Choosing a Flight School

Choosing a Flight School

Becoming a Pilot is challending and rewarding. The first step is to find the right place to learn and the perfect instructor. I will detail some of the important factors in this decision.

Cost – This is by far the most important factor. If you are not comfortable about the flight training prices than it is likely that you will never finish it. For instance; one of the flight school below charges less than 70$ (Alternate Air) for a flight hour in their Cessna 150 and the other over 87$ (Regal Air). You really need to be comfortable about their pricing and costs and the value they provide with it.

Finding the right instructor – Not only there are different types of students there are also different types of instructors. Talk to them first, go for a lesson or two and make sure that they are able to communicate to you. This is the second most critical thing. Most places will have a variety of instructors with a difference in their teaching style and communication method.

Location – There are two kinds of people going for flight training. One working on it as a part time hobby and the other pursuing it as their full time career.

For the former group; I suggest to find the airport closest to their place of work or living. For the most part; you are spending 5-10 hours a week on your flight training. If you are spending a lot of it driving to the airport then it really bites you at the end J

Environment – There are two aspects here. First is the difference between controlled and un-controlled airport. I would prefer learning at a controlled airport. It makes a pilot more comfortable in higher stress environment and easy to navigate and communicate. However, learning at an un-controlled airport does not jeopardize your learning experience. It mostly adds some time to your learning that you have to do later on.

As far as the other aspect is concerned; A nicer or okay facility is just a matter of choice for the most part.

Accessibility – Most people will rent planes from the place they learned to fly from. This is important to know if it is convenient to rent a plane later on and if the terms make sense. It is as important to learn to fly as to stay current.

Variety – If you are the learner type and want to experiment and learn new things then you want a place with variety. Some of the clubs offer just 2/4 seat trainers and others offer taildraggersfloats and other choices. This is mostly a long term thought.

School Costs Location Environment Accessibility Variety
BEFA Mid Range KRNT Controlled; Nice Facility Great; Online After Hour Access High (All Sorts of Planes)
Regal Air Mid Range KPAE Controlled; Nice Facility Okay; Need to dispatch planes Low (Very few types and mostly old planes)
Northway Aviation Mid Range KPAE Controlled; Nice Facility Okay; Need to dispatch planes Medium (Some Nice Planes)
Galvin High Range KBFI Controlled; Nice Facility Good Medium (Some Nice Planes; but not a whole variety)
Alternate Air Low Range Controlled; Not a real facility but it works. Good Low (Very few types and new planes)