6 questions to ask before choosing a flying school

So you’ve decided to follow your dreams and become a pilot? Congratulations! Now the fun can begin in choosing a flying school to train at.

If you’ve got your sights set on becoming an aviator of the highest quality, then some thought must go into where you complete your flight training. Here are a few things to consider before deciding where to enrol to ensure your learning experience is first class.

1. What type of aircraft does the school use?

Learning to fly in the right kind of aircraft can have a considerable influence on your confidence and development. Safety should always be on top of your list of priorities. If you’re an experienced pilot, choosing a school with aircraft that you’re familiar with can help make your progression seamless. Lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft can also reduce the cost of flight training. Access to the latest technology will ensure you’re up to speed with modern flying techniques.

2. Will you be taught by high-quality instructors?

Flight training is vastly different from learning in a traditional school, so there are many special skills instructors must hold to carry out this responsibility properly. This includes:

  • Providing proper briefings and de-briefings — understanding precisely what is required of you and the areas you need to improve is essential to developing useful skills.
  • Completing appropriate paperwork — training records, exam records, medical records and other documents must be kept safely in a file. Completing the necessary paperwork immediately after training flights is vital to ensuring training progresses smoothly.

Having access to senior instructors is also essential. Only senior instructors can carry out solo checks, so a lack of experienced personnel can delay your progress.

Some schools have an over-supply of junior instructors or give instructors monthly flying hour targets. This can lead to students flying in poor flying conditions and wasting time in the air. Ensuring your chosen school offers a healthy balance of junior and senior staff will significantly reduce this risk.

3. What facilities are offered?

A comfortable learning environment will ensure your attention is not diverted away from your training by frustration. This goes beyond just basics such as classrooms and internet. It should encompass things like simulation which improve the diversity of your training and skills development.

It’s also a good idea to assess the services offered to make it easier to attend the school. Is it accessible via public transport or having access to a pick-up service? You don’t want to have to worry about how to get there.

4. How is flight training managed?

There is nothing more annoying than unreliability. If a school always cancels or reschedules lessons, regularly changes your instructor or provides inconsistent training, this can severely interrupt your progress.

Safety is another significant element to consider. Appropriate Safety Management Systems need to be in place to ensure issues can be addressed promptly and appropriately if they arise. A school that is managed efficiently will provide all the appropriate administration and documentation to give you peace of mind, so you can be supported to thrive.

5. Where is the school located?

The location also relates to the school in proximity to the airport and the runway. Not being near the airport brings extra travel time, and if the school is too far from the runway, this adds to taxi time; at the expense of your time and money each time you fly.

Choosing a flying school in the city you currently reside in isn’t always essential, as you can study aviation pretty much anywhere in the world. Studying in a new city can give you a global perspective and expand your network of connections which will come in handy when you’re a qualified pilot.

6. Will you be made a priority?

It’s important to know that your school will be fully committed to your training and will not cancel lessons at short notice. Some flying schools give preference to charter operations or FEE-HELP students over other casual flight training students. It’s worth checking whether your flights may be cancelled under these circumstances. The last thing you want is your training delayed because of a situation that is out of your control.

Choosing a flying school to attend needn’t be a daunting task. Take your time and consider every angle to ensure you find the spot that’s right for you. If you’d like more information about the training offered at Learn to Fly, check out our About page or get in touch.