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Aviation Ground School: Choosing a flight school - Tips

By Edited Aug 9, 2016 2 1

In the previous two articles we spoke about the two types of Ground schools. Part 61 and Part 141. If you just step back and look at the grand scheme of things, the most important thing really is getting done fast with as little damage to your pocket book as possible. Also, you must take into consideration if there are any employment opportunities available after you are done training for your certified flight instructor. Many schools will give you the certificates but will not hire you because will have to many people going through and not enough jobs available. So when you call a flight school ask some of these questions among the ones that you already have.

Q: What is the price per hour of your instruction for private pilot instruction, commercial pilot instruction, multi-engine aircraft instruction, Multi-engine aircraft rental for time building (also is that the rate including fuel, "wet")
This is one of the most important questions you can ask. Many schools will give advertise a total cost on their website, but many times that will be for just the minimum time. You'd be hard pressed to find many students finish the ratings in the minimum amount of time

Q: (If they quoted the a flat price on their website) Is that price guaranteed even if I go over minimum times. What flight and instruction hours do you get with that price.
See above explanation. Also, many times the School will quote you a price and change it because fuel prices go up and down.

Q: Is lodging included? If so how long? Once my  lodging contract is up, am I required to stay in the housing? Will the price of the program change if i choose to leave the house? Is there kitchen ware available? Is the housing included in the quoted price. How much is it per month once I have stayed in the housing for the required time? How much is it per month? Does it include utilities?
Many schools will offer you this, but will stipulate that you have to stay in their housing for a certain amount of time. Schools profit on this. For example: My housing was 600/month utilities included. It was a small house with three bedrooms and bathrooms. Not worth 600/month per person. Ask any further questions that you might have.

Q: What is the average amount of hours that a student will finish his/her ratings at your school? How long does that normally take? How many instructors do you have on staff? HOW MANY SENIOR INSTRUCTORS DO YOU HAVE? How busy are the senior instructors?
The last two questions are VERY important. The reason is because you can and will get stuck waiting for a senior instructor to go up with you to do your initial instructor flights. Many students can wait months to fly with one of these instructors that is backed up. Time is money.

Q: Are there any instructor positions available after i graduate? Can you guarantee me an instructor position or just an interview.
Schools will say that they will give you an interview, but that's just it. If the school has to many instructors to begin with, they won't hire you. Especially if they have a college course that requires graduates to have a job.

Q: What financing is available?

Q: How many students do you have? Do you expect to have more students in the future
What's important about this question is it gives you an idea if they are having some trouble financially. Many MANY flight schools go out of business and when they do, it is almost always unexpectedly. On many occasions the students and staff will come into the airport to find that the school is closed, locked, with a note saying something about bankruptcy. Sign of the times.

Q: How many hours do your instructors get per month? Do you instructors work on weekends? 
Another good question because this will tell you how busy they are, see above. Also this will tell you how many hours you can expect to get as a flight instructor after you graduate if you get a job with them.  

Q: how many years have most of your instructors been instructing?
If you have the chance, get with an instructor that is seasoned. He will be able to give you the best instruction. HOWEVER; watch out because most likely he/she is looking for bigger things. They might leave while you are still with them, or will over fly you just to get a few more hours to get out of the instructing game quicker.

Q: How is the weather? How often are Planes grounded for weather related issues?
Ask about this because many schools will have trouble getting students to fly in the winter and fall due to inclement weather. Can't control nature.

Q: How many planes do you have? What kind of planes are they? What avionics do you have in the planes? Do you have any planes that have glass panel avionics? How old are the planes? How often do they need to be serviced or are down?
Don't get stuck with a school that has just a couple of planes that are broken all the time. ALSO, just because an airplane is old doesn't mean it isn't a good plane. New planes can and do break just as much as older planes.  

These are just A FEW VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. They are by no means a complete list. Do a lot of digging and research and you will find the right school/instructor for you.



Jul 9, 2012 3:06pm
good tips thumbs up.
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