The dream of attending a flying school
A commercial pilot’s childhood dream is becoming a reality! They want to make a career out of moving in three dimensions, and have their mind set on becoming a pilot!
There are times where pilots are clouded-down by unanswered questions; what’s the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 training? What aircraft should a commercial pilot fly?
To get the best training in aviation the pilot needs to ensure that they get a solid foundation in both aviation theory and practical training from the right flying school. Without flying experience, selecting a good flying school can be a daunting task.
Checklists are an integral part of aviation; this same procedure can be applied to selecting a great flight school for a commercial pilot. Here are 5 steps to help a pilot find the right flying school:
- What Aviation Training does a commercial pilot need and want? Flight schools come in two forms, Part 61 and Part 141, which refer to the parts of the Federal Aviation Regulations under which they operate. It's recommended using a flying school that operates from a published syllabus, which is vital for a pilot to track their progress, determine strengths and weaknesses, and avoid costly training oversights.
- What are the facilities like? It’s important for the upcoming pilot to listen closely and ask questions about everything. After the official tour, talk to other students in flight training. Ask them to rate the training quality and explain what problems they've had, if any, and how they were dealt with.
- Who are the flight School Instructors? Don’t go by flight hours alone, it’s important for a pilot to find someone who communicates well and makes them feel comfortable. The pilot will want to know how long they've been employed at the flying school, where they learned to fly, how many hours they've accumulated and what their previous students have to say about them.
- What is the Cost? Look closely at the entire fee structure; aircraft rental, insurance, fuel prices, taxes, processing fees and instructor fees. Keep in mind that a quote for an entire training course is often based on the minimum number of flight hours required by the FAA and most students surpass that during training. Flight schools aren't usually out to rip students off, but there can be hidden fees.
- What aircraft are available and what are their maintenance plans? Be careful to compare ‘apples to apples’. A commercial pilot should be focused on age, condition, appearance, and equipment. A new airplane does not necessary mean better quality flight, nor does the latest technology solve a pilot’s future difficulty with landings, but there is something to be said for getting what you pay for. A pilot should also ask the flight school to walk them through their maintenance program. If they hesitate or refuse to show you the aircraft's logbook, it's a red flag.