Have you been thinking about enrolling in flight school and becoming an airline pilot?
Just as students go to college to pursue training for a dream career, student pilots have to go to pilot school so they can learn to fly a plane and earn their licenses and certifications required by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). How to choose the best flight school is an important decision that impacts your aviation career path. Many students enroll in a flight school only to find themselves transferring to another school later on. Although we believe Epic Flight Academy is the best choice, there may be good reasons why you select a different flight school. We want you to choose what is best for you and hope that you find this information helpful.
First question, why do you want to become a pilot?
There are different types of pilot licenses and various training programs around the world. Do you want to be a recreational pilot, or are you focused on an airline pilot career? Deciding which pilot school to attend can be a challenge for someone interested in starting a pilot career. Choosing the best pilot training facility is similar to choosing the best college for a specific major. Doing your due diligence as you research pilot schools can safeguard you from selecting a sub-par pilot training institution that doesn’t meet your needs.
Will you attend full-time or part-time?
If you fly full-time, you’ll achieve you goal more quickly and more affordably. However, attending flight school part-time may be more doable for you. This is the main difference between Part 61 and Part 141 flight schools. At a Part 61 school, you can train at your own pace. A Part 141 school, like Epic, is FAA-certified. You’ll follow a syllabus and adhere to quality controls. International students are required to attend a Part 141 school with visa authorization. (Be sure you are well prepared for your visa interview.)
What is the safety record of the school?
Safety should always be your number one priority over price, location, and everything else. This includes maintenance on the training aircraft and instructor credentials. We strongly encourage you to enroll in a flight school that has been approved by the FAA. When you ask how to choose the best pilot school, their safety record should be at the top of your list.
Location! Think about the weather!
The geographical location of your flight school is important as it pertains to year-round climate. Will you train in a climate that is pilot-friendly? Here in sunny New Smyrna Beach, Florida, our student pilots enjoy year-round access to the blue yonder and access to 400+ airports in our state. When choosing a flight school, keep this in mind so you can spend more time in the plane and less time on the ground.
Student reviews! What do others say about the school?
Read flight school reviews! Most flight schools have Facebook pages where you can read reviews posted by former students. Google also posts reviews from students who share information about their flight school. Numerous aviation sites allow students to share experiences and post reviews. Glassdoor is a site where employees review the business, which offers a unique insight about the company. The Better Business Bureau is another agency that reports on flight schools. The BBB site can provide insight on how the school conducts business with its students. Read through the reviews to gain some insights. If you have questions, contact the flight school directly and ask. You may see both critical and favorable reviews, so it’s a good idea to focus on the most current. Sometimes changes in policies, personnel, etc. are made to improve problems, which is why it helps to read the most current reviews.
What is the cost?
After you’ve decided where you want to learn to fly, you want to investigate the cost of tuition, books, housing, and other costs. Is financing available? You may need to determine if your flight school offers student loans. When wondering how to choose the best flight school, cost can be a significant factor.
Read the fine print!
Read carefully! All flight schools offer some sort of contract or written information about their pilot training packages. These documents should tell you exactly what is included in the cost, such as pilot uniforms, supplies, manuals, flight hours, ground school tuition, flight simulator hours, flight instruction, housing, etc. Costs should be spelled out and straightforward. Some students require additional training time, and those costs should be clearly spelled out ahead of time. Cost is one factor to review, but you should also review the school’s guidelines for student conduct, etc. Your flight school will be your home away from home during your training, so be comfortable with every aspect before you go!
If you are unable to find specific information or costs, do not be afraid to ask. Sometimes it might be that the flight school simply forgot to include something. You want to be sure before you agree to any costs that you know exactly what you’re paying for. Therefore, ask every question you can before enrolling.
Tips on how to choose the best pilot school:
There are several steps you should take when making your final decision to choose a flight school! These tips can help you find the school that’s right for you!
- Student-to-Instructor Ratio
Flight Instructor accessibility – The first thing you should inquire about is the availability of flight instructors. If you are unable to contact your flight instructor to schedule flight training time, you could experience costly delays in finishing your flight school classes. So, ask what the student-to-instructor ratio is at the school. Most importantly, this will give you an idea of how accessible your instructor is likely to be.
- Fleet Size
Airplane availability – You should always choose a flight school that has plenty of new generation aircraft for flight training. The fleet size and quality are equally important. Therefore, if a fight school has few planes, outdated equipment, or aircraft that are frequently grounded for repair or safety reasons, consider a different flight school. Learning to fly with outdated aircraft is never a good idea. Attending a flight school that does not have enough aircraft to meet its students’ training needs means it will likely take you longer to earn your pilot license. In other words, this costs you time and money. Also, look for a flight school that has sufficient simulators, because these can save time and money.
- Payment Options
Full payment required in advance – Be very careful with any flight school that requires full payment in advance. This does not mean that every flight school requiring full payment is a scam. It means that you have to do your research. If possible, take a tour of the facilities to check out their operations, flight instructors, aircraft, and equipment. If the school is far away, see if they offer a virtual tour or recent videos. Speak to some of their current students to make sure you are making the absolute best decision.
Safety record – Perhaps this should be the very first step you take. Research your potential flight school’s safety record with the FAA. You want to train at a flight academy where the equipment is well maintained and the instructors have excellent safety records. Safety should be the #1 priority for any flight school you consider.
Network with professionals – Lastly, see if your flight school offers pilot career seminars and other events that let you meet and interact with representatives from the airlines. These networking opportunities can lead to signing bonuses and pre-hiring agreements.
As you can see, finding a reputable pilot school that offers quality instruction, extensive pilot training courses, and new generation flight training equipment is necessary for you to finish your training in a timely and affordable manner. Although it takes time to research and find the right fit for you, it’s an important investment of your time and energy. We take great pride in serving our students and would love to welcome you to the Epic family. But, whether you enroll here or not, we wish you a wonderful journey as you pursue your dream of becoming a pilot.
About Epic Flight Academy – Epic Flight Academy has trained thousands of pilots from more than 80 countries since 1999. We even offer a Virtual Flight Academy to help you prepare before you arrive for Ground School. Epic welcomes both domestic (U.S.) and international students and provides you with everything from basic flight fundamentals through advanced pilot training on your career path to become a commercial pilot. We boast a 3:1 student-to-instructor ratio, and we have a fleet of new generation aircraft so students can fly six activities per week. Most importantly, we maintain a first class safety record.
Epic Flight Academy is an FAA-approved U.S. pilot school that specializes in training student pilots to become commercial pilots flying for major airlines all around the globe. We want to answer all of your questions. Feel free to contact us anytime! You can also take steps to prequalify to attend our flight school.