Types of Pilot Schools & Choosing a Pilot School
Pilot Training Providers
Pilot training is available on-site at most airports, either through an FAA-certificated (approved) pilot school* or through other training providers. An approved school may be able to provide a greater variety of training aids, dedicated facilities, and more flexibility in scheduling. A number of colleges and universities also provide pilot training as a part of their curricula.
* FAA-approved pilot schools are certificated in accordance with Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations part 141.
Enrollment in an FAA-approved pilot school usually ensures a high quality of training. Approved schools must meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula. However, individual flight instructors and training companies that are not certificated by the FAA as "pilot schools" may also offer high quality training, but find it impractical to qualify for FAA certification.
Another difference between training provided by FAA-approved pilot schools and other providers is that fewer flight hours are required to be eligible for a pilot certificate when the training is received through an approved school. The flight hour requirement for a private pilot certificate is normally 40 hours, but may be reduced to 35 hours when training with an approved school. However, since most people require 60 to 75 hours of training, this difference may be insignificant.
Choosing A Training Provider
You must make your own decision on where to obtain flight training. Once you have decided on a general location, you might want to make a checklist of things to look for in a training provider. By talking to pilots and reading articles in flight magazines, you can make your checklist and evaluate different options. Your choice of a provider might depend on whether you are planning on obtaining a recreational or private certificate or whether you intend to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Another consideration is whether you will train part-time or full-time.
Do not make the mistake of making your determination based on financial concerns alone. The quality of training you receive is very important. Prior to making a final decision, visit the provider you are considering and talk with management, instructors, and students. Evaluate the items on the checklist you developed and then take some time to think things over before making your decision.
After you have decided where you will learn to fly and have made the necessary arrangements, you are ready to start your training. An important fact: ground and flight training should be obtained as regularly and frequently as possible. This assures maximum retention of instruction and the achievement of proficiency with the least expenditure of time and money.