While most of us as kids have dreamed of flying the skies and commanding a plane, few have actually held on to their dream. For those select few who are determined to make their dream of becoming a pilot into reality, the first step to reaching their goal is to enter flight school. But flight schools nowadays are as various as the courses they offer. How do you know which one will give you excellent education and training and will make you a cut above the rest? Let’s Go Flying, a website sponsored by a non-profit organization for aircraft owners and pilots, listed down a few guidelines when choosing flight schools.
Determine your goals. First, you have to establish whether you want to take flying courses for fun or as a career. Do you want to fly local or international? Most importantly, do you plan on studying part-time or full-time? You have to identify your goals to help you decide on which school to enter.
Conduct your research. In researching for flight schools, look for those which offer courses that suit your goals and needs. For easy reference, check the schools’ web pages. Take your time in researching and make sure you go thoroughly over the details of each school’s course offerings.
Trim down the search. Once you have an idea of what each flight school offers, narrow down the search by listing down your prospective flight schools and comparing them with one another. If possible, request materials from them to help you know more about the curriculum of your desired program, school regulations, and flight operations procedures.
Ask, ask, and ask. Of course, brochures and web pages can only inform you so much. You still have a lot of questions in mind. How long has the school been in business? What are its credentials? How are the instructors’ training and experience? Does the school offer accommodation for the students? How do they offer ground school training? Is the school properly equipped with quality machines, simulators, and planes? Does it offer additional training for experience? Does the curriculum cover all you need to know about flying? For these, you will need to talk to a representative from the school’s admissions office. Write down your questions to avoid leaving out anything. Ask specific questions. Make it apparent that you are interested in entering flight school. This way, school officials will be more accommodating to your queries.
See for yourself. As extensive as your research may be, it’s still best to see the school in person. This way, you can have a better sense on the school’s environment, ground school training, airplane equipment and maintenance. If the answers from school officials are not enough to satisfy your doubts, ask to be toured around school grounds, particularly in the maintenance hangar. According to FlyTheLine, an online provider of information about aviation careers, what you see in the hangar will most likely give a clear picture on how a school is run. Is the place cleaned up? Do mechanics take pride in maintaining the planes? It is inside the hangar that you often get to see the passion and dedication of those working in aviation.
Go straight to the source. The most accurate information you can obtain in researching for flight schools is through flight students. Ask students in training how their lessons are done. Also, ask them about the training of flight instructors and how flight trainings are conducted. Are there any common problems they deal with during training? If so, how do they address those?
Is the price right? Once you do decide which school to apply to, the make or break part will be the tuition price. You already know that flight school costs a lot, but are you sure you’re going to get quality training and education with your money? Ultimately, you’re investing money for your future and you ought to be certain that you’re in the right place to learn and succeed. Quality education comes with a price. Just make sure that the price is within reason.
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