This is a question we love to answer, and it has many answers, so please read carefully. First, let’s talk about every flight school in America. Everyone pays about the same for aviation fuel. All flight schools pay about the same for comparable buildings and land rent around their airport. All flight schools pay the flight instructors around the same salaries. So, how can one flight school charge less money than another school? There are three main areas in which a flight school can scrape to save money.
First, many flight schools cut costs on their INSURANCE policy. Not insuring the aircraft for enough value to replace the aircraft and scrimping on student/instructor passenger coverage in case of an accident is common with many flight schools trying to cut costs. Some flight schools require the student to purchase an independent insurance policy to cover their aircraft. This is outrageous.
Second, many flight schools cut costs on airplane MAINTENANCE. Purchasing used parts instead of new parts is a common practice for many flight schools. Many schools deal with aircraft salvage yards to purchase used parts to replace defective parts on their aircraft. This is a major area where flight schools save on costs, but the result is that their planes are not maintained as well. This can impact safety and availability. You can’t fly a plane that is grounded for repairs.
Third, many flight schools skimp on their AIRCRAFT FLEET. Many flight schools own old Cessna 152s or older Cessna 172s with steam gauges and no GPS. They have been saving money by not upgrading their aircraft to the new state of the art G-1000 aircraft like we have at Epic. Sure, some may have one or two good aircraft, but the majority of the fleet consists of old, run down aircraft. You may pay less, but you’ll be training in outdated equipment or waiting a long time to use the one or two good planes they have in their fleet.
Epic, on the other hand, has all state-of-the-art G-1000 Cessna 172s. There are no steam gauge Cessna 172s in our fleet. Epic purchases brand new Cessna 172s directly from the Cessna factory. We also purchase brand new Piper PA-44 Seminoles directly from the factory. The Maintenance Department at Epic is second to none. We keep only brand new parts stocked on our shelves ready to exchange when necessary on all 50-Hour and 100-Hour inspections of our aircraft – no used parts ever! Also, Epic does not require you to purchase an insurance policy to cover you, because our insurance is one of the highest available.
We encourage you to visit other flight schools, and when you do, look carefully at the aircraft. Are they old, worn out, dirty, or shabby looking? That should be a major warning about what is under the skin of that aircraft. Used parts and poor maintenance normally are characteristics of these types of aircraft. Paying slightly less or slightly more is always a consideration, but here at Epic we always emphasize SAFETY FIRST!