BECOME A PILOT
If you want a private or commercial pilot certificate, we can help. If you want tailwheel training, you've definitely come to the right place! If you want to learn about flying to Canada or Alaska, we can help. If you’re ready for an instrument rating, we can help there too. If you want to learn about off-airport 'bush' flying, give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss your questions and develop the best plan for you.
AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL & INSTRUCTION
Cessna 172M Skyhawk
This model of airplane is America’s favorite trainer. It’s big enough to haul around a small family on a Saturday, and our upgraded 180hp engine makes a big difference at Montana altitudes. We also use this airplane for introductory instrument flying.
Piper PA-18-150 'Super Cub'
$210/hr wet (dual only, no solo)
The cub is a real working airplane and one of the quintessential bush planes common to Alaska, Canada, and beyond. We utilize it for advanced tailwheel training with dual instruction only.
Aeronca 7AC Champ
$110/hr dry tach
Our Champ was manufactured in 1946 and this sweet little airplane continues to serve as one of the best primary tailwheel trainers ever built. See the FAQs for a discussion on dry tach rates.
We are pleased to offer a simulator for our instrument students to enhance learning during certain phases of the instrument curriculum. It’s also an excellent tool for primary students or for experienced pilots looking to maintain proficiency. Bad weather at LVM? Jump on the sim!
At Yellowstone Air Service we believe the mark of a good pilot is an adherence to ‘professional curiosity’ regardless of their total experience or ambitions. We’re not satisfied with turning out mediocre private pilots, we want to turn out safe and knowledgeable private pilots who routinely exercise the fundamentals of airspeed and directional control. We find that in doing so, a foundation is laid for a lifetime of recreational pleasure flying, or if they choose, an opportunity to move into a career and excel every step of the way.
Many prospective students express concern about learning to fly in such a windy place. Our belief is that anyone can train under ideal conditions [Calm wind, Clear Skies, 65°F] but that an over reliance on a sterile training environment leads to downstream hazards when the real world is inevitably met. We consider the wind, altitude, and weather conditions to be an asset to a point which is to say that if you learn how to fly in Livingston, you know how to fly. Even then, more important than knowing how to fly, is learning when not to fly, and Livingston will give opportunities to feel out those thresholds.
One thing you won’t find as a student at Yellowstone Air Service are airplanes that fly themselves. Our airplanes are classics, one of them is a legitimate antique. They’re made of steel, aluminum, wood, and fabric - not fiberglass, and they don’t have glass panels or autopilots. As professional pilots and instructors, we appreciate the value of those modern airplanes for getting work done - we fly them too - but we also recognize the limitations of those aircraft in a primary instructional environment. We’d prefer that our students start in an airplane that requires their complete attention prior to moving ‘up’ into an airplane that helps them with the task at hand.
If you’re interested in developing good judgment, fundamentals of aircraft control, and nuances within academic material, come see us in Livingston.
$45 per hour
As much as flying is about being in the airplane it’s arguably even more about spending time on the ground developing a firm grasp so that time in the airplane is spent more effectively.
$65 per hour
The super fun part! As a Part 61 flight school we enjoy the flexibility of being able to tailor our lessons and program to your needs in order to ensure you have a positive experience.
HOW TO GET STARTED ON PRIVATE PILOT CERTIFICATE
This is a fun and somewhat big undertaking for most people that will give them wings if they see it through. You’ll need 40 hours of flying time as a legal minimum, the national average being closer to 55 hours. Flight instruction (with an instructor pilot in the airplane) averages 25-35 hours depending on student learning style and other factors. Ground instruction averages 35-60 hours depending on learning style & how hard a student works at studying on their own time. As with flight instruction, ground instruction ramps up and winds down at certain points in the flight training process.
One of the most enjoyable pre-requisites is the required 10 hours of solo flight (no instructor in the airplane). When you’re ready, you’ll be ‘soloed’, and you’ll never forget the first one.
We’re often asked, “What will this cost me?” The straight answer is that many factors will influence your flight training costs so we try not to put a hard number on it. But we find that most students of average ability will complete a private pilot certificate in a Cessna 172, coming in under $15,000 of total costs which includes books, medical, exam fees, and the cost of your coffee shop study breaks.
Using other airplanes such as the Aeronca Champ, or a personally owned aircraft may reduce your cost more. Finally, the best advice is to study often, and study well.
Requirements that are out of our control:
No recent drug or alcohol charges or convictions, visit faa.gov for details
Proof of U.S. Citizenship
There is a path for non-citizens but it takes more time
Ability to obtain a pilot Medical Certificate
We recommend Dr. Ace Walker of Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber, MT
Note: Significant or routine traffic violations and other convictions typically are not of concern to the FAA but may impact other things such as your ability to find affordable insurance or a good job offer.
When you’re ready to schedule for a $100 introductory flight, please visit Flight Schedule Pro and signup to request access to our aircraft and instructor scheduling program. Build a profile, give us a call, and we’ll work together to get you on the schedule for a visit and introductory lesson.
In order to keep hourly costs to the student/renter within reason, we require proof of aviation renters/borrowers insurance for all solo aircraft rental including student rental. We recommend $1,000,000 liability coverage and we require $40,000 in ‘hull’ coverage to protect against aircraft damage. This cost is generally around $500-700 for a one year policy and it is non-specific to Yellowstone Air Service so you have protection no matter where you fly assuming you are within the limits of the policy exclusions.
We recommend AOPA Aviation Insurance or AVEMCO Aircraft Insurance for first time insurance buyers. If you have an existing insurance policy for a personally owned aircraft, your insurer will typically add a renters/borrowers rider for a minimal additional fee.
Our Cessna 172 is equipped with a basic IFR panel and we have an experienced CFII available for your instructional needs. While we have plans for upgrading the avionics in the Cessna in summer/fall of 2023, at this time we are limited to ‘legacy’ equipment only and cannot fly RNAV routes or approaches.
We also utilize our in house simulator which is fully FAA certified and can be used for 10 hours of dual instruction toward the instrument rating. We find that this is an excellent tool for bad weather days, and also offers a significant cost savings and increase in learning efficiency to our students.
If you have a personally owned or partnership airplane, we are more than happy to discuss your instrument initial or recurrent needs.