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Flight School - Choosing the Right One

It wasn't until 1926 when the Air Commerce Act was signed into law by Calvin Coolidge did licensing pilots become a requirement.
With this additional requirement, the first Flight School came into existence around the same time to help students pass the FAA's exam.
There are a number of different types of certificates and ratings offered by flight schools - from a Sport Pilot License to Air Transport Pilot License.
A Private Pilot Certificate requires a minimum of 35 hours of flight training and a Commercial Pilot Certificate requires at least 120 hours.
Each school is required to give their students both ground training, which consist of an instructor teaching in the class room and air training in which you pilot the plane with the instructor.
The flight training schools themselves can be licensed under FAR Part 61 or FAR Part 141.
FAR 141 flight schools can only have the "141" designation if the school and training syllabus are approved by the FAA.
Plus the quality of student performance is measured through progressive flight exams throughout their training.
Training is documented to FAA standards.
Training conducted according to FAR Part 61 typically requires more hours for licensing than FAR Part 141, but stage checks (flight exams throughout training) are not required.
At the completion of the specific program, the student pilot must take an FAA checkride to obtain a license or rating.
If you plan on a career as a pilot, you will most likely train under FAR Part 141.
If you are an international student, the US State Department requires you to also train under FAR Part 141 regulations.
Now the next step is how to determine a flight training school that best suits you needs.
The basic steps below, will help you make a good choice.
1.
Create a Checklist to use to evaluate each school you think you may be interested in attending.
2.
Check out these schools web sites for more information.
Then call or email to request more information from them..
Be sure to tell them if you have already logged any hours or if you have achieved any flight certificates.
Also, be sure to let the school know what your goal is - recreational flying or career flying.
Some flight training organizations are small and have part-time instructors.
This might be perfectly adequate to train you to be a weekend flyer, but probably not what you want if you expect to end up flying B-767s for an airline.
And if your goal is professional, career flying, you may want to ask if the flight school is accredited by a national accreditation agency - an accredited school has to have high standards in quality of instruction, accuracy in their marketing, and must be strong financially.
If you plan to re-locate for your schooling, another good question is the cost of living in the area.
If you are like many flight training students, you will most likely be on a budget, so you'll probably prefer your training in an area where you can live modestly.
It would, of course, be preferable if the locale has apartments available at a low cost, plus has great recreational opportunities: After all, you'll probably be living there for a year.
Another good question concerns the weather - does the area offer excellent weather? If not, you will most likely find that you're not able to fly as often as you wish because of bad weather.
That means it will quite possibly take you longer to complete your flight training in, for example, Oregon and Indiana than it will in Florida simply because of the weather.
Also, be sure to ask about the training aircraft.
You'll want many aircraft - and newer ones.
Older aircraft are more often "down" for maintenance, which, again, means you may not be able to fly as often as you'd like - thus, extending the time necessary for you to become certified...
3.
If possible, visit your top two or three schools on your list.
Talk to instructors and students and ask to see the training aircraft.
Do you like the way the school "feels?" Do you feel you would fit in and be comfortable studying and flying there?.
Of course, if you're an international student wanting to come to the US for flight training, you may not be able to visit.
In that case, be sure you talk to an Admissions Officer and ask all your questions - and don't hesitate to ask for advice, if you're not sure how to proceed with your flight training.
An Admissions Officer at the flight school will be able to advise you, based on what your goals are.
4.
Once you're comfortable with choosing a school and you've found one that meets the checklist that you created in step 1, you'll also want to get a written agreement with costs and the courses or programs you'll be receiving.
5.
Now that you've gone through this most important selection process, get ready to study hard, learn new and exciting things, and have the time of your life! You'll probably very quickly learn why so many pilots say "flying is my passion.
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