Rates & Policies


All clients must show me proof of full vaccination, and a booster shot, before we start working together. This is best done by sending me a photo of your vaccination card by email before our first session together. If you do not meet this requirement, then you will need to get your vaccination and booster shots before proceeding. Note that due to state, county, club, and various other rules, masks may be required indoors in certain locations.

Hourly Rate & Payment Methods

My rate is $120/hr. I greatly prefer zero-fee payment methods: Zelle, check, or cash (in that order). But I can also accept credit cards, Apple Pay, or Android Pay if needed. Payment is due at the conclusion of each session. My rate applies to all of the time that I spend with you (**), this includes time on the ground and the time in an aircraft, not just the Hobbs time on the aircraft.

** - Note that if you are late for a session, I may, at my discretion, charge from the time that we were scheduled to start. The same holds true at the end of a lesson; if you decide that you need to terminate the lesson earlier than the time that you have scheduled, I may, at my discretion, charge up to the time that we were scheduled to end.

Block Rate

I no longer offer a block rate discount. But clients still have the option to pay ahead, for convenience, if desired. I maintain an on-line spreadsheet for each client so that they may view all charges and payments, and to keep track of the status of their account.

Daily Rate & Professional Pilot Services

My daily rate is $1200, plus expenses. Any Professional Pilot Services engagement, including training or mentoring in pressurized, turbine, or type-rated aircraft, that requires me to reserve or provide 6 or more hours of my time in a single calendar day will be billed at the daily rate.

I am an Independent Contractor

Like many flight instructors and professional pilots, I am an independent contractor. You will need to pay me directly for my services since I do not get paid through West Valley or any other flying club or organization.

I provide all services through my company, Coyote Hill Consulting LLC, doing business as (DBA) Wes Irish CFI. When writing a check, please make it payable to Wes Irish CFI. (Although Wes Irish, cfiwes, or even cfiwes.com will work since they are also registered DBAs.)

Additional Expenses

Please note that the above rates (hourly, block, or daily) are for my services only — they do not include aircraft rental fees, club membership fees, travel expenses, or any other such expenses if/as appropriate for your particular situation.

Owner Aircraft and Insurance Coverage

I'm happy to fly with pilots who have their own aircraft. But in order to make sure that I am properly covered, it is my standard policy to require that I am added to your insurance policy as a named insured, with a waiver of subrogation. Please send me an electronic copy of the relevant page(s) your insurance policy showing this addition, prior to our first flight together.

Airports and Travel Time

My default airport is Palo Alto, although I will fly/instruct out of other airports with prior agreement. I do not charge for my travel time to/from Palo Alto or San Carlos. I also do not charge for my travel time to/from San Jose or Hayward, as long as I can avoid commute hours and make each one-way trip in 30 minutes or less. I will fly/instruct out of virtually any location, as long as my time, and travel expenses, are covered.

Scheduling & Availability

Note: When scheduling via Schedule Master, please set the comment field to a brief description of what you plan, or expect, to do during the session. This gives me a heads-up and helps me plan accordingly.

As a full-time instructor, I am generally available five days a week, including weekends - Wednesday and Thursday are my days off. WVFC members may use Schedule Master (my.schedulemaster.com) for scheduling or to check my availability. If needed, I can often adjust my schedule to accommodate special requests, such as professional pilot engagements, adventure flights, long cross-countries, ferry flights, factory pickups, special events, etc.

Please contact me before scheduling any of the following:

    1. Your first session with me (new client)

    2. A session on Wednesday or Thursday (these are typically my days off, but I am sometimes available for special needs on these days)

    3. A session at night (after sunset or before sunrise)

    4. A session that starts before 0900 or ends after 1800 (0900 - 1700 in the winter)

    5. A session at any location other than PAO (eg, before scheduling at SQL)

    6. Any special request (as mentioned above)

Notes: Please follow these scheduling guidelines whenever reasonably possible. If you have a special scheduling need please let me know (usually by email) and we'll try to find something that works for both of us.

    1. My day usually begins at 0900 and ends at 1800 (0900 - 1700 in the Winter time). When I can, I try to get in an hour lunch break somewhere between 1100 and 1330, so I don't mind a gap for lunch when it works out. Please contact me if you are interested in scheduling outside of this 0900-1800 window.

    2. When scheduling, please leave open slots as large as possible so that they are useful to others (any slot less than 2 hours is usually too small to be of much use). And please try to schedule up against existing schedules whenever possible (starting at my lunch break and working outwards).

    3. My schedule is often relatively full near-in, but it tends to have considerably better availability if you look out a week or two, or more. If you can find a near-in slot that meets your needs then that's great. But planning (and scheduling) weeks in advance is often the best way to get dates and times that you want. This usually helps with aircraft availability as well.

    4. Occasionally I may need to reschedule a session due to other obligations or logistics. In these situations, I try to give as much notice as possible, but sometimes advance notice is limited.

    5. When scheduling me via Schedule Master, please make sure to fill in the "Schedule comment" field so that I may plan accordingly.

    6. When scheduling via Schedule Master, please book me and the plane as a single booking (not two separate bookings) whenever possible.

Cancellation and Notification Policy

If you need to cancel a given appointment please give me as much notice as possible via email, TXT, cell phone, or some combination thereof. No-show appointments and appointments canceled with less than 24 hours notice will be billed for the time as scheduled. Training typically takes place regardless of weather unless we explicitly agree otherwise (typically via TXT or phone just prior to the session). If the weather is not good enough to fly we will usually use the time to cover ground instruction or related paperwork.