SIX KEYS TIPS FOR CHOOSING A GREAT FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
1) Interview several instructors on the ground before you fly. You will spend a lot of time with this person—you may not be best friends, but you should have a pleasant relationship. Talk with other clients, as well, to gain the full picture.
2) Go beyond personality and check attention to detail: Do they use a syllabus and assign you study material? Are they prepared for every flight? Do they conduct pre-flight and post-flight briefings?
3) Ensure your instructor stays available to train on your schedule—and be willing to try someone new who can deliver when you want to fly.
4) Expect to pay for all of the time the instructor spends with you—ground and flight instruction—just like you would any other professional, like your attorney or doctor.
5) Be open to an instructor who may not match your demographic, but lets their quality of training shine through. It includes what they do, how long they’ve been at it, and what got them to where they are.
6) Invest in a balloon ride with them, if possible, to see how they are on the ground and in the air. How do they treat their crew? How do they talk to you? Did they answer all your questions satisfactorily? Are they someone you feel comfortable committing your time and money too?
Training Costs and Scheduling
Even though the FAA has established minimum flight hours requirements and tasks that you will need to accomplish and to be proficient at to get your pilot’s certificate; we cannot guarantee that you will be signed off and ready to take your check ride with just the minimum number of hours. Our experience shows us that some students learn quicker than others; and previous flight experience has nothing to do with it. Your own training success depends on many factors; the most important being your attitude and personal commitment.
Since we all learn differently, each student’s training program is tailored to meet their needs and abilities. All flight instruction is one-on-one and includes both pre-flight, and post-flight discussions. Consequently, each student’s progress will vary depending upon the time required by them to not only become proficient, but to become an accomplished pilot in the process.
Therefore, be prepared to invest your time and personal resources to accomplish that. We can assure you that we want you to successfully obtain your check-ride certificate as much as you do; but we will not sign you off before you are ready.
Your costs will range from a minimum of $5,000 in a student provided balloon with minimum flight hours to obtain your private, to well over $8950 when using our equipment and ground school if more flight time is needed to become proficient.
ABQ Balloon Worx will furnish a training balloon, instructor, a crew person, vehicle, propane, and insurance for $495.00 per flight hour. Flight time is billed at a minimum of one hour per outing. Your check ride cost is $495.00 for Private and $550.00 for Commercial, which includes the DPE.
For a student owned balloon, ABQ Balloon Worx will furnish the instructor at $295.00 per flight hour. Flight time is billed at a minimum of one hour per outing. Student will supply the balloon, vehicle, crew, vehicle/balloon fuel, and insurance. If you require crew, your cost is $75/outing. Your check ride cost is $495.00 for Private and $550.00 for Commercial, which includes the DPE; and your instructor will crew with you on these flights.
Your total investment with us to receive either your private or commercial certificate could cost approximately $5,000 to $8,950 for your private using your equipment. Using our equipment to receive your commercial could cost approximately $12,000, or more, depending upon whether or not more hours and training are required.
Buy a brand new Lindstrand Hot Air Balloon from us and your flight lessons, along with your first balloon annual are included. Not included is your balloon insurance, propane, gas, crew, meals & hotel, and your DPE check ride, as noted above.
We stay busy most times of the year, so it’s important that you reach out to us and make reservations at least three to four weeks in advance. However, there are times of the year when we are extremely busy and we might need as much as a four-to-six months’ notice. One of these times is Balloon Fiesta, which is a wonderful nine-day festival of flying that begins the first weekend in October. As we are busy flying during Fiesta this week, we do not make flight training reservations. You are, however, welcome to come crew with us that week and experience all that Fiesta is, and start your training the following week.
Even though we are blessed to be able to fly 12 months out of the year here in Albuquerque, there are also times during the year when Mother Nature is not our friend and we are unable to fly. If you happen to be here at that time, then you are on your own. Safety is our first and foremost concern, so if the weather will not allow us to fly, we can work on ground school. It is great time to apply yourself to your books and prepare for the FAA exam.
Ground School Basics
The Ground School at ABQ Balloon Worx is designed to provide you the background needed to be a safe pilot as well as prepare you for the FAA written exam. Our rate for our one-on-one ground school is $950; which includes books and the FAA exam.
Individually, we do not consider ourselves God’s gift to ballooning; combined, we have much to offer to you. You will hopefully, and our individual schedules willing, fly with each of us at some point in your training. You will take all that you have learned from each of us and become your own pilot. Who that pilot is depends upon you, and how well you apply all that you have learned and experienced with us during your training.
Weather permitting, we should be able to complete your training in approximately four weeks for your private certificate and six to eight weeks for your commercial certificate. However, this is only a guide for planning; sometimes it can take more time, or less time, depending upon the student's commitment and the good graces of Mother Nature.
All flight training does not include hotel and/or lodging for the duration of your time in town. We do go to breakfast afterwards to enjoy our time together as we break down our flight, set study guides for that day, and prepare you for the next day’s flight.
While hot air ballooning is beautiful to watch, the truth is there is a lot of heavy lifting going on in the background to make the magic happen. For example, while propane weighs approximately 4.2 lbs./gallon, our tanks hold anywhere from 15 to 20 gallons of fuel each, so each tank could contain anywhere from 60 to 84 lbs. of fuel; and that’s before we add in the weight of the tank.
We don’t tell you this to scare you; rather to make you aware of the physical demands of becoming a balloon pilot. You will be moving equipment and lifting several hundreds of pounds of equipment at a time (but NOT by yourself) to both set-up the balloon for flight as well as break it down after the flight and pack it up.
You may also experience bumps and bruises, along with aches and pains that come from high-wind landings and/or landings that weren’t executed properly by you in your training.
Please be aware of both your physical and mental condition before you commit to training. Make sure that you do not have any physical problems or medical issues that would inhibit you and/or prevent you from training to become a pilot with ABQ Balloon Worx.
866-606-RIDE ** Info@ABQballoonWORX.com