Q: What does “JATO” stand for?

A:  It’s a play on the military term for ”Jet Assisted Take-Off”.  In 2004, we had a student who was getting his instrument rating and had a dream of becoming a jet pilot. Helping him reach that goal was part of the impetus for starting JATO. He went through the JATO training and mentoring programs and now flies his own Citation Mustang on a regular basis. Since helping him achieve his dream, we’ve helped numerous pilots transition into high performance and turbine aircraft.


Q:  At what locations do you have aircraft rental and instruction?

A:  We have airplane rental fleets at San Carlos (SQL), Palo Alto (PAO), Livermore (LVK), and Oakland (OAK) airports. We give flight instruction at all Bay Area airports and will even come to your office.


Q:  What are your hours of operation?

A:  We are available for training, charter, and pilot services 24/7. For flight training, we make a concerted effort to work around the schedule that works best for you, including early morning and evenings. The main office in San Carlos is normally open from 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Saturday, and 9AM to 4PM on Sundays, except holidays. Our offices at LVK, PAO, OAK, HWD, and MHR do not have regular business hours. Please call (650) 654-5286 if you need assistance or would like to make an appointment.


Q:  What type of aircraft does JATO manage that are not on the rental flight line?

A:  Our managed fleet consists of privately owned Cirrus SR22T, Citation Mustang, Pilatus PC-12, and TBM 850 aircraft. We also have experience in managing the Piper Matrix and Meridian aircraft.



Q:  I want to charter a flight. Is the Cirrus SR22T or the Pilatus PC-12 a better option?

A:  That depends on your mission. The Cirrus is a great airplane and a cost-effective option for many West Coast destinations. However, it’s weight limited, unpressurized, and requires boarding through the door above the airplane wing. This airplane does have Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI), so it can be used in light to moderate weather conditions with great utility. Typical charters in this aircraft include day trips for business and short trips for a small group with light luggage. The Pilatus is more like a cabin-class airplane version of a luxury SUV. It’s an all weather flyer that can haul an incredible amount of baggage for longer distances. It’s pressurized, has a stair entry, and has an enclosed lavatory.



Q:  Can I do my Private Pilot training in a Cirrus? I have been told that I should start on a “less advanced” airplane.

A:  We believe that you should train in the type of aircraft you are going to fly. If you want to fly a plane with the latest technology and safety features, there is every reason to train in a Cirrus. When people say that it’s too much airplane to initially train in, that’s usually a reflective of their level of comfort. We have successfully trained over a hundred Private Pilots in Cirrus aircraft and helped numerous more get their Instrument Ratings and official Transition Certificates. We love this aircraft— and you will too.


Q:  What makes training at JATO different than other Bay area flight schools?

A:  Two things. 

  1. First, we work around your schedule versus the other way around. We believe having a team of standardized, experienced, communicative instructors results in better continuity and a better training experience for the student. Every student at JATO starts with an orientation to go over the syllabus, training program, resources, cost, scheduling, billing, and more. Then you’re assigned a team of instructors, with a Primary CFI and two Secondary CFIs for Private Pilot and Instrument Ratings.
  2. Second, we are firm believers in a structured approach to training. We lay a strong foundation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will help you excel for the rest of your flying career. Along the way, we share with you JATO Best Practices (JBPs) that we’ve developed over the years. These SOPs and JBPs can be learned in basic airplanes like the C172 or SR20 and translate very well when you move up into high performance or turbine aircraft.

Click here to read more about our approach to flight training to produce safe pilots


Q:  Do you have aircraft other than Cirrus on your flight line?

A:  Yes. We have two Cessna 172s and a Turbocharged Cessna 182. All are equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics platform and feature advanced technology. The Cessna 172 is a terrific training airplane and very cost-effective. The Cessna T182 is a fantastic trip airplane and sports a very generous payload capacity. Many of us at JATO did our initial training in the Cessna line of aircraft and believe they hold a very important place in the training and flying environment.


Q:  What about the cost? Is training in a Cirrus more expensive?

A:  Yes. While the cost per nautical mile is similar in the Cirrus SR20 versus the Cessna 172, getting your Private Pilot Certificate in an SR20 will cost about $7000 more on average than the C172. For those who opt for the lower cost option, we have two G1000-equipped Cessna 172s.  However, if your goal is to move up to the SR20 immediately after getting your Private Pilot certificate, training in the SR20 means you won't have to pay for the Cirrus transition cost. Depending on your scenario and ultimate goal, training in the Cirrus might make sense.


Q:  What are the benefits of doing my Cirrus Transition with a Cirrus Training Center like JATO Aviation?

A:  Cirrus Training Centers use Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilots (CSIPs) and Training Center Instructors (TCIs), and they administer the official transition training syllabi put out by the Flight Standards Department at Cirrus Aircraft. At JATO, our flight instructors are recognized as some of the best Cirrus CFIs in the nation, often helping with training at the factory and at Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP) events. We are committed to our own expertise in all Cirrus aircraft models and avionics platforms, and we have developed a robust set of “best practices” and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that we will pass along to you. Once your training is complete, we will issue an official Cirrus Transition Training Certificate that is recognized by insurance companies and Cirrus Training Centers worldwide.


Q:  What are the official Cirrus Transition Training programs?

A:  There are four programs; two transitions and two differences trainings

  1. Basic Cirrus Transition Training is a comprehensive transition program that does not include demonstrating instrument proficiency in the aircraft. At JATO, you can enroll in this program if you are a Private Pilot without an Instrument Rating.
  2. Advance Cirrus Transition Training is a comprehensive transition program that requires you to demonstrate instrument proficiency in the aircraft. At JATO, you must enroll in this program if you hold an Instrument Rating, regardless of currency. In other words, we train to the level of certificate you hold.
  3. Avionics Differences Training program helps you master either the Garmin Perspective avionics platform if your initial transition was in an Avidyne-equipped Cirrus or vice versa. At JATO, completion of this syllabus is required even if you have flown similar avionics in other makes of aircraft. We believe proficiency in the entire integrated avionics platform, including the GPS, autopilot, displays and interfaces, is paramount to safety.
  4. Airframe/Powerplant Differences Training program allows you to transition between various models of the Cirrus aircraft, usually from an SR20 into an SR22 or SR22T. At JATO, you must have 200 hours total time and an Instrument rating to transition into the SR22 models. Our syllabus addendum also includes a flight up to the service ceiling of FL250 in the SR22T models, giving you valuable training in high altitude operations and SOPs for using oxygen.


Q:  Do you have a simulator?

A:  We have have the Fly This Sim Desktop Touch Trainer that simulates the Garmin Perspective, Avidyne avionics packages in the Cirrus and Garmin G1000. 


Q:  How do I get started?

A:  Call us at (650) 654-5286 or email us at to set up a Discovery Flight. Once you have decided you want to enroll in a specific program, we’ll set you up with an orientation to go through your syllabus, various business items, and set a schedule.