Private Pilot

privatepilot-1Mark Thorn departing from Vashon Municipal airport (2S1) in "Dorothy" a J-3-C-90 on his solo 150 mile cross country flight.

Learn to fly in a J-3 PIPER CUB, tailwheel airplane!

The J-3 Piper Cub was first introduced in 1937, though modest in original performance, stands as one of the most significant aircraft in American aviation history. Not only did many of our military and commercial pilots get their first taste of flying in the cub, but it's ready availability after WWII laid the basis for private civil aviation. It made the joy of flying available to almost anyone. Conventional geared or tailwheel airplanes are a great way to learn. 4 out of 5 pilots in World War II, learned in a J-3 Piper Cub.

Pilot Certificate Courses

Vashon Island Air is proud be able to provide classic 1946 J-3 Piper cubs for you to fly while obtaining your private pilot certificate. This is a very rare, and magical experience to fly off a 1900 foot grass airstrip in a J-3 Cub and to learn completely in tailwheeled aircraft.

I like to train my pilots to be able to handle all situations, from a short strip like Vashon Muni to the highly controlled, heavy communication environment like Boeing Field and everything in between. By the time you finish my training you won't be intimidated by anything. You'll feel like the master of the aircraft, the Pilot-in-Command. I would compare the flying skills of my private pilot student with the skills of a Commercial pilot with 200-300 hours by the time you finish my course.

The J-3 was the trainer used by hundreds of thousands of pilots and really teaches you how to fly with basic stick and rudder skills. Learning in a tailwheel aircraft makes you a better pilot. It teaches the pilot to use a lot of finesse on the controls, and has a lot to teach any pilot.

The sample hours listed for each rating are the minimum hours required by the FAR's. Total hours will probably be greater than those listed. The main thing is feeling comfortable in the airplane, learning how to safely conduct your flight and knowing that you are the master of your aircraft and airspace.


Instructional Areas

  • Preflight
  • Communications
  • Airport Environment
  • Night Flying
  • Weight/Balance
  • Meteorology/Weather
  • Traffic Patterns
  • Take-offs
  • Airspaces
  • Cross-Country
  • Navigation
  • Airplane Systems
  • Emergencies
  • Regulations
  • Airport Operation
  • Maneuvering
  • Landings
  • Instrument

Requirements for Private Pilot Certificate

  • 17 Years of age (solo requirement 16 years old)
  • Third Class Medical Certificate
  • Successful completion of the following minimums:
    • 40 flight hours must be completed, including:
      • 20 hours of flight instruction with:
      • 3 hours of cross country training
      • 3 hours instrument training
      • 3 hours of night flight practice
      • 3 hours test prep prior to practical test
    • 10 hours solo flight to include:
      • 5 hours cross-country flight
      • one cross-country at least 150 nautical miles total distance.
    • Successful completion of the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam
    • FAA Practical Exam