Anyone done Flight Training in Orange County, CA?

storm glider

Well-Known Member
I'm about to finish up college in December and planning to head back home to OC and start flight training while staying with family. I'll be using VA benefits to help defray the cost of training and so I only have 2 flight schools as options and they both operate out of John Wayne Airport (SNA). They are:

1. Sunrise Aviation
2. OC Flight Center

I've read over their websites, checked yelp, and even called em up and talked to them for a bit and am still not really sure about either... Will definitely be calling back a LOT more though, but anyways...
Anyone out there gone through either of these schools or know of anyone who has? Maybe have some insight about their programs? Instructors? General atmosphere?
 

fholbert

Mod's - Please don't edit my posts!
Sunrise yes, you must have a lot of money.

AFI in Fullerton isn't VA approved?
 

Cazadores

Well-Known Member
It was years ago, many, but I knew a few people who did some primary training at SNA. (I grew up in San Juan Cap/Dana Point) anyway if your VA bennies pay for it regardless of cost great, but I remember it being significantly more expensive and their training taking considerably more time than people training at other area fields. Could have just been their level of dedication or aptitude, but I would suggest trying other places. If you are in South County look into CRQ or if you're up north try Fullerton or maybe even LGB. My opinion (for what it is worth, which is about as much as you paid for it) is they are better places to train than SNA.

I was lucky when I was down there the MCAS El Toro Aero Club was available to me, sadly from my vantage point on the SB El Toro Y carpool ramp two weeks ago it looks as though a big orange balloon ride is located roughly where the Aero Club was...
 

jskibo

Done
FLy with me instead!
Do it at LBFC if you can swing it. Better rates than anyone in the area, and a large fleet.

Was going to go back and have Aaron finish up my Instrument until I found someone local.

Aaron, is LBFC still tied in with that Utah college? Can you guys do GI Bill?
 

smack300

Well-Known Member
I would look at going to Orange Coast College and doing the ground school there. Cheap way to see if its right for you and get an AS on the side. Also OCC has a contract with Sunrise and we have our own airplane there which we fly at a discounted rate. I took that path and am now done with the AS degree and got my private a few months ago. Saved around 3-4k by going through OCC. even though I was flying through Sunrise.

Also I have flown through LBFC and its pretty reasonably priced. But going directly through Sunrise is quiet expensive but it is a great school.

PM me if you have more questions.
 

Krieger

Well-Known Member
Do it at LBFC if you can swing it. Better rates than anyone in the area, and a large fleet.

Was going to go back and have Aaron finish up my Instrument until I found someone local.

Aaron, is LBFC still tied in with that Utah college? Can you guys do GI Bill?
Yeah we have something set up with them. LBFC will probably be your most economical option.
 

storm glider

Well-Known Member
AFI in Fullerton isn't VA approved?
It's not on the VA's list of approved flight schools.
...maybe even LGB. My opinion (for what it is worth, which is about as much as you paid for it) is they are better places to train than SNA.
Do it at LBFC if you can swing it. Better rates than anyone in the area, and a large fleet.
I didn't see LBFC on the VA's list. But LBFA (Flight Academy) is. You guys know anything about them? Is it the same place but new name?
 

storm glider

Well-Known Member
I would look at going to Orange Coast College and doing the ground school there. Cheap way to see if its right for you and get an AS on the side. Also OCC has a contract with Sunrise and we have our own airplane there which we fly at a discounted rate. I took that path and am now done with the AS degree and got my private a few months ago. Saved around 3-4k by going through OCC. even though I was flying through Sunrise.

Also I have flown through LBFC and its pretty reasonably priced. But going directly through Sunrise is quiet expensive but it is a great school.

PM me if you have more questions.
Dude, that's awesome!

Aaah, good ol' OCC. I transferred from there a few years back and am somewhat familiar with their pilot program. I went and spoke with Smokey back then too to get some info from the source. I'll be finishing up my Bachelors degree this December and then in January I was planning on starting the PPL course at OCC.

I knew that OCC went through Sunrise but I'm pretty sure I can go through the programs much quicker if I go directly through Sunrise. And since I have some VA benefits that will help pay for that I'm thinking, 'Hey, why not?' but the only thing is that Sunrise's PPL course isn't approved by the VA so I can't use my VA benefits for that one at Sunrise. And I'm not forkin over that chunk of change myself so I'm thinkin' I'll go with OCC for the PPL.

And I'm still trying to figure out exactly how much these VA benefits will or won't cover, that's another headache.

Seeing as how you've gone through OCC and Sunrise, I'm sure you've got tons of knowledge for me. I'll definitely be PM'ing you! :)
 

launchpad

Well-Known Member
The SNA schools have always been over priced compared to others in the area. I second AFI if they can work with the VA and your benefits.
 

fholbert

Mod's - Please don't edit my posts!
The SNA schools have always been over priced compared to others in the area. I second AFI if they can work with the VA and your benefits.
When it comes to maintenance, equipment (glass) and value AFI may be the best school in SoCal. A family run business that's be around since Nixon was president with a very short taxi to from the active runway. No ME however.
 

I_Money

Moderator
No I am in Boston now. I learned to fly out of Lenair Aviation. I think they have been closed for 5+ years now. Avoid Sunrise, OCFC is expensive. Anyone know if Royal is still around? With what I know about Socal, I would go to LGB and take Krieger up on his offer. LGFC is great, very reasonably priced, and independent instructors. I assure you will not regret it. No one will disagree the commute sucks, but you are working hard for your money and need to spend it wisely. For the price you would get your CFI at SNA you could have your CFI, CFII, and MEI at LGB.
 

jskibo

Done
Hey I_Money , when you were flying out of KSNA, were you training? If so, who were you going through?
Are you still in the area?


I wanted to stick with SNA just because it's the closest, 10~15min drive. Fullerton would be at least a half hr. w/ no traffic, maybe 45min-1hr with. Same with Long Beach. But I'll look into if VA is cool with AFI.
Are you south of SNA?

I lived in Costa Mesa and worked in Long Beach (Boeing) and it didn't take that long to get to work.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Give Royal Aviation a call. I did all my training there. Eric is the owner. Good guy. Won't cheat you out of a nickel. Good instructors too. 714-299-7171 or 7474, can't remember.
 

OCArmory

The local gunrunner
I have a 182 I fly out of KSNA. The wait times can be long sometimes but the more proficient you are at the radios the more likely they are to squeak you in somewhere. That being said I would probably recommend Fullerton as well. yo can get twice the landings and pattern work and approaches in than you can at KSNA. That is were I got my initial. The only downside to Fullerton is the commute to the practice area. I have never had a bad experience at sunrise but their prices are definitely up there. Also it looks like they have thinned out a little but on instructors so finding one that fits might be tough.
 

Krieger

Well-Known Member
It's not on the VA's list of approved flight schools.


I didn't see LBFC on the VA's list. But LBFA (Flight Academy) is. You guys know anything about them? Is it the same place but new name?
same place, You won't be disappointed if you use me and the LBFC.
 

smack300

Well-Known Member
Sunrise just hired a few more instructors so they have a pretty full load now. But yea lots of good ideas on here. Good luck on whatever one you decide to go with.
 
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