I have been a flight instructor since 1996. During the past sixteen plus years it has been my pleasure to facilitate the aeronautical knowledge and skill training of more than two hundred men and women.
What is it that makes some of us humans feel the need to fly?
Recent studies, conducted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), indicate the primary reason is the sheer thrill and enjoyment of flying and being in the air. This is closely followed by a feeling of accomplishment, pride and enhanced personal confidence. And lastly, the freedom and independence one achieves when they become a pilot.
While not all of us aspire to become professional pilots (those who earn their living flying aircraft), a significant number of us have great respect for those who have mastered the profession; and we willingly entrust them with our lives. Additionally, studies have shown that more than half of all adults have, at some point in their lives, been aware of a desire to pilot an airplane.
Now a question might come that, given this relatively widespread respect and admiration of aviators and the innate desire to fly, why are less than one in fifteen hundred of us pilots?
The answer to that question, I believe, is based primarily upon the flight instructor one selects to teach them how to fly. Would you be surprised to learn that eight out of ten people who start their flight training never finish?
Certainly, this fact is well known by those of us in the industry.
But how do we help those, who want to become pilots, find a professional flight instructor who is genuinely interested in students and their goal to earn pilot certifications?
One way might be to give the aspiring aviator a questionnaire to help profile the selection process of a professional flight instructor. These questions may include; does he/she: ask you about why you want to fly; show a genuine interest in you and what you plan to do as an aviator; give you the big picture of what it takes to become a pilot (both in tasks to be performed and costs to be incurred); provide you with a resume of his/her qualifications and a track record of their students success; provide you with an example of lesson plans to be followed; give you a comprehensive list and explanation of tools and equipment that you will eventually require; invite you to inspect his/her tools and equipment and to compare the way they train versus that of other area flight schools; make you feel a part, in fact the most important part, of the flight training experience; introduce you to other individuals (students, instructors, pilots, management, examiners, etc.) in the local aviation community.
If a majority of the above items aren’t addressed by the potential flight instructor, you may be making a mistake in selecting that instructor. In the final analysis, you must be convinced that you can communicate with that instructor and that he or she is genuinely concerned and dedicated to your success.
John B. Brown, CFI/CEO
Flying Start Aero, LLC
1151 Airport Road, Ste. 1
Minden, NV 89423