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jdebrey
10-01-2018, 08:20 PM
Hi guys/gals,

I'm currently working on an degree in Aviation, and have a my Private pilots license. Over my training I thought of a couple of different ideas for a company. The first is focused on connecting pilots to each-other and would help you make new friends/people in your local area to fly with. The second is having a CFI/Flight school/airplane online review platform designed to be a resource for people who are looking to get into flying.

If you could please leave me a comment describing things that you could see working, along with things that would more difficult to make happen. In my opinion if this website had scale it could impact so many peoples training.

Thanks so much!

Connecting pilots to each-other
CFI review
Flight school review
Airplane review

Connecting Pilots

Create a platform where pilots can meet each other. Either for friendships, or to actually go out and fly with. Experienced pilots eager to meet new people within the community can create a profile with their experience and how often they fly. Safety is key with this, we don’t want to pair up two pilots with little flight experience and put them in an airplane together. This service would help cutdown flight cost and also give people opportunities to meet new friends. This also increases business at FBOs due to the price of flying cut in half with two people paying for it rather than solo. The more inexpensive it is to fly, the more people will be able to go out and do it.

CFI Review

An online platform that supports a fair and balanced way to review Certified flight instructors is key in this industry. There are to many CFI’s who do not get held accountable for being subpar to training standards. This concept gives the power to the Student pilots out there looking to spend A LOT of money on flight training. There are so many different factors that influence a person's training experience, but the person who teaches you could be considered the most important. By allowing an open platform that vets submissions of flight instructors it allows others seeking instruction to have an ability to pick their flight instructor based on fair and balanced reviews. Why would anyone want to train with someone who has a 1 out of 5 star rating. Just because the person has a flight instructor certificate does not mean they're good at instructing. There’s currently no online platform at scale that gives students an honest review of flight instructors, this has to be solved! One major key to this is being able to vet the review submitted, a CFI does not deserve to get a bad rating based on an extremely biased review where the student was in the wrong. This can be achieved with the right precautions.

Flight School reviews

Flight schools can do some shady things and take advantage of student pilots. Of course this is not the case for the vast majority of flight school’s, but there are some pretty bad schools students should avoid. It would be extremely beneficial for prospective students to have a frame of reference to what they're getting themselves into. In this section of the site we could also have precautionary things that are red flags. With these two things people could have a better frame of reference of the flight school they're looking to sign up with. The big takeaway is giving the prospective student some kind of reference before making a big decision of signing up for flight instruction with a particular school. There may be reviews on google, or Yelp about flight schools but to be honest that does not cut it for a review service. There needs to be a way that is structured specifically for flight schools to give them the best and most fair reviews possible.

Airplane reviews

The majority of General aviation occurs with people renting airplanes. How the hell is there no review service offered to pilots? It would be extremely beneficial to have 25 reviews to look at per aircraft of a flight schools fleet of say 5 aircraft. This allows pilots to see if other pilots see major problems with the aircraft like MX logs not being reported correctly, or things that make it a great plane. If the plane is not well kept by the flight school how will a pilot know this before getting into the aircraft and start preflighting it? This would also force the flight school to fix these problems in order to get the review from the platform changed. The plane could still be “airworthy” but just not well maintained in terms of interior/other minor discrepancies that other pilots wish they knew about before renting it.



These ideas are not impossible to execute, and honestly could change people’s experience in their flight training. We should be pushing instructors, and flight schools to be held accountable for the services they provide. This would reward flight schools who offer better planes, along with great instructors. I could see how people think of these ideas as “harsh” but to be completely honest when we are talking about people dropping 15K on a pilot's license they deserve the best training possible


JohnBurke
10-01-2018, 10:57 PM
I believe all those things currently exist, in droves.

Ecotone
10-02-2018, 05:42 AM
As someone who was in training all throughout this year for my IR and Commercial, and as a potential future CFI, I think this is a great idea. I was struggling to find qualified safety pilots to go fly and shoot approaches with and was actually thinking about building an app/website to make it easier for pilots to get together. Of course, just like you pointed out, safety concerns come to mind. There needs to be a way to vet a pilot's credentials (certificates/ratings held, airplanes flown, time in last x months, total time, home base, personal weather minimums, etc.).

As far as the review system, I also really think this is seriously lacking. Having reviews on flight schools is one thing, but we all know the quality of instruction is highly dependent upon the CFI. I wish there was a way for pilots to get some reassurance before committing to flight training with a particular instructor. This is something we do for any type of business these days, why not flight training? You have a great point regarding bad reviews for CFI, there needs to be a verification system before those actually go live on the website. The review from an angry student who just doesn't get along with his/her instructor would need special attention.

If something like this already exists then by all means share it with the rest of the community. In my experience, the best way to get a semi-decent feel for a flight school has been to use various sources such as APC, Reddit, Google search, Yelp, Google reviews, Facebook. And even then, it is hard to find quality/constructive general info on a flight school, let alone an instructor or an airplane.


rickair7777
10-02-2018, 06:23 AM
Yes, agree that while reviewing schools is one thing, reviewing individual instructors is problematic.

Unless the instructor is freelance, that's like zagat reviewing waitresses instead of restaurants.

Complication... the reviewers (students) in most cases want to get jobs as CFI's when they finish training. This creates a conflict of interest unless the reviewers are anonymous. But aviation is a small world, a typical CFI could probably guess who gave him a bad review... and could then anonymously retaliate when that student becomes a CFI.

Also... students are by definition not experts. There are certainly some CFI characteristics they are qualified to evaluate, but if a student didn't get signed off because he sucked, that's not the CFI's fault.

Apps like zagat (and ratings on amazon, uber, etc) work because there are a large numbers of raters, so any sour grapes reviews get lost in the statistical noise. CFI's typically only have a handful of students, so one bad apple who lashes out at the CFI could ruin that guys rep.

Ecotone
10-02-2018, 06:33 AM
Complication... the reviewers (students) in most cases want to get jobs as CFI's when they finish training. This creates a conflict of interest unless the reviewers are anonymous. But aviation is a small world, a typical CFI could probably guess who gave him a bad review... and could then anonymously retaliate when that student becomes a CFI.


Great point, I meant to mention this in my comment. Sadly, this is the main reason why I have been refraining from reviewing my flight schools and CFIs in the past. Admittedly, this is a bit selfish but aviation really is a small world, not only on the flying side but all throughout ops, engineering, etc.