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Does your flight school charge for these exams?

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Does your flight school charge for these exams?

Old 1st Apr 2018, 14:33
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NSW Australia
Posts: 2,409
Classic salesperson's BS.
ComradeRoo,
Please enlighten us on your history and success in running a small business.

For what it's worth, Clare Prop has run a flying school for nearly 20 years that I know if and I am only a few years behind her.

You are quite correct that the reality is quite the opposite. That means that when we use up our instructor's precious Duty time, someone has to pay for that.

Free exams built into a contract price probably suit a sausage factory flying school. Small schools are different and "private" tuition is a valuable one-on-one commodity.

To those asking how often a BAK exam needs to be reviewed: you might have noticed there was a major change in the syllabus in Sept 2014. To the owner of a small school (who is also HAAMC, CFI, and CP, and head of finance, and head of HR, and Ops Manager, and Chief Ground Instructor, and Safety Manager, and Quality Manager) this has set off a tsunami of manual changes at a level of detail you probably don't comprehend (CASA certainly don't). As time passes we find more issues, or have them brought to our attention, and in between doing all the other crap (oh and answering the phone to answer client queries and getting interupted by staff who need that bit more guidance and mentoring, willingly given, rarely appreciated or repaid) we might get to delegate the review of the exams or do it ourselves late one night after getting the kids to bed and sorting out tomorrow's dramas before they happen.

....and then tomorrow, in addition to flying, we have to put on a brave face and smile and trot out "Salesperson BS" BECAUSE OUR HOMES AND YOUR JOBS depend on it, and yes it feels like Salesman BS to us, too, because we have completely lost our love for the industry through putting up with airports, and putting up with CASA and putting up with local Councils, and putting up with Aero Clubs, and putting up with cnuts like you every day.
.

Last edited by Horatio Leafblower; 1st Apr 2018 at 14:49. Reason: to add extra swearing.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 00:18
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2017
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Ops normal at the pprunes. Mikewil pretty much nails the thread and a couple of neckbeards come out swinging.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 02:20
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Surely this isn’t that hard?

A big flying school with a set price for your course shouldn’t charge extra for exams.

A small school absolutely should. Why should the 60 year old PPL getting a flight review pay higher dual fees to subsidise an instructor supervising your RPL exams? To say it’s zero cost to run an exam is absurd.

That same PPL holder will use the toilets, pens and computers hence they’re rolled into the rate everyone pays.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 12:09
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Melbourne, Australia + Washington D.C.
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I have respect for Horatio Leafblower and the spirit of his answer. Flying is still one of those crafts that is passed from one individual to another. I like that this has remained so for the last hundred years and keeps going as we progress into the 21st century. If it weren't for those passionate pilots who decided to teach others, many here just wouldn't be flying. And I think that this is very much visible in the way schools are run: they seem to be those homegrown businesses that revolve around one or two key individuals whose skills shine airside but look a bit amateurish landside. I like the spirit but I don't think many will be able to survive the massive red-tape in the Australian GA landscape without streamlining their business.

By the way I am very interested in the economies of running a flight school. @Horatio Leafblower: would you be willing to share some specifics?
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 12:13
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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If it's BS then it's management BS not sales BS. A salesperson doesn't need to know the difference between fixed, variable and opportunity costs. Sales BS is stuff like "Fly with us and wear epaulettes before you have gone solo and you will get a job with Qantas!"

And to the OP, if exams should be free then why not CASA exams too? Because the person providing it would just be sitting there doing nothing in that empty building if you aren't there, right? After all the computer program has already been used once so why should anyone else pay for it after that?
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 13:19
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Okihara,

Thank you for your words of support. No, I am not willing to share, but thank you for your interest.

Everyone else: I apologise for getting over-enthusiastic last night but I was provoked, Your Honours.I assure you Com Failure that what we charge for, and what we otherwise absorb or hide elsewhere, is subject to debate and discussion in my little school and in most others I know.

...and there are fewer and fewer little schools llike mine, as the public service (not just CASA... but all of them) make life ever more complicated for ALL businesses, in a way that means only the corporations will win.

General Aviation is the canary in Australia's small-business coal mine. The canary has fallen off the perch.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 17:01
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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A flying school is a business. If the business model isn't working and the business is struggling then maybe they aren't putting enough value on their services.

I've seen a lot of flying schools come and go and the reasons are usually the same. Being nice and having loyal customers isn't always enough.

If a casual instructor is told they must set, supervise and mark an exam but not get paid a cent then they have a right to grumble.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 17:41
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop View Post
A flying school is a business. If the business model isn't working and the business is struggling then maybe they aren't putting enough value on their services.

I've seen a lot of flying schools come and go and the reasons are usually the same. Being nice and having loyal customers isn't always enough.

If a casual instructor is told they must set, supervise and mark an exam but not get paid a cent then they have a right to grumble.
Absolutely, but perhaps it also depends on the volume of training and time management?
In my case, instructor (also casual) had 2 students that day. There was plenty of time between our sessions to administer tests.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 00:49
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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In my case, instructor (also casual) had 2 students that day. There was plenty of time between our sessions to administer tests
So either the instructor was only paid for the 2 hours of flight training, or the school paid them for the 4+ hours of duty as per the award with less than 4 hours of revenue in the door.

Don't get me wrong, I waive plenty of incidentals to foster goodwill and loyalty but the school is entirely within its rights to charge for the 2 hours or so required to administer a PPL or BAK, mark it and review it with the stude.

...especially now that we have to generate a syllabus-referenced KDR too.

BTW Comrade,far more likely to call you a cnut face to face than in writing.... but the inflections and facial expressions might have conveyed better the nuanced intent.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 02:15
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Originally Posted by ComradeRoo View Post
I say if you'd signed up for a full training course - it is a bit low to charge for these "exams" taking into account amount of money you will end up paying for training. Whatever people may try to argue - they cost only the worth of A4 paper and a printer cartridge.

I'd also be wary of "you need to do a bit more hours to polish this and that..." requests.
with respect, after doing one of these exams, at most schools, the student should also be debriefed (time will depend on how they went) and areas of deficiency addressed or discussed, with an instructor.

Where I work we don't charge for the exams or KDR review etc for those early exams but it does require someone with appropriate training to set up and if necessary administer the exam, to be available afterwards to go through any KDRs or student questions (and that means time away from briefings/flying) and I do not see it as poor form that some schools charge the student for exams as a result.

In addition (not directed at you but concerning the cost to schools of providing early ab-initio in house exams) are the following situations:

Some students will book an exam, so an instructor (or perhaps 2 so one can set up and one do after exam stuff) is then organised to be available to set up, supervise if necessary and then later debrief the student and also fill in any paperwork afterwards.

A briefing or exam room will be kept free so is unavailable for other instructors and students or students preparing for navs etc (many small schools have only a handful of rooms available).

Then that morning the student rings up to say, "sorry - I couldn't do any study as I had heaps on at work this week, could you book me in later in the week please?" The instructor has been organised (sometimes for a week in advance) so their other lessons will fit around supervision/debrief duties and sometimes other customers looking to squeeze in a lesson/brief may not be able to get a booking with that person as they can't fit it in. The exam student doesn't show and does not see it as a problem for their instructor or school as it is only an exam not a flight.

The school and other students may be inconvenienced, the school may have turned down a paying customer, the instructor may lose a flight (and most are paid by flying/briefing hour).

Similarly some students turn up for the exam totally unprepared ("very busy at work and family duties so couldn't study" and openly say they are probably going to fail but thought they may as well have a go and see as they can always have another shot later and maybe they will get lucky anyway. Sometimes that student will sit the exam 3 times like that.

The school has organised someone to look after you and organised their bookings around your exam. You see it as a trivial inconvenience. Any wonder some schools charge? Those above scenarios are not uncommon.

I personally don't mind not being paid for those duties if the student is motivated and prepared.

Usually the extra time or juggling isn't a big drama especially if the student is prepared to hang around afterwards to fit in with the instructors schedules.

Like most instructors, I want students to help students do well and better their flying journey but I also perfectly understand why schools may charge for the exams and do not begrudge them at all.

I'd also be wary of "you need to do a bit more hours to polish this and that..." requests.
Again with respect, if I say that, it is because I do think you need polish and I am doing it for your long term benefit. You may think you are the best judge of your flying ability - many pilots believe themselves to be the best judge of their ability.

For an early student though, I am the person who will be held responsible if I say you are good to go when I suspect you may need a bit more polish.

If you don't believe me, it may be worth looking for someone whose analysis of your skill level matches yours. Both you and I will feel happier...
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 03:29
  #31 (permalink)  
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Surprising my questions got such a big number of responses. Seems I have touched on a highly debatable topic.

Reading arguments from both sides I am still mostly on the fence. I was happy to pay for the BAK exam as it was a long exam and indeed the instructor could be flying in that time, but still unsure about the others as they were more of a "quiz" than an exam.

Someone mentioned "customer perception" in one of the earlier replies and I think it was a very good point. Personally I think to be charged $50 for a couple of quick "quizzes" is steep.

Otherwise I am happy with my training and instructor(s). Obviously this is not a reason for me to switch schools. I made enquiries to a lot of schools and even thought about moving out of town, as there wasn't too many options in my area.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 03:44
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Melbourne, Australia + Washington D.C.
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Thank you for your words of support. No, I am not willing to share, but thank you for your interest.
Well, you see, that's just too bad but I'm going to share my side of the experience nonetheless. I'm a student and my school seems to enjoy quite a positive reputation. Yet, being now in my early 30s and having seen a few industries in my professional life, I am no longer the naive bloke that I might have been in my early 20s. And I find the way my school is organised just laughable. Lesson cancellations are daily business, flights delayed because of previous lessons going overtime as well. I stopped counting the times I showed up at the school only to hear that the wind picked up or that the lesson would have to be rescheduled. Without exaggeration, I reckon that more than 1/3 of my lessons need to be rescheduled. The best part is how ad-hoc rescheduling is always being handled. Luckily there's a syllabus that they have to follow which gives the whole training a remote sense of backbone. Allow me to make a comparison. My dentist calls me to reschedule an appointment. The first mark of respect is to acknowledge that I am the client, ie. the money flows from me to them, and that a cancellation is an inconvenience to me. This will usually take the form of an apology and will be immediately followed by one or two suggestions dates to reschedule.

Every time a flight lesson is cancelled, I have to endure the painful "When would you be free again?". My schedule has to match a.) the availability of the aircraft, and b.) the availability of the instructor. It takes 5 minutes to reschedule one single lesson and often I end up having to bend my planning or else I wouldn't be able to fly at all. And all that knowing that there's again a 33% risk to have to reschedule yet again. Every single time, this turns out into such a sticky and tedious transaction that I even ended up telling them to book me in every single morning over three weeks, leaving the topic of the lessons to be determined. And if it helps, I'm also happy to fly with any instructor.

I'm baffled. The weather in Victoria alone mandates superior scheduling skills, not grade 3 instructors behind the admin desk who just couldn't care less about generating revenues for the school. It's surprising that they do this by hand and still are so clumsy at it every time given how frequent this is happening when they teach you to be the tip of the spear when it comes to forced landings. I suggested jokingly that they hire my barber to handle their bookings. He does a marvellous job at sticking to his overloaded planning, especially on busy Saturdays, much to his clients' appreciation. It's just very unfortunate that he doesn't fly because I'd book him out for a month straight away.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that running a flight school is a easy, let alone a good business to be in. But let's be fair, it just can't be that complicated to match aircraft, flight instructors and students, can it? GA is not alone by the way, most other industries also have to juggle with strict regulations. I'm just saying that while all of them are excelling at bashing CASA, it would be in their best interest to run their business more professionally for ground operations.

Today one fellow student took off one hour behind schedule because her flight instructor wasn't focused and interrupted their pre-flight brief 10 times at least. She didn't care much because she's at the school full time and, let's face it, she's a little intimidated by her instructor's epaulettes. But it did impact me directly because I was next in line to fly that aircraft. It is this poor discipline however that makes an aircraft fly 2 or 3 fewer lessons each day. It's plain frustrating to other students who have more going on in their lives than idling around at their flight school.

I am eager to learn and I am making time for it. It just seems that, being a student pilot, the first skill you truly have to master is being patient because time and money alone just won't get you in the air every day. I learned a few other things that required regular tuition from instructors, all of which were great experiences. Once the necessary skills are acquired, it's just about time to move on, no need to linger. Why would flying be any different? I'm sorry folks, but it really isn't all that hard if you have a minimum of coordination and practice regularly. There's a bloke in his late 40s who started flying 2 years ago and still hasn't flown solo. Unfortunately he can only afford to fly once a week but with all those cancellations, he's also required to do remedial flights. This lad is a cash cow goose that lays golden eggs (a bird is still more aerodynamic than a cow) to them.

If someone cares to tell me something that I obviously don't know about the inner workings of running a flight school that may soften those hard landings, I'd be much obliged. In the meantime, let them charge students for those intermediate exams if they must. If I were them, I'd focus my energy elsewhere, eg. on building a strong reputation of getting students in and out licenced as fast as possible.

Last edited by Okihara; 3rd Apr 2018 at 09:28.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 04:33
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Okihara - excellent summation of a common experience!
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 06:33
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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"grade 3 instructors behind the admin desk who just couldn't care less about generating revenues for the school"

You got it, right there.

All too common that Grade Threes are expected to do sales and admin for free or at best, a pittance, because the school can't/won't pay for someone with those skills to do it.

You get what you pay for. Good luck.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 17:16
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by jonkster View Post
Usually the extra time or juggling isn't a big drama especially if the student is prepared to hang around afterwards to fit in with the instructors schedules.
Precisely the attitude I hoped to see. Thanks.



Again with respect, if I say that, it is because I do think you need polish and I am doing it for your long term benefit. You may think you are the best judge of your flying ability - many pilots believe themselves to be the best judge of their ability.

For an early student though, I am the person who will be held responsible if I say you are good to go when I suspect you may need a bit more polish.

If you don't believe me, it may be worth looking for someone whose analysis of your skill level matches yours. Both you and I will feel happier..
I feel that I need to clarify myself:
During my training period, I have met several people who were used as cash cows by unscrupulous operators. Two of them finished their flight training in the same flight school as me. Neither had any issues requiring "polishing" or "remediation".

When I said that one should be wary - I had in mind that one should learn to fairly assess own performance, the overall picture and look for the second opinion if necessary. It is extremely hard for an early student, but in my view, it is the only insurance. Okihara's post also mentions the issue.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 23:26
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Hi Okihara, that does not sound like a pleasant experience and I can definitely sympathise. I can only speak from my limited experience having just gone solo (greatest feeling ever) but as a fellow student I thought I would chip in even if we are drifting off-topic.

I'm learning at YLIL and have only had a positive experience thus far. I have my lessons booked one month in advance so I always fly at the exact same time every week with the same instructor. I really wasn't making much progress until I committed to do that. I find the weather is still in the morning so I always fly then. I do not believe I have had a lesson cancelled due to weather this year. I do not feel in any way like I am being treated as a cash-cow and find the people working there very friendly and supportive. There is no pressure to pay in advance unlike another flying school based at Moorabbin, the briefings are not charged if you don't fly due to bad weather etc.

I don't know what school you're learning at but I'd really recommend giving YLIL a shot if you can drive out there.

With regard to the exams, I have only done my RA-Aus pre-solo exam but there was no charge and I was talked through all my mistakes etc. They have a great online system which I believe one of the FIs has developed as a bit of a pet-project. Great to see!
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 23:29
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Originally Posted by ComradeRoo View Post
When I said that one should be wary - I had in mind that one should learn to fairly assess own performance, the overall picture and look for the second opinion if necessary. It is extremely hard for an early student, but in my view, it is the only insurance.
Yes it is hard for a student to assess their performance because most training is done in isolation from other students so it is difficult to compare yourself against others but also because with low experience it is hard to know what to look for when assessing your skill level.

Which means you rely heavily on the judgement of the instructor. If you suspect your instructor (or school) is not working in your best interests that is not good and I would say you should think about either requesting (politely) another instructor or try visiting another school and asking for a lesson just to see. It doesn't need to be personal.

You are the customer and deserve to be treated with respect. I would tend to go on personal interactions, is the school welcoming and friendly? Do you feel that the instructors care about your progress and are working to assist you meet your goals? (even if at times they get critical). Do you feel comfortable walking in and look forward to your time at the school? Do you feel loyalty to the school because you are treated as someone of value to them? Does the school (and do the instructors) come across as having a passion for aviation?

You are free to shop around if you aren't treated with respect. Similarly sometimes you just have a personality clash (both ways - there have been some students I really did not want to fly with and some students have asked not to keep flying with me - no one's fault - some people just don't gel).

If you find a school and instructors you like and respect, stick with them. And realise good instructors and schools will sometimes tell you (or better show you practically by letting things go wrong) that your current skill level is not quite where you thought it was and that can be deflating.

Also worth stating that even with good schools, there are times when lessons get cancelled at short notice, aircraft become unavailable and instructors get behind schedule and you may be inconvenienced, often for reasons that are not obvious nor always due to poor professionalism.

From the outside it may seem straightforward but juggling a reasonably busy school's bookings with customers, time slots, instructors, aircraft, weather, maintenance schedules, engineers workload, unexpected maintenance, students particular training needs, private hires running overtime, unexpected demand, cancellations etc is an art-form that takes experience (and a bit of clairvoyance doesn't go astray).

A lot goes on behind the scenes to make sure that most times a suitable instructor, a suitable aircraft aircraft and a suitable time slot all line up.

When it goes astray, flexibility from customers is always welcome and usually gets repaid in other ways down the line. It cuts both ways - good schools value good customers that treat the school with respect and so work at looking after them. Even schools that charge for exams
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Old 4th Apr 2018, 00:37
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Melbourne, Australia + Washington D.C.
Posts: 393
You are free to shop around if you aren't treated with respect.
Yes, in theory. And in practice, not exactly. The school has some leverage on you when you're halfway down your training. Jumping ship at that stage should be carefully weighed against the non-negligible effort required to have your history sent to the new school. And those intermediate exams are not uniform across schools. Lastly, why would your current school want to cooperate to make it a smooth transfer? I wouldn't assume that they'll put any effort into this. In my case, it is rather clear that the path of least resistance is just to stick around and bite the dust until I get my licence. It is quite clear however that they have lost a customer as I'll further train elsewhere.

One word of caution to financially uneducated students: schools are keen to have you "open an account with/for them" where you wire the money for your tuition. Be wary as to ask yourself who really stands to benefit from this. Is a discount being offered for providing funds upfront or is that simply part of the terms and conditions of the school? I have been harassed in the beginning to do so and refused firmly because a.) there was no financial incentive and b.) that would have been loss of leverage for me had things gone wrong. Just be wise and swipe your credit card each time.

A lot goes on behind the scenes to make sure that most times a suitable instructor, a suitable aircraft aircraft and a suitable time slot all line up.
Absolutely, and it is actually rather a good thing for flight schools that demand remains steady/strong amid adverse regulatory climate. And that is precisely where a fine orchestration will make the whole difference between a successful school and stalling one. Have a look at busy just-in-time supply chain for a good example to start with.

Personally, I would flip this around and make it mandatory for each regular student to provide and commit to a list of N dates suitable for them to take a lesson. The topics would be left open and determined at a later stage. That would a.) force them to plan ahead and have fixed points in their calendars, b.) enable the school to plan their resources with a more lead time and c.) make cancellations due to weather/maintenance trivial to manage by shifting to the next appointment. Special wishes for rebookings would be either a considered favour or just turned down if impossible to handle. Also: instruct who may. What's the point of the constraint of sticking to one single instructor? Isn't the point of going to a school to benefit from a wider range of experiences? It might look excessively rigid but I am fairly confident that both parties stand to benefit from this. Surely this must be a major improvement over the current zero visibility with which they're operating.

When it goes astray, flexibility from customers is always welcome and usually gets repaid in other ways down the line.
At your school, perhaps. Still, I'm not so sure about this. All I see is the time it takes to complete my licence getting unduly stretched in spite of being accommodative with them.

At the same time, new students arrive all the time. All C172s are booked out today to teach these new folks to fly straight and level at the expense of more senior students who are told to read up on theory while standing-by.
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Old 4th Apr 2018, 01:14
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Okihara View Post
Well, you see, that's just too bad but I'm going to share my side of the experience nonetheless. I'm a student and my school seems to enjoy quite a positive reputation. Yet, being now in my early 30s and having seen a few industries in my professional life, I am no longer the naive bloke that I might have been in my early 20s. And I find the way my school is organised just laughable. Lesson cancellations are daily business, flights delayed because of previous lessons going overtime as well. I stopped counting the times I showed up at the school only to hear that the wind picked up or that the lesson would have to be rescheduled. Without exaggeration, I reckon that more than 1/3 of my lessons need to be rescheduled. The best part is how ad-hoc rescheduling is always being handled. Luckily there's a syllabus that they have to follow which gives the whole training a remote sense of backbone. Allow me to make a comparison. My dentist calls me to reschedule an appointment. The first mark of respect is to acknowledge that I am the client, ie. the money flows from me to them, and that a cancellation is an inconvenience to me. This will usually take the form of an apology and will be immediately followed by one or two suggestions dates to reschedule.

Every time a flight lesson is cancelled, I have to endure the painful "When would you be free again?". My schedule has to match a.) the availability of the aircraft, and b.) the availability of the instructor. It takes 5 minutes to reschedule one single lesson and often I end up having to bend my planning or else I wouldn't be able to fly at all. And all that knowing that there's again a 33% risk to have to reschedule yet again. Every single time, this turns out into such a sticky and tedious transaction that I even ended up telling them to book me in every single morning over three weeks, leaving the topic of the lessons to be determined. And if it helps, I'm also happy to fly with any instructor.

I'm baffled. The weather in Victoria alone mandates superior scheduling skills, not grade 3 instructors behind the admin desk who just couldn't care less about generating revenues for the school. It's surprising that they do this by hand and still are so clumsy at it every time given how frequent this is happening when they teach you to be the tip of the spear when it comes to forced landings. I suggested jokingly that they hire my barber to handle their bookings. He does a marvellous job at sticking to his overloaded planning, especially on busy Saturdays, much to his clients' appreciation. It's just very unfortunate that he doesn't fly because I'd book him out for a month straight away.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that running a flight school is a easy, let alone a good business to be in. But let's be fair, it just can't be that complicated to match aircraft, flight instructors and students, can it? GA is not alone by the way, most other industries also have to juggle with strict regulations. I'm just saying that while all of them are excelling at bashing CASA, it would be in their best interest to run their business more professionally for ground operations.

Today one fellow student took off one hour behind schedule because her flight instructor wasn't focused and interrupted their pre-flight brief 10 times at least. She didn't care much because she's at the school full time and, let's face it, she's a little intimidated by her instructor's epaulettes. But it did impact me directly because I was next in line to fly that aircraft. It is this poor discipline however that makes an aircraft fly 2 or 3 fewer lessons each day. It's plain frustrating to other students who have more going on in their lives than idling around at their flight school.

I am eager to learn and I am making time for it. It just seems that, being a student pilot, the first skill you truly have to master is being patient because time and money alone just won't get you in the air every day. I learned a few other things that required regular tuition from instructors, all of which were great experiences. Once the necessary skills are acquired, it's just about time to move on, no need to linger. Why would flying be any different? I'm sorry folks, but it really isn't all that hard if you have a minimum of coordination and practice regularly. There's a bloke in his late 40s who started flying 2 years ago and still hasn't flown solo. Unfortunately he can only afford to fly once a week but with all those cancellations, he's also required to do remedial flights. This lad is a cash cow goose that lays golden eggs (a bird is still more aerodynamic than a cow) to them.

If someone cares to tell me something that I obviously don't know about the inner workings of running a flight school that may soften those hard landings, I'd be much obliged. In the meantime, let them charge students for those intermediate exams if they must. If I were them, I'd focus my energy elsewhere, eg. on building a strong reputation of getting students in and out licenced as fast as possible.
You’ve obviously experienced the typical GA flying school level of service!
When I owned a school I ran 2 hour booking slots and charged about $20 / hour more than our competitors. The 2 hours allowed time to brief, prep the aircraft, fly the lesson, debrief and provide prep guidance for the next lesson. Weekends I always had a fuel boy to refuel and clean windscreens during turnarounds to help keep the schedule on time. If conditions weren’t suitable for the planned lesson, yet there was a training benefit in the prevailing conditions, we would offer the option to fly. It may have been a shorter session to simply provide exposure for further training when the student was ready. Or perhaps brief future lessons / compete revision, sit exams or pull the cowls off for a look see at engines and systems if conditions were not suitable to fly.
The point was to get some value out of the situation for the student, they were looking forward to flying, had allocated some of their precious time for the event and were parting with their hard earned dollars! I also kept in mind that during extended periods of poor weather (a few weeks) the student may wander off and find another interesting pastime and give away Flying, so it was in our interests to keep them interested.
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Old 4th Apr 2018, 01:54
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Brisbane, Qld
Posts: 1,250
Okihara, understand your predicament and I'm sure many of us have faced frustrations with this sort of thing in the past but I'd like to offer some points to keep in mind. None of this makes up for sloppy Scheduling if that's indeed the case but are things that IMHO and in my experience are apart of any Flight Training School.

It sounds like you're doing your Training Part-Time, this always involves a level of uncertainty that Full-Timers don't quite face as you've got to work around your schedule and that of the School as well. Seems like you acknowledge this already though, Full-Timers are there constantly and able to take advantage of Weather, Aircraft Availability and Instructor Availability far better than Part-Timers or Casuals are, in this way, from a purely business point of view, they'll almost always get priority as they make better margins for operators.

Comparing them to your local barber and his/her scheduling abilities come across as a bit of oranges and apples comparison, also comes across as a bit belligerent of the differences between them, though I get the overall feeling this isn't what you were trying to do I'd avoid it as it doesn't help with your argument.

Let's say they take your advice and commit to N Dates suitable for them, what happens when circumstances such as Weather and Maintenance keep combining to make those dates not happen, who then pays the price and gives up their schedule to make it work? Who also gives up their schedule to make up for the person giving up their schedule...so on and so forth, it's a real domino effect doing it this way. This idea also could potentially stretch things out even further, by doing so it undermines the efficiency of the Flight School as when things keep combining to stop you from being able to do a certain flight on a certain day you might not have other flights available for whatever reason, now the School continuously has Instructors idle which is a massive money loss for them.

The idea of sticking to a couple of set instructors is all about finding someone who suits your style and is designed to give you the best outcomes, not all instructors teach exactly the same despite having the same syllabus and goals, pairing you up with someone who suits your own learning style and personality is a major part of Instructing and should be stuck to as much as possible. I see your frustration when you're there and the Aircraft is there but YOUR instructor isn't and another one is sitting around but that Instructor doesn't know where you're up to exactly, doesn't know your background and could spend half the lesson just getting into a good swing with you which means the overall lesson suffers.

Also as you go further the skills, experience, ratings etc... required to teach you increase, you're now having to deal solely with the Grade 1s and 2s which are a rarer commodity, it often gets levelled out a bit by having more Solo Flights available to you but is not always the case and needs to be kept in mind, there will mostly be a glut of Grade 3s compared to 1s and 2s for a few reasons, one is progression the other is pay level and a third is suitability. Also you make "reading up on theory" sound like a terrible thing which I disagree with, part of being a Pilot is autonomy, being able to find the best ways to suit these moments when it doesn't all line up is a major part of Training and getting things done as fast as possible.

How much you're paying plays a big part, like everyone you probably did your research and determined that where you're at would give you the best bang for buck, but perhaps you're finding now that's not the case, perhaps the place down the road that charged a bit more will have more flexibility, it's like comparing Qantas to Jetstar. Jetstar are the cheaper airline, sure they'll get you A to B the majority of the time at a lower price point but the fact is that when things come undone they have less resources to assist you and it's a lot worse than Qantas with more resources to allocate to getting you back on track. It could be time to look at other options if the School you're at is no longer giving you the performance you expected?

I'll reiterate, none of this is meant to make allowances for sloppy scheduling, if they're not doing the right thing there then there isn't much you can do other that vote with your feet. It feels like your posts are being written out of sheer frustration and a lot could be accomplished by sitting down with someone higher up in the organisation and discussing your frustrations with them and seeing what can be done. Schools can be extremely flexible but if they feel like you're happy coasting along the way you are they won't go out of their way to change that unless you tell them. That would be my first suggestion at this point if you're getting frustrated about the way the scheduling is working.

And I'd suggest it shouldn't be so difficult to swap schools, last I checked they need to make your training records easily available for this reason, grab them, go for a walk around the field and discuss with others what you've been experiencing and what you want now, there shouldn't be any reason to just "stick it out" with them that is overriding to making sure you get the best outcomes, remember this isn't just about getting the Licence, it should be about getting the Licence and feeling like you're really ready for it and that your School has properly prepared you!
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