A flight school is like any school, offering you an organized program that has successfully trained good pilots. How can you select the best one for you?
Do your homework! What flight schools are available within driving distance? Do they offer an accelerated program? Scholarships or financing? Can they provide a list of satisfied students to whom you can talk? How many students are typically in a ground-school class? How often can you fly? What will you be flying?
So, once you’ve found a few flight schools to consider, how can you select the best one? Here are some questions to ask:
- What airplanes are used for instruction?
- How many flight hours have the aircraft logged? (Like car mileage, the lower the better.)
- May I inspect the maintenance logs for these aircraft? (If not, why not?)
- Are copies of the aircraft’s operating handbook available for purchase and study? (Better schools will provide them so you know what you are flying.)
- How many flight instructors does the school employ? (Fewer instructors means fewer hours instruction is available.)
- What are the credentials of the instructors?
- What ground-school training system does the school use and why? (The “why” is more important than the “what.”)
- What is the curriculum for new sport pilots? (Get a printed copy if possible, to compare between schools.)
- May I talk with some of your current students and recent graduates? (How easy they make it tells you more about how they conduct business.)
- What are the costs of flight instruction at this school? (Get a breakdown so you can compare with other schools.)
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Also refer to A Guide to Choosing a Flight School published and available through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Copies are available at many flight schools and online.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide