Where to Start
The first thing I would suggest would be to take a discovery flight in the aircraft you will be taking your lessons in. This will give you the chance to see if flying a light aircraft is enjoyable or not. It will also give us a chance to meet and discuss the details of your training and for me to answer any questions you may have.
I could write pages and pages on how best to start your flying career, however, to avoid re-inventing the wheel here is a link. Please download and/or print this guide and read it thoroughly as it should answer most of your questions. If not, feel free to contact me with any questions.
Let's go ahead and get out in front of this now. This is usually the first or second thing people ask me when they are thinking about flying. I like to frame it this way: How much is a new Motor Cycle? Ski boat? Disney Vacation?
I list these things because they are similar in nature and price to getting your Pilots License. There is one important difference though. Of the four, only a private pilots license gives you the opportunity for travel and adventure with your family for years to come. Many pilots refer to airplanes as "Time Machines". That Harley cant make it from Russellville to Branson in 35 minutes. Most boats around here are only for day trips at best so good luck getting to the Bahamas or Key West in them, something that is relatively easy to do in a plane. The trip to Disney is over in a few days and is book-marked by a drive that you could have flown in 1/4 the time.
Really what I am trying to say is your training and license should be looked at as an investment in something that you will be able to use for years to come. Something that you can use to enable you to do more things. However, you should plan for this investment accordingly. Just like most of us don't have the cash laying around to go out and purchase a Harley on a whim, you should not start flying lessons with a similar attitude. Let me help you develop a training plan that matches your budget and we can get going!
Where to Start
1. Find a flight school
2. Take an introductory flight
3. Choose an instructor
4. Select a type of certificate
5. Select a type of aircraft
6. Budget your time and money
7. Get your FAA Class 3 medical
8. Talk to pilots
9. Do you qualify for any scholarships?
What training program do I use?
I teach private pilot students using the Gleim PPL Training Kits. Once you have talked with me about starting your training I will have you purchase this kit. Please don't purchase this before talking with me since not all instructors use this courseware and I don't want you to be out the money should you decide on a different instructor. The different Gleim kits are the same as far as core content, the more expensive ones have extras explained on their website.
If your more of a visual learner, Sporty's has a great video based ground school. You can find more information here Sporty's Learn to Fly Course.
What is the overall cost?
The cost of training has a lot of variables including the rental rate of the aircraft you select and how often you train. Light Sport will cost between $4,500 to $7,500. A Private Pilot Certificate will cost between $6,000 to $11,000. However, this is not an up-front expense. You pay for training as you go as your budget allows.
How much does it cost to rent airplanes?
Rates vary between airplanes. All prices include fuel and tax. In other words, these are the hourly rates that you pay. There are no hidden fees, additional taxes, or fuel surcharges.
Flight Instruction: $50/hr
Sundowner (low wing): $140/hr
Cessna 172 (high wing): $140/hr
What will I eventually be able to do?
Well, sooner than you think, you will be flying an airplane solo. Which is to say, without anyone else in the plane with you! Just ask Mark and Bill, it is exhilarating!