Shannon School of Aeronautics

Aircraft Checkout

Shannon School of Aeronautics is a flight school that under some limited circumstances allows selected aircraft to be rented by qualified pilots. Our flight instructors are charged with the responsibility of training pilots who are safety conscious, and for keeping a watchful eye on all flight activities. After a short interview and a checkout with one of them, you will have aircraft available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Potential renters should remember that Shannon School of Aeronautics is primarily a flight school and that renting an aircraft may deprive students of needed training. In accordance with the Shannon School of Aeronautics SOP, all cross country flights must be approved prior to scheduling the flight.


Good business practice requires us to know the pilots who are flying our aircraft. Before any pilot is allowed to rent an aircraft, we ask that the pilot meet personally with one of our flight instructors to conduct an Aircraft Checkout. During this meeting you will be asked to present a completed Open Book POH, W&B and SOP operations review. This shows that you are familiar with the aircraft's performance and limitations. We will also provide you with an On-Line Scheduling System Log-on. This helps us to monitor the currency of pilots and to control who is authorized in our planes. You should:

1) Be familiar with these rental policies in the authorized use and use of our aircraft.

2) Present flight records to show that you meet the currency, experience and qualifications required to rent the specific aircraft – completion of the SFRA course, a current flight review and medical.

3) Demonstrate proficiency to safely operate the aircraft. The checkout flight is not a FAA Flight Check, but we will ask you to demonstrate a few maneuvers; and, if you wish IFR authorization, you will be asked to demonstrate an instrument approach. We are happy to combine your checkout with a flight review, FAA Pilot Proficiency Award (WINGS), or other appropriate requirements. Just let the instructor know in advance. Additionally, if you haven’t flown with us in the previous four months, we may ask that you participate in a re-current proficiency check. Your instructor may ask that you update our records if the computer shows you should have a new flight review or medical. Our goal is that your checkout be informal, enjoyable and instructional. We want you, your friends and your family to be comfortable, confident and safe. In today’s environment, we find that most pilots fly just fine, but the avionics “buttonology” is a large part of the checkout. All of our aircraft are equipped with GPS technology! We feel that being familiar with the avionics and equipment will add greater utility and enjoyment to your flight. You have two choices in the conduct of your checkout:

Before you come to the airport:

1. Read the Shannon School of Aeronautics SOP.

2. Complete the Aircraft Questionnaire. This will require you to have in your possession a POH for the make and model that you are flying. Also complete the Weight and Balance for the aircraft you are flying and the SOP Questionnaire based on the Shannon School of Aeronautics Operating Instructions. Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, VA, is within the 60 nautical mile radius of Reagan National Airport. Therefore, any pilot who operates at the airport is required to complete the Special Flight Rules Area On Line Course and must be prepared to present proof of completion upon request. This course is required prior to any solo flight operations in flight school aircraft. If you would like to know what is covered during the flight, you can view the Flight Check Out sheet. Note that you must have a current Washington Sectional. An electronic version is acceptable. We also strongly recommend that you purchase the Washington Terminal Area Chart. If you plan on staying in the area and flying, we recommend a subscription purchase for the charts and the AFD (Chart Supplement). You will pay less than through any other source and will have the appropriate publications well in advance of when you need them. The same thing applies to instrument approach plates and low altitude en route charts.

3. Once at the airport, your time with the instructor will be kept at a minimum. The instructor will review the dispatch procedures, and then review your credentials and preparation. You’ll be ready to go right into the plane for an hour of fun flying.

4. At your appointment time, the instructor will review the questionnaires before going flying. We will ask you to use the appropriate POH so you have this vital information during flight planning. You can expect your instructor to request to see your pilot logbook and credentials. He will also brief you on any unfamiliar local procedures and answer any questions about the airspace, aircraft, Shannon School of Aeronautics, or flying in general. A regular checkout requires about 2.5 hours at the airport from start to finish, but the actual time required will vary as the situation dictates. If you haven’t flown for a while or you are a bit rusty, you may need more than one lesson to regain your proficiency. Shannon School of Aeronautics requires a separate checkout for each make and model of aircraft. Flights not taken due to maintenance, weather or emergency circumstances can be rescheduled.


We have some headsets for rental. The cost is $2 per headset. No other flight equipment is included in the aircraft; please have your own personal flight gear. Upon arriving at the airport, check-out the aircraft and get your keys, fuel card, fuel sampler and checklist. While there, check the Aircraft Maintenance Status Report to assure that your aircraft has enough remaining flight hours to complete you flight prior to the next required 100 hour inspection or Airworthiness Directive. Flying beyond these inspections times may result in fines from the FAA. You are responsible for any such infraction and the penalty imposed. During the visual inspection, visually check your fuel and verify the starting HOBBS meter. Double-check weather and weight and balance limitations.  After landing at your destination, use chocks, tie-downs or other methods of securing the aircraft. Do not leave the aircraft unattended and unsecured. When returning to Shannon, please secure the plane – we don’t employ ramp personnel. Remember the throttle lock, control lock, pitot tube covers, and sun shades, if equipped. Do not leave the aircraft unattended and unsecured on the ramp. Many different pilots may use the airplane in a day. To benefit everyone, please be courteous. Remove all personal effects and place garbage in waste receptacles. Use the whisk broom provided in each plane to sweep the carpet of grass and dirt. Do not allow trash to blow or drop on the ramp. Foreign debris on the ramp can cause damage to other aircraft and people. Record the HOBBS and TACHOMETER meter reading and return the keys and fuel card with all fuel receipts. Due to high variances in fuel costs, Shannon School of Aeronautics will reimburse you for the actual cost of fuel purchased out of town, up to the cost of fuel at Shannon. Report mechanical problems to an instructor or, if one is not available, call 540-373-4431 to report a problem.


Please return the aircraft to an appropriate parking spot. Use the tie down ropes at the parking spots. NOTE: Please don’t leave any aircraft sitting on the ramp unattended and unsecured. Request assistance if you need it when returning the aircraft to a tie-down.


Shannon School of Aeronautics is concerned about the safety and well-being airport personnel, of our instructors and our friends in aviation. We have taken the following steps to provide a safe environment. The Shannon School of Aeronautics Security plan accomplishes three basics: maintain a general awareness, identify the people in and around our facility and protect our aircraft. This includes:

Maintain a general awareness and “Neighborhood Watch” for anything suspicious on or around the airport.

Report pilots or students trying to enter a SSA aircraft without having the proper credentials.

Report strangers walking about the premises or loitering for extended periods on the ramp or tampering with an aircraft.

Report anything that does not look right. (Circumstances that do not fit the pattern of normal safe activity at our airport)


The Shannon School of Aeronautics area, ramp and aircraft are smoke-free. Also, please do not smoke in the building or around fuel tanks. Smoking at the airport is a hazard!


Except during an emergency, DO NOT attempt to talk on the cell phone while in the aircraft, either on the ground or in flight (except when picking up an IFR clearance). 


It is our intent to have all installed equipment in the aircraft operational at all times. However, if you find a mechanical discrepancy during your preflight, please bring the problem to the attention of an instructor. If needed, another aircraft will be assigned to you, if available. If a mechanical failure comes to your attention during flight, call us; at 540-373-4431 after landing. We will assist you in obtaining repairs. So that others may enjoy a safe and hassle-free flight, please bring all mechanical discrepancies to the attention of a flight instructor or the owner as soon as you land.


SSA is fully insured as the owner/operator of the aircraft. Normally, this does not protect you, the renter. For this reason, we highly suggest Renter’s Insurance. You are responsible for the deductible amount under the Aircraft Liability and Hull Insurance carried by Shannon School of Aeronautics. Never depart in an aircraft is shown as not airworthy on the maintenance board.


The Rental Agreement that you have or will sign prior to completing your Checkout is available for downloading, effective June 1, 2011. All current pilot renters must sign the agreement not later than August 31, 2011 to keep current



The Flight School has had a string of pilots who desire a "quick check" and then wanted to be released to fly friends or family members the same day. There are many reasons this does not work, and so we will no longer accept these requests.