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Flight Instruction Red Flags


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#1 octagon

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 15:21

I'm at the very beginning of my flight training --- my first block of instruction will be this weekend. My goal is to fly professionally one day.

 

I decided to train for the PPL at a local airfield (I have the GI Bill but the part 141 schools that require two years of undergraduate college work seem like a bad deal for me, economically and in terms of my goals, since I wouldn't be able to realistically do that and my current job and it would take a lot longer to get licensed). After I have the PPL completed I figure I can look around at other schools for the next step in my training.

 

This place has a flight instructor who got his training at Hillsboro Aero Academy in Oregon, but there does not appear to be a chief instructor. I feel like I need to do my due diligence here given that there is no official management of curriculum, standards, etc. like there would be with a chief instructor.

 

So are there red flags a new student should watch out for? Am I overthinking this?


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#2 r22butters

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 22:00

Duct tape,..huge red flag! :)

Well after fifteen and a half years they finally went from saying "the pilot shortage is coming", to "the pilot shortage is here!"  Yep, 2018, year of the pilot shortage!  

 

,...didn't seem that big a shortage though?  In fact if you blinked, you'd of missed it,...me, I was out taking a wiz,...dammit!  :lol:


#3 WolftalonID

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 08:33

If there is no structure, there is no discipline. Run.
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Sometimes we think we know it all....only later to discover we only knew all we had learned. Never stop learning.

#4 johnnyb

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 21:21

I'm at the very beginning of my flight training --- my first block of instruction will be this weekend. My goal is to fly professionally one day.

 

I decided to train for the PPL at a local airfield (I have the GI Bill but the part 141 schools that require two years of undergraduate college work seem like a bad deal for me, economically and in terms of my goals, since I wouldn't be able to realistically do that and my current job and it would take a lot longer to get licensed). After I have the PPL completed I figure I can look around at other schools for the next step in my training.

 

This place has a flight instructor who got his training at Hillsboro Aero Academy in Oregon, but there does not appear to be a chief instructor. I feel like I need to do my due diligence here given that there is no official management of curriculum, standards, etc. like there would be with a chief instructor.

 

So are there red flags a new student should watch out for? Am I overthinking this?

 

What do you mean with "there is no official management". What does the official in that mean.

FAA official? Otherwise if not FAA then what determines it official?

No chief pilot does not necessarily mean no standards.

I worked for a flight school that did have a Chief Pilot.

I also worked for a flight school that did not have one.

The latter ended up being the better, because it had better instructors. Maybe the water was just better and it attracted great instructors. I successfully taught students there from different backgrounds, many who have ended up being instructors, or flying tours, HEMS etc.

You could end up at either, with bad instructors, or bad culture, or bad many things.

If you want / need structure and standards, then a Part 141 will at least provide an actual FAA approved syllabus. At least. Does that guarantee structure or standards? No. Because teaching is as much about the how it's taught as the what is being taught.

A part 61 school doesn't even have that. They make it up as they go along.

That's good and bad.

I've taught students under part 41 and 61. Sometimes one is good, sometimes the other is better.

I hate to say it, but it's all subjective, and ending up at a good school / with a good instructor is more luck than research. There are so many variables that come into play. It's just how it is.

Great for you in doing some research beforehand.

That Hillsboro instructor might be great, but that doesn't mean he/she is going to be great for you.

Go meet him/her, look around, talk to previous students, use your spidey-sense. See how you feel.

That, will trump research, but since you've already done some, I have a feeling you'll figure it out on your own.


"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back."

#5 V-any

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 23:12

JohnnyB's post is spot on.

 

A small school, or even a freelance instructor, can be great, or terrible. The lack of a formal organizational structure isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, there's probably greater variance in the quality of instruction you find at schools that meet that description. (Worse bad experiences, better good experiences.)

 

The bigger, more formal schools are more consistently mediocre, in my opinion. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There's certainly advantages to a known quantity.

 

So, it's really situation dependent. A great instructor can thrive in the environment you describe. A poor instructor in the same environment can cost you a lot of money, time, and get away with being less safe.

 

On a separate note, are you training in/near North Carolina?



#6 octagon

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 12:58

Thanks for the info, super helpful stuff. I may have been overthinking things, here. Probably because I'm looking forward and adding up the total costs and so on, making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.

 

I've had a few flights now with my instructor and so far it all seems to be working really well. I can tell that he doesn't just memorize things and recite---he explains the concept from different angles to make sure I get the idea. So far everything seems to be safe and well organized.

 

I got the helicopter flight training syllabus from the ASA and plan to check the boxes as I study the different modules.

 

... are you training in/near North Carolina?

 

Yep! I'm flying out of KLHZ (Triangle North Executive) in the Raliegh/Durham/Chapel Hill vicinity. Also fun, by the way, because they have skydivers and gliders operating out of that airport on the weekends.






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