How to Choose a Flight School - AeroGuard



How To Choose a Flight School

Deciding on Flight Schools

Your very first step in your journey to becoming a pilot is going to be choosing your flight school. There is a lot of research that needs to be done from the type of flight school you’re looking to attend to the actual training style whether it’s part 141 or part 61 and lots of questions in between. You want to make sure your choice of flight school matches not only your career goals, but your learning style, and provides you with high quality training with no surprise costs that could deter you from continuing your training. Once you’ve decided on what type of flight school you’re interested in, whether that’s accelerated flight training, part-time flight training, or flight training with a degree, you’ll want to narrow it down to your top 3 choices and dig deeper into each school to discover your top choice. Use our guide below to understand what type of questions to ask each flight school and what information you’re looking to understand within each category.

Flight School Questions: About the Flight School

One of the most important things you want to understand is the school’s safety record and their flight school safety procedures. You’ll also want to understand the size of their and how it works. How many do they have, the types of aircraft, and whether or not they rent them out. What you’re trying to understand here is the availability for scheduling. You want to ensure the flight school’s training aircraft are dedicated to training and not rental planes. You also want to ensure that you’re going to have 1 model plane for the entirety of a license especially when you’re first learning, you don’t want to be consistently switching plane models. Additionally, be sure the flight school has consistency and standardization. Take time to understand how long they’ve been in business, what their success rate looks like and their current enrollment. You want to pick a flight school that has a long successful track record doing what you’re looking to accomplish and if you’re looking to make this a career, it’s important to pick a flight school that’s not just good at getting students their PPL but can also take them all the way through to their. You may also want to understand what the insurance coverage for the school looks like and whether or not you’ll be responsible for any damage if there is an accident or loss and what your coverage looks like as a student pilot.

  • What does your safety record and safety procedures look like?
  • What types of aircraft do you fly, how many do you have, and do you rent them out?
  • How long have you been in business and what does your success rate look like?
  • How many of your students are in the private, commercial or flight instructor stages?
  • What does the insurance coverage look like for me as a student pilot? Will I be responsible for any damage costs in the event of an accident or loss?

Flight School Questions: The Training Program

Once you learn more about the flight school and the programs they offer, take some time to understand the details of the program you’re interested in taking. Ask your advisor questions like:

  • Is the program part 141 or part 61?
  • Can you explain your course outline and curriculum you offer?
  • What pilot certificates and ratings will I receive?
  • What do you offer in terms of classrooms, simulators, and other learning aids?


It’s not that part 141 or part 61 is necessarily better than the other. Instead, you’re asking these questions to understand the different learning styles and if that’s a fit for you. Do you prefer a flight school with a structured sit down, in class, lecture type of environment similar to college, or do you prefer self-study guided by an instructor? If you know you’re the type that needs a little push to stay on track, part 141 may be better for you. By understanding the flight school’s curriculum and the pilot certificates and ratings you’ll be earning, you’ll be better able to determine if the program aligns with your career goals and the different resources you’ll have available to you in order to be successful.

Flight School Questions: Instruction and Quality of Training

Another important aspect you’ll need to interview each flight school for is quality. You can’t be a good pilot without adequate instruction, and this is what all of these questions are about. Specifically, about the flight instructors, you can ask things such as:

  • Are your instructors full time or part time?
  • What kind of training do your instructors go through before being placed with students?
  • What is the student to instructor ratio?
  • What’s the turnover rate on your instructors?
  • What are my options if I don’t get along with my instructor?
  • What’s the average flight time and pass/fail rate among your instructors?


What you’re trying to probe for here is availability and consistency. You want to understand whether or not the instructors have other pilot duties at the flight school that takes away from instructing and how much time they are going to have for you. A single full-time instructor should not have more than 4 or 5 full time students and a great pass rate doesn’t necessarily equate to good instruction, but you do want an instructor that expects perfection and is willing to work with you until that happens. Look for someone that not only cares about you as a student but also as a person, and if you don’t feel that way about your instructor, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a reassignment. For consistency, you’re looking to have the same instructor throughout your program at the flight school and you want to ensure all the instructors teach the same way, following a standard operating procedure, in case you do have to switch. You want a flight school that has taken the time to train all of their instructors to that specific standard and operating procedure before they are assigned students. Ensure there is consistency with the flight school’s planes as well by asking questions about the fleet such as:

  • What kind of aircraft will I be flying? Glass/G1000? Standard gauges?
  • Do you rent out your planes?
  • How are the planes maintained? Who’s responsible for reporting maintenance problems?


The point of asking these types of questions is to ensure the planes are available solely for training and you aren’t experiencing scheduling delays due to a lack of fleet because they’re being rented out or have maintenance issues that have a long repair time. Additionally, make sure you’re going to get some training time in a standard gauge 6-pack plane, at least for your PPL. Yes, glass cockpits are nice and shiny and come with great auto-pilot features that you’ll use at the airlines, but you can’t truly be a well-rounded pilot without understanding how to read your instruments and fly your plane “the old-fashioned” way. Some additional questions that might be useful in your search are:

  • Who is responsible for scheduling lessons?
  • Do you have a dispatch?
  • Do you have a Duty CFI for monitoring safety during solo flights?

Flight School Questions: Weather and Airspace

There are two main goals you want to achieve by asking questions about the flight school’s weather and airspace. The first is to ensure you’re in a location where you’ll get through your training without many weather cancellations and delays. This can end up causing you not only extra time to finish but extra cost in re-training missions due to knowledge and skill that may be lost during extended periods of not flying. The second goal is to ensure you’re getting a variety in your training when it comes to . Whether that be different classes, busy, slow, controlled, or uncontrolled, you want to experience as much as possible. The flight school can’t provide all of that at your home airport, but you’ll want to ensure there are plenty of nearby airports that you will fly to throughout your training that will provide you with that variety. Examples of these questions are:

  • How is the weather where you are located?
  • How many days will this cause cancellations?
  • Who’s responsible for rescheduling lessons in the event of cancellation?
  • . Will I get experience in a busy airspace?
  • Do you have both controlled and uncontrolled airports to fly to?
  • How many runways and taxiways does the primary airport have?

Flight School Questions: Career Transition

If you’re interested in learning to fly as a career, then you’ll want to ask questions about how this flight school is fit to prepare you for that career and how, if at all, they help you get there. Many bigger flight schools now have to help their students enter into the workforce, so not only will you want to get an understanding of those partnerships and what they have to offer, but you’ll also need to know if they offer any assistance in building flight experience needed to get there. You may want to ask such things as:

  • What are some of the ways you prepare me for the transition to an airline?
  • Do you offer full-time pay, benefits, and paid time off as an instructor if I work for you?
  • Do you have airline partnerships?
  • What benefits do they provide?
  • Do you guarantee any sort of employment or interview after graduation?

Flight School Questions: Cost of Training

Now that you’ve taken the time to gather a deep understanding of the flight school, program, and the value that the flight school brings, your next step is to get through the nitty gritty details of flight training cost. The reason why you want to do all of the above first, is because you don’t want to allow yourself of making the mistake of choosing the cheapest flight school first. This is not only your future career that’s at stake, but this is your life. Your top priorities need to be safety and quality. Once you understand the safety, quality, and ultimately, the value each flight school brings to the table, you’ll be better equipped to analyze the cost of each and match it to the quality the flight school provides.  However, there are many flight schools that won’t give you clear, full cost, and many times, there are hidden fees that a student won’t know about until it’s too late. This ends up disrupting their training progress as they try and find some more funds that they weren’t prepared to pay before they can continue. By asking very detailed questions, you’ll be able to come to a true price. Be sure to ask each flight school the following:

  • What is the price of your program?
  • Which certificates are included in the tuition quoted?
  • How many flight hours are included?
  • If I need extra flight time for proficiency or retraining, what will be the cost?
  • Does this tuition include any overage hours for any extra training needed?
  • How many simulator hours are included?
  • If I need extra simulator time for proficiency, what will be the cost?
  • Can I use the simulator on my own without extra costs?
  • How many brief hours are included?
  • If I need extra brief time with my instructor, what will be the cost?
  • Are the FAA knowledge test fees included?
  • What books and study guides are included?
  • Is an electronic flight bag/ForeFlight included?
  • Are checkride fees included?
  • If so, how many checkride fees are included in my tuition?
  • Are any hours needed for retraining (in case of failure of checkride) included?

Flight School Questions: Paying for Training

Last but not least, once you understand your full cost of training, you’ll need to figure out how you plan on paying for that flight training. Not many people can pay the full cost of flight school out of pocket, so make sure you understand what your options are.

If you do decide that you’ll need to take out a loan in order to finance your flight training, be sure to ask additional questions on the details of the loan. This would be more for the actual loan provider than the school, but it’s important to understand all the details before you sign off.

  • Do you have a loan/financing solution?
  • Do you offer any scholarships?
  • Are there any discounts that can be applied?
  • Do I have the ability to work full time while training?
  • Do you offer any tuition reimbursement programs?
  • Can I include a housing and living stipend in my loan and what is that amount?
  • How would the money get disbursed to me/the school?
  • Would this be a fixed or variable interest rate?
  • What kind of down payments are required?
  • When would I have to start making loan payments?
  • Can I defer my loan payments if I need to?
  • Are there any early repayment penalties?

Attending AeroGuard’s Flight School

If AeroGuard is on your list of potential flight school candidates to help you on your flight training journey, then let us first say thank you so much for considering us! We have multiple types of programs to cater to almost every student’s individual need and we customize each tuition quote accordingly. Our enrollment team is standing by and excited to talk to you and help you understand AeroGuard a little better and answer all of these same questions for you. Just fill out the form below to get started!

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