Learn to Fly With West Valley Flying Club

Learn to fly, yes you can.

So you have had this dream to learn to fly? Well, now you should act on it! West Valley Flying Club offers the best instructors in the Bay Area, in addition to a large fleet of well maintained modern aircraft. Learning to fly is a lot easier than you think. So contact us today and book your introductory flight.



The club has been providing aircraft rentals and flight instruction for over 50 years. Over this period, we have helped almost 13,000 members achieve their aviation goals. We’re equally excited to help you make your aviation dreams become a reality.

Aircraft & Instructors

WVFC operates from both Palo Alto and San Carlos. We offer a wide variety of 50+ rental aircraft, ranging from economical 2-seat training aircraft to new and advanced airplanes for local and long-distance trips. The 40+ flight instructors also offer a diverse range of backgrounds, knowledge, and experience.


We offer a dedicated staff of 12 employees to help you throughout your flight experiences at WVFC. There are departments dedicated to Members Services, Flight Operations, and Maintenance. Many of the staff have served for more than a decade, offering amazing knowledge and experiences to help you reach your goals.

Economic Path

Estimated Training Cost for Cessna 152
$ 120/hr Aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (70hrs) ($16,100)
  • Solo Flight Time (10hrs) ($1,200)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($780)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • Books & Supplies ($400)
  • Ground School ($450)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Medical Exam ($200)

Standard Path

Estimated Training Cost for Cessna 172S
$ 180/hr Aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (70hrs) ($20,300)
  • Solo Flight Time (10hrs) ($1,800)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($780)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • Books & Supplies ($400)
  • Ground School ($450)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Medical Exam ($200)

Advanced Path

Estimated Training Cost for Cirrus SR20
$ 330/hr Aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (70hrs) ($30,800)
  • Solo Flight Time (10hrs) ($3,300)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($780)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • Books & Supplies ($400)
  • Ground School ($450)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Medical Exam ($200)

Additional Details (Click topic to expand)

Beginning Private Pilots – Learning to Fly

  • Be at least 16 years old to solo
  • Be at least 17 years to take FAA practical test
  • Be able to read, speak, and write in English
  • Pass a physical exam administered by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME)
  • Pass a written exam (at least 70%)
  • Complete a practical test with FAA examiner

Legal Minimum Required Instruction*

  • 40 hours total flight time
  • 20 hours of flight instruction
  • 10 hours of solo flight
  • 3 hours of cross country
  • 3 hours of night instruction
  • 3 hours of simulated instrument
  • 3 hours of preparation for practical test

*National average is approximately 80 hours

3 steps to becoming a Private Pilot

  • Pre-Solo - Airplane handling, going to/from a practice area, take-offs and landings, radio communications (approx. 40 hours).
  • Cross-country: Navigation to/from distant airports.  Advanced take-offs and landings, handling emergencies. (approx 20 hours).
  • Practical test: Preparation for the FAA practical test. (approx. 20 hours).

Once you have earned a Private license, you can work toward other certificates. A Commercial certificate allows you to be paid for your flying. A CFI (Certificated Flight instructor) certificate enables you to teach others. An Airline Transport Pilot certificate (ATP) is what you'll need if you want to fly a commercial airliner. You can also add a variety of ratings that will allow you to expand your activities to include piloting multi-engine airplanes and/or navigating using instruments through the fog and clouds.

Private Pilot Ground School - Interactive Online

Next Class Start Date - Monday Evenings December 5th. Ground instruction in an interactive setting via the Internet. This is a first for prospective pilots in the Bay Area.

This course is oriented towards learning what you need to know to obtain your private pilot's license for single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft. Upon satisfactory completion of this course you will be authorized to take the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test necessary to obtain your private pilot's certificate.

This course is open to anyone interested in obtaining their private pilot certificate, or just interested in learning more about flying. You do not need to be a member of West Valley Flying Club. Ground school is a great complement to those taking flight instruction. It is also a good way to learn more about what it takes to earn your pilot's certificate before making the commitment to flight instruction. 

Ground school is held Monday evenings from 7:00 - 9:30 pm, 10 classes total. The next course starts Monday December 5th 7:00PM. Please contact the instructor Rachael Webster at rhwebster1@gmail.com to sign up for the course. Cost is $450 and is due the first day of the class.  Click here for brochure.

Instrument Ground School - In Person

Next Class Date - Monday Evenings starting January 22nd. This step-by-step course is designed to assist the student in preparing for the FAA Instrument Pilot Written Exam and is open to anyone who is interested, this 12-week in-classroom course will cover the aeronautical knowledge areas required by 14 CFR 61.65. (Instrument Rating) 

The cost is $495. Please email Steffen Franz the course instructor at stwfranz@gmail.com to sign up for the course. Course fee due before the first day of class. Click here for brochure.

Ready for your very first flight? Our introductory flight is an ideal way to discover the joy of flight, learn more about our club, and what it will take to become a pilot.

Once airborne, your instructor will let you put your hands on the controls to find out what it's really like to fly a plane.

Your first flight will last about 35-40 minutes, and will be in a Cessna 172S.

The cost (instructor included) is only $149. Click on Contact Us (to the right) to request your introductory flight.

If the intro flight isn't a good fit for you (timing/schedule/length of flight) we also offer a demo flight.  This is arranged directly with an instructor.  Actual costs vary depending on choice of aircraft, CFI, and total hours flown. 

If you are a non-US citizen wanting to obtain a private, instrument, or multi-engine pilot’s license then you will first need to obtain a TSA clearance.

Please go to https://www.fts.tsa.dhs.gov to get a step-by-step procedure on how to fill out the training request form.

Here are some great tips to save you money and help get your certificate more quickly. 

  • Tip #1: Fly more often
  • Tip #2: Fly a lower cost aircraft
  • Tip #3: Take advantage of block rates
  • Tip #4: Make use of club simulators
  • Tip #5: Come prepared for each lesson
  • Tip #6: Attend WVFC Ground Schools (new page)
  • Tip #7: Fly with other pilots
  • Tip #8: Learn the “lingo” on the ground.
  • Tip #9: Take advantage of membership discounts
  • Tip #10: Apply for a WVFC Scholarship