Curl up with this year's Housing Guide for dorm friendly recipes, curfew throwbacks and more, click here

USF begins first piloting class this summer

Want to be flying thousands of feet up in the air? Learn the skills to fly beginning this summer through the first Private Pilot Ground School training offered by USF’s Division of Continuing Education, which has teamed up with the Aquarius Flying club.

This opportunity is open to anyone in the community who has an interest in pursuing a private pilot license.

This course does not include airtime, but prepares the students with the basics of ground training. There will be 20 students per instructor to ensure proper training.

Steve Reiser, a certified pilot and pilot trainer, will be teaching this 12-week non-credit course designed to gear students up for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Private Pilot written exam, which is required to obtain a private pilot license.

“USF’s Division of Continuing Education looked for a program as needed in the community. I get lots of things I turn down, but I couldn’t turn this down,” said Ric Byham, director of USF Continuing Education.

The $495 course fee includes a Jeppesen Deluxe Private Pilot Kit of manuals, charts, directories, flight computer/plotter and study guides that will prepare beginners to fly. Students must reach a certain point before flying. There is a charge for airtime and can be arranged through the Aquarius Flying club.

No restrictions apply to participate, except that before fully obtaining a private pilot license students must get a physical (Class 3 Medical Certificate) before soloing an aircraft.

“The Aquarius Flying club works to promote aviation in a safe way at a good rate,” says Doris Arduengo, member volunteer for the AFC.

The Aquarius Flying club is located at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport and has been operating for 18 months. They want people to achieve their flying goals without spending a fortune.

“Ground school is one of several steps towards being able to fly. There are other hurdles students will have to complete,” Byham said.

Only a select few students would have to follow requirements set forth by Homeland Security. If a student from a foreign country desires to participate in this program or to obtain advanced, commercial, airline transportation rating, he or she must be sent a form to fill out from the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City. The FAA will then contact its equivalent in the host country of the interested student to verify and check on the status of the applicant before the FAA grants the student admission. When the student arrives into the United States, he or she is taken to the FAA and issued a private license to train there.

If the student is already in the United States on a Visa, then he or she is treated like any other citizen of the United States and is able to train for however long the Visa is issued for, according to Franco Fiorillo, director of Operations and Safety for the Aquarius Flying Club. Fiorillo added that if pilots just want to build fly time to meet the qualifications for piloting in a host country, he or she can come to the Aquarius Flying club and fly without limits.

In the fall, the Aquarius Flying club plans to solicit foreign students to come to the United States to live and train for 90 days, flying up to six hours a day. All foreign students are checked out by the FAA and are legal once they begin to train.

“We are not partial to who comes in at all. We watch. If there is anything suspicious, we have it checked on and talks to the students. We don’t train terrorists here. It’s our reputation and we guard that with iron fists,” Fiorillo said.

Private Pilot Ground School Training begins on July 10 and runs through Oct. 2, on Saturdays at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. If money is an issue, start saving, because another 12-week program will begin after this one ends and 12-week classes will be run back to back as long as they stay full, according to Fiorillo.