Visit To The Aviator


New Member
Well I'm back from Florida after making a tour of the area and traveling from Orlando to Stuart, but spending most of my time between Vero and Ft. Pierce.

Through many month's of investigation via websites, talking to pilots and largely all the flight school forums here at JC, I narrowed my search down to Flight Safety Vero and Ari Ben Aviator. After visiting both, my choice was the Aviator.

It has been a much debated subject here on the forums, which "school is better", what is "better", a FBO, large academy or flight school etc. We all have our opinions, needs and goals, and comparing which school is better is like saying what is better, an apple or pear? (I like pears better!) It mostly boils down to what works better for yourself. Sometimes concessions have to be made also, which factor into the decision process.

I had mostly narrowed my search down to FSA due to most of the usual reasons. They are absolutly a top notch, professional machine with all the bells and whistles. In spite of that I felt that the Aviator could help me accomplish my goals equally as well, for thousands of dollars less.

Here are the highlights: the instructors at the Aviator I felt were professional in appearance, attitude and demeanor. I talked with many during my two day visit and was satisfied with everything I saw in them. They sent me up on two flights with a different student and instructor each time for me to observe the training/instruction and I was glad to see that the students were being well trained and the CFI's were knowledgable and professional. They were eager to help and advise the student throughout the flight. They have several single engine aircraft, but the core of the training is with the very capable Beech Dutchess. They have eight of those and all the students that I talked to all said they rarely had to reschedule due to maintainence squawks. There were of course as with any fleet occasional minor squawks but all were taken care of quickly. I spoke with the Director of Operations for a hour or so(I'm trying to remember the blokes name,tip of the tongue) and he showed me the facility, the maintainance hanger, the aircraft also and was welcome to hang with him while (JULIAN! his name!) while he discussed some issues with some mechanics about a new engine in one of the twins. He was very helpful.

I also sat down with the owner of the Aviator, Mike Cohen, and we disscused my plans and goals, what the school can provide for me etc. and was pleased with that meeting as well. Mike is a honest straight shooter kind of man, I liked him straightaway. I also met Ari, as in Ari Ben, and we talked for a while and he showed me around was very accomodating to all my requests and questions. He called up a hotel for me and set up a discounted rate at a decent place. He also listened to my input about something on their website and made the change right away to the new site that is being developed. And if all that wasn't enough, he personally drove me around in his car to show me some of the houses for students. Very nice houses inside and out. I believe he said there was twenty something of them, Don't quote me on that. Not important.

They allowed me to just hang out and be a airport rat for the two days I visited them to talked to staff and students. I also met with the lovely and helpful TJ who works in the office handling admissions and all. I had talked with her several times on the phone before coming down, so it was nice to meet with her. She was even nice enough to set me up with two volumes of their in house Dutchess training manuels to take home to pre-study(this bad habit I have!). I just asked if she had alittle something I could look at to get some numbers on the aircraft, and she went and gave me those. Above and beyond what I was asking for. Now I will be prepared ahead of the game as soon as I arrive. All in all, everyone was helpful and friendly and I left with a good feeling of the program as a whole.

On the negitive side, the aircraft are a little older(late 70's) and a little worn in the interior, carpets etc. Not all the comm/navs are digital like I'm used to, but they work and do the trick which is the important part. Most have storm scopes, which I would trade any day over a GPS if given the choice. One of the twins has GPS but you are trained properly from the getgo to navigate by conventional means, as you should be. They all have RMI's(as well as VOR) which is a real treat for me because I have only used VOR's in real world. RMI's I have learned how to use in MS sims only, so now I get to use a RMI and VOR too.

Seems as though I've said a bit but some have asked as to what anyone thought of the school so there you go. All your textbooks, the Jepp flight bag with books is included in the cost. They even throw in view limiting foggles too. There may be more, but you can't beat the whole package with a stick. Great bang for your buck.

One more thing, the student I went up with for my first ride was none other than fellow JC'er Bwalker. He spoke well of the whole package also and is very pleased with everything. He has his multi and is just starting his IFR training. He was competent and performed well on the ground and in the air. Way to turn to and hold a heading Bwalker!

So... that ought to be enough for now, if anyone has any questions for me, feel free to ask. I'll driving down from Oregon the first week in Jan. to start. And so the adventure begins...

Blue Skies
I found the same thing on my visit to the Aviator a couple of months ago. I was not fortunate enough to visit on a weekday but I did have a wonderful trip and was able to sit and bend Jillian's ear for almost 3 hours on an early sunday morning. Once again I would like to thank him for coming out on his day off to spend time with me.

I'm moving from Cincinnati, Ohio and starting with zero time on the 4th of december. I'm super excited to get my career change plans started (I'm a 13 year engineer right now).

MrSkyKingRon. Thanks for the detail of your trip. It was good to see. I'm interested in meeting you. I have a super close friend in Portland and every time I go visit her I have a great time because the people out there are so nice and laid back. It's a wondeful city. And... so close to Hood for good skiing.

I'll see you all there in a few weeks.

Thanks for the reply back, it's always good to get feedback.

All attending there and all that have attended were happy with their experience. Did you see the wall full of testimomials from those who have moved on to commerecial operations?

I'm looking forward to the major change also with a 30 year career in electronics. Much of aviation is technical and involves math etc. so in most respects I'm still involved in a similiar field.

Yes, Portland is a very friendly place, which was a culture shock to me at first coming from being born and raised in NYC. But I was equally surprised at the friendliness of all the people I met in the five days of visit. I expected more of a east coast NY type offhandednish, but found the opposite to be true. I will love the time I will spend in Fla. in spite of the heat.

I have a new friend I met here at JC that is from Portland also, that is also considering the Aviator. He's Montanapilot, a cool guy and good pilot. We went up in my club Cherokee PA-28-180 for a round of flying and lunch across Oregon. He is just about done with his PPL training and will have his ticket any day. I will certainly recommend the Aviator to him.

I look forward to meeting you also, our time at the Aviator will be busy but fun filled.

Blue Skies,
I did notice the letters all over the place. There were what seemed like hundreds of them. I have to admit. That was nice to see.

Hopefully I'll be well on my way to my PPL when you get here. Like I said. I'm starting with no time at all so everything will be nice and new to me.

See ya soon,
Yep, lots of letters of commendation, just a piece of the overall picture as to the quality and competency of the school as a whole.

You'll be just about done with your PPL by the time I arrive. I probably won't start training until the second week of Jan. just to give myself time to get squared away with the move in etc.

Starting your first training in aviation is an exciting journey, one that will be filled with many moments of satisfaction and gratification, spotted with a few moments of frustration. Things like getting a feel for aircraft control, maintaining altidude and heading, mixing various aspects of control and navigation and communication together will feel a bit like walking, chewing gum and spinning plates on a pole at times, but practice-practice-practice will bring all your efforts to a succesful conclusion. Strive for proficiency at all times, one mark of a good pilot. And listen to what your instructor tells you, and put trust in him and do as he says, you'll be glad you did. I've been flying privately for just about three years now, and still on almost every flight at some point I hear him talking to me and guiding me along, it is a bond that will last forever I suspect.

Have fun also in your training and your time there,
See 'ya soon,
Hey there MrSkyKingRon. It seems you haven't posted anything on JC for a while. I just wanted to ask you how your time at the Aviator has been if your around to reply. Did you actually end up there? If so, is everything up to the standards you thought they were when you first visited the school? Are you on schedule to complete your training within the quoted costs? Any problems? It would be great to hear an update!