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Flight schools: Get ready to soar

Many people are fortunate to realize their dream of becoming a pilot. The path to realizing that dream takes many shapes and directions. Some realize their dream as commercial pilots and fly their own planes during their free time. Others have always had a love for all things aviation as long as they can remember.

Molly is a photographer, a professional courante player, and an avid pilot. Her passion for flying and adventure are often captured through her camera lens. Tim is a professional commercial pilot who realized his dream after he graduated from a college flight program.

Their paths are completely different, but both share a love of aviation.  flight-school.jpg

No matter the path, attaining a pilot’s license requires a lot of flight time and instruction. Private pilot’s license for Part 61, for example, requires a minimum of 40 hours flight time as well as extra time for study on the ground in preparation for the Federal Aviation Administration’s pilot test. Among many skills, you must able be able to read, speak and communicate in English to get a U.S. private pilot’s license.

There are many qualified, private pilot schools throughout the country. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association recommends selecting carefully when finding a flight school, whether to get a license or seek more training once you have acquired the license. Flight schools are offered as Part 61 and Part 141, referring to the various parts of the Federal Aviation Regulations under which they operate.   The AOPA suggests several things to consider when selecting a flight school, like finances, flight training, ground schooling, airport services, and reputation.

For commercial licenses, there are also numerous options. Here are some of the top-flight schools;

  1. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (www.erau.edu) – Embry Riddle is the nation’s largest and oldest aeronautical university, having been founded in 1926. Flight students here begin one-on-one training within their first few days.
  2. University of North Dakota (www.aviation.und.edu/) – The University’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is widely considered one of the nation’s top aviation schools. They feature technologically-advanced simulators and the world’s largest collegiate training fleet.
  3. Florida Institute of Technology (www.fitaviation.com) – FIT Aviation has a large fleet, 11 flight simulators, and offers a diverse selection of programs. They provide pilot training under the supervision of both the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
  4. Western Michigan University (www.wmich.edu/aviation) – Western Michigan’s College of Aviation has one of the largest aviation programs in the country, and they’ve been instructing pilots for more than 75 years.
  5. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology (www.spartan.edu/) – Spartan has been around since 1928 and has five locations in Oklahoma, Colorado and California. They pride themselves on small class sizes and hands-on training.

Regardless the path you take to obtain your pilot license, safety will be stressed at all levels, in the classroom and in the air.

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