It’s no secret that choosing a flight school that’s right for you is a big decision.
Many factors come into play. At the end of the day, one must feel confident in spending a sum of money on flight training. It is an investment in your future, with the end goal, of becoming a pilot, whether it be as a hobby or a career.
Cooking Lake Aviation recently put out a survey to it’s followers & customers to explore aspects of a flight school that are important or not so important to them. The survey received great response, and in turn, this article will outline 6 things to consider when choosing a flight school, as determined by you.
Overall First Impression of a Flight School
- 42% of respondents outlined that a great first impression is extremely important while 38% stated that it is very important. A great way to get a first impression of a flight school is to physically visit the school. Many schools, including Cooking Lake Aviation, offer school tours including a tour of the hangar, classroom, briefing rooms as well as the aircraft. Walk ins are more than welcome and pre arranged tours are welcome as well. Usually, the first interaction with a flight school will be with a dispatcher or instructor. Dispatchers that set themselves and their schools apart from others are positive, easy to talk to, helpful & goal orientated. They recommend the most efficient & effective method in order to attain your goals. Further, first impressions can include a discovery flight, which are easy to book and hassle free for the student. This is the first opportunity to get a sense of the instructors, get a feel for the plane, & determine if flying is right for you! Ultimately, first impressions go a long way toward a prospective student leaving with a sense of comfort, confidence and a mindset of “I can do this!”.
Meeting New People & Building Friendships & Relationships
- This topic produced a vast array of responses. It is somewhat of an interesting topic, specifically with the range of responses we received. 31% of respondents stated that meeting new people & building friendships and relationships was either very important or somewhat important. 25% of respondents stated it was extremely important while 15% outlined it is not so important. When we think of the idea of meeting new people & ultimately building a friendship or relationship, it comes down to similar interests. Flight school is a place where those individuals with a similar interest in becoming a pilot and a shared passion for aviation come together to work towards a common goal. In my own experience, I didn’t meet very many people that shared my passion for aviation growing up & throughout high school and university. This could be true for you as well with your experience at your job, being a part of a sports team or hobby group. As soon as I pursued my goal of becoming a pilot, it was almost a breath of fresh air, to be a part of a community that shared a similar passion. This made it easy to interact with others, meet new people & work towards a private pilot license!
- To further touch on this topic, the friendships that are built in flight school can go a long way. A great place to meet new people is ground school. Cooking Lake Aviation offers both in house Private Pilot Ground School as well as Commercial Pilot Ground School. CLA is one of the few schools in the Edmonton area to offer both in house options, specifically our CPL ground school. Friends that are met here, and that continue to work towards their license at the same pace as you, will often one day fly together once licensed. By flying with others that you have developed a friendship with, it allows you to learn something new, keep an open mind, and save on the aircraft rental cost. At CLA, we encourage fellow pilots and renters to go out & explore the province together, & get a sense of a two crew environment!
Price of Aircraft Rental, Ground School & Instruction
- Price of course, is an important consideration. It is important for any purchase. This consideration produced a range of results. First off, 27% of polled individuals believe that price is extremely important, while 27% also believe it is somewhat important. Further, 38% state price is very important and 8% state price is either not so important or not important at all. Ultimately, we can infer from the results that, people are willing to pay more for a higher quality product or service. Aircraft Rental rates across Edmonton are pretty consistent, but there are some differences, which are based on the quality and age of the aircraft. This leads us to our next consideration, the importance of flying modern aircraft.
Training On & Renting Modern Aircraft
- Overwhelmingly, 40% of respondents outlined that flying modern aircraft is extremely important, while 22% stated it is very important. 30% of those surveyed outlined flying modern aircraft is only somewhat important. Of course, flying modern aircraft, especially today, is the way of the future. Learning to fly on aircraft with the latest technology can go a long way, specifically when working towards an instrument rating. Cooking Lake Aviation offers a fleet of advanced and modern aircraft. 3 out of 4 Cessna 172 aircraft employ the G1000 avionics panel & all offer leather seating & reliable comms & radios. Now, this modern technology doesn’t mean anything without a consistent & rigorous maintenance agenda. A commitment to following maintenance schedules, coupled with a modern fleet, ensures your safety while operating an aircraft. At CLA, we places a great emphasis on safety, & therefore hold safety to the highest of standards. We ensure our training aircraft meet the necessary inspections & regulatory requirements issued by Transport Canada.
- Company Culture pertains to a flight school distinguishing itself among others with its own unique feel & learning environment. 80% of respondents noted that company culture is either extremely or very important. Company culture goes a long way in creating an atmosphere where one can be comfortable learning. This comfort is created through welcoming staff, positive staff relationships, & a safe environment. A flight school that is professional in their work, but can have fun at the same time creates a positive atmosphere where one is put in a position to succeed. Some of the words used to describe Cooking Lake Aviation that pertain to a certain culture include “welcoming, fun, inclusive, high quality, professional & safe but relaxed and laid back”. A flight school’s company culture creates an overall impression of the school that goes a long way in one’s experience, therefore making it an important consideration.
Instructor – Student Relationship
- Next, we have the importance of the “student-instructor” relationship. At the end of the day, you want to be comfortable when flying with an instructor. It is someone you spend many hours with in a learning environment, so the relationship must be efficient and effective, yet fun! Of course the importance of this topic is a no brainer, 100% of respondents noted that it was either extremely or very important.
- Here at CLA, you are more than welcome to choose your instructor. If you are indifferent, we like to try and best fit the personality of the student with that of the instructor. With the various instructor personalities here at CLA, we are positive we can match you with an instructor that matches your learning style. You get to build a relationship with your instructor, who develops a sense of your learning needs and style. In addition, your instructor is then there to observe your progress & provide suggestions and recommendations to ensure your success! We also encourage students to come forward and request to fly with another instructor if maybe a certain exercise or technique isn’t getting accomplished. It is often helpful to fly with another instructor to learn or obtain some knowledge from a different perspective. To ensure the success of the student is first, we keep an open mind regarding the student – instructor relationship and therefore place a great deal of value on this consideration.
Contact Us for more information or any questions! We’d love to hear from you!