Joined: Aug 07, 2010 Posts: 19 Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire
Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:28 am Post subject: Questions to ask a flight school.
Ok well thought i would make a new topic.
I am going to meet with the CFI of a local school today, and am wondering what sort of things i should ask him. I already have a few things thanks to Sarah and her first email to me a few weeks ago. Here goes, and if anyone has anything to add please let me know as i am going to meet him later today......
In no order, just as they come to my head...
1. Can you help with the VAT registration?
2. Can you provide/help with the career development loan?
3. career prospects at the end of the FI course.
4. Any charter work/positioning flights etc to help with hour building?
5. reputation/reliability etc
6. ....any other important/optional questions that should be asked, by anyone in any flight school, not just me?
I would hope this list would become fairly comprehensive and will help anyone who comes accross it in the choice of their prospective flight school
Thanks again guys and gals... _________________ Thanks for your help, Tony
Points 3 & 4 are valid, but take the CFI's answer 'realistically' - even if he's a goodun (and he probably is), he's hardly likely to say "There will be no work for you whatsoever!". Look how many instructors they have; see how many did all their training there...... and then a little later ask what the turnover of instructors is - if they train 15 commerical pilots / instructors a year, you can bet your bottom dollar they don't lose them all out to industry in a year.
Reputation is something better evaluated externally - I'm always wary of anybody/company that actively blows their own trumpet..... they're usually the ones who let you down.
Only thing I would add to your list - ask for a full cost breakdown, including all sundries & extras (landing fees, fuel costs/supplements, ground-school charges, etc) - get it all written down, and explain that you need to be able to budget properly and don't want any hidden costs creeping up on you!!! Obviously they can't predict how many hours, or circuits, or landings you will take to complete the course, but at least you will be able to get an idea of cost as you go along.
Meet with the owner/president, look the facilities over, look the aircraft over, get at least the following information:
Rate Sheets broken down by Dual Instruction, Solo, and Rental rates
How is time charged? Is it from the time you walk in the door, or when the helicopter is started or what?
Insurance information: does the underwriter waive subrogation against students and renters, if so, is there a deductable the student is responsible for, if not, does the school have any pointers toward renter insurance.
How many instructors are there broken down by full time versus part time
What is the average experience of the instructors?
How many helicopters are there (of the kind you would be training in)
Who does the maintenance on the school helicopters (i.e their own mechanic, or an outside mechanic. If outside, who is it?)
How many hours will it take to get the rating? How much will that cost? Is the quote FAA minimums, or is it based on actual, typical students?
Do you have to put any money down in advance?
Do you get a bonus for block payments, and if so, how much?
The names and phone numbers of two recent graduates, and two currently enrolled students that are willing to act as references
Is the school FAA Part 141 approved, and if not do they have a syllabus? Can you have a copy of the syllabus?
Who would be conducting the check ride?
Does the school have a regular ground school, how much does it cost, and what is the cost of materials you are going to be responsible for (textbooks, plotters, etc).
Does the school supply headsets, or will you have to supply your own (good headsets cost between $300 to $1,000, so this is not an insignificant cost) If you have to buy one, my recomendation is a David Clark, although some people will argue toward a cheap headset. Warning - helicopter headsets are different than airplane headsets. You want a helicopter headset, not an airplane headset with an adapter cable
What is the pass/fail ratio for the school?
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