Any questions regarding the Aviator give me a call if you want to hear it from the horse's mouth. I am a current CFI at the aviator and have been there over a year and a half. The phone at the school is 772-466-4859. Ask for Neil Martin
Checkrides are administed through DPE's. We use whoever we want really. We can also use the FISDO if requested. (it's free). The student can take his/her checkride with any other examiner if they want to. I have a student that will be taking a CFII \ MEI with the St. Pete FISDO because that is where his is from. We also are one checkride away from having in-house checkrides for our 141 instrument program. (It requires are certain pass rate).
You're reading way to much into the name. It's actually after the owner's son. His name: Ari Ben Cohen. Don't ask me why, but that is how Mike, the owner decided to name the place. Sounds kinda silly, I get everyone asking me that question. As for DCA, are we talking Delta\Comair Acadamy? If so, we don't have many of those. The most we are getting recently are the ATA victims.
I visited Ari Ben last friday the housing is about 10 min. away. I don't know about public trans. but having wheels would probably help. Housing is newer 3bedroom houses. They appear to be very clean and respectable.
I can only comment on the few planes that I saw. One plane had GPS the other two did not. The planes seem to be in good condition for the hours that they have. They allowed me to back seat a lesson while I was there, and did not have the slightest concern for the safety or integrity of the plane. They seem to be well maintained. Let me digress for a moment. I also went to some of the other major schools while I was there and most (95-100%) of there 60 to 100 planes depending on which school, were on the ground sitting all nice and pretty. Well I would think that if a plane is sitting on the ground it's going to be kept alot nicer (aesthetically) than if it was in the air most of the time. I feel confident about the the maintenance and condition of the planes just remember most general aviation planes are 30 plus years old. Email me if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the other CFI's have jobs other than at Aviator. I used to have a second job, but I found it to hard to work my flying around it. It is very hard making ends meet on a CFI paycheck. I work on all of our rental cars to help pay the bills. We have some late 80's- early 90's cadillacs and an old mercedes that are available for rent at $100 a week. The housing is in Vero beach, which is about 7 miles or so from the airport. There are so many students living there though. This makes it possible for many of my students to not even have a car and catch a ride to the airport and back with someone else that lives on the block.
If you were to take a walk though the school you would see more one on one ground instruction than you have ever seen. We do have a ground school for 141 instrument as well as CFI. Other than that, it's up to the instructor his or herself to give the required ground instruction. I myself pour hours upon hours of ground instruction into my students. Free ground instruction. Some require very little, others much more. What could be better as a student? I got free instruction as a student, and now I have to give it back. It's not all totally free at times. If I have a student who wants to be spoon fed everything, I make him buy me lunch or come to my house with tasty beverages while I give him ground instruction. I don't mind.
I stay in contact with many of my students that have left. I also stay in contact with many people that I check out for just the time-building program. You never know when you might need that person to walk in your resume. I also like to keep in touch with those people just as friends. You also never know what city you may end up in. I do this to the students that I tend to click with. You know, every once in a while you get someone that drives you nuts or someone you just can't stand. As for the CFI's, I try to stay in contact with evary one that leaves. I like to follow their progress, so maybe I can make better job decisions based on their experiences as well. We're like on big family. We got a couple of guys that have left for corporate jobs, and a couple of guys that moved for CFI jobs closer to home. I personally still talk to my old CFI at least once a week. It turns out he flies a caravan skydiving and I've racked up over 30 hrs of turbine time. See, it pays off!