Who doesn’t dream of flying? The idea of becoming a pilot is an exciting and attractive one. However, airline training is more complicated than you might think. Much more is involved than the money and the time you budget for the actual lessons.
When choosing a good flight school, you need to consider your goals, your budget, your schedule, as well as your personality. It’s important to do your research before committing to any one school.
Let’s briefly look at a few key elements to consider before choosing a flight school.
Establish your Goals
This is something you should do before you even start looking at flight school prices. What kind of pilot do you want to be? Is flying something that will be a hobby, or are you interested in commercial pilot training?
What kind of aircraft do you want to fly? If you aren’t sure, do some research before you start looking into airline training. Changing your mind halfway through a flight school course could be expensive!
Attending Flight School on a Budget
Airline training can be very expensive, and the costs will vary depending on what you want from your flight school. Learning to fly certain types of aircrafts can cost more than others, so it’s important to know exactly what you want to be trained for.
If you’re not sure how much you want to spend, try comparing a few top-rated flight schools to get an idea of how much pilot training costs. Then you can narrow down your search to schools that fit within your budget.
However, it’s important not to let cost become your only criteria. Learning to fly can be difficult and requires quality instructors and thorough instruction, and going for cheaper lessons isn’t always best.
There are also different kinds of payments. You might be required to pay all at once or in installments. Be sure to check out the flight school’s refund policy. An unavoidable event might put a halt on your lessons, and you want to be sure you can get your money back in such an instance.
Working with Your Schedule
The next vital element to consider is how much time you’re willing to invest. Airline training takes up a lot of time and money, and there are certain training regulations that must be followed.
How much free time you’re able to devote to flight school is up to you, of course. However, minimal time and effort will slow your progress right down. This means that you’ll end up taking longer to learn and spending more money, if you earn your pilot’s license at all. This is something you need to make a priority. If time is in your side then ATPL Integrated training is definitely better.
Regular lessons are an absolute must. If you’re going to leave long gaps between your lessons, you might as well be wasting your time.
Some flight schools have requirements and a syllabus students must follow. Check out their rules and criteria when you’re researching schools, to make sure you’ll be able to measure up to their standards.
Do Your Research
Picking out a good flight school is a big decision. You might be limited because of location or budget, but it’s still important to conduct a tour of your potential flight school.
Age isn’t everything, but it’s always good to choose a well-established school with experienced teachers. If you your plan is to complete ATPL Integrated training, make sure that the school have the fleet, simulators and facilities needed for the proper training.
When touring your prospecting airline training facility, here are a few things you should watch out for:
- Well-maintained and well-equipped airplanes
- Teacher to student ratio should be 1:4, or 5
- Proper briefing and debriefing before and after lessons (this is important)
- Good quality equipment and sufficient space
- Open, enthusiastic teachers
Of course, there’s so much more to consider when choosing a good flight school. If you aren’t allowed to take a tour of the facility or ask important questions, it might be an idea to give that particular school a miss.
Choose a Good Instructor
Most of us learn differently, and it’s important to be relaxed and comfortable during your lessons. This means you should choose an instructor that’s right for you. This is someone you’ll be spending a lot of time with, and an open, professional friendship with your instructor is a good way to help you feel confident in a cockpit.
Of course, you’ll only get to meet your instructors if you tour the facility! A knowledgeable, enthusiastic teacher is a must, ideally with plenty of experience.
If your prospective school has a good teacher to student ratio, you should be able to meet several of the instructors and pick the best one for you and your needs.
Trust your Instincts
Airline training takes time, effort, and commitment – on both sides. You need a good, reliable flight school, and not all schools will be a good match.
Don’t be afraid to switch schools if you have any concerns, especially if it comes to safety and quality. Remember, you’re spending a lot of money, and flying can be extremely dangerous.
However, switching schools may mean you end up losing your money. It’s much better to trust your instincts on your first tour of the school. If something doesn’t feel right, or you feel that this school isn’t the best match for you, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Most schools offer an open day or tour of the facilities. It’s a good idea to make a note of any important questions you want to ask or specific areas you want to see.
The instructors and facility staff should be friendly and open with you. Talk to as many people as possible, and keep an eye out for any red flags.
Once you start airline training, the sky’s the limit!