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Flight Training at Flying Cloud Airport vs. Crystal Airport: Which is Better?

If you’re thinking about starting your flight training journey in the Twin Cities, but are wondering how or literally where to start, you have a number of airport options close to the heart of the Twin Cities. There are six “reliever” airports in the greater Twin Cities area. These smaller airports help relieve some of the congestion at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport, and are convenient for private pilots who want to fly into the cities, but want to avoid the business off the larger airports.

These smaller regional airports are also hubs for flight training and soon-to-be pilots. We’ll compare two of the top regional airports in the area, and explore various flight training opportunities at each. 

Crystal Airport

The Crystal Airport, located just northwest of the cities in Crystal, has three paved runways, and one turf runway that is only open in warmer months. The airport is located in a densely-populated residential area, and while plans are in motion to update the runway to be safer and less crowded, with improved operational capabilities, the project isn’t slated to be fully completed until 2035.

The airport has faced a steady decline in activity over the past few decades, both in terms of flight activity and aircraft storage. In 2018, there were 168 aircraft housed at the airport, and 38,109 flight operations including takeoffs and landings. However, with a Federal Aviation Association (FAA) operated air traffic control tower, it still remains a key airport for smaller, private airplanes who see benefits in the airport’s location on the northwestern side and general pace of traffic. The types of aircraft you will typically see at the Crystal Airport are small, propeller-driven airplanes with fewer than 10 passenger seats.

Yet despite this slowdown in activity, it still is home to several multiple fixed-base operators (FBOs) and some single-service operators. Some of the services offered at the Crystal Airport include aircraft rentals, charter flights, maintenance, avionics sales, medical flight transportation and flight training.

Flying Cloud Airport

The Flying Cloud Airport is located in the southwest corner of the metro area in Eden Prairie. With three paved runways, it is known as a hub for business and corporate jets, as well as private pilots. One of the busier regional airports, it also features a FAA-operated control tower and an instrument landing system. The airport recently underwent several improvements including runway extensions, taxiway lengthening, and a new hangar area. As one of the most popular airports operated by MAC, it houses 364 aircraft, and saw 88,762 takeoffs and landings in 2018. Flying Cloud Airport has more FBOs than many of its neighboring airports, as well as the top flight school in the Twin Cities. Other services include corporate aircraft services, aircraft charter, rental, sales and maintenance.

One of the key aspects to consider when choosing where to conduct your flight training is networking opportunities. With the constant flow of aircraft coming and going, Flying Cloud is known as a hub, with pilots from all walks of life coming through its hangars – private pilots, charter pilots, business pilots and more are always around to talk to and learn from. Due to this, Flying Cloud Airport may also be a great stepping stone for aspiring pilots who want to go on to pursue careers in many different areas of the aviation industry. t’s also a good fit for flight school attendees who seek a faster-paced, more energetic atmosphere, with plenty of different airplane models available to learn on.


Interested in getting your flight training at Flying Cloud Airport?

Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training today!

Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you achieve the certification you want. Our private pilot training program will ensure that you stay on course to become a certified aviator – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.