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What To Consider In Your Flight School Search

What To Consider In Your Flight School SearchYou know you want to learn to fly and be a pilot. Where do you learn to fly? To choose which flight training option is perfect for you will depend on a few factors. FAA’s rules for getting a pilot’s license (certificate) differ depending on the type of aircraft you fly. You can choose among airplanes, gyroplanes, helicopters, gliders, balloons, or airships.

Also important is to know what type of flying you want to do. There are several different types of pilot’s licenses, from student pilot all the way up to airline transport pilot.

The good news is that a shortage of airline pilots has turned flight training into a full-fledged industry.

What you need to think seriously about what you want and expect before jumping into the flight training career. The reasons people decide to learn to fly seem to fall into two major categories and a couple of minor ones. Many of today’s students are looking down the road at a seat in the airlines, which is a gigantic change from a decade ago when the jobs were so scarce that it wasn’t even worth considering. The other major group of student pilots includes those who have reached, or passed, middle age and are finally getting to do what they’ve always wanted to do. The balance of the student population is made up of those who want to work an airplane into their existing business, those who simply can’t live without the thrill and adventure of flying, and those who don’t know for sure why they are doing it. Many of these people in all of these categories have jobs or careers that they can’t or don’t want to leave to pursue flight training. Others have families that require their presence on a daily basis. Still others have strict budget limitations. Each circumstance requires a different type of flight school.

Types of Flight Schools

Flight schools come in two flavors, Part 61 and Part 141, which refer to the parts of the federal aviation regulations (FARs) under which they operate. The most common and least important distinction between them is the minimum flight time required for the private pilot certificate (sometimes called a pilot license)—40 hours under Part 61, and 35 hours under Part 141.

Considering that the national average for earning a private pilot certificate is 60-75 hours (how long you’ll take will depend on your ability and flying frequency), this difference isn’t important for initial pilot training. It does make a difference to commercial pilot applicants: Part 61 requires 250 hours, and Part 141 requires 190.

What differentiates the two is structure and accountability. Part 141 schools are periodically audited by the FAA and must have detailed, FAA-approved course outlines and meet student pilot performance rates. Part 61 schools don’t have the same paperwork and accountability requirements.

Learning under Part 61 rules can often give students the flexibility to rearrange flying lesson content and sequence to meet their needs, which can be of benefit to part-time students. Many Part 141 schools also train students under Part 61 rules.

Which type of flight school is best for you depends on your needs, available time, and other factors, such as veteran’s benefit eligibility (only Part 141 schools can qualify for VA-reimbursed training) and location. When it comes to the FAA checkride, which is the same for all, it doesn’t matter where you learned to fly, only how well—including your understanding of aviation academic material.

Although flight schools fall into two basic categories, Part 61 or Part 141, there is a third category that bears serious consideration by prospective pilots, particularly those planning a professional piloting career: nationally accredited pilot training institutions. Accredited flight schools must meet rigid standards of accountability for virtually every area of operation and must apply to an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Aviation college degree programs also play a large part in today’s pilot training marketplace. If you are planning a professional flying career, an aviation degree may make you more competitive

Pilot Training Providers

Pilot training is available on-site at most airports, either through an FAA-certificated (approved) pilot school* or through other training providers. An approved school may be able to provide a greater variety of training aids, dedicated facilities, and more flexibility in scheduling. A number of colleges and universities also provide pilot training as a part of their curricula.

Enrollment in an FAA-approved pilot school usually ensures a high quality of training. Approved schools must meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula. However, individual flight instructors and training companies that are not certificated by the FAA as “pilot schools” may also offer high quality training, but find it impractical to qualify for FAA certification.

Schedule a Visit With Each Flight School on Your Short List

In researching any flight school, you need to determine how seriously the business takes its flight training program and how professional the approach is. The best way to answer these questions, and others, is to talk to people who are taking flight instruction there. Don’t ask just one person. Ask for the names of at least five current or past students and contact all of them. When you talk to these students, get a sense of how satisfied they have been with their training experience and ask some specific questions:

  1. Were the instructors prompt?
  2. Did they do both preflight and postflight briefings?
  3. Were they good communicators?
  4. Were the aircraft well-maintained?
  5. Were the instructors honest in evaluating their students’ progress?
  6. Did the instructor leave the school before the student earned the rating?
Why Choose Aviator Flight School?

Aviator Flight School offers “hands on” flight training in an idyllic campus setting. Our beautiful facilities, dedicated faculty and staff, and long history of providing quality aviation education ensures graduates receive the skills and knowledge required to excel in today’s highly competitive aviation market.

Aviator College is a fully accredited flight school that provides the most cost effective program for a two year degree in an aviation related field. The college has a state-of-the-art 37,000 square foot training facility, featuring a CRJ Level 5 Flight Training Device (simulator) but FTD’s are not used towards your flight time for any ratings.

Our planes are second to none. We operate a fleet of more than 30 aircraft that fly over 30,000 hours yearly. All our planes are low wing and are equipped with Garmin 430’s and Aspen EFI’S.

The campus itself is in the scenic countryside. It is situated in a semi-tropical campus setting with the most up-to-date equipment and technology available. The housing complex is located on the campus. Every housing unit has four bedrooms, and four bathrooms. The bedroom may be divided into two separate rooms, saving on housing costs if you desire. The housing units are fully furnished with a television and internet access. Students have access to an outdoor pool, tennis and volleyball courts. There is a fitness center on the campus grounds.

Additional housing is located just north of Fort Pierce in Vero Beach. These houses have three bedrooms each, two baths and full kitchens.

We have payment plans to fit everyone’s budget. Sit down with one of our finance experts – they will assist you with a variety of financial aid programs, veterans benefits and career education loans.

We invite you to visit our campus, tour our facility and meet our staff. We think you will like Aviator College as much as we do.

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