Do you want to get your private pilot certification? Whether you want to learn to fly your own plane or become a commercial pilot, your training usually starts with private pilot certification. There are many airports, flight schools, and instructors that can help you gain your private pilot license. The quality of your training can greatly impact your success as a pilot, your safety in the air, and how long it takes for you to become certified.
How do you choose the best instructor for you? You'll want to start by meeting with several options and finding those who align with your schedule. However, there are other considerations. Below are a few questions to ask a potential flight instructor:
How many planes do you have available and how many students do you teach? You'll likely take a tour of the school before you sign up for lessons. Look around and see how many planes are available. Also ask the trainer how many planes are available for student use and how many students are enrolled. If there are only one or two planes, but a high number of students, that could mean that there's limited availability for classes. If you can only get lessons sporadically, it may take longer than you'd like to get certified.
Also look at the condition of the planes. Obviously you can't fully inspect them, but simply look at basic cleanliness and the organization of the airport. If it looks unclean or disorganized, that could give you a hint into how well-maintained the planes are. If the school has a limited number of planes and one or two suffer a breakdown, that could further limit class availability.
What is the likelihood that you will take a pilot job in the next year? One of the biggest challenges in flight training is starting over with a new instructor. You usually have to spend one or two sessions catching them up on what you've learned. That can feel like wasted time and money. Ask your potential instructor about their plans and whether they may take a pilot job in the near future. They should be honest with you. Ideally, you want someone who is committed to teaching and isn't in the hiring pool for airlines or private pilot jobs.
How much ground instruction is included in each lesson? As a prospective pilot, you're probably excited to get up in the air. However, the ground instruction is equally important. With each lesson, your pilot should include a pre-flight and post-flight debrief. This is a time to go over what you've learned and where you need to improve. They should also assign homework and even computer-based learning. If your potential instructor minimizes the need for ground instruction, you may want to keep looking. Remember, your safety as a new pilot is the most important priority. Safety is often learned during ground instruction.
Ready to become a private pilot? Contact an airport or school in your area today, like CalAir Aviation, and schedule an appointment. They can give you a tour and answer your questions.