Flight Academy not willing to see instructors beforehand

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Gordon Freeman, Nov 7, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    Hi Everyone,
    Happy to join you here. I've been an avid flightsim junkie since I was a teenager, logging countless hours on the 172RG. Now that my life has settled a bit, with kids in school and more spare time on my hands, I've decided to pursue my love of flying for real.

    I live in Westchester County (NY), and the nearby airport (15 min drive) - HPN - seems to have but one flight school. I was a bit surprised by the overall cost of acquiring a Private Pilot's License, but I understand the cost is largely due to aircraft time (rental, fuel, instructor fees), and varies student by student.

    I'm just about to wrap-up my ground school, and am scheduling my initial few lessons with the flight academy. I really think (given the investment) that I should be able to meet (or certainly, at least choose) my flight instructor. However, the school informs me they assign one to me based on availability. However, once assigned, I will remain with that flight instructor throughout my training.

    My question to you is - am I required to take my flight instructions through a certified/license school? Or can I source a flight instructor who works independently?

    I'm not entirely familiar with the legality of this. To reiterate a bit differently - can I undertake the entirety of my flight training outside of an established flight school - directly with an instructor and rent an aircraft?

    From a business perspective, a flight school has their overhead (employees, office space, etc.) so it would seem to be more economical to proceed with an instructor directly. I'm just not sure whether there are FAA requirements regarding who administers the education.

    Thanks for understanding, and I look forward to hanging out here more.
     
  2. Domenick

    Domenick Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2019
    Messages:
    51
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Domenick
    Deleted
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  3. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    683
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lancie00
    Don't walk, RUN from these guys. If they won't let you meet a potential instructor, they aren't thinking about their students. As in life, not all people mesh well. You would be screwed if you got stuck with someone you didn't like.

    Yes, it is perfectly legal for you to find an independent CFI and rent a plane and would probably be cheaper. Visit other airports and talk to pilots. I'm sure you'll find someone who's willing to help you.

    EDIT - I almost forgot, make sure you can pass a medical before you start training too. There will be several along with a good advice on that.
     
    skier, write-stuff, NHWannabe and 2 others like this.
  4. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    683
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    lancie00
    I don't think this is quite accurate. I know of several professional pilots who didn't get their training from a flight school. I'm sure some more experienced will chime in.
     
  5. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Challenged
    Welcome. There is no requirement to use a school, a guy working out of his pickup truck will legally work just a well, as long as he's a current certified flight instructor. I went the solo instructor route since I didn't really have any other convenient options, but it's potentially a more personal experience this way.

    Also, try giving either the local airport manager a call, or maybe the local EAA chapter and see if you can source any good leads on a local CFI.
     
  6. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    Understood about the medical. I'm getting that done next week. Shouldn't be a problem (good vision, heart, no medical issues or medications).

    With that said, can anyone recommend a resource where I might search for local CFIs who are looking for students?

    Again, many thanks.
     
  7. Arnold

    Arnold Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    481
    Location:
    Philadelphia Area
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Arnold
    Really, what is your basis for this assertion? My experience is that all anyone cares about in this era of pilot shortage is hours and certificates. They could not care less about how you obtained them. But you might have different experience from mine.
     
    skier and SToL like this.
  8. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    My wife and I run a home based business that's doing quite well at the moment, but a career in flight would be a good back-up in the long term. For now, I'm only seeking a PPL with potentially IFR rating further down the line.
     
  9. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,207
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    You are the customer and you should be able to pick your CFI based on your needs, personality, schedule, etc. I’d say shop around for other schools. This school seems to not have any flexibility.
     
  10. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    949
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Katherine
    Yes, independent instructors are totally legal.
    It's sometimes harder to find one that *also* has an aircraft for rental, because insurance for such a thing is very costly. But they exist.

    As others have said, it's important to be able to "shop around" for an instructor that fits your groove, that you have good communication with. Any school that won't let you do this, is very suspicious and worrisome. I would even use the word "preposterous". Before jumping ship, make sure this is *really* their policy about instructors, and not a misunderstanding by some person behind the desk who isn't actually an instructor there.
     
  11. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    999
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    You might want to look elsewhere than HPN. It's a busy airport with airline service, you'll be paying for a lot of hours sitting on the ground just waiting. Better to drive a bit farther to a smaller airport.
     
    iflyatiger, SToL and Arnold like this.
  12. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    927
    Location:
    Central NYS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MuseChaser
    I would agree with that, especially in light of the OP's experience so far with this flight school. On the other hand, I did a good bit of my PPL training flying out of SYR.. smaller than HPN, but still in class C, requiring ground clearances, control tower, departure, and approach communications. Getting familiar and comfortable with that early in my training was very valuable and I'm grateful for that. Yes, it wasn't quite as efficient and a bit more expensive than just learning the physical flying of the airplane from a small field somewhere. I did that, too, and both experiences are great.
     
  13. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    24,084
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    Congratulations, you just made the mostest, wrongerest statement of the month, maybe the year.
     
  14. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,074
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    Around these parts the best way to get flight training is to call the FBOs at the airports. Usually if they don’t have their own CFIs they’ll know someone.

    The thing to know is as far as the FAA is concerned it doesn’t matter if you went to a school or not just that you got all the required hours in and passed your tests. Maybe look up Part 61 vs part 141 if you are not already familiar. Two routes to a ppl- the end result is the same though.
     
    idahoflier likes this.
  15. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    1,423
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    midwestpa24
    You don't need to go to a flight school in order to become a professional pilot, but it can help. If you graduate from certain accredited flight schools, you may qualify for a Restricted ATP with a lot less hours than someone who earned all their certificates individually. That means you can get hired at the regionals earlier on.
     
  16. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    7,111
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    is it Performance Flight?
     
  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    7,111
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Call this guy, https://www.scottdyercfi.com/ see what he has to say. Go to the airport, there are restaurants there, go up to somebody who looks like a pilot and ask questions.
     
  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,655
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Try finding a flying club that also does instructing.
     
  19. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    Thanks. That's a very good point, and something I've considered. HPN is an 18 minute drive for me. The only airport without scheduled commercial traffic nearby would be Greenwood Lake (4N1). That would add about an hour to my drive roundtrip, plus bridge tolls.

    I'd like to become comfortable operating out of HPN, as that is where I'll most likely be flying out of with my wife on our weekend trips. However, I do understand that I'd probably get a cheaper education out of a smaller airport. Either way I'd be "wasting" time, either driving or sitting on a taxiway. I suppose it's a toss up.
     
  20. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,635
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    Renting an airplane and sourcing an instructor separately is completely legal but unlikely as most places that will not permit instruction to occur in their aircraft with an instructor other than theirs. The only way you can usually do what you propose is to buy an airplane, find and instructor that owns or has access to an airplane, or join a flying club.

    As far as not meeting instructors beforehand, or not letting you switch, that's BS. Did someone in management tell you that or some front desk secretary? If the latter, it might not even be an accurate reflection of the school's actual policies. Speak with someone higher up.
     
  21. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,036
    Location:
    New York City
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skip Miller
    You might investigate the Westchester Flying Club. It's planes are based at KHPN, and they have several instructors in the club. Check their website (www.wfc-hpn.org), go to a meeting and meet the instructors/members.

    -Skip (former member)
     
    James331 and CharlieD3 like this.
  22. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    24,084
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    While true, it's not a need [requirement] as implied in the post we referenced.
     
  23. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    672
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Andrew Sarangan, CFII
    You should probably look at the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 training. "Established schools" tend to operate under Part 141, where the structure is fairly rigid. Part 61 is a self-structured program, and you can switch instructors, stop flying, and resume any time you want. But both will get you with exactly the same pilot certificates. It is definitely more economical to do Part 61, but Part 141 has some advantages, such as qualifying for loans etc..
     
  24. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    Thank you. I did come across their website, and would consider joining (if they're accepting new members). I'm not entirely sure of the costs of aircraft ownership, maintanance, parking at HPN, etc. A flying club (once I'm licensed) would certainly seem like an attractive and economical compromise. I've reached out to them about CFI members. Appreciate the tip.
     
  25. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    8,724
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    No, the airlines only want FAA certified instructors, not schools. However, if the student attends Part 141/142 school fewer hours are needed than the 1500 for the ATP.
     
  26. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,300
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tarheelpilot
    I have interviewed and hired every instructor I have used from private all the way up, with the exception of instructors provided by employers.

    I would not do business with a school that refused me the ability to select my own instructor.
     
  27. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    A flying club is economical before and after you get your license.

    Round here, I can go to an FBO within 15 minutes, and rent a172 wet for $140 an hour... + Instructor @ $45 an hour.

    OR

    I can join a club and rent for $80.00 an hour + instructor @ $ 45 an hour.

    Bare minimum 40 hours to get ticket. Join club $450. Monthly dues $45.

    You do the math, how hard do you wish to pursue the dream... Over the course of a year? (1hr a week) that will undoubtedly take more than 40 hours.

    3 times a week gets you done in less time with less hours of instruction. Less $$$

    More often if you can afford it... Weather WILL be an issue no matter what

    Good luck.

    If you join a club... Ask to see the aircraft booking calendar (in real time) before joining... You don't want aircraft availability to affect your timeline, whatever it is.
     
  28. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2019
    Messages:
    228
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mr Mr
    Same here...and I've chosen to NOT hire a few as well.
     
  29. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    5,242
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    I disagree with this. There is no reason to bail on a school because they’re going to assign you an instructor.

    Think of it this way - instructors are billed by the hour. How many hours of flight time should they lose because you want to interview the instructors until you find one you like? And what if everyone who came in the door did this?

    go talk. Don’t put any money down, you can pay as you go. If you don’t mesh with who they give you, tell the school you want someone else.

    If I had a school 15 minutes away, there is quite a bit I would do to make that work.
     
    ArnoldPalmer and LongRoadBob like this.
  30. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    I've reached out to a flight school in Danbury, CT. Their fees are about 35% less for aircraft rental than the ones at HPN. The airport also seems better suited for getting you up in the air quicker. I have an intro flight next weekend along with a meet and greet with their instructors. Hopefully all works out. Seems like an all around better fit, even if the drive to get there is longer.

    Appreciate all your input!
     
    skier, lancie00 and CharlieD3 like this.
  31. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    4,943
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    So you think as a CFI I am going to meet with you for free so you can interview me. My school has 22 on the waiting list. We don’t have time for you to interview the staff so you can have who you like best. Good luck with that.

    Also you assume that a school has higher overhead than an independent. That is nor always true. Airplanes are like any other machines, the higher the utilization, the lower the cost. Standing on the ramp for a ground lesson with the heat index 102F is a poor way to learn.
     
  32. Gordon Freeman

    Gordon Freeman Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2019
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GordonF
    If you work for a school then you're an employee. I would think your employer has already interviewed you?

    But yes, interviews are generally free last I checked.
     
  33. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    4,943
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Except I am not applying to work for a student and I am not wasting my time. The problem is people think CFIs at most schools are on salary. They aren’t, they get paid based on billable hours. If the student isn’t paying, the CFI is working for free. Currently the good schools are swamped with students. Feel free to go elsewhere.
     
    Landing Fees likes this.
  34. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    332
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    Well. Good on ya, mate. You got a waiting list.

    You don't have time for me? 'sall right... I got none for you.

    Now, if you're the only school in my state... Might be a little different... But not much, in these days of social media...

    Somebody will come in to fill the vacuum. And, probably pretty quick.
     
    skier and Salty like this.
  35. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2019
    Messages:
    228
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mr Mr
    And you think the next time I need training, I'll sign on with someone who considers meeting me first to make sure we click as "working for free" or "wasting your time"? Nope. I'll go elsewhere.
     
    MrBon, skier and Salty like this.
  36. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    145
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill Greenwood
    Well, you have found at least one instructor that you can be sure you don't want to fly with, and if he is like the others at that school you probably don't want it either. There are other CFIs who are anti student but aren't quite so blatant about it.
    As for him being too busy and important to talk to you before your start to spend bout $12,000 with them, b s!. My Son is an attorney and the effort to go through law school at a major university and pass the bar is a hell of a lot more work than being a CFI, and he's a lot smarter than most CFIs Ive met, but he is polite enough that if someone phones him about a prospective case he gives them a few minutes of his time free, and that's common even among others who charge over his $300 hr.
     
    skier likes this.
  37. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,809
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Bah, I just take who they give me, has worked out every time. You can't tell anything until you fly with them, on top of that, you don't know enough most times to ferret out a bad one unless you have experience. I do think it is important to stick with one if possible, unless there is an issue.
     
  38. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,300
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tarheelpilot
    I couldn’t agree more, that’s why I always flew with prospective instructors. It always worked out for me too.
     
    murphey likes this.
  39. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    4,943
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Did your son the attorney interview all his professors at law school be for he spent his tuition? Which law school let the students pick their professors?

    Now, with that said. When your name comes up on the list, we will talk by phone for about 15 minutes and you can ask questions relevant to your training, but we are not meeting for an interview and neither are any of the other instructors at the school.

    None of us are anti student. We are busy and don’t have time to meet with everybody who walks through the door wanting to chat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  40. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    4,943
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    You need at least one for the ATP.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.