Wrong! I’ve wanted to get my pilots license ever since I first saw the Blue Angels perform at fleet week in San Francisco over ten years ago. Finally, this past August I began looking at my different options only to find how much research it really takes to pick the one that you feel will give you the best training. Luckily I live in a place where 90% of the year is sunny, Phoenix, Arizona. This means that there is a huge market for flight training and thus I had many options to choose from.
So if you’re looking to get your pilots license, where do you start? Well, the best thing to do first is to find out which flight school/schools are in your area. Then call them and set up a meeting to go over what your training would include. Almost every flight school will have a layout of how many hours you will fly, how much it will cost and which airplanes you will be flying. And don’t be scared to call them and set up a meeting! Nothing is set in stone just because you met with them to inquire about getting your license. Sure they’ll try to sell you on their flight school, but it’s not like you’re signing a contract as soon as you sit down and learn about what they have to offer.
After I conducted research of my own and met with a few flight schools in Arizona, I asked around to see what my friends had to say. I’m currently in the aviation program at Arizona State University and although I’m studying Air Traffic Control, I have many friends in the Professional Flight Program and I asked a few of them what their opinions were of various flight schools in the Phoenix valley. Hearing the personal experiences that individuals have had is sometimes the best way to find out how a flight school, or any business for that matter, really operates. There was one flight school in particular that I was looking at in Arizona and just by asking a few friends I was able to learn about their experiences with this flight school. They told me about the instructors, how well they take care of and maintain their airplanes, how much they charge, etc. If you don’t know anyone who has gotten their pilots license then do some research on the internet and see if you can find any reviews on the flight school/schools that you are looking at.
The bottom line is, utilize your resources! Do research, ask around, meet with flight schools and have them give you a layout of your training, take a look at their fleet and see what the cockpit looks like, look online to see if there are any reviews, etc. Regardless of which flight school you choose, you will not regret the decision to start flying. I only have 13 hours under my belt and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.