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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! :)
Side boob is just so awesome,...yes it is!

#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.


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#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.



#7 Quizz25S

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 13:01

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.

I've been trying to find a school in the RDU area, I'm assuming they're not VA Approved (I know you can't use VA to get your PPL anyway)?  What's your opinion of them so far?  Do they have a website?



#8 iChris

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 13:58

It’s always good to do some due diligence. One way Is using a resource available to you at the FAA Link below:

 

http://av-info.faa.g...igneeSearch.asp

 

This search engine will list all the pilot examiners within a given FAA district. Select Pilot Examiner and the FAA office, Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), in the area you plan to attend training. Clicking search will bring you to a list of all the pilot examiners in that district along with location, contact phone number, and aircraft type.

 

Remember the FAA’s motto, “We’re Here to Help,” So select an Examiner, call and asked the question, I’m new in the area looking for some excellent Parts 61 or 141 helicopter training for may private pilot’s certificate, who’s the best?

 

You’ll also see an FAA office link in blue with the FSDO’s designator. That link will take you to the FSDO’s address and contact phone number. Ask for one of the helicopter inspectors, if not available, some of the airplane guys may be able to give you some good information also. Again, ask the question, I’m new in the area looking for some excellent Parts 61 or 141 helicopter training for may private pilot’s certificate, who’s the best?

 

They should have a fairly good feel on the quality of training provided by flight instructors and flight schools in their area.

 

If you’re unsure which district you’re in, use the locator link below, each FSDO link has a Service Area map with district borders:

 

Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) Locator


Edited by iChris, 12 September 2018 - 14:11.

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Regards,

Chris

#9 octagon

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:12

I've been trying to find a school in the RDU area, I'm assuming they're not VA Approved (I know you can't use VA to get your PPL anyway)?  What's your opinion of them so far?  Do they have a website?

 

Sorry, didn't see your question. Their website is https://www.totalflight.com/. They are in the process of getting approved for part 141, not sure the status of this as my current plan is to do part 61. I'm planning to use the GI Bill to pay for the commercial to CFII training.

 

So far I have been really enjoying it. I have no complaints. The helicopters seem to be well maintained and they have a mechanic with a ton of experience in charge of maintenance. I have had a good experience so far, although of course I don't have much to compare against.

 

I guess one slightly annoying thing about Triangle North is that there is a pretty busy skydiving business operating out of the airport, mostly Friday through Sunday. When the skydivers are operating (which is continuously when the weather is good) they kind of monopolize the airspace and helicopters are restricted to one half of the airport. That makes it difficult to practice autos and stuff like that. Not a huge issue, but maybe worth mentioning.



#10 octagon

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Posted 15 September 2018 - 08:16

iChris Thanks for that info, I'm definitely going to try this!






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