Selecting a Flight School
Selecting a flight school is not an easy task for any student unless there is one in the back yard; in that case it's almost a no-brainer, unless you start to get ripped off. The best method to determine if a particular school is worth your consideration is to ask them a few key questions which you already know the answer to. It is important to note that bigger is not better, and a Part 141 flight school is not better than a Part 61 flight school. If a school states either of those two items, that should be your first strike against them because they are being less than truthful. I am not saying that a small school is always better, but they usually are because they have a more personal relationship with you. I am not saying that a Part 61 school is better either, but I can say that the biggest rip-offs that have ever occurred in flight training has been Part 141 flight schools.
Here are the questions you should ask any flight school you are considering:
- Do you offer a Commercial Helicopter Add-on to a Private Airplane certificate? If they respond with No, or give any BS lines as to why they can't, ask no more, because they don't know what they are doing and they will cost you a lot of money. This question may not apply to what you are seeking, but it is one of the easiest questions to ask that will tell you if they know what they are doing. There are many Part 141 as well as Part 61 schools that don't know how to do this simple add-on.
- Do you train in Robinson Helicopters? If they respond with No, then ask if you will get any training time in Robinsons. If you will not get Robinson time and/or if they give a line of BS about what is wrong with Robinsons, then you should consider training elsewhere because Robinsons are the most common light helicopter in the world, and if you will not be qualified to fly them, your career will be seriously limited. Also, there is nothing wrong with Robinson Helicopters so if they bad mouth them, that is unprofessional, ignorant, and another reason to go elsewhere.
- Ask the costs and hours you will require. If they give you a low-ball line about the hours such as, "well the FAA requires..., or Part 141 permits...", those are openings for lines of BS, and you are about to get scammed. There is no student going to pass a practical test with less than 50 flight hours experience unless a DPE is on the take, which does occur from time-to-time.
- Ask if they give discounts for block-time, or if you will be paying lump-sum, ask how your account will be debited, and whether or not you can get a refund if you decide to go elsewhere or drop out.
- Ask to see the flight training contract or agreement, if they don't offer one, don't train there. Or, if it does not read satisfactorily, don't train there. It's your money, make sure you get your training on fair and reasonable terms.
Selecting a flight school is not the easiest task. More important than anything else, be on the alert for lines of BS, and answers to questions and costs that are not straight forward. END.