Take the leap and Learn to Fly at your local airport! As a big sister, one of your pivotal moments is when you realize that your younger sibling is growing up, and quickly. My brother just recently turned 17 and began taking classes to get his private pilot’s license, and to think that he’s spending his afternoons learning how to fly a small aircraft is incredible to me. It feels like he was just a kid playing with Legos and video games not so long ago. Now, he’s investing in something with a tenacity and curiosity that only an airplane can satisfy. Flight school is a great option for those who want to take the leap into a career as a pilot, or like my brother, those who would like to try something new and get their private pilot’s license. Regardless of why you want to learn, there are a couple of things you should know when you start looking for a school.
- Know what it will cost: In terms of financial cost, most flight schools cost around the same. It’s important, however, to remember how much time this will cost you. 2-3 lessons a week is the average, so make sure that you can make time for it. There are also various ground procedures and manuals that you will need to study, so make sure that you find time to do that as well. Flight school can be a substantial undertaking, so prepare yourself (and your schedule) for it.
- Part 61 or Part 141?: There are a couple of different options when it comes to flight school, and it really just depends on what you’re looking to learn. First, there are two different types of flight schools. They differ because of their minimum required hours and the rules and regulations that they follow. Part 61 requires a minimum of 40 hours, but is more loosely structured and allows your flight instructor the ability to alter your training so that it more closely suits your needs. Part 141 requires more paperwork and a more structured schedule, but the minimum requirement is only 35 hours. Based on your needs, you can choose which structure will suit your needs and schedule best.
- Different Forms of Flight School: In addition to the Part 61 and Part 141 schools, there are also other options available. You can choose an aviation college degree program if you’re seeking a more professional program, or you can try ground school to learn more about how the aircraft works. Choose a school that suits the path you are taking. Whether pursuing a recreational or professional license, there are plenty of options for you.
- Flight schools in the area and what people say about them: Take a look around your local area and see what options are available to you. I would recommend checking the reviews, or asking around to see if anyone has taken lessons there. Visit the school and talk to the instructors, see if there’s one you click with. Knowing more will only help make your decision easier.