Call SkyHoppers @ 800-515-4225
Call SkyHoppers @ 800-515-4225
"Cisco" the Skywagon, taking off from the grass strip at Columbia, California.

SkyHoppers Flight Training Offerings

SkyHoppers offers flight instruction in single-engine airplanes for students seeking Private & Recreational pilot certification, an Instrument Rating, and Complex & High-Performance endorsements, all offered under 'Part 61' of the Federal Aviation Regulations. We also specialize in tailwheel transition training for beginners and advanced pilots alike. SkyHoppers offers block rates for Flight and ground instruction for as little as $80 per hour for Recreational Pilot training, $90 per hour for Private Pilot training, and $100 per hour for Instrument training & advanced training (see below). Block payments are purchased in advance and are more cost effective for those who commit to weekly training. Block hours are applied to both ground & flight instruction. Prices are subject to change without notice.

SkyHoppers offers one-on-one instruction utilizing our personalized, comprehensive syllabus for Private Pilot,
Recreational Pilot, and Instrument Rating candidates.

SkyHoppers Chief Instructor, Andrew Dilworth offers basic flight training utilizing airplanes based at the Advantage Aviation Flying Club, which is an exclusive club of Independent flight instructors and airplane owners located at Palo Alto Airport in California. Click here for more information about the Advantage Aviation fleet of aircraft, including current hourly rental rates. Click here to view the Chief Instructors biography on the Advantage Aviation website.

Recreational Pilot Training

Recreational Pilot certification is available to anyone 16 and older with no prior flying experience. The FAA requires a minimum of 30 flight hours for certification, but most students complete training with an average of 45 hours of flight training. Recreational Pilot training also requires an average of 20 hours of ground instruction. The certificate is typically achieved in 3 to 4 months if lessons are given twice per week.

The rate for Recreational Pilot training is $80 per hour when a block payment is purchased in advance for $2,500.

  • This block payment affords 31-hours of flight & ground instruction at that rate.
  • The standard hourly rate is otherwise $90 per hour.

The overall cost of Recreational Pilot training is much less expensive than Private Pilot training, as it does not require any cross-country, night, or attitude-instrument flight training. The training can be conducted in round-dial Cessna 172's or the newer Symphony 160, to further reduce the overall investment.

The Recreational Certificate offers greater versatility than the Light-Sport Certificate. Specifically, the Recreational allows you to fly 4-place standard-category airplanes having up to 180 horsepower, and no weight or speed limitations (i.e. old & new Cessna 172's). The Recreational also entitles you to fly Light-Sport aircraft following a simple checkout, requiring only a valid drivers license in lieu of a Medical Certificate. Both certificates are otherwise limited to daytime flight below 10,000 feet above sea level, with only one passenger aboard.

With the exception of these limitations, the Recreational is mostly equivalent to the Private Certificate. While the Recreational has a 50nm radius limitation, this can be removed permanently with the completion of 'cross-country' flight training and a simple instructor endorsement, allowing you to fly throughout the U.S. forever after.

Private Pilot Training

Private Pilot certification is available to anyone 16 and older with no prior flying experience. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight hours for certification, but most students complete training with an average of 75 hours of flight training. Private Pilot training also requires an average of 35 hours of ground instruction. The certificate is typically achieved in 4 to 6 months if lessons are given twice per week.

The rate for Private Pilot training is $90 per hour when a block payment is purchased in advance for $2,500.

  • This block payment affords 28-hours of flight & ground instruction at that rate.
  • The standard hourly rate is otherwise $100 per hour.

The overall cost of the Private Pilot training investment varies depending on student dedication, lesson frequency, and the rental cost of the selected training airplane. Private pilot certification requires additional training in cross-country flying (greater than 50nm), night flight, and attitude-instrument flight training, compared to the Recreational Certification.

After you earn your Private Pilot Certificate, you will be able to fly any single-engine airplane up to 12,500 pounds, day or night, with any number of passengers, in primarily fair weather, most anywhere throughout the U.S., and the world! This certificate also allows you to fly High-Performance & Complex airplanes requiring only an instructor endorsement.

The Private Pilot Certificate is also required for those who will seek an instrument rating, and may be required for insurance purposes if you desire to own a particular airplane, and/or plan to travel to distances greater than 50nm on a regular basis.

Instrument Rating Training

Any licensed pilot wishing to fly through and within clouds (Instrument Meteorological Conditions, IMC) should invest in an Instrument Rating. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours for the rating, but most students complete training with an average of 65 hours of dual instruction received in a combination of airplanes and simulators. The Instrument Rating also requires an average of 35 hours of ground instruction. The Instrument Rating is typically achieved in 4 to 6 months if lessons are given twice per week.

The rate for Instrument training is $100 per hour when a block payment is purchased in advance for $2,500.

  • This block payment affords 25-hours of flight & ground instruction at that rate.
  • This block rate also applies to all types of advanced training, including extended BFR training.
  • A 15-hour block rate is also available for $105 per hour.
  • The standard hourly rate is otherwise $110 per hour.

The overall cost of the Instrument rating investment varies depending on prior experience, the extent of simulator training, and the rental cost of the selected training airplane.

After you earn your Instrument Rating, you will be able to depart and approach airports through fog, marine layers, and overcasts typically encountered in the summer along the California coast and in the Central Valley during the winter. You will also be able to navigate through extensive frontal Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) conditions, or escape inadvertent entry of IMC. Whether you pursue the Instrument Rating for convenience, or if you expect to fly in areas regularly subject to IMC, the Instrument Rating is the best supplemental training investment a pilot can make.

The only equipment necessary to begin training for the Recreational or Private Certificates includes a Jeppesen 'Part 61' training kit which is approximately $250, and a good quality beginners headset which is approximately $350 depending on the selected model.

SkyHoppers also offers Advanced flight instruction to private and commercial pilots seeking high-performance, Tailwheel, & complex endorsements, or checkouts in unfamiliar airplanes. Transition training for any of these endorsements is typically completed in 5 to 15 hours depending on the type of endorsement, and prior experience, previous training, & overall pilot proficiency. SkyHoppers provides advanced flight instruction in all these areas for a flat rate of $400 per 4-hour flight lesson periods. SkyHoppers also performs Biennial Flight Reviews (BFR) and Instrument Proficiency Checks (IPC) in 4-hour lesson periods for a flat rate of $420. The hourly rate beyond each of these individual lesson periods is only $95 per hour.

Students are afforded a single same-day cancellation per each block payment period for the training offerings listed above. All subsequent cancellations shall require 48 hours notice prior to the next scheduled lesson start time, regardless of circumstance. Each cancellation made with less than 48 hours notice will reduce the available block payment balance by 3 hours. Cancellations due to current or forecast inclement weather will be made solely at the discretion of the Chief Instructor based on the objective of the scheduled lesson.