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 Discovery Flight is $250 and will take about two hours. You will be introduced to our Redbird FMX Simulator and go for an introductory flight in either the Diamond DA20 or Cessna 172 with a flight instructor. We also have an option to do the Discovery flight in the Diamond DA40 for $285. This introductory 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). Bring along one passenger at no additional cost if you’d like to fly in the C172 or the DA40 (the DA20 is a 2-seater). 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.

To further ease a new pilot into the cockpit, CRAFT offers the Cessna Private Pilot course kits, an online training course that provides FAA written and practical test preparation as well as a flight syllabus, logbook and other equipment required for your Private Pilot journey. These courses have been successfully used by thousands of general aviation pilots, and provides comprehensive yet flexible training to meet your schedule. The Cessna kits are available for purchase from CRAFT for $360. We also have similar training kits for Instrument, Commercial, and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) ratings.

Ready to Get Started?

Please fill out the form below

Gift Certificates

Do you 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! Contact us above to find out more!

Requirements to Fly with an Instructor

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.


Requirements to Fly Solo or Rent an Aircraft

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. We recommend AVEMCO.
  6. For student pilots, the appropriate logbook endorsement for solo and/or cross-country flight from their primary CFI


Checkout and Currency Requirements

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.


Obtaining Required Documents

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

Charleston Flight Doc – Col (Ret USAF) Terry Sommese, MD, MPH –

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.

Other recommendations

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.  


Make an Appointment

We will call you!


Training Hours

Monday - Saturday
9am - 5pm

Office Location

6060 S. Aviation Ave, Ste 109
N. Charleston, SC 29406

Contact CRAFT

Have questions? We'd love to hear from you!

Check the Weather