Flight school fees: a growing trend?

By Matthew Everett

On Thursday the 24th of August, the Arizona State Board for Private and Postsecondary Education met to discuss the regulation of flight instruction in Arizona. Many instructors and advocacy groups feared that this would create a host of new fees and regulatory hurdles. With the number of flight training providers located in Arizona, this had the potential to be very problematic. The announcement was of particular concern to the National Association of Flight Instructors.

“We are concerned that Arizona may be considering similar fees (to California),” says NAFI Executive Director Jason Blair. “As a state that has a significant number of flight-training providers, we’re concerned about the chilling effect those fees may have on those businesses. We’re encouraging our members in that state to get involved in this issue, so we don’t have a repeat of the California situation.”

According to further reports however, the state board unanimously voted to reject the proposal to consider Part 61 flight schools as “vocational schools.” This is likely very good news to many, but does this indicate a growing trend? Should advocacy groups and instructors be concerned that other states may pass regulations similar to California?

The California law, which recently took effect, has remained fairly unpopular. According to the California lawmakers, the law is intended to protect students. While that may be true enough, the new law does have noticeable adverse effects on flight training operators, including new registration fees and very strict financial regulation. The fear is that such laws will only drive up training costs and force smaller schools out of business.

These fees are an important issue that advocacy groups should continue to discuss. There are some important questions that need to be answered, because regardless of how unpopular the new California law may be, it looks like the issue is spreading.

What’s your opinion, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Is there a better way to protect students?

View a complete list of Arizona flight schools


Matthew Everett is a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

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