How to Select the Best Flight School in USA

Posted by Wayman Eduardo | 7/29/15 8:30 AM

Flight SchoolDeciding to attend flight school in the USA is a big decision to make. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration before one can prepare to attend flight school. To reduce some of the frustration associated with the preparation process, the following are some steps that can be taken to simplify and streamline the process.

Ask Yourself a Few Questions First

Before applying for flight school in USA, one needs to determine what type of certification or pilot program is needed and what ramifications are necessary to acquire such a certificate. First of all, it's important to have a general goal in mind with respect to why you want to learn to fly. This will determine the type of certification you will need.

  1. Are you going to fly for fun or for a career? This is the difference between a Private Pilot course of 40-70 hours, or a commercial course of 250 hours. If you want to become a professional pilot, then you will need to look for a flight school that can provide you with the full program. Also, if you are interested in becoming an international pilot, the school must have experience in handling the proper paper work to enter into the USA.

  2. Part-time or Full-time? Flying full-time will have you reach your goal quicker and at a lower cost. However, if you are going to school or working part-time may be more doable. This is basically the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 training. Part 61 is at your own pace with fewer conformity checks. Part 141 is an FAA certified and inspected school. There will be an established syllabus and quality controls. International students must attend a 141 school with Visa authorization. Most 141 schools also offer part 61 training.
  3. College or Training Center? There are many great colleges that offer 2 and 4-year degree programs. However, a dedicated full-time student at a flight-training center can complete the program in less than 1 year. The FAA issues the same pilot’s licenses for either, but the major airlines like to see college degrees for pilot applicants.

Deciding on the Best City 

It's also important to decide on what city you plan to live in as you will want to be near a city that has the aviation school that is most suitable for you.  You can begin this process by simply doing a Google search of the best flight school near the city that you decide to live in. You'll want to make a list of at least three to four schools in the city that you plan to live in and do a site visit to learn more about their flight programs. If you cannot travel to visit them, read through their websites and call or email them.

Based on your flight goals, you should make a list of questions that you will need to ask the administrators, such as the types of certification programs that they have available, the cost of each one, how long it takes to acquire a certificate and any other questions that you may have.  

Another thing to consider when selecting a city is the weather.  It's important to consider a city that will allow you to have smooth training, such as California or Florida, which allows you to have a good weather 360 days of the year.

Financial Considerations

Once a flight school has been selected, it is very important to determine what the associated cost will be. The cost of the certification program may require a scholarship or some other form of loan to cover the costs. Pilot Finance and AOPA finance are good options for US residents. It is recommended to have money set aside for the best results. This will ensure that you will have enough funds to continue through out the entire program without any delays in the training process due to lack of funds. Flight training requires a lot of practice, and if you stop before completing the program, you might need to repeat some lessons, which will cost you more money and time in the long run.

Safety Considerations

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are many policies and procedures that addresses the safety issues that are associated with the aviation industry that pilots must be aware of and responsible for. So when training to become a pilot, it's also important to prepare to learn about all of the safety requirements as well.

It is also important to ask for the safety record of the school and how they will care about your training. Another important question to ask is how good the maintenance is on the aircraft that you will be training in. This is important because you will be flying in multiple aircraft during your training, and having the proper maintenance will keep you safe in the skies.

Overall, there are a lot of responsibilities that are associated with becoming a pilot and a lot to learn. When embarking on training in this area, a lot of thought should be put into it before jumping into such a serious endeavor. 

 If you want to become a commercial pilot you will need to look for a aviation school that can provided you the full program. Also, if you are international pilot the school must have experience and approval to handle the proper paper work to enter in the USA.

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