Whether you’re launching a new career or just want to learn to fly for fun, you probably want to get your pilot certificates and ratings as fast as possible.
On the career side of things, the faster you earn your ticket, the sooner you’re eligible to enter the workforce and start your pilot career, and possibly get a better seniority number to boot.
If you’re flying for fun, I’ll bet your busy schedule makes it hard to get to the airport for more than a lesson a week, and at that rate, it will take 6-8 months to get your private pilot license.
Learn to Fly FAST – Three Types of Accelerated Pilot Schools
I can tell you from personal experience that accelerated pilot training is the way to go for all of the reasons listed above, and plenty more. In my case, I earned my private pilot certificate the old fashioned way, fitting training into my daily work and family life, and it took about 6 months to finally take my check ride (I passed!).
When the time came for me to earn my instrument rating, I knew there was no way I was going to get it finished in less than six months without going through some type of accelerated pilot school.
After completing a DVD ground school and passing the written exam on my own, I chose to contact one of the 10-day IFR rating schools and scheduled a week and a half off.
At the agreed-upon time, my CFII showed up in my home town and we began an intense, nine-day training schedule that included at least eight hours a day of training both in the plane and on the ground (using books and an IFR simulator), and, believe it or not, homework.
When the tenth day rolled around, I was ready for my check ride and passed! I had done in ten days what normally would take six months.
Last summer, I made a mistake. I started training for my Commercial pilot certificate and actually was very close to being ready. My mistake was not forcing the training to be accelerated. You can all guess what happened… life got in the way, winter rolled around, and here I am this summer without a commercial ticket.
I now know that all of my future training will be accelerated because this really is the best way to reach your aviation goals, professional or recreational.
Since I’m such a firm believer in accelerated training, I asked one of our guest writers, Matthew Everett, to write an article on the three types of accelerated pilot schools that cater to the professional-minded pilot. The article makes a great case for fast-tracking your pilot training and is a quick read. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Also, give us your feedback on your training experiences.
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 into 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 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. They 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 overkill 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.