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Which flight school in USA on F-1 Visa ?

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Which flight school in USA on F-1 Visa ?

Old 10th Mar 2016, 14:41
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Which flight school in USA on F-1 Visa ?

Hi aviators,
I'm a glider pilot at my home country (Poland) and I always wanted to become an airline pilot. Right now I am 23 years old and ready to start my aviation adventure. I decided to train in USA, unfortunately I am not sure which flight school to choose.
I have been searching for months for the best flight school for Professional Pilot Program. The most important conditions are: school must have the ability to take students on: F-1 Visa, not inflated expenses, almost guaranteed job as an instructor after the program.

From the beggining the school of my first choice was Aviator College. More than a year ago I visited it during my holidays in Florida, it seemed to be quite good. Few months ago I spoke with one of the graduates and I learned about the shortcomings of the school (hidden costs, race between students about the position of instructor and problematic management of the school). That prompted me to consider other schools... I was whinking about Aerosim (it's very expensive and I corresponded with a person who seemed unpleasant), then Phoenix East Aviation (I have heard only negative opinions). Afterwards I spoke with 2 very helpful pilots who did their training at Hillsboro Aero Academy and were very pleased with their choice of flight school.

To be honest I always wanted to apply to a school in Florida (especially because my realtives live there) but right now I'm confused. I would love to live in Florida but I am afraid schools over there are too confident of their position due to the location and candidates' interest so they don't care about quality of training and students satisfaction. That's why I guess Hillsboro could be the best choice...
Could you please share with me your knowledge and experience about these flight schools?

The next problem I've got is making a choice between Part 141 and Part 61 training. Which path would you recommend? I have heard the best option is to do your PPL + IR Part 141 and Commercial + CFI Part 61. Would you agree this is the best way to become an airline pilot?

I know this subject/thread is quite common but none of them have solved all of my doubts. I am hoping some of you were in a similar situation and are able to give me the right advice.

Thank you in advance!
scottscale40 is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2016, 16:29
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FlightSafety is another obvious candidate. It is considered among the best and not any more expensive than e.g., Aerosim.
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Old 14th Mar 2016, 17:27
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Other than FlightSafety, I can't recommend any flight school in south Florida.

There are three schools in north Florida that have a good reputation:

  1. epicaviation.com
  2. florida-aviation.com
  3. florida-flyers.com
There are many discussions in this forum about flight schools in Florida.
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Old 1st Apr 2016, 22:45
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Thanks for your answers I never thought seriously about Flight Safety Academy. How do you know that Flight Safety is one of the best schools in Florida? What are their advantages over other trainig centers? What about a job as a FI over there?

HEMS driver, unfortunatelly I'm looking for school with a possibility of having F-1 Visa and working as a Flight Instructor
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 18:49
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FlightSafety is considered one of the best aviation training organizations in the world, not just in Florida. The Vero Beach location has provided the highest levels of professional flight training for 50 years.

Of course reputation is only one factor in selecting a flight school. Cost, location, student life, personal fit/preferences, etc., are all important. Some FlightSafety students dub Vero Beach "zero beach"... not exactly the party place, but maybe that's a good thing if you actually want to study!

Another option, if you're at all interested in getting a full 4-year aviation/aeronautics degree (not just flight training) is to apply to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. They are also globally recognized, and they have a campus in Daytona Beach, FL. As a degree student you would be eligible for an F-1 for the duration of your degree plus the 1 year OPT afterwards.
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Old 2nd Apr 2016, 20:36
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With respect to the opening post, here is a thread about AeroCadet which promotes Aviator College.

http://www.pprune.org/north-america/...t-academy.html

Judging by their personnel, I would steer well clear from both and go to FlightSafety. A very top school.
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 00:42
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I guess my main concern is still whether it is true that students in FlightSafety find it hard to find instructors to schedule? A lot of their students complain about that aspect of training.
What about level of aircrafts' maintenance?
How possible it is to get a job as CFI in FS? Are there requirements like passing all exams more than 90% etc? Could you estimate how many % of non-Chinese students get that CFI job offer?
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Old 13th Apr 2016, 06:58
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Consider that for any school offering you 'almost guaranteed job as an instructor after the program' it will almost guarantee that you are taught by last months graduate... And these days, you will need to go to a part 141 organisation in order to get a visa.
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Old 30th May 2016, 16:52
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Aerocadet

If your purpose is to study, then get a job as a flight instructor to build time, then progress to a more advanced type of internship, flying light twins and turboprops across Atlantic, I recommend to look into this company: they have contracts with F-1 visa FTPs and third party internship providers in the US. They are not charging students for their services - all paid by the contacted companies.
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Old 30th May 2016, 16:59
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Another PFT outfit. Don't work for free! Ferrying aircraft across the ocean is very risky. Don't do it for free.
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Old 30th May 2016, 20:15
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Who said its for free? Nothing is for free. Flight instructor internship pays $20 per hour for both domestic and international students, and they can work for 18 months or 1500 hours, whichever comes first. Max allowable flight time per month, in accordance with F-1 visa restrictions, is 80 hours. So, $20x80=$1600 per months.

Ferry pilot internship is paid per trip, approx $50 per flight hour. A regular ferry trip from US to, let's say, UK is around 35 hours in a light aircraft. So, $50x35=$1750. Pilots can do 2 trips per month, on average. No restrictions by visa, as all flights depart US with intent to arrive at an overseas destination. Pilots can do this on business visa.

So, not exactly free, is it?...
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Old 30th May 2016, 20:22
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Thank you for the clarification. That is better than free, but methinks people are still being taken advantage of. $1,750 for a N. Atlantic ferry flight is a single? Seriously?

You are using foreign labor to cut your overhead and are thus doing two things: Screwing the foreign pilots as you are not paying them the going rate for ferrying; and giving flying gigs to non-Americans while profiteering.

But it's south Florida, so no surprise.
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Old 30th May 2016, 20:23
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Originally Posted by scottscale40 View Post
I guess my main concern is still whether it is true that students in FlightSafety find it hard to find instructors to schedule? A lot of their students complain about that aspect of training.
What about level of aircrafts' maintenance?
How possible it is to get a job as CFI in FS? Are there requirements like passing all exams more than 90% etc? Could you estimate how many % of non-Chinese students get that CFI job offer?
FlightSafety is a safe school, but:

1. Internship positions are extremely limited

2. Internship time-frame is very limited.

3. They are not accredited as college

Why do this, if you can get a lot more flight time and guaranteed advanced internship placement with a third party company, as well as airline employment support in Middle East, S America and SE Asia? Also, if the school is accredited as college, you can transfer academic credits you've earned there, approx 48, to any online university in the US and get a BSc in Aeronautics once you gain another 60 academic credits. You can study and fly as FO, gaining valuable jet time.
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Old 30th May 2016, 20:30
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Originally Posted by HEMS driver View Post
Thank you for the clarification. That is better than free, but methinks people are still being taken advantage of. $1,750 for a N. Atlantic ferry flight is a single? Seriously?

You are using foreign labor to cut your overhead and are thus doing two things: Screwing the foreign pilots as you are not paying them the going rate for ferrying; and giving flying gigs to non-Americans while profiteering.

But it's south Florida, so no surprise.
The offer is there, they can take it or not take it. It's an option. No one is forcing anyone to take this job. Many people, including myself (a while ago) took this option in order to build flight time and develop aviation career. I would not be able to succeed without it.
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Old 30th May 2016, 20:34
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Good for you. I am glad that you survived and moved on.

Did the "employer" provide you with: 1. Unemployment insurance 2. Worker's compensation insurance 3. Pay the employer's portion of the IRS taxes (including Medicare)??

If they didn't, they are violating U.S. law. IRS rulings have stated that this type of work is not as a contractor, but as an employee.
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Old 30th May 2016, 21:55
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OBVIOUSLY, pilots are working as independent contractors.


Originally Posted by HEMS driver View Post
Good for you. I am glad that you survived and moved on.

Did the "employer" provide you with: 1. Unemployment insurance 2. Worker's compensation insurance 3. Pay the employer's portion of the IRS taxes (including Medicare)??

If they didn't, they are violating U.S. law. IRS rulings have stated that this type of work is not as a contractor, but as an employee.
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Old 30th May 2016, 22:00
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That's what I suspected.
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Old 30th May 2016, 22:13
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Originally Posted by HEMS driver View Post
That's what I suspected.
Okay, I'm not going to continue this pointless discussion.

It is unarguably better to have an option to work there, then not to have one. No one is forcing anyone's hand. It's an option, not an obligation. Let the pilots decide what's good for them and their careers.
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Old 6th Jun 2016, 17:48
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Originally Posted by DDMow View Post
Scottscale40,
The Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) could be a good option, depending on your financial situation of course. FIT is quite expensive, but they have an excellent 4-year Bachelors of Aeronautical Science Program (degree and commercial licence) with the option to work as a CFI for 1 year, and you would attend on an F-1 Visa. It checks all your boxes of Florida basing, F-1 Visa, degree, licence, instructor work, and quality. Very expensive though.....but you get what you pay for. FIT is located in Melbourne, Florida which is a very upscale city 1-hour's drive north of Vero Beach.

Good luck.

Extremely expensive. Prepare to spend over $150k!
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Old 6th Jun 2016, 17:50
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Originally Posted by Hudson_Hawk View Post
Extremely expensive. Prepare to spend over $150k!
By the way, if you have that sort of money, why not just go to Embry-Riddle. BSc program sticker price is $175k. Plus CFI and basic living expenses (like campus accommodation) , study materials, etc.... Looking at $200k+. I never met anyone who has not regretted getting a degree in aviation. What you want to do, is get an F-1 visa, get some academics and get a lot of flight time working as CFI. Get a degree in something else, like engineering or whatever you like. Don't get a degree in aviation!

Last edited by Hudson_Hawk; 6th Jun 2016 at 22:38.
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