25 and 35 Hour Sport Pilot Courses

Sport Pilot Student weight Limit of 210lbs.  (See weight and balance at the bottom)

 Who can take the course?

To qualify for these courses, you must be 17 years old on the day of the flight test.  You must be healthy and have enough endurance to train daily for 9 to 14 days.  You must read, speak, and write English,  You must be a US Citizen, or obtain clearance from the Transportation Security Administration.  A US Passport or Birth Certificate, and Government Photo ID is required, BE CERTAIN TO BRING ONE OF THE TWO DOCUMENTS WITH YOU TO TRAINING.  You must apply for and receive an FAA Student Pilot Certificate prior to beginning training.  The application process for a student pilot certificate should begin 3 weeks before starting the course.  Failure to obtain an Student Pilot Certificate will make it impossible to complete the training, and will result in loss of the deposit and any tuition paid.

As of April 1st, 2016, FAA is requiring that student pilots obtain a plastic student pilot certificate prior to soloing an aircraft.  The certificate is free of charge, however, I charge $50 to process and validate the application if you are not reserving a course at the same time.  If you are even considering training, please contact me so that I can do the application for you, as the process can take 3 to 4 weeks.


According to FAA, the average student pilot requires 35 hours of flight time to be proficient enough to pass the Sport Pilot practical test.  I have had students take anywhere from 20 to 70 hours to complete the training.  The 25 hour course provides the minimum required training time, and requires that the student prepare thoroughly before arriving, have exceptional motor skills and flying aptitude to succeed.  The 35 hour course is much more realistic for most student pilots that have no prior experience.  Neither course is guaranteed, as every individual gains skill at a different pace.  Additional training is available at $165 per hour as required.

What is included in the price?

The 25 hour course includes 25 hours of aircraft rental, including fuel and oil, comprised of 16 hours of instruction in flight, 5 hours of solo, and use of the aircraft for the checkride.  This course only meets the bare minimum training required by FAA and is best suited to students that have exceptional hand eye coordination skills, and that learn new things very quickly, and/or, students with prior flight experience.  There is not enough time to cover advanced tailwheel skills, towered field, or extensive cross country experience.  There is not enough time to visit other airports.  If your goal is to leave confident, and to learn as much as possible to be safe, this is not the course to take unless you have prior experience.

The 35 hour course includes 35 hours of aircraft rental, including fuel and oil, comprised of 26 hours of instruction in flight, 5 hours of solo, and use of the aircraft for the checkride.  This course is more realistic for the average student with little or no prior experience.

 The practical test fee of $500, which is paid directly to the examiner in cash, is not included in the course prices.  Lodging on the airport is provided during the training.  Any additional instruction required is provided at $165 per hour, additional nights in the cottage are $65 per night.  It is required that the student will have studied ground material and be prepared for the required FAA Knowledge Test prior to arriving for the course.  There is an extensive list of excellent ground school resources located here.  

Payment Terms

Non-refundable deposit for both courses is  - $1200

25 hour course first payment upon arrival - $2110, Second Payment at 8 hours - $1725

The examiner fee of $500 is paid directly to the examiner, and must be in cash.

Total - $5035

35 hour course first payment upon arrival - $3410, Second payment at 14 hours - $2350

Total - $6960

All prices are for cash or check payments only, credit cards are accepted with an added 3% processing fee.

.  Extensive time is blocked out of the schedule for the aircraft and instructor to accomodate the training, therefore, there is a $1200 non refundable deposit required in order to reserve dates.  The deposit is applied to the last 8 hours of the course, after the completion of 17 hours (27 hours for 35 hour course).  Upon arrival, half of the remaining course tuition and the full boarding fee - $2110 ($3410 for 35 hour course) - is due, payable, and earned by Blue Ridge Sport Flight.  At the completion of  8 hours (14 hours for 35 hour course), the second payment of $1725 ($2350 for 35 hour course) is due.  Should the student elect to discontinue training at any time prior to completion of 8 hours (14 hours for 35 hour course), for any reason, the first tuition payment, and the deposit will not be refunded.  If the student elects to stop training after the completion of 8 hours (14 hours for the 35 hour course), flight time will be billed against the second tuition payment balance at the rate of $165 per hour, and the initial deposit will forfeited. 

Students are expected to fly a minimum of 4 hours per day when weather, aircraft, and instructor are available.  On most days, the flying window is from sun up to sun down, at any time the conditions allow.  If for any reason the student elects to fly less than 4 hours on any safely flyable training day, the student will be billed for the full 4 hours.  If it is determined that a student weighs more than the allowable weight of 210 lbs., training will be discontinued and no refund will be allowed.  In some limited circumstances a weight of up to 230 lbs. can be accomodated, but training will take longer to complete as we have to fly in low density altitude conditions, and for reduced times.

While it is very unusual for weather to prevent us from finishing the course in the allotted time, weather delays are a normal part of general aviation.  Inability to complete the course due to weather is not grounds for a refund, instead, Blue Ridge Sport Flight will work with the student to reschedule or extend the course dates.  If the aircraft or instructor become unavailable for training at the fault of Blue Ridge Sport Flight, any unused tuition, including the deposit, will be refunded to the student at the prorated rate of $165 per hour. 

 The course is NOT guaranteed, and is not suited to all students, if the student needs more time, Blue Ridge will work within reason to make the instructor and aircraft available for any additional required hours or days at the published hourly rate.  The examiner's fee is not included in the course price, and the examiner is not an employee of Blue Ridge Sport Flight.  The flight test requires good weather and is subject to the examiner's schedule if the test must be rescheduled due to weather or unsatisfactory performance. 

What do I need to do to prepare for the training?

To succeed in this course, it is critical that the student study ground school material thoroughly before arrival.  A great place to start is FAA's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, here's a link: 


If you are unable to work with an ebook, I have a list of other resources here.

The Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards is also a mandatory read.  The standards list everything you will need to know and do to become a Sport Pilot along with references for all knowledge subject areas:


What is a typical training day?

The course is a minimum of 9 days long, with several hours of flying each day that weather allows.  It is expected, and required, that we will fly at least 4 hours each day, and that you will be studying when not flying.  In general, we start shortly after sun up, and finish around sunset.  While I make every effort to keep the course fun, it is a lot of work, and you will need to expect to be fully immersed for the 9 days.  Please leave family behind, or at least make sure they understand that you will not be available 90% of the time! We try very hard to stay ahead of schedule.  It is expected that we will have a couple days of weather, we use that time to work on paperwork, ground instruction, and oral test prep. 

The flight training is conducted at 8NC9 - the Western North Carolina Museum Airport.  No training is done at the Hendersonville Airport as it is a seperate, privately owned strip, that does not allow flight instruction.  8NC9 is a 2700' x 100'  turf runway with lights.  There are trees located adjacent to the runway, which can effect our ability to fly on hot, or south wind days.  The Champ is a 7AC with a Continental A65 motor.  The empty weight of the Champ with full fuel is 756lbs.  The instrucor - Greg Collins weighs 175lbs.  The allowable gross weight of N84572 is 1220lbs. During the warmer months of the year, the safe flying window for the Champ is reduced due to high density altitude, especially for students weighing more than 180lbs.  During summer months, training is usually limited to early morning, and late afternoon.  The Champ is a wonderful airplane that is very inexpensive to own and operate compared to most certificate airplanes, but it is underpowered and so is not suitable for high temperatures, weight, or winds.


Blue Ridge Sport Flight does not maintain liability and hull insurance on our 7AC Champ.  Students are not liable for damage occuring when a Blue Ridge Sport Flight Instructor is in the aircraft.  Students are liable for damage occuring to the Champ arising out of their operation of the Champ as well as any third party liability.  Students are required to carry "Renter's Insurance" during solo flight.  Blue Ridge Sport Flight can help arrange this insurance during the the training at the time of solo, typical cost is between $300 and $400.  Solo renters and students must sign a renter's agreement indemnifying and holding harmless Blue Ridge Sport Flight LLC, and Gregory Collins, for damage to the aircraft and third party liability arising from the student's solo operation of the aircraft.


Other important things to know.

All required charts, log books, flight planning materials, and unlimited ASA Prepware access will be provided during the training.

It is possible to break the course up into several trips if necessary, but this will add about 10 hours to the training. 

This course is not guaranteed, and not everyone is capable of finishing in the time allowed.  We make every effort to get everyone done in the shortest time possible, however, this requires complete dedication and cooperation on the student's part, and even then, more time may be required.  Again, please understand, upon arrival, half of the remaining course fee is due, fully earned, and payable in addition to the previously paid deposit.  No refund will be made should you elect to discontinue the course.  Your best chance for success is to come on time, well rested, and prepared!

TSA requires that a passport or birth certificate be presented prior to beginning training, please be sure to bring one along.

Checkrides are scheduled at the time of course booking for the last scheduled day of training.  If for any reason it is not possible to complete the flight test due to unsatisfactory performance, weather, illness, or maintenance issues, rescheduling is subject to the examiner's schedule, and is beyond the control of Blue Ridge Sport Flight LLC, the course will be considered completed, and any additional time required to complete a rescheduled checkride will be charged at current published rates.  It is important to understand that by it's very nature, flight in light aircraft is unpredicatable, and it can take days to weeks to reschedule a checkride.  The examiner sets his own fees.  Currently the fee is $500, but can change at any time.


Lodging is included in the price, however, if you choose to NOT stay at the airport, there are plenty of places to stay around Hendersonville:

Anthony's Room for Rent

The Red Roof Inn

The Days Inn

Quality Inn

Best Western

Holiday Inn

Highland Lake Inn

The Mill House Lodge

Mountain Inn and Suites

Back to Blue Ridge Sport Flight

The 7AC Champ has a gross weight of 1220 lbs. in the standard configuration.  N84931 is 756.5 lbs with 1 gallon of gas in the tank.  With full fuel, N84931 weighs 828.5 lbs.   That leaves 391.5 lbs. for passengers.  Greg Collins weighs 175 lbs., so that leaves 216.5 lbs for the student.  It is possible to fit up to a 230 lbs. student with reduced fuel of 9.5 gallons, which allows for 1.5 hours of flight with day VFR reserve fuel of .5 hours.

Champ W&B