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Training Courses

Hood Aero Aviation Services Flight Training offers a spectacular opportunity to train in a stunningly scenic and technically diverse environment. With our proximity to the Cascade mountains, and frequent winds of the Columbia River Gorge, you will build more than just basic flight skills. You will learn to safely operate in challenging conditions to better prepare you for a future of flying. With a fleet of tailwheel and tricycle gear aircraft you can pursue a wide variety of skills and flying disciplines. Whether it is your private pilot's license, 

tailwheel endorsement, or more advanced training, we have the skills, experience, and aircraft to help you achieve your goals. Our team of instructors are dedicated to building the safest, most prepared pilots possible. We believe in consistent continued training and growth, so that our students and ourselves never become complacent. We continually develop new skills and better practices in order to build a better and more capable flying community.

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Training Locations

Hood River | 4S2

Located just two miles south of Hood River, the picturesque Ken Jernstedt Airfield rests in a wide valley surrounded by orchards.

The Dallesport | KDLS

Nestled alongside the majestic Columbia River, 70 miles east of Portland, Oregon, you will find the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport.

Private Pilot

Learn to fly in the beautiful Columbia Gorge! We offer part 61 private pilot training. We have the flexibility to train you in tricycle or tailwheel, at your own pace or accelerated. Our location allows students to experience a diverse set of environments and weather, building strong fundamental skills and aeronautical decision making.

Advanced Training

We offer advanced training, including commercial, flight reviews, and instrument flight instruction. Students can use our RedBird Full motion simulator for a more affordable way to build up to 20 hours of your required instrument instruction. 

Be sure to ask us about any of your training needs! Our instructors are happy to teach you in your plane.

Basic Tailwheel

We offer tailwheel endorsements, private pilot training, and tailwheel refreshers. You can train in our J3, Top Cub, or  in your own airplane. Our 100hp J3 is a great plane to start your tailwheel training in. Our Top Cub is equipped with all the navigation and radio equipment to finish up your post solo private pilot training.

Advanced Tailwheel

Our Advanced Tailwheel courses allow students to get away from the normal airport environment. The week-long course will start at one of a handful of local airports where we will more fully develop your slow flight, precision flying and landing skills. At the end of the week our proximity to the cascades and central Oregon allows us access to some spectacular backcountry spots to put those skills to real world use.

Seaplane Instruction

Take flight from the scenic waters of the Columbia River Gorge. Experience the thrill of mastering the skill of Seaplane flying under the guidance of our expert instructors. Whether you're a seasoned pilot or a beginner, our Hood River location offers the perfect setting to hone your skills. This instruction is a great option for pilots seeking to add the Airplane Single Engine Sea rating to their certificate. 

Lars Ljungqvist

Lars, as one of our most senior instructors, boasts over four years of experience teaching at Hood Aero's PNW locations (formerly Tacaero). His rich history encompasses flying and instructing in every airplane within the Hood Aero Fleet. Raised in the picturesque Willamette Valley within a family deeply rooted in aviation, Lars's passion for vintage airplanes and classic automobiles ignited at an early age. Following his certification as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Lars relocated to the scenic Gorge area to embark on a career in tailwheel instruction. Committed to personal growth and skill enhancement, he firmly believes in the importance of continuous training and expanding one's aviation qualifications. 

Niko Ginos

Niko joined the Hood Aero team as an instructor in May of 2021. Born and raised in Hood River, he grew up in close proximity to the Hood River airport, thanks to his mother, who is also employed by Hood Aero as a private pilot. Niko's aviation journey began during his college break when he learned to fly at Hood Aero, instantly falling in love with the world of aviation. After obtaining his instructor ratings, he assumed the role of guiding aspiring private, instrument, and commercial pilots in their learning endeavors at Hood Aero. When he's not soaring the skies, Niko revels in the great outdoors, partaking in activities such as skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Christian Harris

Christian, our newest addition to the Hood Aero team, hails from the sun-kissed coast of Perth, Western Australia. He has been immersed in aviation since childhood, often flying in the family's Bonanza. His journey led him to the United States, where he pursued a career in aviation. For the past seven years, he has called the Pacific Northwest home, gaining intimate knowledge of the region's weather nuances, both its delights and challenges. Christian's true identity shines as a highly skilled pilot and enthusiastic instructor, dedicated to shaping the most adept aviators possible. Beyond the cockpit, he finds solace in the mountains, indulging in activities such as skiing, mountain biking, and coastal exploration.

Alex Weinert

Alex achieved proficiency in flying a Hood Aero tailwheel aircraft in 2019, and his training and flight experience have predominantly centered around our aircraft since then. Having called the Gorge home for nearly a decade, he has firmly rooted himself in the region. In his leisure hours, Alex immerses himself in a range of outdoor pursuits, including whitewater kayaking, snowboarding, and kiteboarding. His diverse background equips him with a robust set of skills and aeronautical decision-making tools, which prove invaluable in guiding students to excel in the unique aviation environment of the Gorge.

Meet our Instructors
Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to begin taking flying lessons?

All you need is proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate and driver's license or U.S. issued passport). Prior to your first solo flight you will need a medical and student pilot certificate. If you are not a U.S. citizen certain documents must be prepared. To find out the specifics for this procedure please contact us.

What is a private pilot certificate?

This is the entry-level certificate most new pilots receive. Obtaining this certificate allows you to fly and carry passengers in good weather conditions either in the day or at night. In addition, you may travel anywhere across the United States or any other country with certain limitations. You may not, however, fly for compensation or hire.

What are the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to become a private pilot?

  • You must read, speak and understand the English language. 

  • There is no minimum age to take flying lessons.  However, you must be at least 16 years of age to fly solo and 17 years of age to receive a private pilot certificate. 

  • You must have a third class medical certificate issued by an FAA medical examiner. Even if you don’t have perfect vision or are color blind you can pass this medical exam. You may take flying lessons without a medical exam, but may not fly solo. 

  • You must have at least 40 hours of total flight time and at least 20 hours with a Certified Flight Instructor. 

  • Complete ground training and pass an FAA written exam

  • Pass an oral and practical (flight) check ride with an FAA examiner

How much does it cost to learn to fly and get a pilot certificate?

A lot of variables affect the cost of learning to fly, including the frequency of flight lessons, weather conditions, the kind of aircraft in which you are training and its availability for scheduling, and individual aptitude. A rough estimate would range between $7,000 and $11,000.  See our cost estimate sheet to learn more about pricing. If you want to finish your license in the least amount of hours; FLY OFTEN and STUDY HARD!

How long does it take to learn to fly and get a pilot certificate?

The same variables that affect the cost of learning to fly will affect the time it takes to earn your certificate. The FAA has established the minimum number of flight hours needed to obtain a certificate. Under Part 61 of the federal aviation regulations, the minimum is 40 flying hours for a private pilot certificate. The national average for flight training time for a private pilot is between 60 and 75 hours.  These flight hours can be spread over a time span of several months to a year or more. We recommend flying at least twice a week to get the most value.

What are the steps in learning how to fly?

The training is divided into three stages: The first stage is preparing you to solo (which means flying without your flight instructor in the aircraft). In this phase of your training you learn about slow flight, stalls, ground reference maneuvers, climbs, descents, straight and level, radio procedures, aerodynamics, take offs and landings. Mastery of these maneuvers allows you to solo under the FAA minimum requirements. 

The second stage is geared toward navigation and cross country work. In this stage you focus on cross country planning, maximum performance takeoffs and landings, understanding weather, lost and diversion procedures, night flying and navigation, weight and balance, and advanced chart reading. Once you have completed these tasks you are able to fly solo cross country to airports within the Northwest during your training.

The third and final stage is the preparation for your check ride. In this stage you review all of the above procedures to the standards outlined in the FAA Airman Certification Standards (ACS.) The ACS is the outline of the flight and knowledge requirements in order to pass your private pilot check ride. The check ride is taken with an FAA approved examiner. It is typically 4-6 hours long and consists of oral testing and a check flight. Once you have passed this check ride, you are a certificated private pilot. This means you may fly anywhere in the United States under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

What does pilot training look like?

The training sessions are scheduled in two hour blocks at your convenience usually starting at 9:00 a.m. During this time, you and your flight instructor will complete ground and flight instruction. 

Ground school consists of sessions with your flight instructor as well as a web-based ground school provided by Jeppesen, King, or another company of your choosing.  The online training programs help you complete your ground training and prepare you for the FAA Written Exam.  Because it is web-based you can study at your convenience from a home computer.

How do I obtain a Third-Class Aviation Medical Exam?

To obtain a medical certificate you must be examined by an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).  You may start flight training without a medical, however you’ll need to have one before you can solo the airplane.  To exercise privileges of a private pilot, a person is required to have a current 3rd Class FAA-issued medical certificate.

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