Hello everyone and welcome back to my aviation blog. I’m sorry I haven’t wrote a blog in a while but we have been very busy around here. Today I want to talk a little about flight training. As old man winter looses his grip on Iowa and the arctic temperatures give way to warm weather and sunshine, the flying bug is going to come back. I myself just got back from Addison Texas where I took a CFI academy, checkride is scheduled for this Saturday. I wanted to talk a little about flight schools and finding the right instructor for you. As I troll around the different aviation groups on social media I see an all too common trend developing. People who have started flight training and it hasn’t panned out to be the greatest experience of their lives.
The first things I tell people are the things they can do themselves to prepare. Step one is, HAVE MOST OF THE MONEY SAVED UP ALREADY! All too often I see people with one or two thousand dollars saved up and think they can start and the money won’t go quick. FALSE! For a Cessna 172 your looking at between $120 and $150 an hour. Some places charge for fuel on top of that but many don’t. After the airplane fee there is the instructor fee of usually between $30 and $50 an hour depending on the school. There is also the one time fees for books and materials like headsets and kneeboards and things to consider as well. The number one cause of people not making it all the way to the checkride is money though. Big gaps in training caused by not having the cash to fly only hurts your learning and prolongs your training. It also wastes money in the long run because your paying to re learn things that you already covered. I also keep a list of what I recommend people purchase who are starting their private license. If anyone is interested just shoot me an email and I would be happy to share.
The second thing to do is simple research. Shop around your area for a flight school. Focus on price, aircraft availability, instructor availability and also try to find out what the student pass rate is. Any school that has a high pass rate for there students will love to share that because a high pass rate is an achievement to be proud of. If you know someone who has experience with a school, ask them what they thought about the quality of training, about the atmosphere, and also professionalism. Watch out for a place where instructors and airplanes aren’t available when you need them. That can cause you to be stuck on the ground needlessly when you are available to fly. The more often you fly, the quicker you will learn and the less money you will spend in the long run.
The final step takes place once you have chosen a school and have begun training. Ask yourself: is this instructor the right fit for me? The reality of life in general and aviation is no exception is that not everyone gets along with everybody. If you and your instructor don’t click then it is ok to switch instructors. Your learning will be hampered if you and your instructor aren’t working out together because you two are a team. If your school won’t let you switch instructors then as hard as it may be, it may be best to switch schools. Don’t be lead to believe you are stuck with who your with, that is a false statement.
So in conclusion, spring time means prime flying weather and prime training weather. If your looking to embark on getting your private license just follow a couple of simple steps that will help you be successful. Have most of the money saved up in advance, research the schools in your area looking at price and student pass rate, and once you have an instructor make sure they are a good fit. Never be afraid to switch instructors. These easy steps can help point you in the right direction to jumpstart your training and pave the way to your goal of a pilot’s license.
Thank you for reading this. For now that is all. If you have any comments or would like me to cover a topic please feel to drop me a line in the comment box or shoot me an email. Until next time keep the greasy side down!
Flight Operations Manager, Winterset Aviation Services