If you’re in the area, please stop by! It will give us a chance to meet you and show you some of the aircraft on our flight line. We like to start people off with an Introductory Flight with one of our instructors. This 45-minute flight will give you an exciting, close up hands-on experience, which will give you an opportunity to see how our airplanes handle and our instructors teach flight. After the flight, you will debrief with your instructor and discuss scheduling and training materials with the front desk staff, should you decide to continue your training.

The time it takes to complete the training for a pilot’s license varies from student to student depending on the frequency of lessons, how much a student prepares for lessons – including reading textbooks – and how quickly a student learns. Assuming a student is well prepared, flying 2-3 times per week, and learns at an average rate, we find students are able to complete their training for the Sport Pilot’s License in as little as 3 – 6 months, and 6 – 9 months for a Private Pilot’s License. Students set the pace of their own training. We feel that tailoring training to meet students’ specific needs is not only convenient, but also allows a student to take as little or as much time as they may wish. Our primary goal is to produce safe and proficient pilots in the time comfortable for each individual student pilot.

Have you ever noticed, if you fully commit to a dream, the money usually follows? We have seen countless students realize this truism. The cost of a sport pilot certificate usually ranges from $9,000 to $11,000+ and a private pilot certificate usually ranges from $18,000 to $22,000+ (explore our ratings page for more details). Rarely have we seen students begin their training with the ability to finance all of their training at once. At Santa Monica Flyers, training is “pay-as-you-go” even if you only pay for one lesson at a time. Our students fly when they have both time and resources to fly and are never pressured to do otherwise. Our students move forward with their training only when they are able.

Absolutely! We understand that people who want to get their pilot’s license are some of the most successful and busy people around. Fitting flight training into an already busy schedule can be difficult. This is why our students schedule their training to fit their own calendar. They schedule their lessons during the times that best work for them. We find that the students who most want their license always figure out how to work it into their schedule.

Santa Monica Flyers has a wide variety of Flight Instructors on staff. We encourage all students to fly with a few of our instructors to see how well they mesh with them. Please check out our Instructors page to learn more about them. We do ask our students to eventually settle on one flight instructor and to stick with them through the end of their training. You may also feel free to stop in and talk to any of the instructors that are free to get to know them. We encourage walk-ins and find it’s best to come on a day with good weather.

Santa Monica Flyers has the widest variety of airplanes, instructors and ratings available in the Los Angeles Basin. We are highly focused on making our students feel welcome, safe, and part of an institution that will help them achieve their aviation goals as efficiently as possible. We also maintain some of the most modern, fuel efficient, aerodynamically-stable aircraft around, and we maintain the highest possible standards for safety through ongoing maintenance of our aircraft, even sending aircraft in two times as frequently as the FAA requires. Potential students should stop by our school and see for themselves. We believe our aircraft and team members speak for themselves.

Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument; Also: Re-currency, Flight reviews, Instrument proficiency checks, Complex, High-Performance, and Tailwheel endorsements. Cirrus Transition Courses are also available through our Cirrus Training Center.

Minimum Coverage:

Bodily Injury/Property Damage (including passengers) Limit of Liability: $1,000,000 

For Optional Damage to your Non-owned Aircraft Limit of Liability:

  • SportCruiser or C172: $10,000
  • Cirrus SR20: $30,000
  • Cirrus SR22 G3: $60,000
  • Cirrus SR22 G6: $80,000

You can obtain aircraft renter’s insurance from AssuredPartners Aerospace  or Skywatch and make sure to choose coverage that meets or exceeds Santa Monica Flyer’s minimum coverage specified above. A copy of your approved policy must be sent to [email protected] before rental or solo flight may occur. 

Your safety and the maintenance of our fleet is our highest priority. Our aircraft are regularly maintained every 50 hours of operation. FAA mandated 100-hour, annual inspections, as well as non-mandated 50-hour inspections are performed at or before they are due. Our aircraft are maintained by some of the most experienced establishments on the field: Bill’s Air Center & Kim Davidson Aviation. Maintenance issues are dealt with expediently to ensure aircraft availability.

Flying from Santa Monica Airport means flying in one of the busiest regions in the country: the LAX/Burbank/Orange County area. This allows students to learn in a highly challenging environment and develop their ability to fly in any situation. World-renowned aviation experts and pilots cite Southern California as being an airspace that, if mastered, prepares a pilot to fly in any other airspace in the World. Catalina Island, Big Bear Lake and the California High Desert also provide excellent aviation challenges, just a short hop from Santa Monica. Certificated pilots wishing to travel to these higher-level aviation destinations will require a “checkout” from a Certified Flight Instructor.

We encourage most students, who are just beginning their flight training, to start in our LSA SportCruisers. Because of their aerodynamic stability and low wing design, SportCruisers offer the perfect mix of challenge to a pilot’s skills and safe stability to begin the course of training for Sport or Private certificates. Once certificated, pilots usually wish to “graduate” to larger Cessna 172s, our Cirrus SR20, or the “complex” 172RG.

One benefit of training with us are the low rental rates of our SportCruisers. We include the cost of fuel in our rental rates and because our SportCruisers are so fuel efficient, we can offer them at only $169/hr. with a block rate deposit. Our instructor rate is $110/hr.

Sport Cruisers (LSA), Cessna Skyhawk 172s (including one that is G1000 equipped), Cirrus SR20, Cessna Cutlass 172RG. *Please see our aircraft fleet section for more information.

Foreign students can begin flight training in the US only after getting Final Approval from the TSA Flight Training Security Program (FTSP). There is a non-refundable application fee of $130. Step 1 is to register. From there, you will need to start a new training request. There will be specific questions asked during the training request stage. For that, please email [email protected] or call us at 310-800-8050 and we can coordinate with you on how best to fill that out. 

Once you set up the training request and upload the documents the TSA asks of you, you will receive instructions for fingerprinting. You will have to make an appointment with a fingerprinting agency (there are several in the LA area). Your fingerprints are then uploaded to the federal database, and upon completion, if all is satisfactory, the  TSA will issue a Final Approval, which is what you need to begin flight training.

The entire process will take 30-45 days from start to your receiving approval. Once approved, the last step is for you to come into our school and for us to take a photo of you in the flight school, which is then uploaded into your training request. Your training request will be valid for 1 year, after which you will need to submit another training request if flight training has not yet been completed.

The process outlined above is applicable to individuals whose training events are for an initial airman’s certificate and/or instrument rating. Each requires a separate training request regardless of expirations.

We require all pilots have renter’s insurance. Pilots will also need to sign a renter’s agreement https://www.santamonicaflyers.com/documents/ and present our front desk staff with their certificates and endorsements, medical, passport and photo ID. The checkout will consist of: Aircraft Familiarity, Preflight, Maneuvers and Procedures, and Post-Flight Procedures. You may also wish to combine your aircraft checkout with a flight review.

Yes! Santa Monica Flyers offers a quick escape from the busy lives of hard-working Southern Californians who wish to achieve their highest goals and life-long aviation dreams. Learning to fly is no small feat, but the rewards are endless and the process can be extremely enjoyable. We hope you’ll see for yourself how much fun you can have in our airplanes.

You can start training to fly at any age, however, the generally shorter height of a young pre-teen can make it difficult to reach the controls. Our students have been as young as 10 years old and as old as 75. The FAA requires that a checkride applicant be at least 17 years old. Student pilots must be at least 16 years old before they can fly an aircraft solo.

Yes. We require all students under the age of 18 to have a waiver of liability form signed by their legal guardian(s).

An Introductory Flight is an introduction to General Aviation. Start by making an appointment with an instructor. On the day of your flight, arrive at our school about 5-10 minutes early. Your instructor will talk with you about General Aviation, your goals, & what drew you to aviation. This is an opportunity for you to ask any question you may have. You and your instructor will then “pre-flight” your airplane — which is a procedure used to do a thorough check of the airplane before flight. Once complete, you and your instructor will take off from Santa Monica Airport and fly to Malibu for approximately 45 minutes, during which time you’ll be able to do some basic maneuvers with your instructor, so you can see how the airplane performs in flight. Alternatively, you may choose the more scenic option of flying near the Hollywood Sign; that flight would not include maneuvers. After landing, you and your instructor will debrief the flight, log the flight in a logbook, should you chose to purchase one, and answer any questions. Introductory flight costs: • $199.00 in a SportCruiser • $299.00 in a standard Cessna 172 • $399 in a Cirrus SR20. Please note for Cessnas: only one extra person per flight (max two passengers). The Intro Flight is also a great way to introduce a friend or loved one who has “always wanted to try it”; it also makes a great gift! Please allow about 2 hours for your intro lesson, and it’s a good idea to make your reservation 1 week in advance to make sure you’ll be able to get the day and time you want. Please be aware that payment for the intro flight must be received 24 hours before the start of the lesson or else it automatically is canceled.

We offer Gift Certificates for any dollar amount you wish. Gift certificates can be purchased in person, or over the phone. These certificates never expire and can be used anytime.

Absolutely! If you know someone that is currently in flight training, or is a renter at Santa Monica Flyers, you can purchase more time for them by simply adding any dollar amount you wish to their account. If you prefer, we can even provide you with a Gift Certificate to present to the pilot/student. Give us a call or email us to set up the purchase.

Okay, here you go: 1. COURSE ID #: 001 2. COURSE NAME: Sport (or Private) Pilots License 3. COURSE DESCRIPTION: VFR License 4. AIRCRAFT TYPE: Czaw Sport Cruiser 5. START&END DATE: Today – 1 year from today.

It used to be so easy, but the rules have changed when it comes to renting aircraft in the U.S. for foreign pilots. Pilots must now get a special clearance from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) before the FAA can issue a VFR license based on your foreign one. Check out the FAAs’ website for more details at:
Once you receive your FAA license, contact us for a Biennial Flight Review (BFR)–that will count as your checkout–and then, provided you have renter’s insurance, you will be allowed to rent our aircraft. If you plan on visiting us, you must plan ahead.

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 mean sea level.

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

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.

YES! Your training and experience as a Sport Pilot counts 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.

A 3rd Class Medical certificate is required for private pilot training and above. Because of the new “Basic Med” program offered by the FAA, pilots who hold a 3rd Class Medical need only renew their medical every 10 years, provided they fulfill the other “Basic Med” requirements. See: https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/basic_med/ for more information on Basic Med. If you are interested in a sport pilot license only, a valid U.S. driver’s license is required to show proof of medical fitness to fly.

Flight training does not expire. Students can resume flight training at any time, and, with the exception of a few minor “recency/currency” requirements, all flight training “counts” towards a pilot certificate. It is important to note, however, as in all education, students will forget a certain amount of information between lessons. The longer the time between lessons, the more is forgotten. Therefore, Santa Monica Flyers instructors recommend students fly 3 to 4 times per week. This will result in the least amount of time and cost of flight training. We have successfully helped hundreds of students complete their flight training, even those students who have been able to train far less often than 3-4 times per week. We believe work and other obligations should NEVER discourage a student from fulfilling their dream of becoming a certificated pilot!