Rates & Policies

Hourly Rate & Payment Methods

My rate is $160/hr. (See my special rates, below, for WVFC required phase checks.) 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.  Advanced notice of any need to start late or terminate early is greatly appreciated, and may even help you avoid paying for the unused time even if less than the 24 hour notification window.

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 $1500, 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 offWVFC 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:

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.

Notes about WVFC Phase Checks

I want people to do well and pass their phase check. But the phase check is designed to make sure that you are ready for the next phase in your training. If you are not ready. any deficiencies need to be noted and addressed before you continue. Depending on the extent and details of any deficiencies, you may be able to address them with your instructor and then continue forward with your training. Or, in the case of more significant issues (often involving aspects of safety), you may need to address them with your instructor and then undergo a phase check retest before proceeding further with your training. The phase check instructor's recommendation to the safety office will be noted on the completed phase check form.

What will be covered in a phase check is well documented on the appropriate phase check form. I highly recommend that you review the appropriate phase check form with your CFI days or weeks in advance of your phase check. This will allow you and your CFI to identify, and address, any deficiencies in your knowledge or skills before ever attempting the phase check. Lack of proper preparation is the main cause behind failed phase checks (and/or phase checks to take longer than desired).

Note: The current WVFC phase check instruction information sates:

Time Allotted: The total time allotted for each phase check is as follows: Solo – 4 hours, Cross-country – 4 hours, Private – 5 hours. The phase check should not exceed this total time (oral+flight), and the student will not be charged for more time by the phase check CFI.

Unfortunately, WVFC phase checks typically take longer these days than the out-of-date documentation states as the "total time allotted." This is due to a number of factors, including a noticeable increase in flight training activity (and aviation activity in general) in the Bay Area since the documentation was written years ago - everything just takes longer as a result. I usually suggest that you schedule an additional hour than the "total time allotted", just in case we need the additional time (it sucks to have to schedule another session just because the initial session wasn't quite long enough).

As a courtesy to WVFC members seeking required phase checks ... For club required phase checks, I offer a 25% discount off my regular hourly rate for student pilot phase checks (solo, solo XC, and pre PPL checkride). But please note that I charge for the time that we actually use (and based on you arriving on-time), which may be longer, or shorter, than the "total time allotted" (see above).

Feel free to contact me before the phase check if you have any questions or concerns about phase check scheduling or charges.

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 a conversation via TXT, email or phone prior to the session). If the weather is not good enough to fly we can often use the time to cover ground instruction, required paperwork, or a SIM session.