FSA or Ari-Ben?


New Member
I will be finishing up my private shortly and I want to pursue a career in aviation. I am 21 and I have a BA degree. Around 6 mo. ago, I toured the FL schools and I am making a decision between two schools- FSA and Ari-Ben. Ari-Ben offers 200hrs. multi time and all the tickets including MEI, CFI, CFII for $25,000. At ari-ben I will have the chance to instruct immediatly after I finish. FSA impressed me because it has excellent facilities, well maintained aircraft, and a structured training program. The cost of FSA is much higher and it appears that a student just coming into the program will not have a chance to instruct for possibly two years. Please help me with my decision. Will I be a better trained pilot if I go to FSA or Ari-Ben? Can I ever expect to instruct at FSA or would I have to hit the pavement and move again with my wife to find a CFI job? I need help, I need to learn from other people's expriences and opinions.
Two very different schools. Pick the one that you think will have the best environment for you to train in. I would not pick either based solely on instructing there afterwards. Though if this is critical to you then Ari-Ben might be a better option at the moment.
Personally, I think the practice of hiring students back into the school they attended is equivalent to inbreeding. But, we all need to eat, work, and find jobs. Many people on this site have the goal of flying for a living and making a reasonable amount of money. Being a CFI or a regional FO will not provide a comfortable living, but these jobs are flying jobs that will advance pilots towards their ultimate goals- flying and living well. Ari-Ben could advance me towards my ultimate goals more quickly- I would get more multi time and an opportunity to instruct. Specifically, what would I be missing by not attending FSA? (is there a tactical career advantage?) Are most FSA grads now aiming to instruct someplace other than FSA, and are they successful?
I will pass on one story I heard recently from a former student. He was in an interview for a CFI job at a part 61 school. (He has zero hours dual given)

The chief pilot laid a pile of 300 resumes on the desk and asked him "why do you think we are talking right now, when I have all these resumes?"

Answers was he had hired a bunch of FSI grads in the past and all had worked out well...for what it's worth.
One of my students just recently left here after getting his CFI ratings and found a job at home within several weeks of finishing. It depends on what you want to do. I have heard good things about Ari Ben, so if you think that it is the place to go, then go. I do not have much direct knowledge of Ari Ben, so I cannot argue pro/con, but I can give you some things to think about.

FSI cost alot, but is very standardized and most of the instructors have a high level of knowledge and skill. The campus is alot like a college with scheduled ground school classes, dorms, cafeteria, library, student advisor, etc. This all cost money to maintain and you will have to pay for it.

Ari Ben and other places can offer lower cost by not offering this level of service. You get so much multi-time because you will be flying as a safety pilot for half of the cross country time building phase of your training. Instead of paying around $120 hour for a Cadet, you are paying about $100 hr to split a Dutchess with another student. So you end up with more multi time, but don't get to fly as much. From what I have heard, you also do alot of the cross country flying at night and in the wee hours of the morning, so the aircraft will be available for dual lessons during the day.

Another thing to look at is what you are actually getting for your money. If you look at the initial CFI rating at FSI, it includes 1 month of groundschool and 25 hours of flying. So it cost alot, but you get what you pay for. Alot of places advertise "CFI and CFII" for half of what FSI charges for the initial CFI, but only include about 2 weeks of groundschool and 12 hours of flying.

Good luck where ever you go.