FAQ

For more information contact Sawyer Aviation at (480) 922-5221.
Charter

Aircraft Abilities and Limitations

Is the aircraft always available?
Specific aircraft are booked by clients on a first come first served basis. However Sawyer Aviation has access to numerous aircraft.
Are there weight restrictions?
Yes. Every aircraft from a Boeing 747 to a LearJet have a maximum weight that they are not allowed to exceed on takeoff and a number of other weights and conditions that must be taken into consideration by the pilots for safety. When planning for a trip, Sawyer Aviation takes care of making sure you are able to complete your trip, bring the reasonable amount of luggage you need and still stay safe. It is usually assumed that each passenger will have one suitcase (if they state that they are bringing luggage) of up to 35lbs-50lbs. Carry on items are usually 5lbs-10lbs. These weights are not restrictions but if you are bringing luggage please notify us at time of booking the trip. It is very important for our pre-flight planning. Also any large items such as golf clubs, skiis, or heavy equipment need to be announced to your charter-sales representative.
What planes do you have?
Several and the list is constantly being updated. We will present you with several options that are best suited for your trip. We will even help you decide which aircraft is right for you, your trip and your budget. Jet, turboprop and piston aircraft are available.
How fast does it fly?
Different aircraft fly at different speeds. Piston-engine aircraft fly at 200mph-230mph, turboprop 250mph-310mph, and jets 400mph-500mph. Winds, weather, airspace and ATC routing will affect total flight time.
How long does it take?
Less time than the airlines! You are able to drive up to your aircraft, step in and be whisked away moments later. No need to wait in lines, arrive to the airport hours in advance, etc. Upon arrival a rental car or other ground transportation will meet you planeside and off you go. Winds, weather, airspace and ATC routing will affect total flight time.
How far can I go, maximum range?
This depends upon the specific aircraft and will vary based on winds, weather, passenger and luggage weights etc. Piston aircraft can typically fly nonstop 200mi-600mi, turboprop 800mi-1,200mi, light jets 600mi-1,200mi, mid-size jets 1,800mi-2,500mi, heavy-jets 2,700mi-4,500mi and ultra-long range jets up to nearly 8,000mi (which equates to being able to fly anywhere in the world with one fuel-stop.
Where do you fly?
Anywhere with a runway long enough to legally land or takeoff from, within reason of course. Flights and aircraft are available to or from any city in the United States. We can fly you to Mexico, Canada, Caribbean or anywhere else you may want to go.
Can we leave out of any airport?
In most cases, yes. There are approximately 5,000 airports available to private aircraft, only around 500 of those airports are served by airlines. You have 10X more options when you fly privately. Arrive closer to your destination and leave out of less congested airports.
Is the airplane pressurized?
Yes, for Turboprop and jet aircraft

Charter Pricing

Is this the price for the whole airplane?
Yes, when you fly privately the entire aircraft is yours. So stretch out and enjoy all the extra legroom.
Is there an additional charge to bring other people?
In most cases the answer is, no. There is a small fee of less than $4 per passenger per takeoff for most aircraft called a “Segment Fee.” Sometimes adding extra passengers or weight may result in a fuel stop on longer flights. Always make sure to update your Sawyer Aviation Charter Sales Representative to any requested changes to your flight.
Can I just buy a seat?
No. However if you and your friends would like to charter an aircraft and share the cost of a trip then you are able to do so.
How much does it cost to charter an airplane?
It varies by aircraft. Piston and propeller aircraft cost the less per hour but also fly slower. Jets cost more per hour but fly faster so it is a tradeoff. There are four categories of charges in any charter flight: flight-time charges, standby or overnight fees, miscellaneous fees (such as landing fees, catering, de-icing, etc.) and tax. Tax is usually 7.5% on domestic flights. All charges and fees are clearly outlined on your flight estimate.

Charter Operations

What can I not bring aboard?
You are not allowed to bring any hazardous materials. Certain exceptions apply but always check with your charter-sales representative in advance and notify the crew before boarding as to any potential hazardous materials so that they are not accidentally brought board.
Can I bring my skis, golf clubs etc?
Yes, yes, and yes. Just maybe not all at the same time unless you are on a heavy jet. Large bulky items can be transported.
What type of suitcase is best for private aircraft, how do I pack?
Soft sided suitcases are best. Bags without rollers are also optimal.
Do you fly pets?
Yes, kennels or holding smaller animals is acceptable.
Do I have to go through security?
There are Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security measures in place overseeing the security and safety of general aviation and business aircraft. Make sure to provide the names of all the passengers to your charter-sales representative at time of booking your flight and make sure those traveling bring a photo ID matching the names given.
How do I find the airplane?
The address of the point of departure (executive airport terminal or “FBO”) will be on the charter quote along with the phone number of that specific terminal for directions if needed. The executive terminal is usually a privately business and not part of a City or Airport government building. Some form of MapQuest or Google Maps is suggested to ensure easy arrival at the correct location.
NOTE: The executive terminal is almost always not the same building as where scheduled airlines depart.
Can I drive “Plane side”?
The term “planeside” is when you drive through the airport security gate and right up the aircraft you are about to travel on. Exercise caution and drive slowly when on the airport area as there is a lot of activity.
How soon before the flight do they have to get to the airport?
No advance arrival is necessary, we leave when you arrive. Don’t worry, we will not leave without you. However it is a good idea to have ask your entire party to arrive 15-minutes prior to departure in order to allow for luggage loading, passenger briefing and an on time departure.
Are there two pilots?
Yes, on most all jet aircraft. The FAA, industry and insurance companies alike have deemed that it is acceptable that there only be one pilot flying in piston or turboprop aircraft and still maintain excellent safety. A second pilot may be available upon request for propeller aircraft.
Are there flight attendants?
On some mid-size aircraft and almost always on heavy-jet and ultra-long-range aircraft.

Jetiquette

Are gratuities accepted, does that apply to the ramp attendants as well?
Gratuities are always appreciated but never expected. All of us at Sawyer Aviation take great pride in our work and will gladly serve you. If you feel that the people who got you to your destination went above and beyond then showing your appreciation to whatever amount you feel comfortable is always welcome.
Sales

Getting Ready to Purchase an Aircraft

Is purchasing an aircraft difficult?
With the help of experienced professionals at Sawyer Aviation, it is an easy and manageable process. Sawyer Aviation assists through steps: which private-aircraft travel solution is right for you, which type of aircraft would best suit your needs, use pro forma, and suggestions on ownership structure, operating costs, aircraft selection, negotiation, pre-purchase inspection, delivery, registration, crew, hangar and insurance solutions. Sawyer Aviation also provides assistance in managing your new aircraft to give you an expert single point of contact for all aspects of your aircraft.
What financing options are there?
Financing options on an aircraft purchase are similar to that of financing real estate or a business vs purchasing a car. Loan terms extend out 10, 15, 20+ years with interest rates comparable interest rates. There are several aviation lenders throughout the country. Initial applications are one page and can be pre-approved in 24-hours. Sawyer Aviation’s trusted lenders will provide upfront terms and adhere to them throughout the loan application process. Usually three-year’s personal (and business tax returns, if applicable), some basic financials and a completed loan application are all that are needed.
What if I don’t want a new aircraft?
There are terrific opportunities where one can acquire a pre-owned aircraft that looks new with very low hours for ½ to ¼ of what is the new-aircraft asking price.
Can I test fly an aircraft I am interested in?
Usually a test flight occurs only after there has been an accepted offer on the aircraft to be purchased. However it is possible to charter a comparable aircraft or arrange a demo flight at the Buyer’s expense prior to making an offer.
How do I make sure the airplane I buy is safe, reliable?
Sawyer Aviation will select a maintenance facility that is experienced in the type of aircraft you are purchasing, see to it that the research is done to ensure it is legal to fly and that all inspections, service bulletins, airworthiness directives, parts and engine programs, etc. are in compliance.

Ownership Opportunities and Responsibilities

Are there ways to offset the cost of ownership?
Yes, there are ways to offset the costs of ownership by making your aircraft available in Sawyer Aviation’s charter fleet. We will simply present you with revenue-generating charter-flight opportunities as they become available and you can simply accept or deny each trip on a case by case basis ensuring that your aircraft is available when ever and where ever you want to use it. We also have programs where we aggressively structure your aircraft to be a capital producing asset and get higher utilization on it with each hour covering all expected operating costs. An aircraft that flies more frequently reduces your cost per hour when you fly it privately as well. Your aircraft will still be cared for and kept in pristine condition ready for your next flight.
Are there tax benefits associated with aircraft ownership?
Tax benefit eligibility varies based on a number of factors but there are substantial tax benefits to aircraft ownership. Aircraft depreciation across a 5-7 year period, fuel tax, upgrades and modifications, etc. some of the areas where substantial tax deductions may be available. How the aircraft is operated, associated operating agreements and how you and your company account for the flights can be very important. Having your aircraft professionally managed, and in some cases on Sawyer Aviation’s charter program, can maximize the defensibility of the tax deductions that you as an aircraft owner may be entitled to. Sawyer Aviation’s detailed statements, reporting and tracking help ensure that the information needed by your tax professionals is available.
Should I own the aircraft in my business or personally?
We suggest that it is most beneficial for tax and liability purposes to form an LLC or other entity and own the aircraft in that entity. Owning the aircraft personally has certain downfalls.
Do I have to hire a pilot or crew?
There are many options available for having safe, experienced and qualified pilots flying you and your family. We will advise you on options that best suit your needs and won’t add any unnecessary fixed overhead costs to you owning your aircraft.
Where do I park it?
We will find a hangar or parking solution and fuel discount program that meets the needs of your operation, hours flown per year, typical missions, and the level of service you require and still save you money.

Selling an Aircraft

How do I list my aircraft for sale?
Sawyer Aviation will list your aircraft and market it for you. Our strategy for how we structure your listing, price and market the aircraft can be as aggressive as you prefer.
Flight Academy

Getting Started

Is there an age limit for obtaining a private pilot rating? (What about max age?)

A student pilot can begin their training at any age. The Federal Aviation Regulations require an individual to be at least 16 years of age to fly an aircraft solo and 17 years of age to obtain a private pilot certificate. There is not an age limitation on beginning flight lessons with a certified flight instructor. There is no maximum age for acquiring a private pilot certificate. Once someone gets this certificate, they may exercise the privileges of that certificate as long as they continue to get a medical certificate and a biannual flight review.

What written tests and flight tests are required to obtain my private pilot rating?

Student pilots have to pass a pre-solo written exam before solo, a private pilot written exam (FAA), and a practical exam (flight test).

What physical exams are required to get my private pilot rating (and where do I take them)?

To obtain a private pilot rating, you must obtain at least a 3rd class medical, and these are available from FAA medical examiners (contact Sawyer Aviation for a list of medical examiners).

What is a medical certificate?

Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their pilot’s license – there are three classes; 1st (most stringent, good for six months and typically required of airline & turbine aircraft pilots), 2nd (good for one year and required for use with a commercial rating or flying for hire), and 3rd (good for three years if you are under 40, two years if 40 or older). A medical certificate is required for a student pilot to solo. A pilot may later upgrade his or her medical certificate at any time simply by having a reexamination by a FAA medical examiner.

Are there any medical restrictions to prevent me from becoming a pilot?

Some medical conditions may require a waiver for a pilot to get a medical certificate, and these are best described by the FAA medical examiner. It is strongly recommended to disclose any preexisting conditions, surgeries, etc on the medical application as the records are checked initially by the medical examiner and later against other databases at the FAA. Failure to disclose may result in revocation of a previously issued medical certificate, halting training and potentially extensive delays. Keep it simple and list your correct medical history.

Am I required to have special insurance to be a pilot?

No, but some insurance companies do specialize in insurance for pilots. Renters Insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Avemco Insurance Company, recommended by the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA), offers custom coverage combinations or convenient coverage combinations – you choose. Obtain an application at the Sawyer Aviation front desk or click on the AVEMCO link.

What is the optimum progression through the ratings?

This depends on why the student is achieving the ratings, but the progression that occurs most often is: private rating, an addition of an instrument rating, then a multi-engine rating, commercial rating, certified flight instructor, instrument instructor and finally, ATP. The commercial rating is necessary for being able to be paid for pilot services, also leads to greater proficiency in the aircraft and potentially lower insurance rates if the pilot later chooses to purchase an aircraft. Flight Instructor ratings are not required to be eligible to obtain an ATP license. The ATP rating is required to fly larger aircraft (above 12,500lbs) and jet aircraft; and requires a number of items be met including a commercial rating and 1,500hrs of total flight time. The next progression is to a commercial rating, and the prior ratings apply to this one.

Selecting a Flight School

What is the difference between a Part 141 school and Part 61?

The “Parts” refer to different sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations, and the different Parts dictate different requirements for flight schools. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have less stringent requirements – no chief flight instructor required – and they have the flexibility to progress through their training syllabi as needed. Part 141 schools are legally required to have a chief flight instructor, have their syllabus or training course outline (TCO) approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and progress through that syllabus exactly as outlined – no flexibility. Sawyer Aviation uses a part 141 syllabus and training strategy while maintaining the flexibility of the Part 61 program – this makes flying at Sawyer the best of both worlds or “Parts!”

What is the difference between a Cessna Pilot Center (CPC) and a common flight school?

Cessna Pilot Centers must meet higher standards than the typical flight school in order to be eligible to operate under the Cessna logo. They must be clean, neat, and provide superior customer service and flight training. They must make available for flight training fully insured, new Cessna 172 aircraft that are currently under factory warranty. Most importantly, Cessna Pilot Centers are the only schools that utilize Cessna’s integrated computer-based instruction – a revolutionary method of teaching ground school that is easy, thorough and fun. Sawyer Aviation is a Cessna Pilot Center.

There are a few Cessna Pilot Centers throughout the country, why should I fly at Sawyer Aviation?

Sawyer Aviation is a Cessna Pilot Center and has been synonymous with flight training since 1961. Sawyer goes many steps further by offering: additional aircraft models to choose from (Cessna, Cirrus and Diamond); having exacting standards for Sawyer Instructors (uniformed, random drug screening; tiered-selection process); computerized aircraft maintenance tracking; a full-time Flight School Manager; a fully-enclosed state-of-the-art, flight training device (flight simulator) for training on almost all ratings except multi-engine; a new multi-engine PC-Advanced Training Device or PCATD (flight simulator); Sawyer Aviation works with Bank Of America to offer financing for training; Sawyer Aviation is an approved FAA written testing center; at Sawyer you can even earn college credit.

Where’s the best place in the country for flight training?

Sawyer Aviation is located in the dry, sunny, southwest. No tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes or coastal fog will ground you for days and weeks while you are focusing on flying. Arizona is the #1 place in the world for flight training; more pilot licenses are issued in Arizona than anywhere else in the world.

TSA Compliance and Training for those who live outside the U.S., what is required for me to train in the United States?

Anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security – Transporation Safety Administration (TSA) or provide original proof of U.S. citizenship to Sawyer Aviation BEFORE commencing ANY training. To begin application process notify Sawyer Aviation (via phone or training@sawyeraviation.com) of your intent to begin training, complete all Sawyer Aviation paperwork, go to: https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/ and follow the application instructions. TSA approval may take 30-60 days. Once approved by the TSA and in the U.S., the training requirements for a citizen of another country are the same as for a U.S. citizen.

Discovery Flights

What is a Discovery Flight?

A Discovery Flight is a flight of approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours intended to familiarize a student with the airplane, the airport, and with the flying environment. During most Discovery Flights, the student sits in the left seat, and the instructor allows the student to fly for a majority of the flight. Sawyer Aviation offers three levels of Discovery Flights which range in duration and cost. All flight time counts towards the 40 hours required by the FAA to earn a Private Pilot License.

How much does a Discovery Flight cost?

Discovery Flights start at $89 and go up to $399. Discovery Flights can be purchased online. Sawyer Aviation offers the following Discovery Flights: Cadet $89, Captain $199 and Explorer $399. All Discovery Flights include a free logbook.

How do I arrange a Discovery Flight as a gift?

Visit Sawyer Aviation online at www.sawyeraviation.com to view and purchase Discovery Flights and then call to schedule your flight! Print your personalized Discovery Flight gift certificate from home!

Is there an expiration date on the Discovery Flight certificates?

Yes. Discovery Flight Coupons are valid for one year from the date of purchase, are non-refundable but may be applied towards another type of discovery flight if the recipient later chooses to upgrade or use for store credit.

Flight Training

How many hours do I have to fly before I fly solo?

There is no specific requirement for hours before solo; this is based on the judgment of one’s instructor. Typically student pilots will have accrued 15hrs to 22hrs of total flight time when they take their first solo flight.

Can I learn to fly in my own plane?

Yes. Many do elect to purchase their own aircraft prior to obtaining or even beginning their training. Some will buy an aircraft they can train in; others will purchase an aircraft that better suit their current travel needs and fly it with an instructor onboard. If a customer of Sawyer Aviation purchases a new Cessna Aircraft with two-year warranty – they will receive $3,000 towards their flight training – payable after they obtain their license.

Do I have to be a pilot to purchase a plane?
No. Anyone may purchase an aircraft.
How do I learn to fly an aircraft that has a glass cockpit?

The same way you fly any other aircraft. It’s easy! Glass cockpit aircraft present information in an easier to read and more intuitive manner than legacy aircraft (round-dial or “steam-gauge” aircraft). Almost every manufacturer of aircraft with glass cockpits can provide references for training, or the avionics provider may provide training. The most popular and widely used “glass cockpit” system is called the Garmin G1000. Sawyer offers a G1000 equipped aircraft. The G1000 system is supported by the “Cleared to Fly G1000” course available at Sawyer. Ask a Sawyer Aviation Instructor about additional benefits of flying the G1000.

Private Pilot Rating

What is the average length of time needed to obtain a private pilot rating?

In as little as 21 days from zero-time to private pilot with the written portion complete. Training would be everyday for 2-3 hrs/lessons. On average, it takes about 4-6 months, flying 2-3 times per week. You must complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction (the national average is 75) and study to pass the written and oral exams (typically 40 hours of study material). Sawyer Aviation averages 60-70 hrs through use of the Cessna Pilot Program materials. Cost of training actually decreases the faster one goes because there is less time spent refreshing and more time progressing.

What is the average cost of obtaining a private pilot rating?

The cost varies by location, frequency and the type of aircraft used for training, but the average cost is between $12,000 and $15,000.

Can I finance my training at Sawyer Aviation?

Financing is available through Pilot Finance, Inc. 1-800-667-0201. *Block rates also available. Save 10% off your bill each time you fly!

How do I stay current?

At a minimum you need a current medical certificate and a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) every 24 months. That’s it!
To carry passengers you simply have done three take offs and landings in the category and class of aircraft single-engine, like a Cessna 172, or multi-engine land airplane you intend to fly within the last 90 days. If you haven’t, you can do your three take offs and landings the same day, or night and then your passenger(s) can jump in the airplane with you and off you go! It’s just that easy!

Aircraft Management

Opportunities and Benefits

How can I maximize tax benefits of aircraft ownership?
Tax benefit eligibility varies based on a number of factors but there are substantial tax benefits to aircraft ownership. Aircraft depreciation across a 5-7 year period, fuel tax, upgrades and modifications, etc. some of the areas where substantial tax deductions may be available. How the aircraft is operated, associated operating agreements and how you and your company account for the flights can be very important. Having your aircraft professionally managed, and in some cases on Sawyer Aviation’s charter program, can maximize the defensibility of the tax deductions that you as an aircraft owner may be entitled to. Sawyer Aviation’s detailed statements, reporting and tracking help ensure that the information needed by your tax professionals is available.
What charitable ways can I give back, philanthropy, donate / How can I be more socially responsible with the use of my aircraft?
The effect a private aircraft can have to do good and to give back is vast and powerful. There are several meaningful ways that your aircraft can make a difference. Sawyer Aviation can work with you to learn about what causes you are passionate about to find ways for you and your aircraft to make a difference in those areas.
How do I make my aircraft work for me while I am not flying it?
The average aircraft owner flies their aircraft 100hrs-400hrs annually with an average of less than 200hrs. 200hrs in a year is only :30 minutes a day. With an average of 3hrs per flight day, that is still only five-days a month the aircraft is flying. What is your aircraft doing the other 23:30hrs in the day, or 8,577 available-hours and 298 days in the year? The correct answer is, it should be working for you! Making your aircraft available for charter use requires little or no cost. Sawyer Aviation’s fleet insurance policy can sometimes have charter-usage added to your aircraft coverage at little or no cost. The crew’s recurrent training can include any required aspects of charter usage and there is usually little or no additional maintenance required on top of a comprehensive maintenance program that any aircraft owner would already have in place. The more your aircraft flies your fixed costs (insurance, hangar, debt service, etc.) can be spread out over a broader hourly basis making it actually cheaper the more you fly your aircraft. Sawyer Aviation can show you how.
Can I make money with my airplane?
Yes. You can generate revenue to offset the costs of ownership through charter or rental activity. This does not mean that you will be always generate a profit month-after-month but you will substantially reduce your costs. Revenue generation combined with the fleet-discounts, increased availability from proper maintenance management , and Sawyer Aviation can provide further details and show you how saving $100,000s may be attainable with your aircraft.

Operations

How is maintenance and aircraft availability increased by having my plane professionally managed?
Your aircrafts status and everything about your aircraft is tracked electronically by Sawyer Aviation’s management systems. We watch flight schedules and match them to upcoming maintenance intervals, schedule the routine inspections (even having them carried out while you sleep) and get your aircraft back up and ready to fly in the morning. Furthermore, when an unexpected event occurs, our coordination and expertise with maintenance personnel at home or away will cut hours or days off of response times so that the correct action is taken immediately and your trip is not delayed any more than it has to be.
I already have a full time pilot who flies my airplane, how can I benefit more from professional aircraft management?
Your pilot(s) are responsible for flying the aircraft safely, efficiently and getting you to your destination on time. They need help to do this. Our systems for tracking and managing such items as your pilot’s Department of Transportation Drug & Alcohol testing programs to ensure compliance, initial and recurrent safety training, Human Resources functions, aircraft stock, etc.
I’m having trouble keeping track of my airplane costs, how can I fix this problem?
Sawyer Aviation provides consolidated expense tracking that can easily be optimized by your tax professionals where applicable.
How do I know for certain that my aircraft is 100% legal to fly?
Our procedures for ensuring aircraft legality adhere to commercial aircraft standards and on turbine aircraft FAA on-demand Air-Carrier standards.
I need ground support while traveling / trip concierge services?
While you are in the air, Sawyer Aviation is tracking your flight. If the trip changes whether it is for diversion for weather, longer than expected client meeting, or last minute request Sawyer Aviation’s ground team is here to support your flight. We see to it that every aspect of your trip is taken care of and triple checked. You want your pilots focused on the safety of flight and not making rental car, hotel, dinner reservations and catering reservations. When landing at an international airport or maybe just an out of the way place afterhours, we are there to support you, your flight and the flight crew to ensure everything goes smoothly. This service is included with every aircraft we manage.
How do I get a flight crew for my aircraft?
Penguins are proof that just because something has wings does not always mean that it can fly. The same is true of pilots. Sawyer Aviation can screen and select pilots much more so than someone who has not been in aviation for decades.
How do I ensure I have safe pilots flying me, my family and my employees?
Sawyer Aviation provides qualified, trained, professional crew-members for your aircraft either on a contract basis, day-rate or full-time. Our hiring, screening and training process ensures that the professionals flying your aircraft are experts. All human resource functions, drug-testing, recurrent training, etc. for your pilots are managed by Sawyer Aviation for you.