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Frequently Asked Questions 2017-03-26T11:47:04+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

I live in western Massachusetts. Where can I get a medical? 2017-03-22T22:45:36+00:00

We have assembled a list of FAA aviation medical examiners for the Amherst / Northampton area in western Massachusetts. Please visit our list of medical examiners for a list of phone numbers and addresses of local medical examiners.

Who do I contact about the FAA written exam? 2017-03-11T19:27:50+00:00

The airport is now a CATS (Computer Assisted Testing Service) site and is able to administer FAA written exams. In order to schedule an appointment, please call the CATS facility at 1-800-947-4228.

How do I obtain a weather briefing? 2017-03-11T19:29:18+00:00

The FAA provides a Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) that can easily be accessed either by phone or by internet. DUATS service is provided by two commercial vendors:

  • DTC (Data Transformation Corp.) 1-800-243-3828
  • 1-800-AID-DUAT 1-800-245-3828
  • GTE Federal Sys Division (Contel) 1-800-345-3828
  • 1-800-CHK-DUAT 1-800-767-9989

GTE provides a variety of services that can be accessed over the internet. If you have a student pilot certificate or pilot license, you can access these services by www.duats.com. Alternatively, you can download a windows application that makes it easier to view briefings and plan flights. This application is called cirrus. To sign up for the services, visit the GTE DUATS home page.

Do I need to buy a headset? 2017-03-11T19:27:45+00:00

The simple answer is not right away. We have headsets available for rental. However, at some point, you might find it more desirable to own a headset, especially if you decide to continue flying. If so, we have  David Clark headsets available for sale at the airport. David Clark is generally regarded as the “Rolls Royce” of headset makers. Their models tend to be more expensive than the competition; however, they stand up to amazing abuse. Furthermore, the company backs the warranties quite strongly. We highly recommend purchasing a David Clark headset if you do decide to purchase one.

What do I do if I’m having trouble getting a medical? 2017-03-11T19:28:21+00:00

The best thing to do if this is the case is to contact the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) at 1-800-USA-AOPA. You can speak to a number of different specialists, who will gladly answer your questions whether or not you are a member.

What other sources of aviation information are there on the net? 2017-03-06T13:31:15+00:00

We have a page of links to web sites that you can use to find additional information. Furthermore, you can look at the aviation usenet newsgroups (rec.aviation) to find addition information.

How much does it cost to get a license? 2017-03-11T19:27:23+00:00

The actual cost depends on several factors. You will need a number of books and charts. These may total in the range to $100 to $200. The medical certificate varies with respect to the physician who issues it. However, it may cost in the range of $65 to $80. The major expense is the aircraft and instructor time. The aircraft rental prices vary with respect to which plane is used. Overall, one can expect to spend in the range of $5000 to $7000 to get a private pilot certificate.

How much training time is required? 2016-09-18T20:46:12+00:00

The FAA requires that you fly at least 40 hours of flight time. At least 20 of these hours must be with a certificated flight instructor. Of these, you will need 3 hours of instrument training and 3 hours of night flying. The national average is approximately 65 hours to complete the training.

What do I need to become a pilot? 2017-03-11T19:27:34+00:00

The FAA requires that you be 16 to solo and 17 years old to get your license; however, you can still train at a younger age. You must be able to read, speak, and understand English. You need to obtain at least a third-class medical certificate; however, you can still fly with an instructor without one. Finally, you must pass an FAA written test as well as an oral and flight test.