atmosphere at FSI


New Member
I am curious as to the differences between the formated flight schools and the laid back atmosphere of many FBOs such as the one in rural Utah where I earned my PPL. I am seriously considering FSI and just want to make sure I will fit into the groove there. Any info on the academic, flight, and overall tone of life there would be great. Its tough to get a feel for a place as far away as Florida up here in Alaska.
Well, since no one else has replied yet I'll tell you my impression. In my time here I've met quite a few guys and galls that came from FBO's. They seem to do pretty well but a lot say that they didn't have to do all the studying at the FBO like they do at FSI. Flight wise that'll depend on your CFI, my first one was a jerk who wouldn't schedule me, so I switched. Class wise they're somewhat serious but not bad at all. But, everything moves pretty quick, we did lose a few guys from my private class who didn't keep up. I really like the school.
hey ATA, thanks a lot for the input. I am glad to hear that you study more at FSI than at an FBO and its good to hear someone who like the school etc. I did my FBO PPL training while I was enrolled full time at university and have to admit to wanting to study more aviation related subjects. I look forward to it. Also, any input as to the differences/perceptions from big airlines about training at FSI versus building time at a local FBO slowly over time. I know this is probably a really hashed question asked way too many times. Sorry,..but its a tough call for me. How can I really justify spending the money for FSI? I want to, but need to convince the last %5 of me that is unsure. Thanks
Hello Nordicflyer,

I'm somewhat in the same position as you. I want to fly full time. I have been told that it's hard to keep up your flying skills and knowledge when you are flying just once or twice a week and I have found - it's true. I'm from California and many of my contacts believe going through a local FBO is as good as going to any top flight school. It doesn't appear to matter where you have flown but how much you have flown. However, having said that, I want to be in a more professional environment where I am breathing aviation. I have decided to go to Westwind in Arizona because that was the school that I liked the best. I had the opportunity to also see Pan Am (also in Arizona), Comair and ATA in Florida.

If you think you will be most comfortable and benefit more from going to FSI than an FBO, I say GO FOR IT. Many of my contacts consider FSI the best flight school in the country.

Besides, you will be able to pay off any loans you have once you make it to the majors. From what I hear, It's a financial struggle until the majors. However, it's all worth it once you get there.

Good luck to you

I too was in your same shoes. I have decided on the FBO route. I think that FSI is the best, from what I have researched. It is also most likely worth the time/$ commitment. However, when I dissected the whole thing what I found was that I was ready to move to FL for flight training and this meant I was serious. So the conclusion was, why not move to an appropriate FBO and get some personalized attention (that is not to say you wouldn't get personalized attention at FSI, but you would be one of 400+). I have decided to move to Boise and go through my training with Verde Aviation. I recently visited Boise to look into living there (with my girlfriend) and we concluded it is quite an amazing place, for us.

The point I am trying to make is $43K for school, not including living expenses, is a lot. I went to the U and I am a westerner by origin. I know the thought I moving to FL must be as hard on you as it was on me. You should consider finding a good FBO (maybe the one in Provo that is affiliated with Utah State Valley College) and save yourself $25K and not live in Blue Hair Country while you are going to school.

What I have decided to do is to go to the FBO just like an academy, 6 days a week. Just some thoughts that I thought might help you decide. Although I would say, if you are considering the academy route, go with FSI. That place stands out above any other, by far.
I agree with Ophir.

I went to FlightSafety knowing that it was a great school, and knowing that I was going to pay for it. I was planning for the high multi time and FSI instructing job to make the investment worth it.

I earned my CFI and went straight to work at another school last year. If I'd have waited to interview at FSI, and if hired, I would not have started work until March or April of this year.

Of course, the instructors who are flying at FSI get a lot of multi time and don't have to hunt for students...

It is a great school, and you will learn a lot. But for $20,000 extra dollars, you can do a lot of flying and training. Maybe even buy your own trainer to practice in.

If I was starting over, I'd do it at a less expensive school.

It's going to be a tough few years in the industry, I think...
Good Luck!
I agree with the previous posts, but I will add that the choice one might make will depend on personal variables. This is the thought process I went through as I picked my route.

I'm from up north where the FBO route would have taken me three or four times as long to complete. I was left with two options...

1. Hunt around the thousand other FBOs in better climates. This option would certainly be cheaper, but with some high risks. Its hard enough picking a major school that has many students to speak to and a history to track. If you pick school A and decide (after you have rented a house and moved to anew location) that its not your style, you are up the creek. Pick up move again and start adding to the cost and the time spent. I have also found that most FBO cant always accommodate flying 6-7 days a week. Aircraft and instructor schedules can be more prone to hold ups.

2. Option two is to pay a bunch extra at a big school for fairly good odds of getting a quality education, no aircraft access issues, some future job search and placement options, and possibly a resume boost. I have decided that I am paying for convenience and the ability to progress as quickly as I am able without delays. I also researched loans for both FBO's and Big schools. It appeared to be much easier to get a loan at a school like FSI. I am not sure how I would have paid for the FBO route (the loans I could find all had 2-3% higher interest rates).

If I had an FBO that I was 100% confident in (enough to feel safe moving myself and my wife away from home for a year) I probably would have gone that route. At best I was about 75% confident with the FBO's I was seeing and for me it was too much of a gamble. FSI has been great thus far (A few weeks away from finishing commercial/Inst./Multi) . I have had a great instructor and I have been 95% happy with the ground schools. I have never had a problem scheduling lessons and the aircraft are very well maintained. Also I am right on or possibly a little under budget and ahead of my schedule. I am certain I made the right choice for me.

I am an FSI instructor and also trained here. I really have enjoyed my time in VRB. Initially it was a shock being in VRB, because of the lack of "things to do" and women etc. But that is for those that like to other words, it is what you make of it. If thats all I have to complain about and I get to fly airplanes then I am happy. I am convinced this is the best civilian school out there, b/c the standards for students (set by our standardization as instructors) are high. The academics are good. The flight anywhere, there are instructors who don't take this job seriously, and learning can suffer. But the majority of instructors here are driven people who strive to work very hard for their students. And you the customer should expect and demand that. If you do, the resources are definitely here and I believe that you will get the best education that is available.