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Old 08-18-2008, 02:48 PM   #1  
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Default Flight School or Private Training


I am a Private Pilot currently working on my Instrument rating not through a Flight school. And I eventually want to get my CFI(I), Multi, and Commercial ratings to become "hirable". Honestly at this point I have no long term flying goal other than I just want to make a living flying (I don't necessarily want to go in the major airlines or anything). If I did have a goal it would probably be to fly corporately, because of the type of aircraft and the variety of flying locations.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My question is what are the pros and cons of going to a Flight School and getting my training privately?

And as a side question, anybody recommend any flight schools near/in Oregon for me?


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Old 08-18-2008, 06:39 PM   #2  
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Big name flight schools tend to be much more expensive. I would bet the general concesus is to get your training a local FBO/privately and save yourself the money. You'll need it when you finally do get your foot in the door. Nothing worse than making peanuts and having huge loans to pay back. Employers don't necessarily care where you did your training, just as long as it was quality training (which will be apparent in a well conducted interview).
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:39 PM   #3  
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Do you mean "privately" as in with a local instructor who owns an airplane? Or a small, privately based FBO type school? Please clarify what you mean. Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) are also called "flying schools" and many of them are privately owned. Perhaps you mean a large university, pilot mill such as AllATPs, or Embry Riddle, or UND. Not sure what you mean by flight school and by the term "privately".

But if you mean that you wonder how good larger schools are in comparison to say, an FBO in your home town or an individual working the same airport, then yes they can be fine but they are more likely to show inconsistency in their teaching than larger schools are. The advantage of larger schools is they have a more structured, standardized curriculum. Large schools often operate under FAR Part 141 rules which requires an approved curriculum. Many students benefit from the additional structure offered by a Part 141 school and are able to progress faster than with a small, Part 61 school. There is a more homogenous style of teaching at a large school. The advantage of a large school is mainly that your are not as likely to receive a substandard instructor.

Where I teach we have a standardized syllabus. We offer the student a chance to work with multiple instructors during their course of study, and we require them to use a different instructor than the usual one for all of their progress checks. We have a uniform, FAA-approved curriculum which produces good pilots that have flown with a variety of instructors.

However, if a smaller, private school or individual is known to be high quality or you have a strong desire to avoid a large school for some reason, then it may be advantageous to stay close to home and use the smaller school. The main advantage is in the convenience. Things being equal, I would prefer a Part 141 school over a smaller one like an FBO, unless I had some reason to think the small school has particularly good instructors. There are definitley some examples of the latter to be found, Kerschner's school and Herb Pello's school come to mind.

Last edited by Cubdriver; 08-19-2008 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:25 PM   #4  
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I disagree.

My thought is that most part 141 schools are using instructors that are low time. Many of them want a job at an airline or corporate and are "paying their dues" to build time. They can certainly follow a preplanned syllabus and basically verbalize the preset lesson plans. However, you'll often find more experienced instructors at the smaller schools that can actually give real world experience based instruction. The least experienced instructor that I ever flew with had over 4000 hours. This is in sharp contrast to the 400 hours CFIs at many part 141 schools.

Plus, the cost is less.

You'll hear differing opinions. Might want to check out both. Either way, if your goal is to get the rating, if you work hard, you'll win!

Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:56 PM   #5  
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My only point is the consistency of the 141 standardized curriculum. I agree with you that the chances of finding an above and beyond, so called "excellent instructor" are probably better at a Part 61 school. Just be ready to dump an instructor there if you get one that is not up to snuff. If you get a truly poor instructor there you are in trouble because there is not much help in terms of standardization and cross-instruction opportunities with other instructors.
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Old 08-24-2008, 05:03 PM   #6  
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I started out with Part 61 and ended with Part 141. I found the standardized cirriculum of the -141 to be more conducive to my way of training. You don't have to go to a pilot mill to find good -141 training. I trained out of a local FBO at the airport where I went to school. I didn't know it then - but looking back at the cirriculum now I see that it was very similar to the military training I later received - complete with *off-wing* check rides and progress checks with other instructors. Good stuff.

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Old 08-25-2008, 09:18 AM   #7  
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I've worked and trained both 61 and 141...

61 is usually better, but you will need to find a good, well-managed small school, or be prepared to aggressively manage your own training in the FBO environment. This will save you money.

141 has an inherent structure, but they usually use that as an excuse to charge more, especially since ex-military folks using the VA can afford it. Also the 141 structure is NOT flexible...unlike 61, you cannot focus your training where it's needed. You will end up wasting money repeating things you have already mastered because the syllabus says so, but if you need more work on some other skill you will pay out-of-pocket for training in excess of the syllabus.

141 advocates (and salesmen!) always brag about how 141 requires fewer flight hours for each rating. This is true, however...they usually charge enough that you end up paying about as much as you would for 61 training. Of course you grduate with fewer flight hours, which is a good thing, right?

WRONG! In case you hadn't noticed yet, pilots get hired based on experience, which means flight time! It's silly to pay more for less flight time. The ONLY things that matter in aviation are FAA certificates, flight hours (in REAL airplanes, not simulators), and who you know. The school you went to or the type of training is meaningless unless it is military.

Unless you are a VA student, I would not consider 141 unless you have a really good reason to do so, or you can independently verify that the school is a good one.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:05 AM   #8  
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The bottom line is that you need to find a good instructor. If you are looking for a guy who went to the big leagues and didn't like it or the guy who never left flight instruction, 61 is probably right for you. If you are looking for structure 141 is the way to go unless you are really self-motivated.

Rick, a couple of points of disagreement...
As far as repeating, I only needed to see my students demonstrate the performance required. If that took one time, great. But more often than not, students did not perform at the required level, so we had to work on those areas. There are some who try to milk the system, but that's true 61, 141, wherever.

At my school we charged equal or less compared to the FBO on the field. Maybe they were overcharging, but we tried to stay competitive. There are deals to be found, but you need to do the research and it depends on the area you live in or are willing to move to.
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