please contact info@williamsburgflightcenter.com for assistance.

Can children go on an Air Tour? 

Yes, the minimum age is 3 years or older and anyone less than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

I sometimes get car-sick or are susceptible to motion sickness; can I still go on an Air Tour? 

If you know you get motion sickness easily, you may want to reconsider going on a Air Tour.  At times, we may encounter some minor turbulence that may make you more susceptible to getting sick.  Although we don’t endorse it, you may want to consider taking an over the counter medication to help you if you know you’re more likely to get sick.

 

I’m pregnant, can I go on a Air Tour?

We don’t recommend it for women who are more than 7 months pregnant, but we don’t have any restrictions.

What kind of aircraft do you fly? 

Our tours are offered in single-engine general aviation aircraft  seating up to 3 passengers, excluding your tour pilot.  All of our tours are private, and we will never put you in the airplane with another passenger that you don't know.  

What will I need to bring with me on the day of the flight?  Will it be cold up there?

Wear comfortable clothes, preferably in layers.  It does tend to get warm in the airplane.  You may want to bring sunglasses and a camera.

The weather is not looking great, are we still going to fly?

Williamsburg Flight Center will determine suitability of weather for the flight.  Due to the variability of the weather in the areas that we fly in, some areas may experience better or worse conditions. We may need to adjust our routing to accommodate for weather conditions.  If the weather is not good enough to fly that day, we will reschedule your flight to a later date. 

How do I get a refund?

Please visit our Terms and Conditions page for details. 

I have a question, how do I contact someone?

You can email us at info@williamsburgflightcenter.com with your specific question.  Please provide your name, phone number, and the best time to reach you and someone will call you back as soon as possible - usually within 24 hours.

FLIGHT TRAINING | FAQ

How long will it take to get my certificate?

Learning to fly is not difficult, but it does require good study habits and practice since it is a skill. The national average for obtaining a Private Pilot Certificate is around 60-70 hours.  Since we generally have better weather in Virginia and can fly more often, the average drops to approximately 55-65 hours.

How long it will take you depends on how often you fly. If you do anything every day, you’ll learn it quicker than doing it once or twice a week because you won’t have to “relearn” what you “forgot” between lessons. If you fly every day, you could possibly earn your certificate in 45-50 hours flown in a month or so. If you can only fly part time, it may take you a year or more, and more than 80 hours to earn your certificate.
How long is a lesson?
Most flight training lessons will take around 2- hours from start to finish. Most lessons are based on an approximate 1-hour flight and 1-hour of pre-flight and post-flight discussions or ground training. The pre and post-flight discussions are where you and your flight instructor talk about what you’re going to do, how you did, what you did well, what needs work, and what you’ll do on your next lesson.
How safe is it?
General aviation is as safe as any other mode of travel, if not safer. You don’t need a parachute because airplanes (and helicopters) do not fall out of the sky, even if the engine stops. If an engine quits, for example, you pitch for the airplane's best glide speed and make an off field landing. The most common cause for this is fuel exhaustion. In other words, flying is as safe as you make it. How to fly safely, and to deal with the rare emergencies that are beyond the pilot’s influence, will be covered in your training.
Can I carry passengers?
Student pilots cannot carry passengers when flying solo. Friends or family may ride along on dual lessons (when your instructor is in the plane) however, and it’s a good idea to discuss this with your CFI in advance. Recreational pilots may only carry one passenger at a time; private pilots may carry as many passengers as the airplane will legally hold. While recreational and private pilots may share the expenses of a flight, they may not charge people for flying them someplace. Pilots must have a commercial certificate and fly for an air taxi operation to get paid for transporting people.
What's ground school?
Flight training is divided into two parts, ground school and flight training. Ground school teaches you the principles, procedures, and regulations you will put into practice in an airplane — how a wing generates lift, how to navigate from one airport to another, and weather related factors. Before you can earn a pilot certificate, you must pass a computerized FAA knowledge test (with a score of at least 70 percent) on this information. You have several ground school options. You can attend a scheduled classroom course that may be held at a flight school, independent ground school, high school, or community college. There are also intense, weekend-long ground schools. Or you can take a home-study course, which is composed of videotapes and may include computerized test preparation software. Regardless of the option you choose, you’ll need an instructor’s endorsement to take the knowledge test.
When will I actually begin flying?
You’ll be flying on your first lesson, with your CFI’s help, of course. With each lesson, your CFI will be helping less, until you won’t need any help at all. When you reach this point, you will make your first solo flight, an important milestone in every pilot’s training. After you solo, you and your CFI will work on such things as flying cross-country. And when you’re ready, you’ll make several solo cross-country flights. When you have demonstrated your ability to consistently demonstrate all of the FAA-required skills, your instructor will recommend you for the FAA checkride.​
What kinds of things should pilots practice regularly once they obtain their pilot certificate?
Celebrate your pilot certificate by flying often! But don’t get stuck in a rut and fly the same routine each time you fly. Instead, reinforce all of your flying skills while developing new ones. Build a plan to get regular experience in these areas: piloting skills, flight planning and aeronautical ­decision-making (ADM).

In the skills area, practicing landings is most important. Pilots seem to understand that, and a typical flight for many pilots involves eight or 10 landings and then calling it quits. But make sure you practice the full range of landings, including power-off landings from the pattern altitude and higher. When I pull the power at 4,500 feet, I sometimes hear from the student: “I haven’t done that since I got my license 10 years ago.” “Well, why the heck not?” I wonder.
If you fly tailwheel aircraft, practice wheel landings regularly. Seaplane pilots should practice glassy water landings even when the water’s not glassy. And, no matter what equipment you fly, make sure that you practice go-arounds often. Make sure that the right side of your body is moving forward in concert as you add power and right rudder.

While maintaining your flying skills, don’t forget to exercise your brain. Practice planning trips to various destinations, even some you may never fly to. Consider the safest routes, not just the GPS direct route, taking possible emergency landing sites into consideration. Pick safe altitudes that avoid terrain and obstructions. Evaluate the weather on different days and decide which of those days you would cancel.

Finally, become a student of ADM. Before each flight, think about the unique risks you face for that flight. It could be issues related to weather, terrain, familiarity with the aircraft or airport, night, fuel, unfamiliar airspace or even noise abatement regulations. If anything makes you uncomfortable, mitigate the risk by getting more information, bringing along a CFI or canceling the trip.
Eric Radtke is an airline transport pilot, Gold Seal flight instructor, advanced ground instructor and NAFI-accredited Master Flight Instructor. Eric has been involved in aviation education since 1998 and currently serves as president and chief instructor of Sporty’s Academy — the educational arm of Sporty’s Pilot Shop. He says:
Earning a pilot certificate is a special accomplishment. It also comes with the responsibility to continue learning and refining those skills through practice. Creating a plan for doing so will only enhance your aviation experiences and provide even greater personal enrichment.
Practice landings: A wise person once told me: “You can’t practice anything effectively unless you have goals and a method to measure progress.” In terms of making more consistent landings, this means examining your landings with a critical eye. Some things to consider:
Speed: Are your pattern speeds correct and consistent through all legs?
Aiming and touchdown points: Are you maintaining the discipline to select aiming and touchdown points for every landing and making those touchdown points?
Flare and touchdown: Are you appropriately trading airspeed for altitude in the form of a shallower descent in the flare and touching down as the wings stall?
Runway alignment: Are you on centerline with the longitudinal axis parallel to the runway?
Go-arounds: Are you following your own rules for a stable approach and executing a go-around when appropriate?
Judge your improvement on the quality of your “bad” landings. And practice under a variety of conditions (wind, configuration, time of day, etc.) to better hone your visual cues and mastery of the airplane.
Practice abnormal procedures: Read the wonderfully insightful section of your POH that includes an expanded discussion of abnormal and emergency procedures. On your next flight, review the table of contents for the emergency section and select an event you haven’t practiced. Follow the checklist for that item and understand the “why” behind it. This exercise not only will prepare you for real-time anomalies, but also will ensure a better understanding of your aircraft’s systems.
Finally, fly: There’s nothing better for proficiency than to fly more and visit unfamiliar airports.

Flying Magazine / By Pia Bergqvist / Published: Aug 24, 2012

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