View Full Version : Any recommendations on flight schools in USA?
8th May 2012, 01:32
I live in the UK and was contemplating on taking my PPL overin the States to save a bit of money, after scouring the web i came across'Euro American School of Aviation' in Ormond Beach FL, they caught my eye as they appeared to be cheap, however, after reading a few of the posts on this site I've become somewhat discouraged;
Websites can be very deceiving so I was hoping... throughsome of the experience you all have obtained to refer a few aviation schools tome, i am very flexible on location.
My aim is to obtain my PPL and pursue routes to becoming an 'instructor',any advice anyone can offer would be of great help.
8th May 2012, 07:55
For what it's worth, I went to Florida to a different PPL school back 8 years ago. I was also attracted by their website and prices.
1) You cannot inconspicuously drop in unannounced and get a feel for the place, inspect aircraft, speak to students, enjoy a tea/coffee while taking everything in, maybe have a chat with "receptionist". Starting a casual conversation with an employee usually gets them chatting away, good and bad.
Within 90 miles of where you live, you can.... GO SPY!!!!!!
2) The quoted prices will not include everything. My rooming was meant to be included, but wasn't. An extra £15/hour for insurance nobody told me about. Groundschool not included. Total lack of instructor availability. Didn't work weekend! (Yes...) Course had to be paid in full before I could meet my instructor. Sat there for a week before I could even start due to chief pilot being away. Examiner wasn't available for 2 weeks after I was ready to test. Had to sit around a hotel at $60/night (£40). Eat shitty greasy food. Had to purchase another ticket home eventually at last minute once I was complete. £600.... Cheap you reckon??? No
Countless people like me have tried to warn people about the pitfalls of flying 4000 miles to get a cheap PPL. If you do it, do it, but please take the rose tinted glasses off. You ultimate savings will be negligible, especially with weak pound.
Extra hotel nights 42 x £40 = £1680
Insurance 50 x £15 = £750
Extra Virgin Flight = £600
8th May 2012, 12:46
The first question is: are you or can you be a legal US resident? You say you live in the UK, sort of implies not being a UK citizen.
1) if US citizen/resident then you can go to any school in the US
2) not legal US resident: you can only go to SEVIS approved schools, which, alas, limits your choice severely.
On the whole I'd say go to the US - not necessarily much cheaper, but a lot nicer and you'll learn more (night, real-world navigation, flying in CAS, etc).
8th May 2012, 14:18
I found Cirrus Aviation in Sarasota to be excellent. Nayda the owner is very friendly and helpful, they have their own maintenance for their fleet of 6 or so aircraft, and the instructors are great. I did my CPL and IR with them and was extremely happy.
Cirrus Aviation is a FAA approved flight school that offers flight training in sunny South West Florida (http://www.cirrusaviation.com)
9th May 2012, 06:11
FAA IR??? + JAA /EASA Conversion???
That won't be saving this individual any money....
9th May 2012, 09:33
OP didn't say whether they wanted FAA or JAA training, and it is common to get an FAA PPL and convert it. It gives you many times greater choice of schools. He doesn't seem to want an IR, so I don't think that's relevant; but you can't do a full JAA IR in the US anyway.
I got my JAA PPL at a school in Florida, but have since found that going FAA gives you the choice of some much more pleasant flight schools. They are quality, local outfits; not the big JAA sausage factories.
Is it really that bad? I am leaving for Florida to join EASA in a few weeks to do PPL and 100 hours. For me it was already clear I should be prepared to take the exams without ground school. That's also in the enrollement instructions: (Buy the study pack to fully prepare yourself prior to coming to Florida)
What can you say about the flight instructions? Are there enough planes for the amount of students? Also for the hour building? Is it (if every examinor is present) possible to finish the PPL in 3 weeks, or is that just marketing?
I suppose there is always something wrong if you look for the cheapest option. But still a flight hour with ensurance is cheaper then doing it somewhere in Europe I guess...
10th May 2012, 16:42
Good luck Ikki,
Enjoy the experience. Keep a strict spreadsheet of all your costs, and I would be thrilled to be proven wrong. Happy flying! W
10th May 2012, 16:51
You don't have to go to USA, canada is also a good option if you don't want visa hassles. Pricing is ok, weather is more like UK too which is good if you intend to fly in the uk after getting licence, and its a friendly place, even the CAA/TC are helpful !
10th May 2012, 21:15
Have done training in the US, Florida and California.
Did a PPL completion, had done all my theory and gone solo in UK, very good pleasant experience, more like a holiday for 2 weeks!. But was surronded by stressed people that had gone there to do the whole thing in 4 weeks. Did my own accomadation and was cheaper and better than the room rent.
Same school went to do my IMC year later, not good experience, lack of instructors who could do it, not really intrested in helping me, more $$ in CPLs/PPL.
Agree on special stuff like Tailwheel/Aeros, have found a great club/school in California for this.
So like most things try to find out beforehand, search the web for info.
A and C
11th May 2012, 16:31
As always the Brits seem to stop as soon as they get to the coast and there is a lot of ground between the coasts in the USA.
Both Florida and Califonia are the usual suspects for europeans learning to fly and both are considered by most Americans to have a higher cost of living than most states. Add to this an intimate knowlage of European flying costs and you have some of the more aggressive operators in a perfect position to Nickel & Dime people out of a lot of money with unforeseen charges and restrictive practices.
My recommendation would be to find a place to fly that is away from the holiday destinations and that usually only expect Americans to walk through the door, the prices will be lower and you are likely to get a better standard of service, I did my FAA CPL/IR at Ann Arbour, just west of Detroit. It was all a long time ago so recommendations of individual businesses would be of little value but the general principle still stands that you should keep clear of the usual suspects.
11th May 2012, 21:16
If you want fly in the U.S., working for a bachelor's degree would give you an advantage. There are many colleges in the U.S. which offer a bachelor's degree with private, commercial, instrument, ME, and instructor certificates. Take a look at Embry-Riddle in FL and AZ. It's a very reputable school in the aviation industry, but it's expensive. There are more affordable schools offering a similar degree such as University of North Dakota, Eastern Michigan University, Minnesota State University, and Indiana State University. If I'm not mistaken, Indiana State and North Dakota have agreements with some companies to offer internships to you. Upon graduation from all these schools, you can get around 250 hours TT, but a lot of the schools offer an instructor position to graduating students, so there's a potential for more hour building. While you're at it, take a look at ATP (ATP Flight School: Airline Pilot Training & Pilot Career Development (http://www.atpflightschool.com/)). They offer an online bachelor's at Mountain State University.
But, don't limit yourself to the U.S. There are some schools in Canada such as Secenca College and Mount Allison University. Mount Allison University offers flight training at Moncton Flight College which is a reputable school not only in North America but also across the world. It's been training pilots since the early 20th century. They have alumni working in major airlines such as Emirates. There are a lot of alumni from Moncton Flight College on this forum, and you can find threads about it. You can graduate with a ATPL (frozen). If you DON'T want a 4-year bachelor's degree, they also have a number of certificate program, also offering a frozen ATPL w/ a King Air rating.
The benefit of attending a school in Canada is that you can get a work permit upon graduation. A few years later, you can become a permanent resident and eventually a Canadian citizenship if you would like.
Good luck with your choices!
All the best!
11th May 2012, 22:59
I forgot to mention another school worth taking a look at in the U.S. Take a look at Arizona State University. "Graduates are guaranteed an interview with Mesa Airlines upon completion of their degrees." Another school's North Star Aviation (North Star Aviation : Flight Training (http://www.northstaraviation.com/flighttraining.php))