Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport • 11001 Baker Street • Amarillo, Texas 79111 • Office (806)335-9763 • Fax (806)335-9221

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get my pilot's license?
The cost to acquire your certificates can vary. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours flight training, 20 of those hours must be with a certificated instructor. At the time of this writing, the minimum cost is $5600.00. At Coyote we furnish study materials and equipment to our students at no cost to our students. Additional expenses may be incurred if a student elects to purchase their own equipment, study materials, or if a student requires more than the specified minimum training.

How long does it take to get your license?
The minimum flight time for a private certificate is 40 hours. Each lesson will average about 1 hour of flight time. If a student takes 2-3 lessons per week they can easily complete their training in less than 6 months. Unfortunately sometimes lessons have to be cancelled due to weather or mechanical issues with an aircraft. In cases such as these, our instructors are available to help their students study ground lessons.

When are classes held?
Our instructors are able to work around your schedule. While they have the final say in when they are willing to teach, most of them are available weekdays, weeknights, weekends, holidays, or just about any time you are.

What is the difference between a controlled airport and an uncontrolled airport?
Amarillo International is a controlled airport. Here, all of the traffic is under the supervision of air traffic controllers who have the benefit of radar. These controllers provide traffic separation services which make the sky a safer place to fly. At an uncontrolled airfield each pilot is responsible for seeing and avoiding any other aircraft which may be operating at the same airport.

Which airport is better for training, controlled or uncontrolled?
For flight training a case can be made that either airport will serve equally well, however there are two major benefits to learning in a controlled environment. The first is safety. While all pilots are responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft, at an uncontrolled airport there is no requirement for other pilots to announce their position over the radio. This can (and has) lead to situations where two aircraft have tried to use the same runway at the same time. Second, pilots who learn to fly at a controlled airport also learn superior radio skills. These pilots are then well prepared when they fly into or near other places such as Lubbock or Dallas where the airspace is even more tightly controlled.

Will it take longer to learn at a controlled airport? Ive heard that you have to wait on the ground for clearances.
Absolutely not. Your lesson begins the moment you arrive. Once you start your aircraft's engine and are ready to taxi, it only takes a few seconds to ask for and recieve a clearance. Perhaps a better question to ask of any school might be how many hours does it take for an average student to finish their course. At Coyote, most of our students earn their license in about 45 hours of flight time. The national average is between 60 and 70. Becoming a pilot is more than just learning to fly, it also includes being able to safely operate your aircraft, understanding weather, and learning to make safe decisions.

What materials should I purchase before flight training?
Coyote has a small library of study material that students may use free of charge. We also provide loaner equipment, such as headsets, for use during each flight. Additonally, the FAA has published the following which are available for download at no charge:

  1. Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
  2. Airplane Flying Handbook
  3. Aviation Weather Services
  4. Instrument Procedures Handbook

Do I need a physical?
You will be required to take a third class medical.  This physical requires basically good health.  Glasses and contacts for vision are allowed.  In our experience, most people don't have a problem passing their medicals.

Can I fly for my company/business?
Sort of... According to the federal regulations, only commercially certificated pilots may fly for compensation or hire. Private pilots must divide the expenses of the flight between all of the people on board and must pay, at a minimum, their fair share. Thus, you may fly as a private pilot for your business, but you may not be compensated for the flight. Compensation is not limited to money either, it includes free flight time, free puppies, meals, etc. There have been many private pilots who have tried to find ways around this rule but have instead found themselves subject to enforcement action from the FAA.

After I get my license, what airplanes can I fly?
The first license people usually earn is the "single-engine land" private pilot certificate. This allows a person to fly any land based aircraft with one engine. There are however some exceptions. Tail dragger, high performance, and complex aircraft require a few hours of additional training and a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor before a person can legally operate them.  Aircraft with more than one engine, sea-planes, helicopters, and gliders each require a completely new additonal certificate.

I want to purchase my own aircraft, what do you reccomend?
For starters, we reccomend that people wait until they have their certificate in-hand before purchasing any aircraft.  There are so many different types of aircraft, each with their own unique flying characteristics that it is easy for someone to purchase an aircraft they don't like.  Also, people with little experience in aviation often find what appears to be a great deal on an aircraft that ends up becoming a money pit.  If you simply must purchase your own aircraft, take a veteran pilot or mechanic with you to look at it.  Have a pre-buy inspection completed at an airfield of your choosing, at least 50 miles away form the aircraft's home base.  Aircraft ownership, if approached correctly, can be fun and rewarding.  If not, it often becomes a nightmare.