What would you look for in a flight school?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Brooks, Jan 25, 2021.

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  1. Brooks

    Brooks Filing Flight Plan

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    I work at a flight school and I want to know everyone's opinions...

    If you were a new student looking for a flight school, what would be appealing to you? What would make you chose my flight school over a different one? In other words, what would make it stand out?

    Would it be type of aircraft, community, group ground school, etc...?
     
  2. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Quality and experience of instructors, availability of aircraft, proximity, practice area distance, price, in about that order.

    A glitzy school with wet-behind-the-ears instructors isn't necessarily better than one a bit farther away with some veterans who love to teach. A place with cheap planes, but you have to fly an extra 15 minutes to the practice area may not be a bargain, but if driving 45 minutes away makes it difficult for you to fly regularly, it might still be best... etc. Lots of factors come into play.
     
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  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach Gone West

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    The tone of the place. Is it going to be an environment where hanging out and learning to fly is going to be fun, or just a series of checklists to get through.
     
  4. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Someone at the front desk that actually knows how to be an ambassador for the company and gets the idea that as they can make or break the new walk-in’s opinion of the whole operation.
     
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  5. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good planes, and lots of them so they will rent them as well, or let a student do an all day xc flight. Good instructors, and make sure that at least a few are women, so people have a choice. Airport hopefully has a nice short runway option as well to practice on. And the instructors should not be chicken ****s who are scared to fly in a little bad weather. Some rain, turbulence, snow, and low clouds is how we pilots learn to handle it. If crappy weather was coming in, and rang my instructor up to see if she was free to go flying. Its a plane, not a house made of paper, rain doesn't hurt it, just washes the bugs off is all.
     
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  6. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I cannot stress this enough. First impressions are the most important aspect of customer service. Flight schools are in the business of customer service.
     
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  7. Flocker

    Flocker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would ask to see/inspect the airplane(s) you'd be training in. Maintenance of the fleet is pretty important IMO. Wouldn't hurt to ask to see the logbooks either.
     
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  8. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    Nice airplanes, friendly instructors, some old salts providing wisdom, reasonable prices.
     
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  9. FancyG

    FancyG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Instructors, not puppy-mill time-builders.

    Schedule students IN THE SAME PLANE, with 1 alternate.

    Airport prison (carded access) with no areas to socialize prevents networking and hanging around.
     
  10. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    You do realize you are asking some people who trained where the planes were junk, the instructors were poor quality, the school management was non existent and thought they trained at a wonderful school what they suggest?
     
  11. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    The first day I walked into my flight school as a prospective student, the guys behind the desk were having some kind of argument about a FAR regulation. The discussion ended with one of the guys looking over at me and saying something like "Regulations... learn 'em, love 'em!" I remember thinking this was a place that took aviation seriously, and that was a good thing.

    Also, it was the only place I could get to on public transit or bike. (I didn't own a car.). That was perhaps the more relevant factor...
     
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  12. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you’re looking to mostly train pilots on advanced ratings,etc, then asking here makes sense. If your looking to mostly train new/non pilots to get their PPL, asking here is pointless. I bet new/non pilots would nearly always say “price”, not knowing what else to say.
     
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would start by looking to their facebook page. I'd be looking for solo callouts and new certificate call outs. Then I would schedule a discovery flight and tell them that you are looking to start training immediately for your PPL. I'd be interested in the instructor - personality, availability and instructor goals. You don't want to start with someone 25 hours away from a flying job. I would want 2 flights a week, you need to be sure the instructor is willing and aircraft are available. I would want a reasonable price for the aircraft I've picked to train in. At the end of the day you want a good instructor, who is available at a place with reliable airplanes that are available. I've been to a few places where they are so disorganized an oil change can take a plane offline for 2 weeks. You don't want that.
     
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  14. scottywayne27

    scottywayne27 Filing Flight Plan

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    I’m a new private pilot currently working on my multi rating and IFR. My journey has been a tough one. I started training about a year ago. I was inspired by an “old timer” life long pilot and we now agree that things were a lot different in his day. At 51 I’ve had enough life experiences to sense when the train is on track. I had an aggressive (but safe) goal, 0-multi in 9-12 months. IT IS ALL ABOUT YOUR CFI. Let that sink in. Unfortunately a lot of CFI’s are on a respectable path to ATP and just want the hours. It is VERY important to find a CFI that has a passion for aviation and more importantly the skill set and passion for teaching. Not doing so will make the experience painful and produce a dangerous pilot. Moving around was very disappointing but it’s your money and your goal. It’s hard to go into the situation with confidence but if it doesn’t feel right keep searching, there are great CFI’s out there. The first question I asked myself was “would I be friends with this person outside of training” you will spend many many hours shoulder to shoulder so the answer has to be yes.
     
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  15. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    New pilot here (a year). Older guy. So, priorities? CFI -- Find one that wants to teach, doesn't do things for you in the cockpit just to hurry things along, but makes you do it all so you learn. Someone who doesn't cover the controls all the time but lets you get sloppy time to time so you learn what not to do. Instructs on all the little things, teaches proper routine and discipline, and doesn't just get in the air as soon as possible. A CFI building hours to get ATP isn't a bad thing, but if that is primary goal you might find him cutting corners or even shipping out before you've got your ppl.

    After that, the planes have to be available and not in maintenance. Then worry about the cost.
     
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  16. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I should have added, instructors available outside of regular hours, for me the 9 to 5 type were useless. I worked full time, often long days, my 3rd instructor, and the 1 I stuck with because she was awesome, not like the first 2 that were crap, she would fly when it fit my schedule, and also wasn't always in a rush to get back to the airport and only do short lessons. We would often do 19:30 to 21:30 hours, and when I started on my night rating, we flew 23:00 to 01:00. I was flying 10 or more hours a week with here, and wanting hours, I was well over the required minimum to get my ppl. If the weather was nice, i could call her up and ask for permission to solo, she would say sure, when do you plan to come back. Oh lets say 5 hours, i am going to go here for lunch, and here to see that town. I would call her when I got back, and had tied my 152 down, letting her know that I was safe, and had another great day. When i hear people taking 6 to 12 months just to get their ppl, I cringe. It should be a max of 3 months, and that is working on it slowly. That is important, fit the students schedule, if we work 6am to 6pm, fly with us after work.
     
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  17. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I disagree. If you have a lesser instructor, he or she may cost you more money in the long run. Also, if you had a cheaper school, but had to fly 10 extra minutes every flight to get to the practice area for airwork and ground reference maneuvers, your cost savings may be negated completely.
     
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  18. jackdleach

    jackdleach Filing Flight Plan

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    Near my home are two flight schools: one which gives a general impression of being a pilot factory, turning nonpilots into pilots so they can go on and advance their career and land themselves in something that requires jet propulsion. The other gives a general impression of people being at ease and generally enjoying GA. As I myself have no desire to fly as a career but rather for fun, the latter is much more appealing.

    Then, whether or not I'm comfortable with the people there. Prior to getting my PPL I had read that working with an instructor you're comfortable with is a key to making the training a success. It took me a bit to find the right place (and it was 30min further drive than the one close to me at the time), and it had only two planes (a 152 and 172), but I really like the instructor and felt it was a good fit, so that's where I did my PPL.

    Now having my PPL and being in an area with much more GA activity, a slightly larger operation with more a variety of A/C and potential instructors (CFII, tailwheel, multi-engine) is of more importance.

    I guess then it depends on what a person's goals are, but that's what aligned for me.
     
  19. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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  20. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    The cheapest one around :D While that would be a big consideration I think the more detailed answer would depend on my goal. If I just wanted my pilots license and nothing more I would look at price, availability, and if they would rent their plans after getting my certificate. If my goals were professional pilot I would say price, job opportunity after ratings, professional affiliations like regionals or freight companies. Then training fleet, and economic stability of the school.
     
  21. BearFly

    BearFly Filing Flight Plan

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    Cheap, clean, available.
    As a Pre-solo student who is having-right now at this moment- a hell of a time getting scheduled at a school with 20+planes and 30+ instructors, even while i'm taking some time off work, availability is probably key. When weather is factored in, not having availability has been a huge pain and delay for me.
    i had a lot of options all within 45 minute drive or so, and I put a lot of effort into "shopping around," and thought i had settled but was never fully confident in my decision. Have had a few other options pop up, but at this point, seems like a further waste of time and money to keep jumping around.
    All that and keeping the planes clean(easy enough to do especially when laying done some ground rules for all who use them) and well maintained is rather high on my list.