Come Fly With Us!

The freedom of flight can be yours by becoming an FAA licensed pilot. We are the Des Moines area’s busiest and best flight school. As a Flight Training center we train students in well-maintained Cessna Skyhawks using proven curriculum. Our well-educated professional staff of instructors will guide you on the path to becoming a pilot. With on-site facilities for ground instruction and full time staff of instructors we can help you to achieve your goals in an efficient time frame.

Online Schedule

Our Instructors

Gabe Roth
Gabe Roth, CFI


Gabe Roth is a full time certified flight instructor. He is also a certified skydiving instructor and skydiving pilot. He loves sharing his own knowledge and experience of aviation with others who are just as passionate as he is.

Alan Hummel
Alan Hummel, CFI

(515) 783-9092

AJ (Alan) Hummel is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFII, AGI). He took his first flying lesson in 1981 and never looked back. AJ provides primary instruction for private, recreational, and sport pilot ratings along with advanced instruction for instrument, commercial & CFI ratings. He is a member of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)-national and local chapter 135 in Ankeny, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI). AJ provides professional instruction tailored to your skills and experience level. He is available for lessons or flight reviews. 

Glenn DeJong
Glenn DeJong, CFI

(515) 402-7493

Glenn DeJong, is a full time Exec1 employee that divides his time between flying charter and flight instructing. Glenn has been a lifelong aviation enthusiast and after his first lesson fell in love with the art and science of flying.




  • Private Pilot

    A private pilot rating allows you to fly VFR (under visual flight rules) when visibility is adequate and the clouds are high. To obtain a private pilot certificate, you must be at least 17 years old and have accumulated a minimum of 40 flight hours. The time-to-private at Exec 1 Aviation averages 46 hours of flight time. The nationwide average is approximately 65-70 hours. You must also pass the FAA private pilots’ written examination and a successfully complete an oral and flight check ride with an FAA designated examiner.

    Your flying education will take place on the ground and in the air. Ground school training takes place at Exec 1 Aviation and at home. Before and after each flight you will receive one-on-one ground school training from your instructor, and as a student you will utilize the computer based Cessna Private Pilot Kit. With it you’ll learn everything you need to know not only to pass your exam, but also to become a knowledgeable, competent pilot. And because it is on your computer, you’ll do it without ever opening a book or stepping into a classroom. Study wherever you go- at home, at the office, even while traveling. In 2008 over 1,300 students trained using the Cessna Private Pilot Kit and not a single candidate failed the FAA written exam.

    You’ll watch presentations by top aviation educators, see dramatic, enlightening in-flight footage, take interactive quizzes, learn interesting trivia, and prepare for upcoming lessons before you ever climb into the airplane.

    That means you’ll learn quickly and efficiently while having fun.

    The Cessna Private Pilot Kit includes all the material needed to earn you Private Pilot license, including the CDs, Aircraft Information Manual, Log Book, Private Pilot Manual, E6B Calculator, Syllabus, and a Practical Test Standards Manual.

  • Instrument Rating

    An instrument rating allows you to fly when visibility is poor and clouds are low in the sky. To obtain an instrument certificate, you must have a total of 125 hours pilot experience, including 40 hours of instrument instruction (20 dual and 20 solo).

    In addition you must pass a written examination and an FAA check ride. An instrument rating improves your flying skills and allows you greater flexibility as a pilot. A pilot who is “instrument qualified” is more prepared when weather conditions deteriorate. The instrument pilot will be able to safely and legally fly through conditions of low cloud cover and low visibility. In addition, if you own your own aircraft, you will most likely receive lower insurance rates with an instrument rating.

    Now that you have achieved your Private Pilot Certificate, you are familiar with the FAA’s system of obtaining certificates. Earning your instrument rating is similar to your previous license in that you must take both a knowledge (written) and a practical test. Once again you will have certain maneuvers that you are expected to perform within specific parameters.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has designated a minimum number of hours (which equates to flight experience) that are required to obtain your rating. At Exec 1 Aviation, the average person can expect to obtain their rating with an additional 45-50 hours, although this number will vary widely up or down, depending upon prior experience and pilot commitment. The national average continues to be 60-70 hours. It is up to the instructor to ensure that each pilot applicant is properly prepared before recommending a pilot for the check ride.

    Exec 1 Aviation utilizes the Cessna Cleared for Approach Instrument Kit for training. Employing the same great features as the Cessna Private Pilot Kit, this program offers the newest in CD Rom teaching with a tremendous success rate.

  • Advanced Ratings

    Complex Rating
    A complex rating is necessary to to fly airplanes with a constant speed propeller and retractable landing gear. There is no hourly requirement, written examination, or FAA check ride. However after the proper CFI logbook endorsement.

    High Performance
    A high performance endorsement is required to operate aircraft equipped with an engine rated at more than 200 horsepower. You must receive ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a high performance airplane and then receive a one-time endorsement in your logbook.

    Multi-Engine Rating
    To earn a multi-engine rating, you must take instruction from an appropriately certified instructor. There is no hourly requirement or a written examination, but rather there is an FAA check ride required to attain your multi engine license. You may test for either a private or commercial certificate in the multi engine category.

    Commercial Pilot
    Commercial pilots can fly for hire. To exercise the full rights of a commercial pilot, you must have an instrument rating, be at least 18 years old, hold a Class II medical certificate, and have a minimum of 250 hours of flying time. You must also pass a 60-question written FAA examination and a FAA check ride.

    Certified Flight Instructor
    To become a certified flight instructor, you must be 18 years old and hold a commercial or airline transport certificate with an instrument rating. Then you must pass a written examination and a FAA check ride. Instrument Instructor and Multi-Engine Instructor are ratings which may be attained with more training and testing.

    Airline Transport Pilot
    To fly for the airlines you’ll have to have an ATP. You need to work your way up to a commercial pilot, be at least 23 years old and then be able to obtain a 1st class medical certificate. You will need to have 1500 hours of total flying time- 500 of them as cross country and 75 hours of instrument time. This instrument time can be either simulated or actual aircraft time. You must pass an 80 question written exam and an FAA check ride in a multi-engine aircraft.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens after I get my pilot's license?

    You'll never be quite the same person you were before. You'll have access to a whole new world of personal freedom. You'll think of travel in terms of hours, not miles. You'll know what it means to make your own schedules, go your own way, far above the crowds, the congestion, the hassle, and the annoyances of ordinary transportation.

    You'll find a new sense of personal fulfillment in your ever-growing flying skills. You'll push the old boundaries of your life forward and you'll have the opportunity to plan, seek, and find new experiences that will enrich your life in countless ways. You'll gain greater self-reliance and confidence. Through you own initiative and effort, you'll be a master of our 20th century's most distinctive and rewarding art.

  • Do I have to own an airplane?

    Not at all! Of course, owning your own general aviation airplane will give you complete freedom to set your own schedule and do your own thing. Along with that, you'll have the pride of Aircraft Ownership; like nothing you've known before. Exec 1 Aviation is your Iowa Cessna Aircraft dealer, so if would like more information on ownership, speak with Darrel Marshall or JR Boesen. They can explain the nuts-and-bolts of aircraft ownership and how it could benefit you.

    Often, several pilots go together to purchase an airplane and form a club or partnership. This will often keep the airplane busier as well as splitting up the investment and expenses of ownership.

    The biggest percentage of pilots find it best to utilize a rental aircraft. At Exec 1 Aviation we have a large assortment of Rental Aircraft with varying rental rates.

    There are many factors to consider in renting or buying an aircraft, but a good rule of thumb is it's best to rent if you fly less than 180 hours per year and you are probably better off buying if you or your aircraft are flying more than 180 hours per year.

  • What about insurance?

    Life Insurance - The insurance companies have come to learn how extremely safe flying really is. Most new policies don't even mention general aviation flying. If you have an older policy, restrictive clauses for private flying can often be removed at little or no cost.

    Liability Insurance - At Exec 1 Aviation there is $2 million liability insurance included in the cost of your rental fee. However we strongly recommend taking out additional renter's insurance for your own protection. It's a low cost supplemental policy that should cover other liability issues or any excess costs beyond Exec 1's $2 million limit. Check with your insurance agent or contact us and we'll put you in contact with an agent that specializes in this type of supplemental insurance.

  • What happens if an engine quits?

    An aircraft engine is a piece of finely built machinery that is designed to keep running. However if the improbable should happen, you won't fall out of the sky. An engine is needed to climb and to propel your aircraft at cruise speed, and an airplane is designed to descend slowly at a gradual glide without that engine. You'll simply do what your instructor trained you to do during practiced engine-out manuevers. You select the nearest safe landing site and land there without the assistance of engine power.

  • Is flying safe?

    General aviation airplanes are built to rigid federal specifications, and they are constantly checked and rechecked to make sure they are mechanically and structurally safe. At Exec 1 Aviation we are required to, and do perform complete inspections of the airplanes after every 100 hours of flight. In addition, people who fly are trained to be much more safety concious than say those who receive a drivers license. As the pilot-in-command of an airplane, you're also in command of most of the variables that affect safe flying. Safety is the most important word in the general aviation vocabulary.
    Your flight instructor will emphasize training you to operate the airplane safely. Flying as pilot-in command of an airplane puts you in charge. A well-built and well-maintained airplane in the hands of a competent, prudent, and well-trained pilot makes flying safer than almost every other form of transportation.

  • How much does it cost?

    Minimum Course Hours and Price:

    28 Hours fueled rental with instructor: $4480
    12 hours fueled rental solo: $1560
    6 hours ground instruction: $210
    Cessna kit, etc.: $350
    Written test and check ride: $350
    Total: $6950

  • What kind of tests will I take?

    There is no test required for a student pilot certificate, only the physical examination. But before a private license is issued, you must pass two tests. One is a written FAA examination, a practical exam on flying rules and regulations. You'll also have to work out the details of a hypothetical flight for this exam. But don't worry; you'll have done it all before in planning the cross-country flights you made as part of your training program. Exec 1 is an FAA approved testing facility.
    Following this exam is a practical examination of your flying ability. Here you take a designated FAA examiner for a checkride to demonstrate your ability to maneuver the airplane safely and confidently. You'll have practiced the maneuvers many times before, and your flight instructor will have prepared you thoroughly. The FAA offices are next door to ours so booking an examination time is quick and easy.

  • What will my first flight be like?

    Your instructor will introduce you to the different flight school aircraft and help you choose which airplane is best suited to you. You may switch from plane to plane during training but it's best to fly the last ten or so hours in the aircraft you'll be taking your checkride in. This way you'll be comfortable with it's general layout and characteristics. Also during the first lesson, you'll be briefed on the instruments, controls, and equipment in the plane and on what to watch for when you're flying.
    After the preflight briefing, the two of you will take off. When aloft, and under the close supervision of your instructor, you'll take control of the airplane. The controls will be surprisingly light and responsive in the air withe the airplane wanting to fly itself. It will be unlike anything you've experienced before. At this time you'll realize the exhilaration of flight, and most likely will become impatient awaiting your next lesson.

  • How long will it take?

    Most students at Exec 1 Aviation receive their private pilots certificate after about 45 hours of flight time, including time spent with an instructor (dual time) and time spent flying alone (solo time). Training will includes some night flying, some instrument flying (flying solely by reference to the airplane's instruments), and some cross-country flying. The minimum time required by federal regulations to receive your private certificate is 40 hours of flight time.
    You can fly in the early morning, during the day, or on weekends. Scheduling your flying is up to you and your instructor.
    How long it takes to accumulate flight time is largely up to you and your instructor. Usually two or three hours flying per week is a good learning rate, with more hours during weeks when cross-country flights are made. Statistics indicate that the average student pilot completes the requirements for a private pilot certificate in four to six months. Depending on the schedule and number of hours spent flying, some people will complete it sooner and others will take longer.

  • What is the first step?

    Deciding to learn to fly is obviously the first step, and often the most difficult one. Before you make the big decision to take flying lessons, you may want to experience flying in a small plane. At Exec 1 Aviation we offer this experience at a reduced cost in what we call a Discovery Flight. Once you've viewed your community from the perspective of a general aviation aircraft and have felt the sensation of flight, you'll most likely know that piloting is for you.

  • Where is the best place to learn to fly?

    All flight schools must follow the same FAA mandated criteria but at Exec 1 we feel we have a superior program as an approved Cessna Pilot Center. The Cessna program is presented in CD ROM format and allows you to pursue the better part of your ground training in the comfort of your own home. This will included a mixture of training from your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) individually or as part of a ground training class. CFIs have been specially trained and examined by the federal government to ensure that all of your training is the safest and most effective possible.
    The flight training itself is conducted with you personal CFI. You'll learn to fly in an airplane that was developed especially for student pilots providing them with the best possible flight training environment.

  • Do I need special skills to fly?

    Only the skills that you'll learn in your flight training program. Perhaps the most important element in successfully learning to fly is desire. If you have the desire, you've already begun!

  • How difficult is it?

    As with any other skill you master, flying is learned step by step by step. It's a fascinating experience. But it's not particularly difficult. It can be learned by practically anyone who is willing to invest some time and effort.
    Pilot training has two aspects: ground training and flight training. Ground training takes place on the ground. It covers flight rules and regulations, flight planning, navigation, radio procedures, and weather. In the next phase, flight training, you learn how to fly by actually controlling the airplane yourself. Under the supervision of a certified flight instructor, you learn how to take off, land and fly cross country (from your home airport and then back again).
    Millions of people have learned to fly. By the time you're ready for your private pilot certificate, you'll be secure in the knowledge that you're a safe and competent pilot.

  • What are the requirements?

    There are three basic requirements for learning to fly powered airplanes in the United States.

    • The student must be at least 16 years old.
    • The student must be in good health.
    • The student must be able to read, speak, and understand English.

    You can apply for a student pilot certificate if you are at least 16 years old. When you're 17, you can apply for a private pilot certificate. There is no maximum age limit because its health and not age that determines a person's ability to fly well.
    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires everyone who wants to be a pilot to pass a routine medical exam every two years. This requirement ensures that pilots do not have medical problems that could interfere with their ability to fly safely. Allowances are made for many physical limitations. For example, glasses and contact lenses are perfectly acceptable. The physical exam can be obtained anytime from one of many FAA approved physicians. If you're planning to learn to fly, it's advisable to complete the physical exam early in your flight training to assure you qualify.

  • How do I know that I can learn to fly?

    Every day there is someone just like you who has taken their checkride to become a Pilot. Although the average student pilot is 32 years old, women, men, girls and boys of any age can learn to fly an airplane. However in order to fly solo you must be 16 and in order to receive a pilot license you must be 17 years old. There are pilots from every occupation and every geographic location around the world, so with a little time and dedication, you too can become one too. Exec 1 Aviation is dedicated to teaching new pilots and we look forward to meeting with you.

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Contact our professional flight instructors today, we'll gladly answer any questions or concerns you have with learning to fly!