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How To Choose A Flight School: Three Keys To Success
By Kyle Garrett
It may seem like a simple decision, but choosing a flight school is one of the most important elements of successful flight training. If you just toss a coin or randomly pick a school, you may be inadvertently complicating your training. While it is unlikely that you would stumble into a truly bad flight school, it is very easy to walk into a school that isn't a good match for you. It is important that you consider your flight training goals, budget, and make sure you are looking at good programs.
Choose a flight school that meets your needs
The first step, before you invest too much time in your flight school search, take some time to a little self reflection. Think about what exactly you want to get out of your flight training. Having a defined goal or goals is critical when choosing a flight school. You may find it easy to start with a broader goal, but try to get as specific as possible. For example, if you're planning on a career as a professional pilot, you might want to look at schools with more integrated programs. From there you may decide you want to fly for a specific airline. In that case, see if there are any flight schools that have a relationship with that airline. You may find that there is a school offering guaranteed interviews. Regardless of your goals, knowing what you want to achieve can go a long way in helping you choose a flight school that meets your needs.
Choose a flight school you can afford
The second most important element to consider, while you're feeling philosophical, is to consider your budget. Both money and time are essential elements to successful flight training, so consider what you can afford to invest in your training. For example, if you work full time and you've got $25,000 saved for flight training, find a school that offers training in the evenings and on the weekends that will help you achieve your goals for less than $25,000. In any case, know how much money and time you can invest in the beginning so you don't out-pace yourself.
Choose a good flight school
It is hard to quantify exactly what constitutes a good flight school, since it is largely opinion-based, but there are a few characteristics that are important to note. First, make sure there are plenty of instructors who are easily accessible. Flight training success is dependent on having a good relationship with flight instructors and if you can't find one, you won't have a good relationship. Similarly, make sure there are enough planes and that they are in good repair. You are looking for a flight school, if they don't have enough planes or the planes are always in the shop, you might not get to do much flying. Finally, ask around about a school. See what other people have heard. It's not the most foolproof method, since you might run into someone with an ax to grind, but if the consensus is to avoid a particular school, you might just want to do that.
On the surface, choosing a flight school seems simple--you just pick one--but if you take your goals and budget into consideration, you can really improve your odds of flight training success. Just bear in mind, while choosing a good flight school is important, don't be so worried you'll make a mistake that you can't choose; you can always switch to a different flight school later.