There's a lot of information about flight schools and commercial pilot schools. You need to know what to think about and know before taking flight training. It's best to know this stuff from the start, or you might end up wasting thousands of dollars. Here's some information to help you with your journey through flight school to become a licensed pilot:
What Type of Flight Training Do You Need?
There are three main types of flight training: private, instrument, and commercial. Your options vary depending on your goals and how much you want to spend.
The Private Pilot license is the first step toward an aviation career. Typically, you will use a small private aircraft. It takes about 40 hours of flight time spread over 12 to 18 weeks to complete the training. You'll learn basic aerodynamics, takeoffs and landings, communications, and navigation, as well as cross-country flying (the ability to plot courses and fly long distances).
This training is required if you want to fly in clouds or bad weather, which means commercial pilots and airline pilots typically need it. Instrument training teaches you how to navigate using instruments like a radar altimeter instead of visual cues like mountains and trees. Most students complete their private pilot certification before starting instrument training because most people don't need it until they're ready for their commercial certification.
Commercial Pilot licenses allow you to fly with passengers for money. Commercial pilots are often hired by charter companies, which provide airline-like private services. The FAA requires commercial pilots to have at least a private pilot's license prior to obtaining their commercial certification. Commercial pilots can earn their certification by completing an FAA-approved training program and passing the FAA Airman Knowledge Test and FAA Practical Test.
There is a wide range of flight training programs available, from those to help you learn the basics of flying to those that prepare you for a career as a professional pilot.
Choosing Your Flight School
The training you get at a flight school might be the only preparation you get to become a pilot. Flight schools vary widely in their quality and price. The best way to choose one is to do some research. Here are some things to look for:
A school can be accredited by several organizations, including the Better Business Bureau, the International Aviation Academy, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, or the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators. Many states require that flight schools be affiliated with an accredited organization, so finding out which accreditation your state requires will make your search easier.
Does the flight school use actual airplanes or just computer simulators? Simulators are fine for learning to fly solo, but they don't prepare students for flying in sync with other aircraft in busy airspace. Even if you're planning to fly private planes, it's better to get experience with air traffic control and plotting to have the understanding you need before flying.
There's no official list of accredited flight schools or accrediting organizations. You'll have to look them up individually. If the school you are considering claims accreditation from an organization you've never heard of, check it before signing up.
Make sure you understand the commitment necessary to finish flight training. You'll also want to know if it's worth it, financially, before you start your training. Contact a flight training school today to start getting the experience you need to become a pilot.