Harv’s Air FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Harv’s Air FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start?

Short answer. The modular courses start any time. The Integrated courses start the first Monday of January, April and September.
Long answer. There are 2 parts to learning to fly. There is the ground school/theory and the actual in the airplane training. In the airplane training can start anytime, as it's just you the student and the flight instructor. Ground school can done either online (www.pilottraining.ca) which can start any time, or in a classroom. If you want to take classroom then you have to start when we have enough students to do a ground school. Usually every 2 months.

When is a good time to start my training?

The time that suits you is the best time to start training. The best weather is from early March to October. Winter weather allows for great flying as well, but of course it's colder. Winters in Manitoba mean sunshine.

Where do your students come from?

5% southern Manitoba, 30% Winnipeg, 35% across Canada, and 30% International students compose of our most rapidly growing market. In the last few years we've had students from the UK, South Africa, Sri Lanka, USA, China, Hungary, Germany, Barbados, Trinidad, Belize, France, USA, Belize, Nigeria, The Netherlands, Brazil, Pakistan, China, and India.

What type of students do you get?

In terms of number of courses we train around 400 pilots a year. About 30% for fun, and 70% for a Professional Licence.

How do we get around during my training if I do not live in the area? Do I have to buy a car? Can I take the bus?

Steinbach and St. Andrews are in rural areas; public transportation is not convenient. For this reason, most students either rent a car from the school or ride along with other students when they need to "go to town". Students who own cars are very helpful in providing rides to other students. Harv's Air has several cars for "short term" (1-4 hours) rentals. It is not necessary to purchase a car during flight training. We would recommend against purchasing a car due to the cost and hassles.

Is my driver's licence from my home country valid in Canada/Manitoba? Do I need to purchase an international driver's license?

Do not purchase an international driver's license. It is not valid in Manitoba. Your driver's license from home is good for three months in Manitoba. After three months, you will need to get one of two things:

  • an "offshore student letter" that allows you to drive in Manitoba while you are a student, OR
  • a Manitoba driver's license which requires a practical and written examination.

Health Insurance?

International students who come on a student visa/permit are eligible for free health converge in Manitoba as long as they are a student.

Do you have accommodations?

Yes. Accommodations Located on the school property. We have room for 20 students at each school location.

Advantages of flying in Canada

  • Aviation friendly: There are more then 70,000 pilots in Canada. The second highest pilot population in the world. Canada has the most pilots for population in the world.
  • Modern Air Traffic Control System: State of the art and world leading.
  • High standard of Aviation Licenses: Respected around the world.
  • Modern weather forecasting
  • Combined British and USA system of aviation.
  • Dollar value. Exchange rate. Your money will go far in Canada.

Advantages of flying in Manitoba?

Manitoba is a province in Canada. Similar to an American state.

  • No tax on Commercial Flight Training.
  • Low density traffic.
  • Basically no restricted airspace, no restricted altitude.
  • Weather. Over 300+ VFR days a year.
    Very health coverage on a student visa.
  • Variety of weather conditions. 4 distinct seasons.
  • Low cost of living.
  • To the east is the start of the Canadian shield (forest, lakes), to the west is the Canadian prairies, the bread basket of the world.

What is the area around Harv's Air like?

  • It is flat, no hills.
  • Quiet. We are located just south of Steinbach (a small city of 15,000) and surrounded by farmland and farms; St Andrews is located North of Winnipeg surronded by rural developments and farms.

What is the weather like for flying?

The weather for flying is very good! Best in Canada! In a typical year, we'll experience over 300 good flying days. It is rare to have more then 2 days of bad weather in a row. Variety of weather experience is important for a student pilot. The worst weather is in November, the best weather is from March to October. Flying only in one type of weather conditions is not what you are going to experience as a Commercial Pilot.

What is the climate like?

Check out our climate page.

What courses do you offer?

Check out our complete courses page. We offer all the types of fixed wing training available.

How do I get to your school?

Visit our location page for maps. If you are flying into Winnipeg, we'll pick you up and bring you to our school between 8am and 10pm.

What is the cost of your Student Pilot kit and what does it include?

Total kit is about $320 including tax. Includes:

  • High quality case (optional)
  • From the Ground Up
  • From the Ground Up Workbook
  • Flight Training Manual
  • Log Book
  • Pilot Training Record
  • Winnipeg VFR Navigation chart
  • Winnipeg VTA chart
  • Plotter
  • Flight Computer
  • 6 Government Publications
  • Aircraft POH
If you have some of these books we can deduct them from your kit. We normally have these items in stock.

How am I charged for flying?

You are charged by a meter in the airplane called the "Hobbs meter". This meter turns on when electrical power is turned on. You are charged the same amount for taxiing, run-up, and flying. Thus the sooner you are flying the better return on your money. Remember if you were based on a large controlled airport it could be 10-15 minutes before you takeoff! Also, be aware of schools that charge an automatic fee for each flight for ground handling.

Do you offer block rates?

No. All students get the same rate. We keep the rate low for everybody.

Do I need to pay up front? How can I pay for flight training?

No, pay as you go. (Don't ever deal with a flight school that demands payment up front.) Some students pay after each lesson and some start an account. We do not give students credit. You can pay with cash, cheque, mastercard, visa, traveler checks, and debit card.

Do you train in actual weather conditions?

Yes. We'll fly with the weather at 200 overcast and 1/2 mile visibility. For our visual flight training we try to have the student fly in weather at the minima (1 mile).

How is ground school offered?

Group Ground School is done 5-6 times for Private and Commercials every year, thus a ground school is run almost continually. See the ground school schedule page. One-to-One Ground School Guided study program is based on your schedule, and conducting with an instructor. Individualized Internet Ground School--Learn at your own pace and schedule! Online Ground School at www.pilottraining.ca

Do I need to complete ground school before starting my flight training?

No, the best way to complete ground school is at the same time as your flying, ground school is not required to start flying.

Do you have aerobatic training?

Yes. We offer aerobatics in both Citabriaa and a Pitts S-2B.

How long have you been in business?

Since 1972. Same owner.

How stable is Harv's Air?

We are as stable as you can get. We've been in operation since 1972 (by the same owner). We own (not the bank) our airplanes, hangars, offices, maintenance division, charter service, and the airport (Steinbach South). You do not have to pay anything upfront if you do not wish, you can pay as you go. No matter which flying school you end up at, NEVER pay the entire course fee up front.

Who is this "Harv" guy in Harv's Air Service.

Harv Penner is the president/owner. 37 years flying experience. Over 25,000 flight hours.  PE(Pilot Examiner), ATPL, and Class I instructor.

What is the atmosphere at the school?

Professional, friendly, relaxed is how some students describe it. Not the "boys club" atmosphere. No dress code, just comfortable.

Could I read your school rules?

Sure. Click here

Who do I get as a flight instructor?

You choose! We suggest trying a few flight instructors in the beginning, then based on schedules, experience, personality, and background, you choose the instructor you best get along with and learn from.

What are your instructors like?

I am proud to say that every instructor on my staff is an outstanding pilot, as well as an excellent instructor. Staff quality is maintained by a core of seasoned pilots and instructors who provide less experienced staff members with extensive professional developmental training. Check them out here.

Do we have a dress code?

No, we keep it casual. Students learn best when they are comfortable. Casual business wear is preferred. Winter clothing must be worn when flying during the winter.

Where do our graduates go after learning to fly?

Our students become commuter pilots, relief pilots, corporate pilots, bush pilots, ag pilots, mission pilots, airline pilots, instructor pilots, and recreational pilots. The sky's the limit. Pilots are in demand.

What are FTD (Flight Training Devices)?

Flight Training Devices are training aids for pilots. They are approved simulators based on personal computers. With a Flight Instructor, training on a FTD may be logged toward the instrument requirement of the PPL, CPL, and IFR ratings. Called a PCATD in the USA.

I'm very busy, can I still do the training?

Yes, we have enough instructors and aircraft to allow you to fly according to your schedule. Unfortunately, if you can only spend one or less days a week, you will be spending several minutes per flight just reviewing past lessons. As a result, you can expect your licence to take longer, and cost a little more as well. If you can live with that, then no problem. You can schedule lessons during the week, lunch time, evenings, or weekends. I work two weeks on, one week off or I work shift work. Or I would like to do half the training this year, and then the remaining half next year. Can this work for learning to fly? Yes, no problem. Expect to take some review when you start flying again.

What are your hours and days of operation?

Hours of operations vary depending on the time of year, weather, and demand. "Normal" hours are: Monday to Friday: 08:00 to 20:00 (23:00 during the summer) Saturday: 08:00 to 18:00 Sunday: 12:00 to 17:00 Rental and lessons are available outside of these times, but prior arrangements with dispatch or your instructor need to be made. Following our twitter feed @harvsair for changes and school closing.