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  • Writer's pictureMark

Essential Tips on selecting a Flying School in 2023

Updated: May 3, 2023


With the lowest unemployment levels in history and a reduction in pilot numbers due to Covid-19 and an increase in retirements, it is certainly worth looking at starting your aviation career now to get the best flying position and role in 2022. In this article, I will give you tips on how to start your flying career from choosing between flying school, when to start, and the different options available when making a decision on a flying school and flying career to take.

Where are the best flying locations?

Selecting a flying school isn’t as straightforward as you think, there are many things you should consider and one is the location of the training organization and accommodation if provided. For an instant, a lot of the Asian flying schools train in Australia as it is nearby and has amazing weather to conduct flying training. Some of these schools include Cathay Pacific (Adelaide and Queensland), Singapore Flying School (Perth), and Philippine Airways (Adeliade) If you were wanting to finish your training quickly I would look at going somewhere that is experiencing the start of summer to get all the flying done. When it's winter there isn’t much flying to be completed unless you are IFR. Even flying IFR during winter doesn’t help as most propeller aircraft don’t have anti-ice or deicing equipment to enter into icing conditions. Some remote flying schools provide accommodation on a weekly payment basis and this is great as it allows you to train full time and fly and live in that location. Some locations in major cities like Sydney would require you to rent an expensive unit or house share, It would be best to find the flight school nearest you in that case or either look at flying and renting elsewhere. I would highly recommend looking at starting your training in the Summer when it is constantly clear and you have the ability to conduct early morning flights to get away from summer turbulence and high winds for your first stages of flight training including your first solo and ab initio training.

What training will be provided and included at the flying school?

When you have selected the area and time of the year to start and look at completing your flight training it's important to then consider which school will be best for you and the flying training provided. You can either do full-time or part-time and some flying schools will offer a Diploma or Vet-fee payment system which will be through a fully integrated course. First of all, if you don’t do a full 150Hr integrated flying course you will have to do 200hrs for your CPL and that is also expensive adding the extra 50 hours. It's important to note that the cheapest way to get your flying license will be full-time and to make the payments in cash. By flying full time your skills are always to a great standard and you don’t go backward in your training most schools will offer a discount on large cash payments and the course will be cheaper than if it were through Vet-fee. To have a look at course costs then read this article on the flight schools located in Australia.

When comparing flight schools look if the integrated training will provide you with everything you need to go get your first job, it's part of the syllabus in Australia that a Commercial pilot has 70 hours PIC and 10 hours of night flight flying. Make sure you get a Night VFR rating for your flying and a PPL before your CPL. Some flight schools will skip the PPL as you get the privileges and license when you get your CPL. However, if you were to stop flying for any reason it's nice to have at least your PPL and you can also take people flying and share the costs which can help with getting your PIC hours.

Tip 3: Flight Instructor and Aircraft Serviceably and flexibility at the Flying School?

When selecting and searching for a flying school to use I always ask about the aircraft availability and how many instructors. This is important because if it's a small flying school and an aircraft needs a major service (new engine, overhaul) you could potentially lose valuable flying time. Instructor availability is also important if you don’t want to be flying with different instructors all the time. It's important to fly with one standard and learn from one individual unless you decide you would like someone else that you get along better with. Some schools have a high turnover of instructors or just part-time instructors and this doesn't always provide the best environment for learning or gaining your license.

What Aircraft does the flying school use?

When selecting a flying school it's important to understand the difference in aircraft and what type of training you can receive from the various operations of aircraft at a flying school. It's not just about Cessna vs Piper (important…. Go Cessna) however it's important to know what's in the planes! Is the flying school operating aircraft that are 6-pack? Or G1000 and high tech? It makes a difference in your training as most of the small operators and airlines will be using older aircraft without technology like a G550 or G1000. If you are planning to go regional and gain ours on an old Cessna I would be inclined to train in a school that operates Cessna's with steam gauges and older-style navigation systems. Going high-tech like a G1000 looks great and makes life easy when flying around however not all operators have them. If you are flying in the states and going straight on a jet or PC12 then I would go for a more modern fleet. It's definitely easier to learn on steam gauge and go to Glass than vice verse. Another aspect that is important is to make sure the flying school has a Commercial Pilot Aircraft, something like a Piper Arrow or Cessna 182RG/210. You at least want to get your retracts included in your CPL training despite not all flying schools including it or having retractable undercarriage.

Will the flying school offer employment after?

I’ve always taken a liking to flying schools that hire their past students. Most big commercial flying schools won’t do this unless they offer an instructor rating however some of the smaller flying schools may do charter on the side and offer Junior pilots the hours for work, ferry flying or helping out other neighboring aviation companies. It's also my opinion the smaller niche flying schools generally have a better community connection and the CFI will do most of the testing and renewals for operators around the airfield. Unlike the major cadet triaging organizations that don’t promote outsiders or flying from part-time pilots, you will be less likely to have your CFI recommend or call up someone they know that might beagle to help you out with work after your CPL. When operating at a larger commercial cadetship style school the flying school will generally hire one or two of their instructor graduates however the flying school won’t have the smaller community atmosphere or connections for work. I would generally seek employment opportunities with a flying school as the least important criteria as it's not everything to work or live where you don’t want to be or fly in a role you don’t want.

If you have enjoyed this article please leave a comment and share this blog. There are many other articles on this webpage on where to access and get training information in your specific country or area flying schools.

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1 Comment

Mar 14, 2023

It's good that you emphasized the importance of looking into the aircraft available and the type of training we will receive from the flying school that we're considering to ensure we found the right one for us. My brother wants to take a floatplane training course since he's been building up his skills to get his pilot license soon. I'll be sure to keep this in mind while I look for floatplane training courses my brother can try out soon.

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