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Why Choose Santa Monica Flyers?

The most affordable flight school, in the finest sport aircrafts, in beautiful Santa Monica.

Why Light Sport Aircraft? Why Santa Monica Flyers?

We use one of the most modern, fuel-efficient and low-maintenance aircraft currently available. Everyone wants to be kind to Mother Nature; the Sportcruiser sips fuel at roughly half the rate of a Cessna 172. Additionally, the hugely reliable Rotax engine and simple aircraft design mean that minimal maintenance is the order of the day for the Sportcruiser. All of this translates to savings for you whilst compromising nothing in terms of quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What make Santa Monica Flyers different from all the other schools?

Santa Monica Flyers was started with one goal in mind: to provide safe, affordable and modern flight instruction to the Los Angeles area. If you look at the aircraft offered by our competitors you will notice one thing they all have in common: they are old and expensive.

How long will it take? How much does it cost to learn to fly?

This is a difficult question to answer, in reality cost changes from person to person depending on how long it takes you to learn to fly, which entails learning the material of a ground lesson and applying it to your flight lesson; and of course scheduling your lessons more frequently makes the process that much easier. Here at SMF we do offer both the Sport and Private Pilot's License. Hours in an airplane count towards both licenses so it isn't necessary to commit to one until fairly late into the program.

You may pay by the hour at the end of each lesson, or also, as many choose to, you can pay for 10-hour blocks of time which gives you a discounted block rate.

The cost of a Sport Pilot's License averages at $4500 and the Private Pilot's License averages at $9000.

What are the main differences between a Sport Pilot Certificate and a Private Pilot Certificate?

These are the biggest differences:

  1. Sport Pilot may only fly "Light Sport Aircraft." A Private Pilot may fly larger aircraft.
  2. Sport Pilot may not fly at night.
  3. Sport Pilot may not fly at an altitude of over 10,000 feet above sea level.

Come in for a Personal Training Plan for help determining which license is best for you.

Click here for a detailed comparison of Sport Pilot Certificate and a Private Pilot Certificate
Click here for a detailed list of privledges provided by each certificate.
Can I get a Private Pilot certificate in a Light Sport Aircraft?

YES! You can get a Private Pilot Certificate (a "license" to fly is called a "certificate.") The Private Pilot Course includes everything in the Sport Pilot Course with the addition of more cross country navigation training, night flight, and basic instrument flight. The national average of flight time for earning a Sport Pilot certificate is about 30 hours of flight time while the Private Pilot certificate is in the 60's.

Are there an age restrictions on pilots?

You must be 16 years old to solo an aircraft and 17 to take the test for your pilot certificate. There are no upper age restrictions on being a pilot, however private pilots must always (irrespective of their age) be able to pass an FAA medical. Sport pilots do not have to meet this requirement.

If I get a Sport Pilot certificate, will that training also count toward a Private Pilot certificate?

YES! All of your training and experience as a Sport Pilot counts directly toward your Private Pilot certificate. If you decide to train for a more advanced certificate, none of your training will be wasted! Several of our students, after earning their Sport Pilot certificate and enjoying it for a while, have decided to earn their Private Pilot certificates. They have generally found the upgrade to be a very easy process.

I'm a resident alien in the U.S. on a visa. Can I get flight training at Santa Monica Flyers? Where can I get information on TSA requirements for pilot training?

YES! We have had several foreign nationals earn their pilot certificates. For more info, go to the TSA's "Alien Flight Student Program" provider page. Our students fall under the "Category 3" requirements.

Can I come to the airport to meet an instructor and see an airplane?

Yes, but you need to make an appointment! Santa Monica Flyers does not have staff or instructors at the field when they are not flying.

Ultimately, the cost of making instructors available when they are not instructing would be borne by our students. We believe that our students and renters appreciate our lower cost structure which allows us to offer you lower rental rates. So please e-mail us at or call us at 310-800-8050 and we will arrange a time when an instructor and aircraft are available for you.

What is the best way to get started?

Come take a Discovery Flight! For a flat rate of $150 (flat rate, no tax) you may make an appointment to come fly the SportCruiser with one of our Certified Flight Instructors, see our training materials, and have your questions answered face-to-face. Drop us an e-mail with a number where you can be reached and one of our instructors will call you to make an appointment.

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Santa Monica Flyers

3165 Donald Douglas Loop South
Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO)
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: 310-800-8050