Being a pilot is one great career choice. It provides you with great travel opportunities and interesting career. However, in order to fully enjoy the rewards aviation has to offer, you need to ensure that you are well informed and properly trained. The information you’ll be provided with and training you’ll undergo will help you become a confident and safe pilot.
For most prospective pilots, choosing the right flight school for their lessons may be a hassle. There are many different schools offering flight lessons. Therefore, simply walking into one without making careful considerations may cost you more than you are bargaining for. Factors such as instructors, cost, training grounds, and facilities are things you need to consider.
We have created a short list of the different factors to consider before enrolling in a flight school. Without further ado, let’s get right to it:
This is probably the most important factor every pilot candidate need to consider before deciding on where to take their flight lessons.
It is no longer news that flying lessons come at a huge price. Therefore, as a prospective student, minimizing the cost of learning and saving money should be on your high priority list.
You need to note that there are many factors contributing to what a flight school charges for its training sessions. Some of these factors include fuel prices, aircraft rentals, insurance, instructor fees, taxes, and more.
Asking the questions below can help you determine the exact cost of flight training:
- Do the instructors all charge the same or different rates? How much do they charge?
- Are there processing fees and/or taxes?
- How much do they rent their aircraft? Does this include oil and fuel?
- Do instructors give ground training? Do they brief and debrief? If yes, how much time do they spend? And do they charge for this time?
- What are the estimated costs for books and materials?
- Will students be charged extra fees? (such as overnight charges, examiner fees, landing fees, and so on.)
These conditions are the major reasons why advertised prices vary from school to school. While some schools will provide you with an entire breakdown of what they charge, others will simply advertise only the rental rate.
One last important factor to note in this section is the flight hours. The FAA requires that pilots have a specific number of flight hours before they can be allowed to fly professionally.
Most schools provide training courses that are based on these hours. Typically, as a student pilot, you will surpass these hours during your flight training. However, it is important to know the average number of hours each instructor spent to successfully train their students.
THE LESSON PLANS AND COURSE STRUCTURE OF THE FLIGHT SCHOOL
While some schools provide lessons that are structured under the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 61, others provide lessons under Part 141. These two structures can be used to achieve the same end result. However, the training methods are very different.
Part 141 schools offer a solid and rigid teaching structure. They follow a strict syllabus and outline that must have been approved by the FAA ahead of time. Students who take flight lessons from a part 141 school should expect a professional environment, as well as a fast-paced and intense training program.
Students who take their lessons from Part 61 schools are usually offered a less structured syllabus. A Part 61 school allows more flexibility for students as well as instructors.
Regardless of the training plan you choose, your flight instructor should be able to monitor your progress and evaluate your skills. He/she should be able to follow your syllabus, including progress reports, lesson plans, and stage checks.
EXPERIENCE AND CREDENTIALS OF THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
Credentials are not the only factors you need to look at when choosing a flight instructor. Although credentials are important, knowing the timeframe they have spent in your school is just as important. Other experience factors you need to be concerned about include:
- Where your instructor learned to fly
- The number of hours they have accrued
- How their previous students feel about them and their style of training.
Obviously, you are bound to find incompetent instructors with many flight hours as well as new instructors who are on top of their games. That is why flight hours aren’t enough to determine how competent a flight instructor is. You need to ensure that your instructor is someone who makes you comfortable and you can easily communicate with.
Note that if things don’t work out well between you and your instructor, you have the ability to switch to a better instructor.
AIRCRAFT AND ITS MAINTENANCE
Deciding on the aircraft to use for your training is a personal decision. While it may be fun to carry out your flight lessons in a new, technologically advanced aircraft, you should know that doing this comes at an extra cost.
Older airplanes are usually cheaper to rent than newer planes. However, they may experience more maintenance issues than newer aircraft.
The best thing to do is to pay close attention to the logbooks and maintenance program of your preferred aircraft. You can even ask a staff of your school to walk you through the maintenance program. Refusal or delay usually denotes foul play and you should walk away.
Flight schools should be able to provide student pilots with information on maintenance issues and inspections that were carried out on an aircraft.
While these factors may not be everything you need to consider before applying to a flight school like AeroGuard Flight Training Center or one of the many other emerging flights schools in the US, they sure will set you on the path to choosing the right one and making the most out of your aviation career.
Talk to us in the comment section. Let us know what other factors you feel prospective pilots need to consider before choosing a school for their training lessons.