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Pitfalls of new start up

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I am thinking of starting a flight school. I know many of you have done it and done it well. I know there is a lot more to it then most would think. My question here however is what were some of the biggest pitfalls or road blocks you encountered along the way that should/could have been taken care of at the beginning?


Thanks in advance for any advice you may have; even the negative comments I can only imagine I may get.

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Everyone thinks they can operate cheaper than the other guy. It just doesn't work out if you come in and cut prices to bring in students/customers. Aviation is just to expensive to charge the minimum and expect to make a living. Best of luck with your adventure.

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I started mine at the biggest international airport in our country, (early 90s) because nobody else had done it.


Most of the obstacles were "why would you put it there?" type, but the catchment area was big, the cash-filled demographics were there, and the other obstacles of transit time to training areas were cleared by getting new areas declared.


The things that caused us to shut the school some years later were:

R22 insurance rates, which jumped from $7000 in the first year to $40,000+ 3 years later (due to all the crashes overseas)

The expansion of the airport, which plonked a new runway just behind us and put the flight paths straight over the heliport

Increased air and ground traffic stopped us using the airfield itself for hover and low-level circuits,


Expansion of our own business meant that the instructors were needed for higher-revenue work in other GA operations.

But I am proud that we were the only school to ever have launched solo nav students from that airfield into the heavy ATC environment. These days, helicopter training flights are not even allowed to go there at all, it is just too busy.

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