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Learn to Fly FAST - Three Types of Accelerated Pilot SchoolsReach your aviation goals faster
By Matthew Everett
Flight training is one of the most exciting and challenging things you will ever do in your life. It is for this reason that it is important to consider every aspect of a training program before you jump in the aircraft for your first lesson. Traditionally, pilots learn to fly at their local airport, but a growing trend in flight training is accelerated pilot schools. These schools are often an excellent match if you are looking at making a career out of aviation. Accelerated programs can be broken down into three main types: professional programs, airline programs, and university programs.
What is an Accelerated Pilot School?
By this point you might be asking, "What is an accelerated pilot school anyway?" Basically, it is a flight school that allows you to earn a certificate (license) or rating in a very short amount of time. To investigate further, accelerated programs are usually structured in a way that has you training eight hours a day five or more days a week. The goal of these programs is for you to obtain a rating or certificate in a few weeks or months. For example, obtaining a private pilot certificate usually takes about 6 months, but in an accelerated program you could get one in as little as two weeks. That's a pretty significant difference.
Most of these programs are also marketed toward people who are looking for multiple certificates or ratings, so they often structure the programs in cycles. This enables you to walk in off the street with zero flight hours in your logbook and walk out of the school a commercial pilot with 250 hours.
That is the goal of the first type of accelerated program, the professional program. You walk in with zero hours and walk out a commercial pilot or CFI. These programs are a perfect match if you are looking to get your commercial certificate or perhaps become a CFI. They will take you through all the ratings and certificates necessary for jobs like banner towing and crop dusting.
What if you are trying to get an airline job? Well, there are accelerated programs that are perfect for you. While similar to the professional programs, these programs are designed to create perfect airline pilot candidates. They typically require more of your time, but they also get you well on your way to the ATP certificate which requires more than a thousand hours of flight time. Unfortunately, most of these programs do not provide a four year degree that many airlines prefer you to have.
That is the idea behind the university programs. The are traditionally a mix between professional or airline programs and a four year degree. Your flight training is mixed in with regular university courses and after four years you graduate with a degree and several pilot certificates and ratings. It is likely costlier than the other programs, but if you need a four year degree for an airline job, it is hard to beat.
The bottom line on accelerated programs is that you should consider your goals. If you are just trying to get a commercial certificate so you can fly banners, it would be over kill to jump into a university program. On the other hand, a professional program that turns out commercial pilots, would leave you significantly short of your airline aspirations. Once you know what you want to get out of your training, it will be easier to see which program will get you there.
Matthew Everett is a frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com, a private pilot, and aviation blogger. You can find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.