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Old 09-21-2015, 12:03 PM   #1  
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Joined APC: Sep 2015
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Default Looking for advice on Bay Area flight schools

I'm looking for PPL through ATP training and live next door to SQL. I know the general advice for new pilots considering a commercial career is to get your PPL and then see how you feel, and I'll probably do a re-evaluation of my plans after both the discovery/intro flight (is there a difference between these two btw?) and getting PPL, though I feel like starting on my PPL is a stronger point of no return than after I finish it, due to the investment involved.

Anyways, Bel-Air offers everything I'm looking for training wise and very conveniently located, but I've also heard some bad things about it and it's owner (who is still there), mostly from searching this forum, though those posts are all at least 3-5+ years old. Assuming I intend on pursuing this full-time and moving onto a regional or other commercial job ASAP, is Bel-Air still a reasonable choice? What alternative flight schools (or combinations of flight schools) are good for getting training though to ATP? My main concern is pricing and getting certified in a reasonably quick amount of time, but instruction quality and not having my aircraft fall apart mid-flight or on landing are important too.

Also a couple other random questions I had:

With a lot of rain and bad weather expected to hit the area this winter, should I wait until spring to start training?

What sort of 'not operating the plane' work does a pilot generally have to do and how much time does this take up?
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:36 PM   #2  
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Joined APC: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,487

At this stage, you are probably wasting energy trying to figure out how to go from zero to ATP. So much can happen in that span of time. You might realize flying a plane is not for you, you could run out of money, you could have a bad instructor, you might not like the book work, it might be difficult for you to schedule lessons do to plane/instructor availability, and most commonly, by the time you are ready to apply for jobs, the industry can be in another downturn.

Step one, take an intro flight (same as a discovery flight). After that, actually go to some flight schools in the area, look at their planes, talk with a few instructors, and find a place that meets your goals. A good CFI can save you a lot of time, money, and stress, but it can be hard for students to evaluate an instructor when they themselves are just starting.

As far as worrying about the "Bay Area winter" I learned in New England and flew all year round, so I think you will be fine.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:04 PM   #3  
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Default Napa

Anybody know anything about IATA in Napa?

Is it a decent school?
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