Flight Schools in the Charlotte, NC Area

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Alani, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    So I reached out to a few flight schools in my area. I got all kinds of quotes from $9,000 - $15,000 for my PPL training / cert etc. The wide range seems confusing. They all seem to cover materials, etc.
    Some of the books I could pick up myself on Amazon at a fraction of the quotes.
    The pricing seems quite varied, is this normal? going form 9K to 15K just seems.....interesting.
     
  2. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

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    Yep..because there's no guarantee how long it will take you to complete training. Minimum amount of hours is 40, but some people take 100. I took 65 because I was just a perfectionist.

    Don't forget you need a headset, maybe a tablet, and other stuff..could easily run another 2-3K all in.
     
  3. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm trying to take practical / economical routes so I can immerse myself. I've learned from other threads that the most expensive program doesn't always equate to the best experience or quality training.
     
  4. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Seek out @flyingron and take him to lunch to pick his brain.

    Also @midlifeflyer in Raleigh, NC.

    Both have been very active in aviation for a very long time and should give you the straight skinny on how to find quality instruction and resources that have high value for the money spent.
     
  5. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks! I'll reach out
     
  6. WDD

    WDD Line Up and Wait

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    I too am "frugal". If you spend as much time at home reviewing material and studying as you can you'll save a lot of time and money. Some things you don't want' to go inexpensive though. Buy a lightspeed or Bose headset - not a lower quality one. Yes, expensive, but a world of difference. (You can buy a good used set from a guy on this board to save a few hundred $). Buy a good used I pad if you don't already have one and get Fore Flight. Get the King or Sporty's written test curriculum, study hard, and pass the written test. You'll still have ground school topics with your CFI, but you'll be far ahead.

    There will be other things, but all in all, be prepared for $15k and strive to spend less.
     
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  7. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    Exactly what I'm driving at...how much can I do reasonably independently to maximize my time with professionals.
     
  8. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    just a side note comment
    but I find this interesting....spoken as an oldtimer of 52yo..."back in my day" (the 1990's) I don't recall anyone asking for or talking about lump sum quotes or estimates for PPL.
    I do recall folks talking and using "average cost to get" numbers. I think it was just generally understood or accepted that it was all done on a "per hour" unit cost, and there were many variables that would affect the end result...
    so knowing that most folks would spend ballpark $3,000 for PPL and another $3,000 or so for their instrument rating, just for example, was enough. Indecently, those are the numbers I'd always heard and read, and later on I went back and figured up my cost and it was very close to that....
    I guess it was the development of 141 schools that steered things to more of a lump sum total basis......

    with aircraft rental rates seeming to run about x3.5 of what I recall them being, I'd take a rough stab and think that somewhere roughly around $11,000k would be a good number these days
    but plugging $3k into an online "inflation calculator, 1991 to 2020, I get that it should be only $5,697.75. Yikes!!!! What's up with that!!!
     
  9. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    See @pigpenracing for a good deal on headsets.
     
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  10. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    For the e-learning online of the private pilot material, look into @write-stuff's (Russell Still) Gold Seal online Ground school. https://groundschool.com

    His system is often preferred over the other offerings in how it helps to deepen the knowledge instead of just prepping for a written exam via rote memorization.
     
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  11. WDD

    WDD Line Up and Wait

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    I got a really nice Zulu from pigpenracing. I wasted money on a cheaper David Clark

    But go to a pilot shop and try a few sets on - only way to see what fits you

    I walked into the flight school with my written already done. I “saved” money by using Gleim - it worked, but I would have been money ahead if I had spent more for King or Sportys
     
  12. Brad W

    Brad W Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I remember using Gleim
    I don't see how it could be any cheaper...at least based on what it used to be....
    a book, printed on the thinnest cheapest newsprint paper you can imagine...with ALL of the potential written questions listed, along with some "expert's" list of answers.
    run through it several times and you've no seen and memorized every question you will possibly see on the test.

    True to my form, i nerded out big time, and took things to a whole other level beyond just that study...I don't believe in studying just for the test....but Gleim was a great way to help get the grade on the written.
     
  13. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    Where do I find Gleim?
     
  14. WDD

    WDD Line Up and Wait

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    Gleim was cheap - and it worked for me. Got a 94 or something on the test.

    But for me it would have gone much easier and faster with king or sportys. Gleim was also a bit out of date.

    Whatever learning style works best.
     
  15. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  16. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    And be aware that the question banks used to be published by the FAA but they stopped that a few years ago and are updating the tests. Nobody has that actual questions any more (at lest not legitimately!) so these are still good study materials but not in a memorize the correct answer kind of way.
     
  17. WDD

    WDD Line Up and Wait

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    Type Gleim in your browser. All sorts of options will pop up

    JSStevens is spot on. Use the material to learn and understand. Not to memorize. You really do use most of it!
     
  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    @Alani .... there obviously is more than one way to skin this aviation cat.

    If you want good foundational and free, then download the following books from the FAA.gov website

    Pilot's Handbook of Aviation Knowledge
    Airplane Flying Handbook​

    Both of those are the basic books that you will use for just about all of your aviation career.
     
  19. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Thanks, Mike. Students should also realize that a comprehensive ground school is for MORE than just written test prep. It should cover all your flight maneuvers and requirements and carry you all the way to the checkride. Ground study shouldn't stop after the written test is completed.

    Anyone can take an extensive test-drive of Gold Seal for free. Plus, your instructor can also join for free and monitor your progress. It's a great way to integrate your ground study with your flight lessons.

    One last note for the OP. Gold Seal has a large database of instructors (close to 2,000). Select your state (North Carolina), then see a list with all of their contact info, sorted by city.
     
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  20. 7_Zero_Whiskey

    7_Zero_Whiskey Pre-Flight

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    How close to Charlotte are you trying to stay?
     
  21. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    Greater area....Cornelius, Mooresville area.
     
  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't know the flight schools near Charlotte. @flyingron would be a better resource than I.
     
  23. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sorry, I'm not too clued in on the local flight schools. We have a couple of local independent instructors that I deal with but they don't do much outside the neighborhood.
     
  24. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    So, the schools I know of are: Aerowood Aviation (Monroe, NC)
    ATP (Concord, NC)
    FlyCarolina (which is a flying club based at several airports in the area)
    Academy of Aviation: Gastonia (and maybe a Concord location)
    I think Victory Aviation (Concord,NC) also does some training...
     
  25. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've done training at Aerowood and most recently with Fly Carolina out of Concord. As a flying club, Fly Carolina is not a bad option. They have a $50/month "student" membership option and a several steam gauge 172's that rent in the $125-130/wet range, $155/hour for G1000, and 50ish/hour for instruction.

    The instructors at Aerowood were really good, but their fleet of trainers were starting to show their age. Always had good engines, but avionics were hit and miss especially when you get into the instrument rating. Monroe is also a haul from the Cornelius/Mooresville area.

    I don't have any experience with them (yet), but In Mooresville, there is Race City Flight Operations at Lake Norman Airpark (14A). I see them publicize their ground school sessions quite frequently. That might be worth looking into.

    Finally, within reasonable driving distance to you is Premier Air out of Lincolnton and Statesville.
     
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  26. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Ejection Handle Pulled

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    It is also not required.

    everyone is different in their learning style. If the OP is a self starter and enjoys reading/self study there are enough resources in circulation to read. I did not have any formal ground training until I was I hired at my first airline.
     
  27. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Look into training at Lincolnton. My son got his PPL there for about 5000 total. There is also several options at 14A. There flying club is the cheapest deal anywhere for using a 172 but requires a buy in.
     
  28. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can't vouch for the quality of instruction at either place, but Lincolnton would certainly a better field to train at than 14A.
     
  29. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    A lot of variables can change the amount. Some places include a “proper” ground school or sim time while others just quote flying time. Also the type of airplane can change the price quickly. G1000 172 can be 50-75 or more an hour higher than a steam gauge 172. Some schools teach in newer airplanes versus old.
     
  30. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    14A is fine for training because they make the 5 minute hop over to Lincolnton or Rowan county.
     
  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Or about a minute over to SVH I guess. You still have to come home.
     
  32. Uncjump

    Uncjump Filing Flight Plan

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    I would really suggest looking at some of the local flying clubs that have active training programs and talk to some of their instructors. You'll find some clubs are just a monthly fee, some have a buy-in (which you can sometimes sell when leaving the club), but most are operated as non-profits thus you get rates like $85hr wet for six pack 172s or Pa28s. Instructors are typically older more experienced members and for them it's a side job, thus less flexibility in scheduling, but also lower rates. I spent about $5500 on PPL and on track for around $5K for instrument. Most of these clubs gravitate towards non-towered airports for reduced costs, so make sure you get to spend time at towered airports for experience. For me the club route was best, but you trade off some scheduling flexibility, range of planes, and lack of an advanced training path. However it really helps ease people into aviation without sticker shock.
     
  33. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Look up GkDave on Instagram. He runs Cape Fear Aviation out of Grays Creek (2GC) down below Fayetteville. 3500 x 30 with a big stand of pine trees on the approach end of runway 35. His students get really good at staying on the center line. I imagine it is the same for folks that did their primary out of Wilgrove and Lake Norman too. Nothing like getting thrown in the deep end of the pool :hairraise:
     
  34. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We have good luck keeping people in the middle of our runway and the centerline has been out of service since the airport was built :)
     
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  35. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    I subscribe to his Instagram. Seems to be a great instructor. I've seen him take people to private pilot in the 40 hour minimum. Seems to be booked up all day every day though.
     
  36. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’ve seen/heard several interviews with him. Super impressive. Once we all come out of lockdown, I’m seriously considering a week down there with him to prep for the CFI ride.
     
  37. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    This arrived in the mail a few days ago! The journey begins! I started with the EMmbry-Riddle YouTube channel while I waited for the book. 60 videos. Also went through the GoldSeal free section, took some sample tests as well.
    Now digesting the book over the next a - 2 weeks.
    [​IMG]
     
  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    By the way, that book and the other flying handbooks are available as free PDFs here: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/

    On that site I also suggest getting the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), the Aeronautical Chart Users Manual, and Student Pilot Guide. If you're so inclined, also read the Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators.

    I'd also read: https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_00-6B.pdf (Aviation Weather)
    and https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/advisory_circular/ac_00-45h.pdf (Aviation Weather Services)

    Great free sources and relevant to your flying.
     
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  39. Alani

    Alani Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the recommendations, pulling them now. Earlier on I tried getting them printed but Staples wanted almost $300 to print.....and they're alot of pages. So I just bought it for roughly $20 on Amazon :).
    Great way to spend social distancing :)