Every challenge brings opportunity, every disadvantage has its silver lining and believe it or not; there are some advantages in starting your flight training during this pandemic. Let’s look into it together.
Are you a glass half-full or half-empty kind of pilot? Yes, there are huge reductions in the airlines right now as international and domestic travel sees some of the biggest cut-backs in decades. However, right now almost every flight school is running a deal on their training. Whether it is a discount on the total package, free add-ons or specials deals on getting at least one rating. Besides this you can start right now. How is that? Due to the pandemic a big portion of the training has moved online.
Take advantage of all the deals
There are a lot of special offers right now. You can start your online ground school from the comfort of your home. Build flight time while discounted hourly rates are more commonplace as a result of excess capacity from flight schools, that only a few months ago had waiting lists.
This is a huge advantage for students especially those who are in the time building phase. Flight training costs are a large investment, any cost reduction should be taken advantage of by students.
A sizable portion of the flight training capacity in the United States is taken by international students pilots. This is particularly true of the large academies in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Some of those schools are exclusively international. Since international travel is frozen and embassies are closed they need students. These schools have large payrolls of instructors and maintenance, fleets of airplanes, and large infrastructure costs. They may be opening their doors to local students for the first time.
Similarly the local flight school in town has probably seen a reduction in weekend fliers. Family budgets are tight, or perhaps a student got laid off and has to put their training on pause. Don’t be afraid to ask the flight school admissions representative about specials. Maybe they can waive the enrollment fee, upgrade your aircraft type, or other perks. They want your business and they want to keep flying too.
Ground School is moving online
We have always been fans of in-person classroom Ground School. This is evident by the three 30-person classrooms in our brand-new $3.5 million dollar flight training facility However, the FAA opened up special exemption to Part 141 flight school to be able to move their curriculums online. This is as long as schools can guarantee that the quality will be the same or better. We were nervous at first, but the reviews have come back overwhelmingly positive! Many students and instructors say it’s even better because through live Zoom instruction there are fewer distractions and they can have a group chat going simultaneously.
Ground Schools training is now broadly done online. For many people this added flexibility not only decreases cost but allows students to start training even while in their home country. There are 2 different types of online classes. 1) Synchronous is done LIVE, often of Zoom or other video conferencing software. 2) Asynchronous is done on your own time independent of the teacher’s schedule. There are benefits to both. The dedicated attention of a teacher is excellent. However, if you have an odd schedule and cannot attend live classes asynchronous is for you. Additionally, some students are able to progress quicker through online classes since classes can be recorded, rewatched and learning material can always be accessed.
Examiners and CFIs are widely available
Booking an examiner has always been challenging. Not too long ago a wait of 10 weeks was commonplace. That has gotten alot better, but if you’re no part of a large school that already has relationships with examiners it can still be several weeks. Most examiners are very busy individuals that often fly with airlines as their main day-job. With many flight schools reduced examiners have more availability to provide orals and checkrides. Waiting long periods of time before a checkride can easily decrease flying proficiency and confidence. The shorter wait times for examiners means less time wasted and a higher chance of passing on the first attempt.
Similarly a lot of Flight Instructors are available. Many airline pilots took early retirement and are looking to flight training as a second career to keep their knowledge relevant. Many 1,500 hour instructors were applying or starting with regional airlines, and were furloughed. A lot of those have come back to their jobs as Certified Flight Instructors (CFI). This means you are more likely to fly with a well seasoned instructor and get a lot of good stories from an old pro.
Aviation is cyclical. There were the downturns of deregulation in the 80s, the terrible acts of 9/11, and stock market tumbles throughout. However, aviation is how people and goods move around the world. The industry will be reshaped and come back stronger. For those that have a passion for the sky, they can’t do anything other than be a pilot. If you are lucky enough to have access to funds and the foresight to know that aviation is cyclical and a long term investment, take that flight and start the adventure.
Do you have a comment or a question? Let us know!