Learning to fly is an adventure, but becoming a pilot is an endeavor that few entertain. The process is long and often arduous; pilots are required to spend many hours training before they can even take off without an instructor sitting in the co-pilot’s chair. However, self-directed flight is possible with enough willpower and tenacity. The first step involves finding the right flying school. Your decision is based on whether desiring to be a private or a commercial pilot in addition to the amount of training you require. Do the research and take the below-outlined factors into consideration before making a final choice about which school you want to trust with your aviation education.
Types of Schools
Flight schools are typically considered Part 61 or Part 141. The titles refer to the different Federal Aviation Regulations under which they function. Part 141 schools require fewer flying hours to acquire a private pilot certificate. However, these facilities are not required to follow the same rigorous accountability standards compared to Part 61 schools. They do often provide training based on the individual needs and time demands of the students. Accreditation is another consideration, which means the instruction must comply with more rigid standards. On-site or online ground training options are other factors for consideration.
Learning to fly quickly becomes a costly education. When researching schools, determine how they base their fees. Some charge only for the minimum FAA requirements. Others charge for books, supplies, ground school, flight testing and FAA exams. Some institutions offer finance options and others do not. Certain schools offer block time fees. The AOPA has a loan program available to qualified organization members. Starting your education by attending an aviation college is a factor potential pilots must take into account if planning on flying for a career. Students are then able to acquire scholarships and assistance that may be applied to flight training.
Determine how long the school has been operational. The types of aircraft and the condition of the fleet should also be investigated. Find out the caliber and qualifications of the instructors. Instructors should be able to provide all of the training needed in order to meet FAA requirements. Learn the student to instructor ratio and percentage of graduate students. Get referrals and take the time to interview former students. Before signing any documents and making payments, read the fine print in order to make an informed decision.