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What flight schools do that students hate?

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What flight schools do that students hate?

Old 23rd Sep 2012, 09:05
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What flight schools do that students hate?

Hey guys, just curious from those of you who are currently undergoing flight training or are already cpl's...



*What have flight school's done thats made you dissapointed, angry, scared or you name it?

and/or

*Was there procedures,policies,rules or a way of doing things that the flight school implemented in their operations that you disagreed on and if so why?

NOTE: please no flight school names, im interested in what happened not who did it!

look forward to you inputs
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 09:34
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Charge and make the student fly a 170A for CPL
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 13:47
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Failure to reliably make a serviceable aeroplane and an instructor available when they've been booked, or to have available slots for several weeks.

Last edited by Pilotage; 23rd Sep 2012 at 13:53.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 16:38
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I thought the 170A was a pre-test licensing requirement for IR and CPL or has this altered with EASA?
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 16:54
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170A for a CPL was only a paper work check of course complete.

There was no requirement for a flight test.

I didn't do one in 2001 at the start of JAR. Yet others on the same airfield were paying 900 quid in aircraft and approach fees and 350 quid 170a test fee.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:44
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What flight schools do that students hate?

The main thing that my flight school did that irritated the heck out of me was sign up more people for ground school than they physically had space for

It's annoying to spend a reasonable amount of money to have to turn up an hour before in order to get a seat in the classroom at an actual table and not end up practically in the hallway on a fold out stool
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 23:49
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The combination of

- insisting to teach approach and landing at speeds 5-10kt higher than recommended by the POH for the conditions

- and then requiring additional short field / grass field training because no student can reasonably be expected to land a PA28 in less than 800m

annoys me.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 01:55
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Charge and make the student fly a 170A for CPL
The 170A no longer exists. However, it is now, under EASA, the responsibility of the organisation or person responsible for the training to make a formal (written) recommendation for test. Mutterings from the Belgrano suggest that this will be used as a means of measuring the 'outcomes' of individual ATOs and a poor record of first time passes following the recommendations will put the organisation's approval at risk. It is conceivable, therefore, that ATOs will be more inclined to (re)introduce a 'pre-test' test as part of the syllabus.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 07:39
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I can't see what the pass rate has got to do with the belgrano. Even if they wanted to remove the auth if the ATO meets all the required ticks in boxes they have no option but to let them continue.

As we all know the first time pass rate is directly related to who the local examinors are.

One bit of the country you will get a first time pass others a partial and others a fail for exactly the same flight profile.

Although that rumour that it will effect the ATO approval will more than likely be used as an excuse for raping the student.

I have no problem at all with a mock test being included in the syllabus but it shouldn't be in addition to the minimum required training. And a examinor fee shouldn't be required.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 12:24
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What flight schools do that students hate?
* have a student show up for a lesson and not having an instructor available
* have a student show up for a lesson and not having the aircraft servicable
* charge 600+ for a question database
* deliver substandard study materials and claim this is to make sure "the student learns how to use the CAA's website and other online resources"
* generally overcharge for the use of their aircraft
* charge ground school time for flimsy and unstructured debriefs


As this sounds all too negative, let me add a few things that flight schools do that students like :
* they don't overcharge for flight instruction
* they are creative in avoiding students having to pay landing fees
* they make good use of simulators
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 15:23
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employ FI's that are not interested in GA, but just hour building for that next (elusive) move;

use knackered aircraft, with various bits not quite working how they should

make the slots for each lesson too tight

charge students for a cup of tea (after handing them a bill for 200+)

For PPL, not have a focus on enjoyment
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 17:37
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Instruments made by that famous manufacturer "INOP"
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 18:13
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Originally Posted by Cobalt
The combination of

- insisting to teach approach and landing at speeds 5-10kt higher than recommended by the POH for the conditions

- and then requiring additional short field / grass field training because no student can reasonably be expected to land a PA28 in less than 800m

annoys me.
I second that. Plus:

- using yet additional speed buffer for flapless landings (e.g. landing speed with flaps up is cruise speed minus 10 knots)
- using flaps for takeoff as SOP on 2+ km paved runways, even if POH/AFM says normal takeoff is with flaps up
- retracting flaps after above said takeoff example at not lower than 400ft, because this is the "lowest acceleration altitude" - even at density altitudes at 3k+ in a spamcan @ MTOM
- not teaching even the slightest use of GPS (if installed), since "it's forbidden to use it for VFR navigation" and all that jazz
- teaching that line-up is supposed to be done by following the nice yellow line to the runway centerline
- using "airline-style" checklists - then discovering that checklist for 737 has 2/3 less items than for a single-pilot day VMC flown spamcan
- insisting that students do W&B before each flight with weighing data from 10 years ago (and of course using the same data for entire fleet of same type)
- read and do checklists in the air
- teaching students not to use that little red knob/lever - its color clearly means it's made from devil himself
- flying "stabilised approaches" with gear down, full flaps and prop forward from 2 NM before FAF in a SEP

And the list could go on....
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 18:28
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and then requiring additional short field / grass field training because no student can reasonably be expected to land a PA28 in less than 800m.

Ive spent 10 years teaching PPLs from a 500 metre strip, in a PA28 without any problem.. I have also taught PPLs in a C152 to land on rwy with an LDA of 370 metres, also without any problem.(Although we got the fire engine out), on first solo.

At the correct speed of course.

Last edited by Aware; 24th Sep 2012 at 18:32.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 08:38
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Had to laugh with this thread, nothing has changed from 25 years ago and probably never will.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 11:24
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Actually the schools that are stricked with the punters seem to have the least complaints.

It needs to be a two way contract other wise the whole operation goes to rat poo.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 11:39
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Bad things:

Not teaching students how (and why you should) lean the mixture.

Not fixing anything that goes INOP unless the failure actually grounds the aircraft.

Telling students never to prime with the throttle, without telling them WHY (fire risk aside) it appears to be a more effective way of starting a cold engine. Some aircraft actually prescribe it in the POH.

Giving students an aircraft for their skills test that they've never flown before and which has a very different instrument and switches layout from everything else they've flown.

Not telling students that they ought to be carrying a copy of Pooleys on their skills test because the examiner may well divert them to an unfamiliar airfield, ask them to dig out the plate and fly some circuits.

Letting the day's schedule slip such that a student who has moved heaven and earth at work to get to the airfield for 1800 arrives to find their instructor still in the air. If an earlier student was late, then their lesson should still finish on time.

Not specifically teaching it, but giving students the impression that you should fly everywhere at 3,000ft.

Teaching IMC students to intercept the localiser and set full flap and 65 knots (PA28) before descending on the glideslope, thus allowing the grass to grow so long it obscures the runway before decision height is reached. Also once you finally land, the annual is due and you can't take off again to go home.

Teaching students to clog up a busy LARS frequency on the weekend by asking for a basic service (slowly, with lots of umms, ahhs and errs and unnecessary info like the number of people on board) when going for a local bimble.

Not explaining to students that the likelihood or otherwise of getting class D transitions and SVFR clearances is largely dependent on how slick your RT is, because that's how the controller forms an opinion about whether you're capable enough to be allowed in their airspace.

Not showing students what it's like to receive a traffic or deconfliction service during their training, so they're scared to ask for one once they have their license because they don't know what will happen.

Hammering the 'maintain VMC at all costs' message to such an extent that new PPLs confronted with a combination of cloud and mountains cannot bring themselves to climb, climb and climb some more. Even if I wasn't instrument-qualified, I'd rather fly into a cloud than a mountain.

Teaching students that the IMCr is an 'emergency get you home rating'. It isn't. It's an instrument qualification that allows you to fly in IMC (OCAS and in class D) and make instrument approaches as a matter of routine. If you don't use the skills with some degree of regularity, then they'll be rusty when you need them to 'get you home'.
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Old 26th Sep 2012, 02:22
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Some very good points above.

Most students don't "hate" many of those things though as often they are unaware of them.

IN my experience, the reason students leave thier flight school and go in search of another are simple lack of basic customer service. This is what we often hear:

- I had a different instructor every time

- When I turned up I was told my lesson was cancelled or running so late I had to go [this was my biggest gripe when I was learning but these days with mobile phones there is no excuse!]

- My instructor was always angry and imapatient and showed no respect

- My instructor had poor personal hygiene/ stank of garlic

- The aeroplanes were old and small and smelt of sick and I didn't feel safe with all that gaffa tape holding it together

- I just felt like a number

- The people on the desk are hostile

- They promised me I'd get a job with Qantas straight after CPL but a Qantas pilot just told me that's not actually true

- Unexpected costs bumping up the invoice every time

- Endless repetition of the same lesson with no explanation why

- I felt that I might have actually been able to learn how to land if my instructor hadn't always been texting and facebooking on final

Just basic customer service, it's not hard.

but yeah my biggest gripe now is when students come from another school and I have to tell them that "But my last instructor said I should always..." does NOT override the POH or whatever other reference is applicable...! Why don't instructors tell thier students WHY they should do things? Is it because they really only know the old wives tales?
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Old 27th Sep 2012, 18:21
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What flight schools do that students hate?

Flying schools that tell students who "forget" they had a lesson that day that they really should give the instructor some cash, otherwise he/she will starve.

Flying schools that give students a row for turning up late so that, if the full lesson is to be flown, then the instructor will lose their break or other students will have to wait.

Flying schools that pull aside students who have a couple of university degrees yet turn up for a cross-country flight without any preparation and planning "because I was very busy last night", and say: that is not good enough.

Flying schools who point out that they get less money in the bank for a given 100 if paid using a credit card, so would the student like to pay a 3% excess to make up for that - since they can't pay cash, write a cheque or use internet/telephone banking.

Flying schools put up with a lot of grief from their customers - like all customer-focused businesses do.

Fortunately, we try not to show it!

(as one person said to me today, you chaps always seem to be very relaxed. As I replied, running around in a blind panic never helps anyone - particularly "in flight" with a less confident student)
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 21:12
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OK - I'll bite

Flying schools that tell students who "forget" they had a lesson that day that they really should give the instructor some cash, otherwise he/she will starve.
Quite right.... you 'forget' - your problem. I'm a busy man and if you book my time expect to be billed for it - If I don't fly, I DON'T GET PAID. Someone else could have been paying me for that 'wasted' hour.

Flying schools that give students a row for turning up late so that, if the full lesson is to be flown, then the instructor will lose their break or other students will have to wait.
OK - The guy down next in line suffers because you can't assemble your exrecement... why should he? Take that down the line and the end of the day runs into night time and you startlosing whole slots. See point 1 above.


Flying schools that pull aside students who have a couple of university degrees yet turn up for a cross-country flight without any preparation and planning "because I was very busy last night", and say: that is not good enough.
PMSL at this. WTF does a degree or any othe qualification have to do with flying. Straightforward bad attitude. Quite correct to pull the student up. We'd certainly not be getting in an aeroplane if you did that with me. See point 2 above.

Flying schools who point out that they get less money in the bank for a given 100 if paid using a credit card, so would the student like to pay a 3% excess to make up for that - since they can't pay cash, write a cheque or use internet/telephone banking.
Fair ish point - but the credit card companies/banks actaully do charge the operator for this so why should the flying school suffer? Perhaps the better option would be to hide the charge in the hourly rate anyway.

Can we start a thread that deals with things that students do that annoy ops staff or instructors?
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