What Flight schools in the SoCal Area should I look into???


Well-Known Member
I posted this in the "FBO" section of your forum, but I got no answers. I also posted this on "airliners.net" and they told me to come here....

I'm looking to get my Private Pilot License while I'm attending college. I want to get a jump on my hours and certs before I go to a Flight Academy after I graduate in 2 and a half years to get training to become an airline pilot.

So all I'm asking if you guys have heard of a flight school in SoCal that has a pretty good reputation? Or one that you have an experience in or someone you know does?
I'm not sure where to start. I've been calling local schools but they all say they are the best. Not sure what I should be asking to see if it’s a school for me.

Oh I forgot to ask....... I've seen schools that dont require a flight test....they say that they have been certified by FAA...so that if you just finish their program then you are exempt or something like that.....First of all Am I interpeting this right?.. And is this a good thing?.. Are these flight schools better than others?

You'll have to take a checkride one way or another. Some schools offer designated examiners on their staff, while a very few have examination authority (ERAU had this when I was there, I'm not aware of any FBO's in SoCal that have it, though.)

Don't choose a school because they offer you an easy way out, however. If you choose to make this a career, you will be taking checkrides every 6-12 months for the rest of your working life. You might as well start getting used to it. Additionally, as a former academy-style school instructor, I can tell you that anyone who is poorly prepared will have a very difficult time in a fast-paced program. Don't waste your time and money. Prepare yourself thoroughly, don't look for short-cuts.

There are a number of good flight schools in SoCal. I'm sure the KSNA-based guys will give you some insight into OCFC and Sunrise, etc.

Aviation Facilities, Inc. at Fullerton has been in business for over 30 years under the same management. They provide a quality product. Check out their website: http://www.flyafi.com/ Whatever you choose, try out a few different schools. Tour them, ask them questions like:
1. Who performs their maintenance?
2. How is the training structured? (141, 61, ?)
3. Do they have their own groundschools? (Groundschool by video/book is a poor way to start, IMHO.)
4. What is a realistic total cost for the private?

Remember that you are a customer. Make sure they are a good fit for you. Also, don't make cost the only factor initially. Getting your private cheaply may force you to spend more later to 'unlearn' bad habits. This is an investment in your future.
Thanks Bluto for the great info.... I'm planning to take a tour of flights schools in the up-coming week. I'm going to check out American Flyers at Santa Monica airport, M.B. Airways at van Nuys airport, and AFI at Fullerton; and see which one fits me the best... All seem like reputable schools. I was thinking of even doing my training up at Camarillo airport if I can complete my training for PPL by the end of the year...They have SkyBlue air and Channel Islands aviation. I live up in Thousand Oaks at the moment....But next year I'm going to live in Anaheim to finish up my schooling at Biola Christian University.

Thanks again. Hopefully more will chime in and give their recommendations and experiences.
There are many good flight schools in Socal, what exact area are you look for? I would definately go somewhere close to the coast (rather then inland) just because of the coastal breeze.
I would speak to SkyGuyEd a forum member. He is just about to get his CFI and will probably be freelancing out of Long Beach. He is a great guy, and will certainly make a great instructor. It will also cost less the one of the big names then American Flyer.
Any Area in socal pretty much..I'm willing to drive to get the best training that I can.... I live in Ventura County... just outside of LA county... I live on the north side edge of the valley about 45 minutes away from LAX.
I would speak to SkyGuyEd a forum member. He is just about to get his CFI and will probably be freelancing out of Long Beach. He is a great guy, and will certainly make a great instructor.

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Awwwww thanks!

Of course I'd be more than happy to teach you, but it dosen't sound like I'll be able to get the CFI done in the time frame you're looking for (I'll have it within 3 months).

That said, when you do move to Anaheim we'll almost be neighbors; be sure to give me a ring.

For the short term, the single most important factor in your progress (besides your own effort) is finding a good instructor. Schools are only important with respect to keeping the planes in good order. Beyond that, it's you and your instructor; 141/61 doesn't make a bit of difference.
"Beyond that, it's you and your instructor; 141/61 doesn't make a bit of difference."

I agree, and at the same time, I disagree. 141/61 can make a big difference. Not necessarily in the quality of training, but in the attention to detail the school places on your training. 141 schools must keep detailed records of your training. Some part 61 schools are very good at this, too. While some 141 schools do a poor job. However, the 141 schools have to answer to the FAA (regular audits of training records, inspections, etc.). A 141 school that is well-established has had to prove their quality to the FAA on a regular basis. I've seen a good number of fly-by-night part 61 schools who are only too eager to make wild promises about quick turnaround and low prices only to be out of business a short time later. The bottom line is this, wherever you go, take a hard look at the school. Talk to current students if you can (find them in the parking lot) talk to one of the instructors outside of the bosses earshot. I've instructed a number of schools from the large academy to the 3 Cessna FBO. The common theme is this: know what you are getting into before you hand over a check.