I’ve always had the dream of becoming a pilot since I was a child. That desire drove me to a point of exploring that opportunity at age of 25 when I was at a career crossroad. Private school for pilot training was going to be an expensive route, so I signed up to go through the Canadian Air Force to achieve my dream. I recall paying $50 for an intro flight lesson to determine if flying was for me – simply put, I felt in love. I flew with an instructor in a Cessna 172 for half an hour and my favorite part was learning how to climb and do 90 degree banking turns. Although I wasn’t successful in pursing flying as a career, I’ve never forgotten how exhilarating it felt to be in control of an aircraft.
My visit to the Namao Flying Club at the Villeneuve Airport brought back these pleasant memories. Founded in 1972, the flying club is located at Edmonton's primary training airport and just 20 minutes from the city. Namao Flying Club is a not-for-profit organization that offers attractive savings over other local flying schools and aircraft rentals.
I met Bob Smits, the Chief Flight Instructor of the Club who gave me a tour of their facility located in the east hangar of the Villeneuve Aviation Centre. The club offers a number of different license programs for novices ranging from recreational, private pilot and commercial to night and instructor ratings. Licensed pilots also enjoy access to their aircraft fleet that include:
A Mooney (smaller aircraft)
A Piper Twin Comanche
The flying club also has a Precision Flight Controls Simulator that simulates the Cessna and Piper aircrafts.
It has a spacious apron and hangar that offers ample maneuvering space, along with on-site fueling. Members participate in the positioning of aircraft around the facility, which gives them an added experience not available elsewhere.
Out of curiosity, I researched the training costs at the flying club for a recreational or private pilot license and I was pleasantly surprised. The estimated cost of a Recreational Pilot License Training program is $5,445 and you can start as young as 16 years of age! This program includes a minimum of 25 hours of flying and 40 hours of ground school. Although you are restricted to day flights and one passenger only, in a single engine, non-high-performance aeroplane, it’s quite an exciting perk that one could fly solo for five hours in this program!
If you want to go for private pilot license, you have even more ability to take those family trips, get to your business meeting in less time or set yourself up to for other flying career opportunities. You will need to be at least 17 years of age and you’ll enjoy a minimum of 45 hours of flying time with 40 hours of ground school for a total of $8,745. The training fees are based on Transport Canada's minimum requirements.
The ability to fly a plane opens up incredible new doors to travel and see the world as you never have before and I think Namao Flying Club has quality programs at affordable rates for flying enthusiasts.
I couldn’t think of a more ideal environment to learn to fly - reduced air traffic, minimum transit time to the practice area and a friendly community. If you have ever had an interest in flying, I highly recommend that you go out and spend the $60 to take an intro flight. You could even take your spouse or date on the extended one hour tour which allows you to fly over the Edmonton cityscape for only $175. It’ll be worth the time and money and you will not regret it!
Visit www.namaoflyingclub.com or call 780.419.6777 for more information.