Finding The Right Flight School – Flight Training 101

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Tips on Finding the Best Flight School - Flight Schools Near You

Tips on finding the best flight school

Are you an aspiring pilot looking to find the best flight school? Well, finding the right flight school is the most important decision you can make in your flying career. Finding the right school can set you up for success. In some rare cases choosing the wrong school can be detrimental to your success.

In this article we will go over:

In this article, we run down some of the most important key factors in choosing a flight school and what to look for when searching.

  • Difference between Part 141 vs Part 61 Flight schools
  • Key Items to look for in your selection
  • Best Way to Find a Flight School

Now, we have heard from pilots that state their flight school helped build their confidence and push them toward success. However, on the contrary, we have heard the opposite, where a flight school was trying to leach money from a student’s pocket. We want to make sure you choose the right flight school for training and it is important to see the signs before they come to fruition.

FAA Requirements; Part 141 versus Part 61 Flight Schools

So first off let’s lay down some of the FAA requirements for obtaining your license.

141 vs 61 Flight Schools

141 Flight School

So, to make it easy 141 schools are strict curriculum schools that follow a lesson guideline. Often these are structured programs that have scheduled classes and meetings. 141 schools are very reminiscent of a college class or program when it comes to flight training!

Now the main benefit of why you’d want to choose this kind of school is the hour requirements. For 141 schools certain hour requirements are cut for your more advanced training.

Heres what the FAR/AIM states,

section of 14 CFR § 61.65 states that you must log the following hours:

  • Fifty (50) hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which 10 hours must be in an airplane AND:
  • Forty (40) hours of actual or simulated instrument time, of which 15 hours must be received from an authorized instructor who holds an instrument-airplane rating.

However, these requirements are under part 61! The main difference between the two is that under Part 141, the minimum instrument hours requirement is 35 hours and there is no requirement for cross-country flight time.

Benefits

  • Shorter hours to complete more advanced training.
  • Strict schedules for trainees may be more conducive to learning.
  • Generally, a faster training process

Now, this is probably the most important question/topic when choosing a flight school as this alters the requirements.

Part 61 Flight School

Now a Part 61 flight school is essentially the opposite of part 141. A Part 61 flight school is more relaxed and is paced at your own time/availability. In a Part 61 school, a majority of the time, an instructor acts as a contractor for a flight school.

This gives you the ability to work one on one with a flight instructor at your own time.

However, because of its more relaxed training structure, the FAA increases the time required to get some of the more advanced training. For example, In addition to the basic 40 hours for an instrument license, you must also obtain 50 hours of cross-country flight time.

Benefits

  • Schedule at your own time
  • Flexible learning curriculum
  • Less of a rigid classroom structure

We have curated some key tips in your search

Here are a few of our key tips to finding the best flight school!

Different Locations, Different Prices

Similar to housing, there are a lot of quality flight schools in certain locations which keep the costs affordable. Depending on your location, city/destination locations usually have larger fees associated with flying.

This is all built into the bottom line as flight schools have to pay rent for their facility. Airports in these (generally class B) areas usually require more to host a flight school. This price falls on you.

Use this to your advantage; if you have the resources, it may be more advantageous to travel to a remote location to pursue flight training within the span of 10-12 months which may save big time in the long run.

Location, Location, Location

Now, this may seem like a repeat of the tip above however it’s slightly different. We advocate that you pay attention to the airspace surrounding your flight school. Do you want to be IN class B airspace or nearby? Do you want to leave out, deep in Class E airspace away from busy airports?

Flight school is a balance of experience, we suggest that you choose a flight school that is at minimum 15 nm away from or a maximum 40 nm away from busy airspace.

This way you can balance the freedom of flight, with complex scenarios and situations from controllers or busy airspaces. This way you can gain a lot of experience in a short amount of time!

Mission pilot
Student landing

Never share how much money you have

Why? Depending on the integrity, this could indicate to the flight school they can extend your lessons to use your entire pool of money.

Now don’t get us wrong, the majority of flight schools are honest and filled with integrity, making it a great place to fly. However, there are a few out there which are out to get your hard-earned cash. The moment you reveal to a flight school how much money you have; you are exposing yourself to manipulation.

Remember, the flight is generally paid as you go situation and it is fully dependent on your instructor. There are many motives at play here, so it’s important to keep your information confidential when choosing a flight school.

Check the schedule availability BEFORE you start your check out

You need to validate that the flight school of your choice has enough availability for your frequency of flying.

It’s the worst thing in the world to get checked out for a flight school then find out that they have very limited aircraft availability. Now, this also applies to flight instructors!

Ask to take a look at their schedule before spending money to get checked out in their aircraft to make sure the location is right for you.

This way you can make sure you are able to get your licenses as efficiently as possible.

Learn About Your Flight Instructor Credentials

CFI’s are perfect for getting your private pilot’s license however, after that you need a CFII. It’s the worst thing in the world to build a relationship/repour with an instructor just to find out they can’t continue training to your next license. Even worse is having to find another flight school that can accommodate your needs.

It’s important to check the credentials of the flight instructor based on your certificate goals and destinations. This way you can plan for the future when you get your instrument or your commercial license.

Now some may argue this point, stating it may be beneficial to experience multiple flight instructors during your training. This way you may get more exposure to different flying techniques, and eventually, build your own.

Regardless, this is something you should keep in mind when starting training.

Talk to other students about their experience!

Hang out at the flight school, create relationships and learn more about the flight school/quality of training from students. Some of the best reviews you can receive are from trainees as oftentimes they will be blunt and honest about their experiences.

Of course, most will be positive but each plays a role in understanding the bigger picture.

Learning with Other Students

And of course, Price Match

At the end of the day, it’s important to do your due diligence to ensure that you are checking the prices of multiple flight schools in your area. It’s the worst thing in the world, to complete training just to find out you could have saved in the long run with another school. Are you looking to find flight schools near you?

Well punch in your location below, AeroAvion can find flight schools in your proximity!

Last tip, Don’t Rent (If You Don’t Have To)

We will save the bulk of this for our article, Buying vs. Renting an aircraft which you can check out here. But believe it or not, buying may actually be significantly less in cost than renting an aircraft.

The limited depreciation of aircraft, the complexity of the purchase, and longevity make it so buying may end up being profitable in the long run.

Instructors generally act like freelance contractors, so you can choose a private instructor to teach you how to fly a plane! And NO! You do not need to have a pilot’s license to buy a plane.

Check out our Buying Vs. Renting Guide Here

Landing an Airplane

Key Takeaways

  • Never tell a flight school how much money you have
  • Explore temporarily moving locations to find the cheapest opportunity.
  • Choosing the right location can pay off BIG in the long run (Prices & Airspaces)
  • Validate flight instructor credentials, depending on your needs.
  • Price match to ensure you are getting the right deal for your education
  • Explore purchasing an aircraft, as this may save big with appreciation!

Last but not least,

NEVER GIVE UP

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Where to find flight schools near me?

AeroAvion has got you covered! We have curated a list of some of the best flight schools internationally. Check out the search below and insert your location, we have curated a list of over 3000 flight schools worldwide for you to choose from.

Depending on your location, we have provided easy access to the aircraft each flight school has. In some cases, you can filter by Aircraft allowing you to learn more about the flight schools in your area.

Are you a flight school looking to list with AeroAvion?

The AeroAvion Flight School directory is one of the largest of its type, Click here to list FREE today!

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    Check out our blog post on 5 Easy and Cheap Ways to start flight school, in which we also discuss how contracting a personal flight instructor can prove to be significantly cheaper in your own aircraft.

    Are you interested in purchasing an aircraft? Check out some of our listings below, as you can see the prices are on par in comparison to buying a new car.

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