Getting Started

Discovery Flight – Your Aviation Journey Starts Here!

If you’ve never flown in a small airplane before, we recommend scheduling a Discovery Flight. This introductory lesson is a real flight lesson and will give you the opportunity to actually fly the airplane and decide whether you want to continue training. The flight can be logged as your first flight in your logbook, which we will provide, if you bring proof of US citizenship (birth certificate or US Passport). The flight will take about two hours during which you will be introduced to our Redbird Simulator and go for an hour long flight with a flight instructor.

We offer multiple options for the discovery flight depending on the aircraft and the location:

Bring along one passenger at no additional cost if you’d like to fly in the C172 or the DA40 (the DA20 and the C150 are 2-seaters). NOTE: Due to COVID we are currently not allowing additional passengers. To ensure the best possible experience, we operate Discovery Flights in only the best weather conditions. Contact us to schedule your Discovery Flight today!

Becoming a Pilot

When you’re ready to begin your Private Pilot training, contact us to schedule your initial appointment and start the process to become a new Student Pilot. At this appointment, we will review basic administrative items (such as our CRAFT aircraft rental policy and procedures, and monthly membership requirements), but more importantly, we will look to schedule you for your first lesson. We will go over what to expect from our Private Pilot program, how to schedule yourself with your instructor in our online Flight Circle scheduling program, and how best to approach your flight training to save both time and money.

CRAFT students have the flexibility to choose from multiple options for preparing for the FAA Knowledge Test (written test), which they are expected to do concurrently with flight training. Sporty’s, Gleim, and King Schools offer online computer-based training courses that can be purchased for anywhere from $175 – $375. If you want a more personalized experience with an experienced instructor, we also offer ground school online via Zoom or in-person with our Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI). In just over 20 hours of training, our instructor teaches all the required aeronautical training and provides practice tests to ensure you pass the FAA knowledge test. The cost for individual training is $500 including books and materials. Bring a friend and save $$$$.

Prior to your first flight with a CRAFT CFI, you will need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship (either a valid, unexpired U.S. Passport or a birth certificate and a current government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license) or TSA approval for non-U.S citizens.

You will also need to complete the CRAFT Membership Package and sign the Rental Agreement, Liability Waiver, CRAFT Policies and Procedures and other documents.

If you already have your FAA Medical Certificate, FAA Student Pilot Certificate, and non-owned airplane renter’s insurance, please bring in these documents as well. Student pilots must have these documents to be eligible to solo (see below) but may conduct initial flight training with a CRAFT CFI.

All documents are scanned and electronically stored in Flight Circle’s secure website; CRAFT does not store or maintain paper copies of pilot records.


To be eligible for your first solo flight or to rent an aircraft, all student and certificated pilots must provide the following documents:

  1. Proof of U.S. citizenship in the form of a valid, unexpired U.S. Passport, or a birth certificate and government-issued photo I.D. (state driver’s license or ID)  or TSA approval for non-U.S..
  2. At least a FAA Third Class Medical Certificate (for certificated pilots, Basic Med is the minimum required medical certificate if they are eligible)
  3. FAA Student Pilot Certificate or Pilot Certificate (for certificated pilots)
  4. Date of last FAA Flight Review or FAA checkride (for certificated pilots only)
    1. Note: IFR-rated pilots must show proof of instrument currency if seeking to fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions. If out of currency, an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) must be scheduled with a CRAFT CFI-I before they will be allowed to fly a CRAFT plane in IMC.
  5. Proof of Renters Insurance with hull coverage of at least $1000 is required. However, in the event of an in-motion incident, our deductible is $2500 of Cessnas and $5000 for Diamonds. So we highly recommended carrying $5000 of coverage to avoid paying out of pocket the difference between the deductible and your insurance. We recommend AVEMCO for annual insurance or Starr Gate which offers insurance terms for less than 1 year if you prefer monthly.
  6. For student pilots, the appropriate logbook endorsement for solo and/or cross-country flight from their primary CFI

Certificated pilots will be required to conduct an aircraft checkout with a CRAFT instructor prior to renting an aircraft. The initial checkout will be conducted much like a flight review, with a minimum of one hour of ground instruction and one hour of flight instruction. As such, those requiring FAA Flight Reviews and IPCs may combine these with an aircraft checkout. Please contact us to schedule such a review.

Pilots renting through CRAFT must fly every at least every 90 days to maintain rental privileges; after 90 days, renters must schedule a proficiency check with a CRAFT CFI. Please note that individual aircraft owners may have more stringent currency and proficiency requirements for renters; renters will be made aware and must knowledge these additional requirements during their check out. Renters must demonstrate to the check out CFI the level of knowledge and skill appropriate to the level of the FAA Airman Certificate they possess. For instrument-rated pilots flying an IFR-capable aircraft, this also includes demonstration of instrument proficiency.


Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must apply and gain TSA approval prior to the start of any flight training. Please see AOPA’s guide for non-U.S. citizens seeking flight training at U.S.-based schools for additional details.

FAA Medical Certificate

Make an appointment with an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to get at least a Third Class Medical Certificate. A list of approved physicians can be found on the FAA’s AME locator website. Then, complete the online medical history form in MedXPress. NOTE: If you have held a valid FAA medical certificate at any time after July 15, 2006, and it has not been revoked, than you may qualify to fly under the FAA’s new BasicMed rule. For details, visit AOPA.org.

Charleston Flight Doc – Col (Ret USAF) Terry Sommese, MD, MPH – https://www.charlestonflightdoc.com/

FAA Student Pilot Certificate

Apply for and obtain a Student Pilot Certificate from the FAA. You can complete the application using the FAA’s online portal (IACRA); then it must be approved and submitted by your instructor. The new, plastic student pilot certificates will be issued by FAA Headquarters and can take up to three weeks to arrive in the mail. Paper certificates issued prior to April 1, 2016 will be valid until they expire.

You must first register for an account on the IACRA website. Click the link in the upper right corner of the IACRA home page. Check the box “Applicant” and when prompted to enter your Airman Certificate Number, leave those fields blank. Under SSN it is strongly suggested that you check the box “Do Not Use.” Once submitted, the application will need to be approved, signed and re-submitted by your instructor in your presence.

At the start of your training, you will need a kneeboard and a small notepad to keep track of flight information, radio frequencies, and other pertinent information for your early training flights. CRAFT carries basic kneeboards available for purchase that will be sufficient for this purpose.
However, you will quickly learn that having an iPad or similar tablet loaded with either Foreflight or Garmin Pilot will be the most practical tool in your flight bag. These subscription-based applications, commonly referred to as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs), enable pilots to have digital access to charts, approach plates, flight plan filing, weather, and other aviation references and tools which makes it easier to fly in today’s airspace.  For comparisons between Foreflight and Garmin Pilot, please go here.  Foreflight is only available on Apple iOS devices. 
For recommendations on which iPads are best for pilots, please see this article.  For flying in the DA20 and DA40, we recommend the newest iPad Mini.  
We also recommend is Live ATC, which enables you to listen to Air Traffic Control communication worldwide, and ASA’s FAR/AIM app (only available on Apple iOS devices) which gives you searchable access to the Federal Air Regulations (FAR) and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).
Similarly, while the mechanical E6B flight computer is still a very useful tool to conduct pre-flight and in-flight calculations, some electronic E6Bs have been approved by the FAA for use during FAA knowledge exams. These electronic E6Bs, to include ones from Sporty’s and ASA, enable much faster calculation of of fuel burn, airspeeds, and wind corrections over the mechanical E6Bs.  We highly recommend students learn how to properly use either type of E6Bs ahead of any knowledge exam. 

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Gift Certificates

Know someone that has always wanted to fly, but hasn’t been able to get started? Gift certificates are a great way to help friends and family jump start achieving their aviation goals! They can be used for flight training, instruction, simulator time, books and headsets. Contact us above to find out more!


CRAFT has enjoyed great success with its flight courses. We offer Private Pilot, Instrument Flight Rating (IFR), Commercial Single, Commercial Multi, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII), Multi-Engine, Multi-Engine Instructor, and an ATP Checkride Prep course.

Private Pilot License  $9,000 - $13,000
The beginning of an Aviation Journey. Can be completed in as little as 2 months. However, most students take about 4-6 months.

Instrument Flight Rules $9,500
The next step and one of the most important. You can’t always count on the weather to be VFR.

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