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Types of Pilot Schools & Choosing a Pilot School

Types of Pilot Schools

Most airports have pilot training available, either by flying schools or individual flight instructors. A school will usually provide a wide variety of training aids, special facilities, and greater flexibility in scheduling. A number of colleges and universities also provide pilot training as a part of their curricula.

There are two types of schools. One is normally referred to as an "FAA-approved school" and the other as a "non-approved school."

Enrollment in an FAA-approved school usually ensures a high quality of training. FAA-approved schools meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula. However, many excellent pilot schools find it impractical to qualify for the FAA certification, and are referred to as non-approved schools.

One of the differences between FAA-approved schools and non-approved schools is that fewer flight hours are required to qualify for a pilot certificate in an FAA-approved school. The requirement for a private pilot certificate is 40 hours in a non-approved school, and 35 hours in an approved school. However, since most people require 60 to 75 hours of training, this difference may be insignificant for a private pilot certificate.

Choosing a Pilot School

You must make your own decision on where to obtain flight training. Once you have decided on a general location, you might want to make a checklist of things to look for in a school. By talking to pilots and reading articles in flight magazines, you can make your checklist and evaluate a school. Your choice of a flight school might depend on whether you are planning on obtaining a recreational or private certificate or whether you intend to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Another consideration is whether you will train part-time or full-time.

Do not make the mistake of making your determination based on financial concerns alone. The quality of training you receive is very important. Prior to making a final decision, visit the school you are considering and talk with management, instructors, and students. Evaluate the items on the checklist you developed and then take some time to think things over before making your decision.

After you have decided where you will learn to fly and have made the necessary arrangements, you are ready to start your training. An important fact: ground and flight training should be obtained as regularly and frequently as possible. This assures maximum retention of instruction and the achievement of proficiency with the least expenditure of time and money.

General Structure of Certification

A pilot is certificated to fly aircraft at one or more named privilege levels and, at each privilege level, rated to fly aircraft of specific categories. Privilege levels of pilot certificates are, in order of increasing privilege:

  • Student Pilot: an individual who is learning to fly under the tutelage of a flight instructor and who is permitted to fly alone under specific, limited circumstances
  • Sport Pilot: an individual who is authorized to fly only Light-sport Aircraft
  • Recreational Pilot: an individual who may fly aircraft of up to 180 horsepower (130 kW) and 4 seats in the daytime for pleasure only
  • Private Pilot: an individual who may fly for pleasure or personal business, generally without accepting compensation
  • Commercial Pilot: an individual who may, with some restrictions, fly for compensation or hire
  • Airline Transport Pilot (often called ATP): an individual authorized to act as pilot in command for a scheduled airline

Other Certificates and Ratings

  • A flight instructor certificate authorizes the holder to give training and endorsement for a certificate, and perform a flight review.
  • An instrument rating is required to fly under instrument flight rules. Instrument ratings are issued for a specific category of aircraft; a pilot certified to fly an airplane under IFR has an Instrument Airplane rating.
  • An instrument instructor rating authorizes a certified flight instructor to give training and endorsement for an instrument rating.
  • A multi-engine rating is required to fly an airplane with more than one engine. It is the most common example of a class rating.
  • A multi-engine instructor rating authorizes a certified flight instructor to give training and endorsement for a multi-engine rating.

For More Information Regarding Pilot Training, please contact:

 


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