Archive for October, 2009

Money for Flight Training: Dependents Eligible for GI Bill

Monday, October 19th, 2009
By Carolyn Ethington

If you’re the spouse or child of a veteran eligible for post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you can get help paying for the education you’ve always dreamed of!

As of August 1, 2009, service members enrolled in this program can transfer any unused benefits to their immediate dependents, who can then use the money to receive an education at an accredited school of their choice. The Transfer of Post -9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Dependents (TEB) is a real boon for veterans who may not need to further their own educations but who wish to help their college-aged children get flight training, bachelors’ degrees, and any number of other career-enhancing certifications.

Who is Eligible?

  • Spouse or designated children of an active service member who has completed at least 6 years of duty and has enlisted for a further 4
  • A service member who has served for 10 years
  • Any service member who is retirement-eligible on or after August 1, 2009 if certain conditions are met

What do Beneficiaries Receive?

  • Spouse: May use the education tuition benefits immediately but without the additional funds for monthly living expenses and books if the service member is still on active duty
  • Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the member’s last separation from active duty
  • Children: May use all benefits including tuition/ stipends/books after member has served 10 years of duty
  • Must be between the ages of 18 and 26

Because of the high cost of education, all families of eligible service members should take advantage of TEB program while it is still being funded. There are 41,000 new higher education students in America’s schools in the fall of 2009 who are taking advantage of this excellent opportunity, and you don’t want to be left behind!

If you’re a dependent of a service member and have always dreamed of receiving flight training and pursuing a career in aviation, TEB is a great way to make that dream a reality. Visit to find a flight training school near you and get going!

Find a GI-Bill School – Aviation Schools for U.S. Veterans
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Demand for helicopter pilots will soar in the coming years

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
By Kyle Garrett,
Firefighting helicopter preparing for drop

Enchantment Helicopters owner Doug Christian believes the need for helicopter pilots will rise during the coming  years because approximately 60,000 Vietnam War era pilots currently flying are expected to retire. In an October 7, 2009 article in the Farmington New Mexico Daily Times, Christian is quoted as saying “There’s quite a demand, especially here in the future.” Enchantment Helicopters operates flight training operations in Albuquerque, NM and Phoenix, AZ and operates both the Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters.

According to the article, future helicopter pilots can expect to find work in many different categories including emergency medical services, traffic news bureaus, border patrol, construction companies and law enforcement agencies.

Information on how to become a helicopter pilot, and where to find helicopter schools can be obtained at

Source: Jeff Golden, Farmington New Mexico Daily Times, October 7, 2009

What is the best Flight School in the United States?

Sunday, October 4th, 2009
How to find the best flight training school

How to find the best flight training school

By Kyle Garrett, President of and instrument-rated private pilot

What is the best Flight School in the United States? The one that gets you to your aviation goal in the best way possible for you.

There are over 1400 flight schools in the U.S., so it’s really hard to pick just one, but here’s a short guide to deciding which flight school is best for you.

First of all, do you want to fly for personal use, both business and recreation? Or, do you want to fly as a career in the corporate, charter, cargo, airline, or other pilot occupations?

HOW TO PICK A FLIGHT SCHOOL FOR PERSONAL / BUSINESS FLYING – If you want to learn to fly for fun and/or personal business use, you’ll probably want to attend a local flight school in your area. Here’s what to look for:

• Facilities – are the facilities well-maintained? A clean and organized flight school appearance probably means the rest of the operation is run well too. Watch out for dirty, sloppy, unorganized offices.

• Owner/employees – Do the people at the flight school seem happy and energetic? Are they excited to meet you and take you flying? Do they want to share their love of aviation with you? These would all be good signs.

• Payment options – Watch out for any flight school that wants you to “pay upfront” for the entire course. Don’t do it. If the school does not offer a “pay as you train” program, run away. However, most reputable flight schools will offer “block payments” as a way for you to purchase flight time in advance at a discounted rate. This is okay as long as you don’t pay too far ahead. Stay within your comfort level when paying in advance. Plan to spend between $8,000 and $10,000 for a private pilot certificate, and $4,000 – $5,000 for a sport pilot certificate.

• Fleet – Does the school have more than one aircraft for primary flight training? This can be important because aircraft used for training have to go in for maintenance every 100 hours of flight time, which means possible “down time” for your training. It’s usually better to go to a school with multiple planes to keep you flying.

• Aircraft condition – Many flight schools have recently upgraded their fleets to newer, glass panel trainers. But for the most part, you’re probably going to be training in an older plane. Here’s what to look for: just like a car, if it looks like a wreck, it probably is. Training aircraft fly a lot, so it’s okay if the plane looks well-used but be wary of planes that look unmaintained.

HOW TO PICK A PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT SCHOOL TO FLY FOR A CAREER – You can attend a local flight school or a professional flight academy. There are pros and cons to both. Here’s what to look for:

• Location – Learning to fly as a profession means many more flight hours than learning to fly for fun. During training, you mostly fly in good weather, so location becomes important. Look for a school where the weather is good VFR (mostly sunny skies) most of the time. Good weather means you get through the program faster and into your new aviation career sooner.

• Facilities – A clean, professional facility typically means a well run organization.

• Professionalism – all the people you contact should be professional and courteous. The entire operation should impress you with professionalism. When you fly for a living, you must be a professional at all times and your school is where this attitude begins.

• Aircraft Fleet – Some people may argue, but in my opinion, if you’re going to fly for a living, you should be training in mostly glass cockpit airplanes. All new airplanes are glass cockpit today, and if you want to eventually fly for the airlines, you’ll be in glass cockpits there too. Look for academies/schools with all glass cockpit fleets.

• Financial Assistance – Finances play a huge role in learning to fly for a living. Plan on spending anywhere from $25,000 (commercial pilot) to $90,000 (airline transport pilot) depending on how far you want to go. Good professional flight schools will help you find sources of financing, but in reality, you probably need to come up with most of the money yourself through private funding and loans.

• Payment Plans – as with any flight school, don’t pay (too far) in advance.

• Career Services – look for a school with a track record of getting graduates jobs. Many of the largest flight academies offer possible job connections with commuter and regional airlines, and some graduates go directly from flight training to the co-pilot seat of turboprop or regional jet. Other schools promise interviews with affiliated airlines. In any case, look for schools that are invested in helping you get your first flying job.

• Student Housing – Chances are, the perfect flight school for you will not be in your hometown. Look for a school that has student housing options. Student housing can be great in several ways. First, it’s usually much cheaper than housing you could find on your own. Second, it’s usually fully-furnished, making your move easy. And third, you’ll be surrounded with fellow pilots going through the same program and that’s a great way to learn.

• Time-building options – After you’ve earned the appropriate certificates and ratings, you need to build flying time. How much time, and in what type of aircraft depends on the type of job you eventually want to get. Look for a flight school that offers ways to build time inexpensively. For example, many of the larger flight academies will actually hire you to train the next classes of students going through the program (you’ll be a Certified Flight Instructor by now) and other schools will offer ways to build time flying twin-engine aircraft with  other students that allows you to build flight hours for less money.

There’s a lot more to look for in a flight school, but at least these are the highlights. Hope this helps!

Here are some sites to get you started. Good luck!

Flight Training Schools –

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How Do I Get a Student Visa To Take Flight Training in the U.S.?

Friday, October 2nd, 2009
By Brenda Keene, former flight school executive and aviation industry freelancer

Are you a foreign national looking for flight training in the United States? In that case, you’ll need to apply for and obtain a student visa. There are two types of student visas depending on the type of flight training school you attend, M1 and F1. Read on for all the details.

If you plan to attend a flight school that is not connected with a college or university, you will need to apply for an M-1 (I-20) student visa. Your flight school will issue you the I-20 (a fee is usually required). You will need to apply to the American Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Students are not able to work on the M-1 student visa. Please click here for more information on obtaining an M-1 visa.

If you plan to attend flight training at a college or university you will need to apply for an F-1 (I-20) student visa. Different universities have different admission policies. Your university will inform you what they need from you in order to determine that you are academically eligible. The big difference between M1 and F1 visas: students on F-1 visas are allowed to work in the U.S. during the term of the visa. Once the university has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.

Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Please click here for more information. For a list of flight schools that specialize in training foreign students, check out

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