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3 Crucial Tips on Picking a Flight School
by Scott Morris

07/08 - Learning to fly is an exhilarating experience and it is important to know how to pick a flight school so you can ensure your experience is as good as possible. My name is Scott Morris. I am a CFI/CFII at Ace Flight School. Below you will see my 3 crucial tips on picking a flight school.

Equipment - The equipment in which you will be training is probably one of the most important areas in picking your flight school. Cessna 172's are the most common training aircraft, but just saying Cessna 172 is like saying, "I drive a Toyota Corolla." Ok, that's great, what year? What condition is it in? What features does it have? I've seen too many flight schools that use 1960's Cessna training aircraft that do not have any form of modern instruments and look like something out of a wrecking yard. There are many different types of aircraft that schools are using as trainers. For example, at Ace Flight School we use new Diamond aircraft as our trainers, both of which are newer than 2001, have a color moving map GPS and use a newer airframe design that saves fuel and increases speed.

Flight Instructors - There are two breeds of flight instructors and flight schools: flight instructors who are teaching to build hours and there are flight instructors that simply like to teach. As yourself this question - "Would I rather have an instructor that cares more about hours, or an instructor that cares more about me?" Simple, right? A flight instructor that is there to build hours won't hesitate to move on to the next big flying job when he has the hours necessary to do so, leaving you mid-training to find a new flight instructor that knows nothing about you, where you are in your training or your personal flying characteristics. This will significantly slow down your flight training and cost you a lot more money. Ace Flight School has two instructors who are dedicated to your flight training, not the hours they receive from it.

Cost - Cost will vary between flight schools depending on where the flight school is located, the type of airport used and equipment used. A flight school at a large airport in a big city that uses nice aircraft will cost more than a flight school at a small airport that uses junkers - or will it? This is where your research will come into play. Some flight schools try to charge top dollar for substandard locations and aircraft. Look around the area in which you want to learn to fly and weigh all the factors to see if they are charging a fair price. Also, be very aware of hidden costs. With fuel prices going out of control it is very common to see a very fair hourly rate for an aircraft with fine print that specifies a 20% fuel surcharge on top, making is a not so fair rate. Ask about landing fees - some larger airports charge a fee for every landing done at that airport, which will obviously add up. At Ace Flight School, be operate out of an airport less than 10 miles outside of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport that does not have a control tower (meaning less time to get into the air = saving money), no landing fees are charged, fuel is always at a competitive price and our bottom line aircraft rental rates are always clearly known (no surcharges of any kind).

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