Flight School in Portland Maine

Have you decided that this year is the year you will learn to fly but don’t know where to start? We can help, welcome to Chickadee Aviation’s Flight School, we are a FAR Part 61 school and your first step to earning your private pilot certificate, Instrument Rating (IR), or Commercial pilot certificate. What is a Part 61 Flight School? Part 61 flight schools are more flexible. They typically are smaller than their Part 141 counterparts and have a more relaxed atmosphere. Students have more control over their training timeline because flight instructors are typically more willing to work around their schedules. If you can only train part-time or on an irregular schedule Chickadee Aviation will work with you to create a schedule that will work for you while still getting the training you want. If you need a more flexible schedule, want to fly for personal reasons, or simply enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere, then Chickadee Avaition’s Part 61 flight school might be for you.

If you are a pilot and haven’t flown in a while, we also offer bi-annual reviews and assistance for rusty pilots and have a team of flight instructors dedicated to helping you feel comfortable flying again.

 Chickadee Aviation’s flight School is located at Northeast Aviation in Portland Maine where we will match you with one of our certified flight instructors (CFI) to teach you via ground school and in the air. Your instructor will guide you through the entire process. After setting up instruction with your CFI you will be able to take the written exam for the FAA’s private pilot certificate. This exam covers material such as aircraft systems, aerodynamics and regulations. 

Once you have obtained your private pilots certificate you can check out the other courses we offer to add value and perhaps a new career path to you love of flying. You can achieve your goals and take to the skies in no time.

Private Pilot

A Private Pilot License (PPL) is the most sought after type of pilot certification. In the United States, a Private Pilot License is actually called a Private Pilot Certificate and is similar to what a driver’s license is for automobiles. By earning a private pilot license, you can legally fly an aircraft. Private pilots are trained to navigate small aircraft by themselves. Flight training includes aircraft maneuvers, navigation, emergency procedures and cross-country flight planning. While people may seek the license for hobby or sport reasons, a private pilot certification is the first major milestone on the road to becoming an airline pilot

Instrument Flight Training

An Instrument Rating (IR) is a pilot rating earned through intensive training focused on flying solely by reference to instruments. It is arguably one of the most valuable ratings you can add to your pilot certificate and is a fun and challenging discipline of flight training. A well-trained and proficient instrument pilot can fly an airplane from point A to point B without ever having to look out the window except for takeoff and landing; it is truly a remarkable skill.

For many new pilots, the training provided in the instrument rating is the first glimpse at how the National Airspace System, radar and air traffic control works. For others, it is usually the first time they’ve been allowed to enter the clouds. 

Commercial Flight Training

If you want to be paid to fly in any capacity, a commercial pilot certificate is required. Training for the certificate takes a pilot back to the basics of airmanship, and away from the rigors of instrument training.

Commercial pilots are paid to fly as a pilot, transporting cargo and passengers, as well as perform other operations such as aerial surveying and search and rescue. 

Additional class ratings, such as adding a multiengine rating to single-engine commercial pilot certificate or adding a single-engine rating to a multiengine commercial pilot certificate, will take additional training in that class.

Meet our Flight Instructors

Eric Anton

Chief Flight Instructor 

Hello there! My name is Eric Anton and I am a highly skilled Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). My aviation journey began as a cadet member of the Civil Air Patrol from ages 14-16, and I was hooked on flying ever since. After high school, I pursued my passion for aviation and obtained my Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating, and Commercial License at the prestigious ATP flight school in Daytona Beach. Upon returning to Maine, I earned my CFI rating and have since amassed over 1200 hours of flight time, including 800 hours of dual given. At just 25 years old, I am proud to share my passion and expertise with aspiring aviators and am dedicated to helping them achieve their dreams in the skies.

Ronald B. Wood

Commercial Rated Pilot

Welcome to Chickadee Aviation, I’ve been flying since 1990 and it’s been such an amazing journey. Since my very first flight not a day goes by when I would ever have chosen any other career. I’ve had the opportunity to fly all over the country and to a few different continents, I have both my single and multi-engine ratings and will never stop learning.  We would be honored if you chose my company, Chickadee Aviation for all your aviation needs. In 2022 Chickadee Aviation started offering scenic flight tours out of the Rangeley Maine Airport and we have grown for the 2023 season to offer scenic tours out of Rangeley and Portland Maine along with becoming a FAA part 61 flight school.

Camden Nording

Certified Flight Instructor (CFll)

Camden is an aviation enthusiast from Janesville, Wisconsin, Camden holds a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Aviation from the University of North Dakota. Camden’s love for flying took flight at the age of 16 when he had a chance encounter with a Delta Airlines pilot at the Chicago O’Hare Airport and from there the sky was the limit! Camden enjoys fishing along with spending time with his dog and flying the skies.


Keith Reid

Certified Flight Instructor (CFII)

Hello fellow aviators! I look forward to the opportunity to fly with you! Your goals and aspirations for piloting are my fuel.

I am passionate about all things General Aviation and attended the esteemed ATP Flight School in 2022 to achieve CFI, CFII, IGI & MEI concurrently. I also serve with the Air Force as an In-flight refueler at Pease ANGB (KPSM). Our training location at Portland Airport (KPWM) and around southern Maine is a stunning airspace to fly, get excited! My background prior was mechanical engineering so I enjoy taking the time to understand things at a technical and intricate level.

Hazen Searway

Social Media Manager

I strive to be an ambassador of aviation in Maine. I have experience with many different forms of flight training and believe Chickadee Aviation to have the best aspects of everything I’ve previously come across. I am the social media presence for Chickadee Aviation and with time will be much more. I currently possess my instrument rating and I’m working on my commercial flight rating. I will have my CFI in the near future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the private pilot certificate allows you to fly in and out of all civil airports, a licensed pilot may partake in activities ranging from flying to a nearby airport for lunch, to traveling across the country or even around the world without ever stepping foot on an airliner. A private pilot can take friends and family for rides, practice maneuvers, or become involved in many of the wonderful programs that introduce people to flying.

Private pilots are allowed to fly any aircraft for which they are appropriately rated. ”Appropriately rated“ refers to the successful training in a specific category and class rating of aircraft. An example of ”category“ would be ”airplane“ or ”helicopter“ while an example of ”class rating“ would be ”single-engine land“ meaning the aircraft has one engine and is limited to operations on land rather than on water. So, upon completion of your Private Pilot Certificate rated for ”airplane, single-engine land“ although you may have trained in a Cessna 172 you are allowed to act as pilot-in-command (PIC) in any aircraft that is a single-engine land airplane

A commercial pilot certificate is required for any type of flying where the pilot is being compensated. Jobs such as flight instruction, corporate pilot, agricultural pilot, banner towing, pipeline patrol, traffic reporting, and more require a commercial pilot certificate.

Some positions, such as airline pilot or Part 135 charter pilot may require more flight time, additional certificates, or both. As you look forward to the type of flying you’d like to be paid for, search job listings. Most will spell out in detail the type of pilot certificate and amount of experience required.

There are many benefits to getting your Instrument Flight Training certificate. A pilot with an instrument rating will be better at pre-flight planning than a pilot without an instrument rating. The training prepares pilots for alternates, deviations, hazards, fuel stops, and more. Pilots with an instrument rating also tend to be more forward-thinking, as opposed to less skilled pilots who are always in the present moment. Flying inadvertently into bad weather conditions can be tricky, but with an instrument rating pilots are better prepared for the unexpected limitations to their visibility due to unpredictable weather and clouds.

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