Knowing how to choose the right flight school will allow you to reach your aviation goal sooner and save you a lot of money in the long run.
Ideas from actual professional pilots and their experience can help you to find the best flight school according to your aviation goal.
In this article, I have shared my idea of a good flight school and a list of things to consider before signing up for a flight school.
After you finish reading this article you can make your own guide to figure out the most suitable flight school for yourself and your flying career.
How to choose a flight school that will help you grow as a better pilot?
Choosing a flight school must really depend on two factors:
- How fast do you want to finish your flight training and have your commercial pilot license?
- OR do you have enough time to take your pilot training course slowly?
The above two points are the most important.
Answer the two questions above and then move onto the next section of the article.
In the next section of the article, I have listed down 10 things you must do before picking a flight school for your training.
The top 10 steps that will help you to decide where are you going to start your flight training.
And that obviously depends on how fast do you want to complete your flight training course.
STEP 1: Create a list of your flight schools.
It is the 21st century and creating a list of flight schools is easier than ever before.
All the flight schools have their own websites and information available online.
So make a list of flight schools that you think is good and at least the information seems legit online.
One website I prefer to go to find a list of flight schools is Bestaviation.net.
Go to this website and choose from hundreds of flight schools enlisted there and figure which looks like a good one.
Create this list and move on to the next step.
STEP 2: Location of flight school.
Now that you already have created a list of flight schools, it is time you decide where do you want to go for your flight training.
- Do you want to go abroad?
- Or do you want to stay in your country?
- OR do you want to stay near your current residence?
If you are willing to go abroad for your flight training, consider to count some extra money for your accommodation in a foreign land.
Staying in a foreign land to train as a full-time student pilot will require you more money added to your flight training cost.
You will have to count extra for renting a house, for food and many other expenses.
Another thing to consider is:
Although you may choose to train at your local airport as a pilot and the weather there is mostly not flyable, you will waste your time.
SO, in that case, you may save money by staying in your comfort but being not able to fly often will result in repeating lessons in your flight training.
If you have a gap of 1-2 weeks between each flight, you will likely forget your lessons and have to repeat your flying lessons.
That will cause you to fly extra hours and cost you more money.
SO decide at which location do you want to train as a pilot carefully.
Whether you want to train in a controlled airport or uncontrolled airport is also a factor to consider.
FLying in a controlled airport will sharpen your skills. YOu will have to fly and communicate with the tower and understand the responsibility of flying in a busy airport.
STEP 3: Total anticipated flight training cost.
As you have filtered out some school from your initial list due to location, now you can check and compare the course prices.
Check their website online and compare the prices they are advertising.
Check the price of the commercial pilot license course for each school.
Compare the prices with each other. I am sure you will be surprised to see the difference in prices in various schools.
Some flight school rents their airplane cheaper than others.
In some schools, the ground schooling cost may be less and in other schools, flight instructors can be hired for lesser money.
Picking a flight school that is inexpensive and has quality flight training will help you a lot.
STEP 4: Contact the flight schools.
Once you have chosen a few flight schools, you can finally send them e-mails.
Contact them and ask them for further details.
Ask them in detail how long has the school been in operation and about their safety records.
Most importantly you must ask what is the duration of the flight training course in their school on average.
How many students do they have currently and when can you start training.
The school will definitely reply to your mail.
You need to know when can you sign up and start your ground classes.
If it is a school abroad inquire regarding the visa and procedure for visa application.
How is the school going to support you for getting your visa?
Do they provide accommodation for foreign students?
Know all these and then if possible schedule a date to visit the hangar of that flight school.
STEP 5: Visit the flight school hangar.
After you have scheduled a date to visit a flight school, it is finally time for you to ask even more details about the school.
You can ask things such as:
- How many students do they currently have;
- How many flight instructors do they have;
- How many aircraft are available for flight training;
- Are there any students from the school currently working as a flight instructor there;
- Which airlines have hired the previous student pilots of this flight school;
- What is the payment method, do you need to pay all at once or you can pay in installments;
- DO they have any plans of expanding their flight school in a different location
As you are already there in flight school, it is your opportunity to ask all the questions before you sign up for a school.
A good flight school will happily answer all your queries.
If possible try to talk to the owner of the flight school.
STEP 6: Airplane to student ratio.
As you have already asked the flight school the number of flyable aircraft they have, you can now figure out how often will you get to fly in that school as a student pilot.
Because if a flight school has only two airplanes and has 20 students, then it is inevitable that you will not fly often.
In case one aircraft is grounded for some reason, all these 20 students will be waiting to fly in the same aircraft.
20 students getting flight schedule for only one aircraft is going to delay your flight training.
Even with two aircraft, it is quite difficult for flight schools to accommodate twenty students and complete their flight training courses on time.
Usually, one aircraft for 5 students is a good ratio.
However, this is not a common practice for flight schools. Hence I always say it is quite impossible to complete your flight training course in time.
No matter how much a flight school promises that you will be able to complete your flight training within this period of time, that is not the case always.
The reason for that is not always aircraft to pilot ratio, other factors like weather as well cause your flight training to delay.
STEP 7: Talk to other hangars about the flight school’s reputation.
As you are already there in the airport, you can visit other hangars too.
Visit the other hangars near your chosen flight school and talk to people there.
They can tell you a lot about the flight school’s reputation.
And other characters from various hangars do not have any motive for lying to you about anything.
Because they do not have any reason to do so.
They will tell you al the truth and they will say you things which you exactly need to know.
If the flight school has inadequate safety records, the people from different hangars will say you with any hesitation.
There are things the flight school may do not want to share with new student pilots.
These things you can only know from other people.
Usually in general aviation are all the neighboring companies know everything about everyone.
Unlike in airlines and in the airport all the news spread out so quick in general aviation.
STEP 8: Talk to the current students of the flight school.
There is some news which you can only know from the current student pilots of the flight school.
Current students are the one can tell you about the quality of the flight training in the school.
They can share their happening in the school whether it is a good or bad experience.
If the flight instructors not teaching well the existing students will let you know that.
If you are not enrolled there you will not know things which these student pilots can say you.
Listen to them and take their suggestions about other schools in the local airport too.
BONUS STEP: Ask the flight school that do they have any affiliation with any airlines.
Some flight schools have a contract with some airlines and they refer fresh commercial pilots straight to the airlines.
Make sure to ask the flight school administration, including the current students concerning where are the previous student pilots working now.
Which are the major airlines that have hired the student pilots from this flight school after graduation?
You ought to know in case you have the corresponding opportunity or not.
Does this flight school place a job guarantee?
Are they going to assist you in any way to land your first job?
Know all the details before you enroll in a flight school.
You may feel overwhelmed about how to choose a flight school. But remember funding your flight training is one of the biggest investments you will ever make.
Flight training is expensive. So you do not want to spend your money without proper inquiry first.
Lots of students quit aviation or struggle so much just because they chose the wrong flight school.
I really do not want that to happen to anyone, hence I have shared the steps for how to choose a flight school.
Choosing a good flight school will make or break your career.