Interested in the training/checkride/maintenance time and cost to become a licensed pilot to fly weight-shift control light sport aircraft (LSA) trikes at Sport Aviation Center?
At Sport Aviation Center you get a great value. Paul Hamilton has earned the highest possible ratings for WSC Trike, the first WSC Trike CFI and FAA examiner, wrote the books for the FAA and WSC training schools, operated a full time successful flight school full time for over a decade and is a FAA Light-Sport Repairman for WSC trikes/airplanes. You get the greatest practical experience and value, making you a safer and more competent pilot.
Everything you want to know about pilot training/checkride/rental/maintenance time and cost is listed here…
WSC Trike Instruction, Flight Reviews, Practical Test (Checkride) and Proficiency Check Fees Detailed Line-item Breakdown
- Intro Flight with Flight Instructor and Aircraft LSA – $250 short or $330 medium *
(Counts as official flight training time with the preflight and post-flight briefing. Short is about 30 minute Hobbs time, and medium is about 60 minute Hobbs time. Pictures $80 or video $150)
- $290 per hour – Primary Flight Instruction (includes $85/hr instructor and $205/hr trike*)
- $85 per hour – Ground Time/Instruction** (group rate is $50 per hour per person)
- $260 per hour – Flight Instruction in applicant-owned aircraft, including ferrying or flight testing (owner buys fuel)
- $900 Sport Pilot Practical Test/checkride or Proficiency Check (in applicant aircraft)
- $1100 Sport Flight Instructor Initial/Renewal Practical Test/Checkride or Proficiency Check (in applicant aircraft)
- $260 per hour – Aircraft Rental for Solo, Practical Test/Checkride, Proficiency Check or Flight Review *** (Trike is available for rental see rental details)
- Simulator flight training $95 per hour simulator flight training ($20 for simulator and $85 for instruction)
- $20 per hour flight simulator use after checkout
- $335 Biennial Flight Review minimum in pilot-supplied aircraft (minimum time requirements – may take more than minimum, no aircraft rental)
- $365 Biennial Flight Review in rental aircraft (minimum time requirements – may take more than minimum, with aircraft rental)
- $20 per day temporary trike hanger storage for flight training or maintenance
- $380 per month for monthly term trike hanger storage (small to medium-sized wing <16 M wing)
- $450 for larger WSC Trikes (greater than 16 M wing or 35-foot wing span)
- $105 per hour or $900 per day (whichever is less) for maintenance. Travel time, any location $85/hour.
- $950 per 100 hour/annual condition inspection (this does not include any maintenance/fixes or parts such as oil changes/carb sync/etc.).
- Travel $900 per day plus expenses for flight instruction, aircraft time and/or maintenance. Travel time, any location $85/hour.
- $1000 pre-paid non-refundable deposit for full-time accelerated training (see details for accelerated training below).
If travel is involved for any service, hotel/food/transportation expenses are additional.
* Includes aircraft, headsets, and fuel, complete with no extra costs.
** Includes time from scheduled appointment/time of meeting to end of scheduled time/when the training session is complete and applicant leaves.
*** Includes headsets and fuel.
How much does it cost to get a sport pilot license?
This depends on several factors and can range between $8,000 and $15,000 for the TOTAL COST. Let’s look at the variables first to understand this large range.
- Will you be learning in your own aircraft or renting one?
- Will you be doing a concentrated course where you are flying every day until you get your license, will you be doing the optimum schedule of flying one day on and one day off, or will you be dragging it out by only flying on weekends once a month or longer periods?
- Do you have good study habits, motivated to study on your own or will you need someone to teach most or all the material?
- How fast do you pick up the motor skills to control the aircraft?
- Did you go through the on-line training course?
Important NOTE on SOLOING aircraft: We now have a trike you can rent and do the solo time. You simply buy the non-owner aircraft insurance just like the typical the requirements for airplanes. This is not typical for most trike training operations throughout the US/world. Most trike training schools DO NOT have a trike to rent for solo. There are many options, you could bring your own trike here and learn in it or better, you train in our trikes to the point of going solo, you buy your own trike since you are smarter on trikes after some initial training. Now you are ready for your solo hours and your checkride. Existing pilots with an FAA license transitioning to trikes do not have to solo to add trikes to their pilot certificate.
Overall, the costs to become sport pilot trike are less than half that of a private pilot airplane. It must be understood that these are realistic numbers, not something pared down to make it look inexpensive. Most “learn to fly for $2XXX” do not include the post-flight briefings, flight/ground school, FAA test fees or anything for training materials. Here we will provide the complete range of time and costs so you can be educated and compare.
What about Ultralight pilots for weight-shift control trikes?
Legally, there are no time, training or FAA tests for a single place ultralight. However, the federal laws FAR Title 14 Part 103 require the non-FAA licensed pilot to fly an ultralight with certain federal requirements for the safety of the general public which require significant education of the federal airspace and specific requirements to fly into some controlled federal airspace. For an ultralight pilot to think he/she is operating without any federal regulations this is a misnomer. FAR Part 103 or officially Title 14 CFR Part 103 specifies a number of federal regulations so some uneducated 103 pilot does not fly into a GA traffic, a commercial airliner or create a hazard to the general public. If you in a remote area this will not affect you much but in more congested airspace flying an ultralight, this is a big factor. No one wants to get hurt or endanger others flying a trike. Simple.
Simply, if you are going to operate an ultralight in federal airspace, you need to know the laws that affect you, your family, your friends and the general public per Title 14 CFR Part 103.
If anyone thinks that those operating an ultralight are free from federal airspace regulations, think again. It is federal airspace and you must abide by the federal airspace laws.
Again, if you want to get qualified to fly an ultralight trike, it takes about half the time as a sport pilot and one quarter the time as a private pilot trike.
How long does it take to get a Sport Pilot License?
The range of flight hours varies greatly. We have had some get through with as little as 25 hours flight time. Others, 70 hours of flight time. As discussed above, there are several factors. Let’s use an average of 35 hours of flight time. If we average 2.0 hours flight time per day this is about 18 days or between 2 to 3 weeks with good weather. Actual time depends on many factors, but with a concentrated course and good weather plan on 3 to 5 weeks to get it in one stay.
Sport Pilot License Accelerated Program
The steps for typical Sport Aviation Center Sport Pilot license accelerated program:
- Step 1: You buy the student pilot learn to fly course and you do all the homework for flight and ground lessons by following the training course syllabus. This allows you to progress quickly and efficiently through your flight training and ground school. You can easily pass the FAA knowledge test before you show up for flight training.
- Step 2: You schedule your time slot for accelerated training. $1000/week deposit is required for this time slot for intensive training (see cancelation policy below).
- Step 3: You show up here in Reno/Tahoe/Carson for 7 to 14 days concentrated flight and ground training. We get you proficient to solo. For staying here lodging/transportation see Where to Stay.
- Step 4: You obtain your student pilot certificate before you can solo. This takes about 2 to 3 weeks. See Step 2 on this page to get student pilot certificate under the heading “Notes on how, when and why to apply a Student Pilot Certificate”.
- Step 5: Now that you are educated on trikes and ready to solo, typically, you buy your own WSC trike and we solo you in it. You can do this by bringing it here for us to checkout and fly, bring it to your own airport to solo, or find another recommended instructor to finish out your solo and cross-country solo requirements. Many students fly to their hearts content and have a great time flying any time they want during this solo phase. Generally, the more solo the better. Additionally, we have a WSC trike to rent to complete your solo requirements
- Step 6: You take your Practical Test/Checkride and you are a sport pilot.
It should be noted that sometimes you need to be handed off to another flight instructor to provide the minimum 2 hours required flight time two calendar months before the checkride to recommend a student pilot for a checkride. This can be done for initial training, solo, right after solo or just before the checkride. This depends on the specific circumstances. If you come to Sport Aviation Center for the complete training package this may happen before, during, or after solo before the checkride. I have another trike/airplane CFI, Michaela Flint who is an excellent CFI to train and get you ready for your checkride with this 2 hour requirement. We’ve got you covered! One stop shop.
Important note for the prices below in the charts.
It should be noted that prices change on a daily basis based on many factors and the prices below IN THE CHARTS my not reflect the current prices. Simply use the prices above to tally the amounts used below for your estimates.
Trike – Weight-Shift Control Aircraft – Minimum Cost To Own Aircraft
Let’s look at the optimum situation using your own trike, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school with the on-line learn to fly course, and you have great motor skills to have the minimum flight hours required for the license. This is not typical but provided as the minimum for comparisons with other programs.
If you take out what most schools do not include, training materials, FAA knowledge test and checkride this would total the $3000 to $4000 some schools advertise. This is only for minimum legal requirements. Read the fine print in the low price to get a pilots license. We are going to include all training costs in our comparisons since this is part of your overall cost so if you are trying to compare real costs, look at all the pieces.
Trike, Weight-Shift Control Aircraft – Minimum Cost Of Renting Aircraft
Let’s look at the optimum situation where you rent the trike for dual training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have great motor skills to have the minimum flight hours required for the license. Note that you rent the WSC trike for your solo and checkride. You would take off some if you buy your own trike for solo/checkride.
Trike, Weight-Shift Control Aircraft – Low Time Rent Aircraft
Let’s look at the situation where you rent the trike for dual training, with a training schedule not flying constantly and/or having to go back and repeat flight tasks as needed and/or it takes more time than the minimum to get through which is typical. You do not study much and require more hours of ground time to get through your three types of ground school. Note that you buy a trike for solo.
Trike, Weight-Shift Control Aircraft – Average Time Rent Aircraft
Let’s look at the typical situation “average time” where you rent the trike for dual and solo training, with a concentrated course or optimum flying three days per week, you study everything to get through your three types of ground school, and you have good motor skills to have the average range of flight 35 hours for the license. This is the industry average of flight hours to get a Sport Pilot license. Note if you rent the trike, you will need about $400 additional renters’ insurance for solo. Here is an example with the hours and costs:
Trike, Weight-Shift Control Aircraft – Long Time Rent Aircraft
Let’s look at the extended situation where you rent the trike for dual and solo training, with an extended training schedule not flying constantly and/or having to go back and repeat flight tasks as needed and/or it takes more time than the average to get through. You do not study much and require an additional 40 hours of ground time to get through your three types of ground school. Note if you rent the trike you will need about $400 additional renters insurance for solo.
Overall, there is a wide range of total costs in getting a sport pilot WSC trike certificate. With a little planning and self-study you can minimize the costs.
48 Hour Cancellation Policy
When you book a reservation, you are reserving a time slot specifically for you. Sport Aviation Center LLC arranges all other bookings around your reserved time slot. If you will be unable to honor your reservation, you must call and talk with us to let us know at least 48 hours in advance so we can book someone else for this valuable time slot. If you call and talk to us before your flight within 48 hours to cancel your scheduled flight, we must bill you for 50% of your flight’s cost. If you do not call to cancel within 48 hours of your scheduled flight and we are mobilized/scheduled waiting for you, and you do not show up, we must bill you for the full amount. Your scheduled time slot is valuable and can be used by other customers so please call to cancel as soon as possible to avoid charges. We appreciate your understanding.
Accelerated Course Deposit and Cancellation Policy
We require $1000 deposit up front for scheduling time for accelerated training so secure the aircraft and instructor. This $1000 deposit goes towards your flight and ground training time when you are doing your training here. When you book time for an accelerated course you are reserving this valuable time slot (aircraft and instructor) specifically for you. Sport Aviation Center LLC arranges all other bookings around your reserved time slot. If you are unable to honor your reservation, you must call and talk with us 775.772 8232 (no e-mail or text) to let us know at least 1 week in advance so we can book someone else for this valuable time slot and you can reschedule at that time. If you cancel or reschedule within this 1 week period before your first scheduled time, the $1000 deposit for the first week is nonrefundable. Your scheduled time slot is valuable and can be used by other customers so please call to cancel or reschedule as soon as possible. We appreciate your understanding.
All prices in USD.