FSI and FAA minimums


Well-Known Member
When I visited FSI last week, I inquired about the fact that FSI's price is based on FAA minimums. I was told that most students keep pretty close to that. Any current/past FSI students care to comment on the validity of that?

The prices are based on minimums....so if you need extra lessons it costs you more. I would say the average student goes over 2-4 flt hours per step...an extra lesson or two. I needed that as a student, and my students have done about the same. Its just very hard to do it in syllabus time, thats all. There are ways you can cut it down...I have had students do lessons again because they didn't prepare hard at all, and just were not ready. That only costs them money. Those that were better prepared definitely saved money. I would say thats the biggest reason for students spending extra. Other factors include flying ability (most people are good enough, a few really struggle), your instructor, your willingness to fly 5-6 times a week (those that fly nearly everyday do better then those who fly 3 times a week). So...a lot of it is the student....if you work hard, it will save you money. But expect to pay at least a little extra no matter how hard you prepare.
I came in under budget for everything (step 2 through single engine add) so far and know several other students who were either right at budget or just a little under. The key is brief time time. There is a lot of brief time built into the whole program and for many of the lessons you dont really need to use all of the sceduled time. Partially it depends on your instructor, but you can do quite a bit to reduce brief time. Have all flight planning 100% complete and completely review each of the subjects that are part of the lesson. If you are well prepared for each lesson you will not usually use up all of the scheduled brief time built into each lesson. I tried to approach each lesson as though I had to brief my instructor on the lesson.

I would think the biggest reason for going over from the flying portion would be the instrument/multi portion of the program. A couple of lesson repeats will really hurt at $250 an hour. Lots of MSFS to grasp new concepts and chair fly (even better gemini) so your procedures are second nature before you even fly the lesson. I would have been even more in the black on my budget, but I had to repeat a lesson during the instrument portion.

It is possible to stay on budget (or very close to) you just have to be pretty aggresive with each lesson through out the entire program.
I also finished right on budget. I agree that brief time was that allowed that. Through the program I think I took maybe two extra flights but also keep in mind that you could do no extra flights but come out over budget if you don't watch the individual lesson times...If the lesson says "3 hour Cross Country Dual," then don't plan a trip to Savanahh. Go to the lessons prepared! If you show up well prepared then the brief times should be relatively low. Keep track of your times within the silabus and you'll see where you stand (financially) throughout your training.
How receptive are the instructors to this reduced brief time? Do they pressure you to use more brief time? After all, this is one way they get paid. My first CFI (not at FSI, at an FBO) was like that, he insisted upon 0.5 of ground instruction for every lesson, regardless of my preparedness.

On a larger scale, how much choice do I have in who is my instructor? I understand it is common to keep the same CFI through the program, and I want to ensure I am with someone I can really work with.
Everyone that I have had lessons with has done their best to cover what needs to get covered in a brief (and do it well) and get out the door as soon as possible. I have not encountered anyone trying to stretch out a brief. If anything the instructors I have had tend to bill for less time than was really spent during the brief or debrief.

You can request you instructor if you have a person in mind. The chances are if you are just arriving you wont know anyone to request. However if you are assigned an instructor and you feel its a bad match there is zero problem with switching. In my opinion the school does a pretty good job of taking care of the "customer" in this respect.
If the lessons are all standardized, and all the intructors are on the same page, how often does it happen that thier is a problem with a student and his instructor, is this mostly a personality issue, and what does that do the the CFI's career and reputation.?

Best Regards,
how do you get charged at FSI for flight time and brief time?? i know over here at Panam we get charged for the hourly on the plane and then like 1.4 per hour gets automatically charged for brief/instruction time. do you get charged straight instruction time per hour of flight, and then have the option of taking that brief time??

Sorry man, but I'm no position to give an answer yet, maybe TG123, Chunk or some one else who's current, can help out.

Best Regards,
At FSI you get charged for the plane time which includes the instructor (so if you have 1.5 on the hobbs you'll get charged a rate which has the plane and instructor together). Then the instructor will charge a separate brief time (same rate as he charged in the combined rate above).
Brief time and instruction time in the a/c is $55 per hour. While on a dual flight, the $55 per hour for instruction is included in the rental and thus goes by hobbs time. For example, the Cadet costs $93 per hour to rent solo, but with an instructor it costs $148 per hour (55 + 93). Then the instruction adds whatever brief time was accomplished on the ground as a separate bill for $55 per hour.
I would personally add about 10-15% to the quoted price. This would account for ATC and weather delays, unsat lessons, etc.