Ratings and the Academies

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
I am curious as to how many of you who attended the flight academies or flying universities had your PPL, other ratings, or some flying experience gathered before plunking down thousands of dollars on flight school.
 

JAM

New Member
I had a PPL and would suggest anyone have at least the same. Some advantages:

1) You have some "outside" experience, so not all your flying will have been "molded" by an academy. Variety of experience and environments is valuable.

2) You won't have to pay as much. If you get your PPL, etc. at an FBO, your sure to pay less than what the academy would charge for the same rating.

3) You may appreciate the academy courses more. Once I started training at an academy, I realized how much I WASN'T taught during my PPL training. The PPLs that learned at the academy had far superior knowledge to mine when I showed up. However, I had varied background experience and could catch up on the knowledge.

4) You'll have an idea of your desire to pursue flying further before plunking down a ton of $$$. Also, if you get a 1st class medical, you'll know then that you are medically eligible to pursue ATP-level flying in the future.

Having said this, I believe that most people would benefit from a full-time, structured instrument course. The fundamentals of instrument training will be the most important to get right. A concentrated course of study at a special program or academy may be best suited for this purpose.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
I had my private before I went to Riddle and about 70 or 80 hours I think.

Too long ago to remember!
 
G

Guest

Guest
I had about 15 hrs of instruction in a 152.

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a pilot. However, I knew other kids that said the same thing when they came to UND with zero time. They got about a quarter of the way done with their PPL training and decided it wasn't what they thought it would be, or that they didn't like being in a small airplane. Dropped out and had to move back to Washington, California, or wherever they were from.

I geuss my point is that if your going to throw down a ridiculous amount of cash for training you better make sure beforehand it's something that you feel you can do for the rest of your life.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
I had around 40 hours before I came to UND. The rest of my PPL training here sucked. It was absolutely no fun and it was expensive. But, everything since then has been fun and I would recommend that anyone going to an academy or university get some hours under their belt to see if it is for them.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
"The PPLs that learned at the academy had far superior knowledge to mine when I showed up. However, I had varied background experience and could catch up on the knowledge."

Honestly, how much of this "far superior (book) knowledge" is really important. How much of that crap do you REALLY need to know, anyway? I think you'll be surprized, someday, at how much you are forced to learn in the classroom is needless. On the other hand, take the interesting and diverse flight experiences that you can get at a small school....that's the kind of knowledge that makes a well rounded pilot.

Flame away but I've been flying light aircraft since 1979 and a CFI since 1981, ERAU grad, and have had chances to evaluate pilots from both types of backgrounds and that's what I think.
 

Bert

New Member
Ditto what JAM and lruppert said. I got my PPL and IR at an FBO...and am now at Westwind in Phoenix. Each place (and even each instructor) has their own way of teaching...and the more ways you learn things (as long as they're correct), the better I think you are.
 

piston

New Member
Bert,
How do you like Westwind?

I change my opinion every other day. Somedays I like it and others I can't stand it. Just curious to see what you think.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I am curious as to how many of you who attended the flight academies or flying universities had your PPL, other ratings, or some flying experience gathered before plunking down thousands of dollars on flight school.

[/ QUOTE ]

I had my private, was signed off for my instrument, and had 220 hrs. when I went to FSI.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
The great thing about FBOs is the variety of experience. I've flown at least a few hours with most of the FBOs in my area; flown with a lot of instructors and it's always fun to get some tips that may not have been thought of before.

Is this how it is at academies? Or do you only get to fly with one or two instructors throughout the course of training?
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
I was also zero time before showing up on Mazzei's door. However, I'd flown in small planes a lot for my business and knew that I loved it. Otherwise I'd have been a bit more cautious about diving in like I did.
 

piston

New Member
[ QUOTE ]


Is this how it is at academies? Or do you only get to fly with one or two instructors throughout the course of training?

[/ QUOTE ]


At Westwind we basically get a new instructor for every new rating or certificate. We can request a specific person if we want. If my instructor is not available on a particular day, he usually finds someone else for me. I have flown with about ten different instructors so far and have learned something from all of them, and they all do things differently(which I like). All of them have been really cool, except one, who I was hoping would jump out of the plane! If the student and instructor don't get along the student can simply request someone else.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
I started at MTSU ( in my junior year) with a private/instrument and about 275 hours - and a checkride away from my commercial. Did ALL of my flight training, to date, and FBO's.
 

RiddlePilot

New Member
I came into Riddle with all of 2 hours.


[ QUOTE ]
You have some "outside" experience, so not all your flying will have been "molded" by an academy. Variety of experience and environments is valuable.

[/ QUOTE ]

I take a bit of offense to that. Not everyone who goes to an academy or university has no "outside" experience. I do my best to get time in as many airplanes as I can, and my most challenging and rewarding flights have been conducted outside of Riddle.
 

Aviator737

New Member
Before heading off to flight school in a month or so, I'll have had 22.6 student pilot hours in a Piper Cherokee. I am glad I had at least that much time before plunging into an accelerated school. Primarily because on my first lesson / introductory flight I became horrendously nauseous after about ten minutes of summer sun and heat, and puked up five pounds of greasy bacon I'd had for breakfast.

Man, I went home devastated. My dreams were dashed, my desires utterly shattered ... I couldn't believe after having loved aviation since I was eight, and planning on the airlines as a career, that fate could just kick me squarely in the groin.

I was bummed.

But after the third time I went up, I was begging my instructor to go flying again.

Anyway, if that had happened in Florida, all the way across the country, where I'll be goin', I woulda been crying for my mommy.
 

JAM

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I take a bit of offense to that. Not everyone who goes to an academy or university has no "outside" experience. I do my best to get time in as many airplanes as I can, and my most challenging and rewarding flights have been conducted outside of Riddle.

[/ QUOTE ]

I did not mean to imply that people who did there training at an academy should be automatically categorized as having no outside experience. I was saying that "outside" or "varied" experience is a valuable asset. Whether you gain this experience before, during, or after your attendance at an academy/university, it is still a good thing in my view.
 

Aviator737

New Member
Montanapilot: I turned nineteen in December.

As for college experience, I don't have any. I'd been working at an FBO pretty much since I graduated high school. Unfortunately, that ship has since sunk, so I'm afloat and looking for shore. In fact, I see the Island of Flight School in the near-distance. (Okay, took that analogy way too far.)

As it stands right now, my plans are to attend an accelerated flight school. Ari-Ben is at the top of the list, by far. (Will be touring early next month.) Having completed my training at the school, I would go on to become an instructor, and during that period of time earn all or part of my college degree online, likely through UVSC, but possibly an online degree in a different field.

I've actually spoken to a guy who's curently attending the MHCC Pro Pilot program. To my surprise, he financed his room, board, college, and flight training costs for about $70,000. Not that much less than an academy, aside from the degree.

However, it kinda makes sense. When I looked online at the flight training (Eagle Flight Center), I estimated the FAA min. costs to be at about $33,000--for a zero-timer. Considering it's not accelerated, those costs could climb pretty quickly. (At PCC/Hillsboro it's a min. of $37,000.)

A zero-timer's cost at Ari-Ben is $31,000. While that's not "set in stone", like ATP, I understand that it's rare that that cost is less than or exceeds a $1,000 to the base price. The generous amount of time they allot you makes that possible.

To make a long story short, I estimate financing for the Ari-Ben flight training, living, and online degree to be at about $45,000, perhaps less if I get a non-aviation degree. In addition, one gets chock loads of multi-time, plus an almost guarenteed position as an instructor. Most of the few exceptions are those who've deliberately chosen to instruct elsewhere.

I'll stop now.
 
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