Flight School


Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy Project SOAR
Have you ever wondered what the earth looks like from the clouds? Have you ever looked up in the sky, watched a jet flying by high above you until it disappears into the horizon, and think that has to be the coolest job in the world? Have you ever dreamed of flying but thought you were too young or that it would just be too expensive? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, then maybe you are a good candidate for the Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy’s (SAMS) Project SOAR.
What is the SAMS Project SOAR all about?
* This is truly a one-of-a-kind program, offered right here in Albuquerque, NM. SOAR stands for Student Opportunities through Aeronautics and Research. By being enrolled as a student of Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy, you will have the opportunity to learn to fly in a safe, structured program at a fraction of the cost regularly associated with learning to fly. But this program is more a building block toward a lifestyle in aviation than just saving money. By learning to fly early in life, you develop a sense of accomplishment and pride few your age will know. You will set yourself apart from your peers who walk the earth while you choose to SOAR above it. You will also be counted among those known as aviators; a brother and sisterhood you will treasure for the rest of your life.
Why would you want to participate in this program?
* Becoming a Private Pilot is not easy and is not for everyone. But, if you can complete this program, it shows the world that you are capable of intense academic and physical challenges. Proving to yourself that you can complete something this challenging is a tremendous confidence builder. After completion, you will be saying to yourself, “OK, I can do anything I set my mind to. NOW WHAT?” It is also an incredible addition to a resume. The big, bad world is challenging. By being able to state that you are a Private Pilot, you will be giving yourself a leg up on your competition for higher education.
What does it take to become a Private Pilot?
* The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict requirements that must be met before your certified flight instructor signs off on your check ride with a designated flight examiner at the end of your training. The short answer is as follows:
o Be at least 16 years old to solo, 17 years old to receive your Private Pilot certificate
o Must have the ability to read, speak, write, and understand English (English is the official global language of aviation)
o Be able to pass a written, oral, and practical flight test
o Must have logged at least 40 hours of actual flight time, divided up into specific categories of flight
o Hold at least a third-class medical certificate
* This, again, is the short list. But the overall requirements are not that difficult to meet. Once you have an interest, we will go over the entire list in person.
So what is the training like?
* Safety is our number one priority! We started by acquiring three of the safest aircraft to fly. You will learn to fly in a either a Cessna 172 or a Diamond DA-40 aircraft. We have the best instructors available who themselves go through a special instructor qualification and background check before they are selected to participate in this program. We conduct the aviation ground school in-house and have a FAA approved written exam testing facility at our SAMS campus. We recently acquired two FAA approved full-motion Redbird MCX aviation simulators. http://www.redbirdflightsimulations.com/ More information about this is available upon request.
* First, you will be offered an introductory flight with a qualified instructor to make sure you like flying. During this flight, you will actually manipulate the controls so you can see for yourself that it really isn’t hard at all.
* Once on the ground (in the plane, that is. Your feet may not touch the ground!), you will have the opportunity to go through an abbreviated ground training session so you can get the feel for the academic requirements involved. Don’t be nervous. After all, you are at SAMS so you are among the best and the brightest already.
* If everything is a ‘GO’ after that, we will address the physical demands of being a Private Pilot. Correctible vision is a must as is good general health. Remember, pilots need to stay in shape. We will help you make an appointment with an Aviation Medical Examiner for your physical and student pilot certificate. You don’t HAVE to have that student pilot certificate to start flying, but generally it is a good idea to find out early if there is a medical issue that could keep you from flying before you and your family makes this commitment.
* After your introductory flight, class session, and your medical certificate, we will sit down with you, your parents, and your flight instructor to develop your own personalized “Flight Plan to Success”. Your “Flight Plan” will become your guide to completion of this program and beyond. It will, in essence, become a “contract” between you, your parents, and SAMS to help you through the program. (NOTE: don’t be surprised if your parents throw a few stipulations of their own into your “Flight Plan”! Maintaining a certain GPA and household chores are not uncommon parental requirements. After all, this is a pretty cool thing they are doing for you!)
* Once we have your plan set, you are ready to embark on one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding journeys of your life. You will never look at the world the same way again.
What about the cost?
* Let me be clear: learning to fly isn’t cheap! Across the nation, the price tag of your Private Pilot Certificate ranges from anywhere from about $7,000 to $11,000. Even locally, you will find flight instruction rates advertised for just under $10,000. Much of the cost associated with learning how to fly is the cost to rent the airplane. Even though the FAA states you must have at least 40 hours of actual flight time, the national average (according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) is between 60-75 hours for students to obtain their Private Pilot Certificate. Airplane rental rates vary based on the age and the complexity of equipment the plane has, but generally you would be looking at a rental rate of around $125.00 per hour. After you have done the math, you can see how expensive it can be. What sets SAMS’s Project SOAR apart from other flight instruction options is that our airplanes are integrated into our aviation program. As a result, your costs to learn to fly as a student of SAMS are less than a third of what you would pay to learn to fly on your own! As I said earlier, this is a one-of-a-kind program and an amazing opportunity to learn to fly. Of course, we would be happy to share more of these details with you in person.
OK. I have my Private Pilot Certificate. Now what?
* After your Private Pilot “Graduation”, you will be able to rent a plane you are qualified to fly and spread those new-found wings. You will be able to introduce a friend or family member to the world of general aviation so they can see why you have been so excited about flying. You are also now able to continue your aviation growth by earning additional ratings and certificates. As you will have learned during your Private Pilot training, an Instrument Rating is something you should consider and a rating we strongly endorse. Multi-Engine is another popular rating. So whether your goal is to be a Commercial Pilot, Military Pilot, Air Traffic Controller, Certified Flight Instructor, or just wanting the ability to fly where you want to go when you want to go, you now have many options and the background to make it happen.
* At SAMS, we are constantly looking for areas in which to grow Project SOAR. So stay tuned because we look forward to making additional offerings available in the future!
This is a snap shot of Project SOAR here at Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy s. If your curiosity is piqued, we are standing by to explain more about this truly unique opportunity to learn to fly. Give us a call at 505-338-8601 or email Daren Gallacher, Director of Aeronautics, at dgallacher@samsacademy.com.
“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards. For there you have been and there you will long to return.”
Leonardo da Vinci
For those interested in SAMS's Instrument Flight Rules program, please view the following link:
Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Instrument Flight Rules