You don’t have to look far to find abundant Twin Cities flight training opportunities at the many reliever airports throughout the area. As part of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), there are six airports that attract the majority of the area’s student pilots. But which should you choose? Whether you’re looking for high-quality facilities, access to attractive scenery, or a specific type of license – there’s plenty to consider before picking a flight school. For those who’ve always wanted to become a pilot, setting off to new destinations around the country, there’s no better place to learn than Minneapolis/St. Paul. If you’re searching for the best locations to learn to fly in the Twin Cities, take a look at some of these popular options.
Airlake Airport (KLVN)
Airlake Airport offers a low-traffic option for those who don’t want to learn in the congestion of the big city. Located in Lakeville, the airport mostly serves recreational and business flyers. There are plenty of plans for improvements, including hangar construction and an expansion of the primary runway. The resident flight school, Aloft Aviation, is relatively new to the scene, opening in 2020. They offer part 61 flight training and are in the process of becoming part 141 certified.
Address: 8140 220th Street W., Lakeville, MN 55044
Flight School: Aloft Aviation
Anoka County-Blaine Airport (KANE)
Also known as Janes Field, this reliever airport features two asphalt runways and was recently awarded an FAA grant of almost $650,000 to make improvements to the airport’s taxiway. Training here, you’ll be able to enjoy the scenery of one of the Twin Cities’ most bustling suburbs, as you participate in a Part 141 program at the local Twin Cities Flight Training (TCFT) school.
Address: 8891 Airport Road, Blaine, MN 55449
Flight School: Twin Cities Flight Training
Crystal Airport (KMIC)
Founded in the 1920s, Crystal Airport has seen a lot of changes since the early days of aviation. After World War II, the airport became a popular spot for civil pilots and saw expansions of its runways, the addition of two crosswind turf runways and construction of several hangars. Although it has remained largely unchanged since the ‘60s, it’s still a popular place to learn to fly and retains its old-time charm. Additionally, Crystal Airport isn’t just one of the oldest airports in the area, it’s also the location of one of Minnesota’s first flight schools, Thunderbird Aviation. Although they have just two instructors on staff, they offer both part 61 and part 141 flight training for private pilot training up to multi-engine instructor licensing.
Address: 5800 Crystal Airport Road, Crystal, MN 55429
Flight School: Thunderbird Aviation
Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM)
Flying Cloud Airport is the most popular reliever airport in the MAC system and home to Inflight Pilot Training, the top fixed-wing flight school in the Twin Cities. Once a simple landing strip constructed atop rural farmland, the airport now boasts over 100,000 flight operations per year. But, you shouldn’t be too overwhelmed when learning here – there are three runways to keep traffic to a minimum. Located in Eden Prairie, MN, Flying Cloud gives you the best access to downtown Minneapolis, the southern and eastern suburbs like scenic Lake Minnetonka, and bustling St. Paul to the west.
Address: 10110 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Flight School: Inflight Pilot Training
Lake Elmo Airport (21D)
Located between the St. Croix River and St. Paul, training at Lake Elmo Airport gives you access to the scenery of western Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin. From 2019 into 2023, the airport is undergoing millions of dollars worth of improvements. This includes relocating and extending the main runway, constructing a new cross-field taxiway and upgrading the instrument approach to meet the standards of modern technology. The flight school at this airport, Lake Elmo Aero, offers private pilot training, instrument ratings, commercial certification and flight instructor training. They also specialize in seaplane training for any aspiring pilots who have a love for the water.
Address: 3275 Manning Avenue, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
Flight School: Lake Elmo Aero
St. Paul Downtown Airport (KSTP)
KSTP has the longest runway in the MAC system, at almost 7,000 feet. With its location on the Mississippi River, you get some stunning views as you take off against a backdrop of the mighty river valley and St. Paul skyline. Plus, as the only reliever airport with a restaurant (Holman’s Table), you’ll never go hungry while school is in session. U.S. Flight Co., the flight school at St. Paul Downtown Airport, offers four types of certification – private pilot, instrument rating, commercial pilot, and certified flight instructor.
Address: 644 Bayfield Street, St. Paul, MN 55107
Flight School: U.S. Flight Co.
Are you searching for the best Twin Cities flight training program?
Visit Flying Cloud Airport today and say hello to the team at Inflight Pilot Training. We’re the area’s premier flight training, airplane rental, and maintenance company in Minneapolis/St. Paul and love meeting fellow aviation enthusiasts. Whether you’re searching for a new certification, want your airplane detailed or anything else, our doors are always open.
For additional information about our training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.