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What's The Best Flight School For You?
By Kyle Garrett
When deciding what is the best flight school for you, it is important to consider your flying and flight training goals. Once you've finished training, what kind of flying do you want to do? Are you learning to fly as a hobby? Do you want to learn to fly as a career? More importantly, are you seeking an airline career? When choosing a flight school, answering questions like these is important to establish which kind of school will best meet your needs.
Local flight school
The place that usually comes to mind when you think of airplanes is your local airport. If you want to learn to fly, your local airport is a great place to start. Even the smallest fields usually have at least one part-time or even full-time instructor that are fully qualified to teach you to fly. Larger fields may even have multiple flight schools. For the hobbyist, this is great, flight training is typically pay-as-you-go and self-paced. For those that want or need to go at a faster pace, the local airport may not be the best place to get flight training.
Accelerated flight school
If you're seeking a flying career or you just want to get a rating in the minimum time, there are also larger professional flight schools offering accelerated programs. These are typically more condensed, some as short as a few days or weeks, that are strictly planned and scheduled. The flight schools employ plenty of professional instructors and have large aircraft fleets to accommodate the quick pace of the training. It may sound like a stressful way to learn to fly, but it is actually quicker and more efficient, because it requires less repetition. These flight training programs cater to someone looking to obtain several ratings at once or those who need to get a rating quickly.
University flight school
Finally, for those looking for an airline career who don't have a four-year degree, consider an aviation degree program at one of the many colleges and universities that offer them. These programs allow you to combine the four-year degree, which most airlines require, with flight training. When it comes time to graduate, you will be a commercial pilot with a degree in hand ready to fly for the airlines.
The most important take-away is that each kind of flight school can provide the same result, but when you pick the best flight school for you, you can meet your goals quicker and more efficiently. Furthermore, there's nothing wrong with changing in the middle of your training. Don't let the fear that you might pick the wrong school for you prevent you from learning to fly; it is too much fun.