Best Flight School for Professional Pilots
What is the best flight school for future professional pilots? If you are excited about the notion of becoming a professional pilot but you don’t know where to start, here are some great questions and considerations when choosing a flight school. While you might want to excitedly sign up for training today, consider the following to choose a flight school that suits your needs and goals.
Will they be able to accommodate you?
Flight lessons seem to be in high demand as more and more people realize that aviation is more accessible and affordable than they previously thought. When choosing a flight school, it is vital to know if they have availability for you in the timeframe you're looking for. When you call the flight school make sure that you know your availability, how often you want to fly, and your ideal start date.
If you are going to professional route, you will want a flight school that can accommodate your training needs for private, instrument, commercial, multi engine, and potentially CFI/CFII. That means that in addition to standard resources, you’ll want to double check that your flight school has instructors that can teach instrument training (CFII) and also instructors (MEI) and aircraft that can accommodate multi engine training.
Students are most often assigned a primary instructor throughout all of their training so the school you pick should have instructor availability for your one-on-one training. In addition, they need to have a plane that is available during your schedule times. At schools with a cohesive fleet of similar aircraft, you may have greater flexibility with the ability to switch planes. For example, we have all Piper aircraft (besides our Multi-Engine Baron) where students learn the skills to operates all of them.
Do they have the resources you need?
Not only does the flight school you choose today need adequate instructors and aircraft, they must have other resources available to give you the most efficient training. For example, an advanced aviation training device simulator (AATD) can be used for 2.5 hours for your private pilots license and a significant portion of your hours for your instrument rating. If you plan on going to the airlines, up to 100 hours in the stimulator can be used towards your ATP. When considering a flight school, a great question to ask is whether or not they have a AATD or advanced aviation training device.
Is safety prioritized?
The flight school you sign up with today should have complete transparency when it comes to safety. They should be forthcoming with their commitment to your safety; you should have access to their maintenance logs and be able to ask questions with any flight school personnel and mechanics. When first generation student-pilots come to us, they or their parents (if minors) are rightfully concerned about safety, and we are happy to give them a tour of our fleet and answer any questions they have.
As you will learn in training, all aircraft have to go certain safety inspections and this can take time. That is why it is important for flight schools to have access to mechanics to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently, and for there to always be another aircraft available so that your training is not interrupted.
Do you like the location?
When considering your flight school, it’s important to consider your quality of life and training. If you are going from zero hours to commercial pilot or certified flight instructor (CFI), you might expect to stay in an area up to a year. If you plan on interviewing for a flight instructor position with your school, you may end up staying in the area for approximately two years or more.
It’s vital that you like the location and that the city you choose to live in is conducive to the lifestyle that you want. For example, is it important to you to be close to family? To attend college while in flight training? To be within an hour of the beach? To live in a city with a nightlife? It’s important to consider your quality of life while you’re earning hours for your next license. When you'll eventually apply for commercial pilot jobs, you'll want to be a well-rounded applicant with a few other interests or hobbies outside of aviation that you participate in.
What is the culture like?
Some flight schools are known for their revolving door of instructors and students, which is great if speed is the most important attribute of a flight school with you. Other flight schools like us are known for our welcoming environment and customized training, in addition to fast-pace capabilities. For example, we use a standard syllabus that is designed to get students to their goals in a systematic approach while also spending time in areas that need additional emphasis.
As aviation becomes more diverse and inclusive, women pilots still have additional considerations when choosing a flight school. If you are a woman, we have an awesome article on the importance of flying with another woman for at least some of your training, here.
When choosing a flight school, one must ask the important questions to get a big-picture idea of what training there will look and feel like. After conducting research on one's top schools, you call and sign onto the waiting list to get a projected start date! Your aviation journey begins now.