Windsong Aviation

Accelerated flight training for your private or instrument license

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What Traditional Training is Like

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The scenario I am about to describe characterizes 80-90% of the flight training in the US. For a variety of reasons, flight training companies have been very slow to get a customer centered outlook on business. According to the FAA, less than 10% of flight instructors are what you would call experienced pilots. They are legal to do what they do, but they are recently minted, young, and have little real world experience.

What usually happens it this… You show up at the flight school and get the sales spiel. They want you to come to the airport for 40 or 50 sessions of 2-3 hours each, both ground and air. They don’t train in lousy weather, which they define as conditions which intimidate their instructors, most of whom have 400-600 hours total time and whose cross country time is limited. So, lots of times, you won’t fly, though you may get a ground session. You will be more or less on your own for the written test, though the instructor will help you when you have questions. But you will have to deal with the textbook and study the questions on your own time. When you go two or three weeks between lessons due to weather or whatever, you will have to repeat much of the last lesson before starting the new one.

They will a little cagy about money. They will give you an “estimate” as to what it will all cost you, but that figure will probably not include the costs of passing the written, the check ride, materials, a headset, etc. The “estimate” will be very optimistic and based on your doing everything perfectly and in minimum time. Using these methods, you will not get your private license in the 45-50 hours they predict. The average, according to the FAA, is more like 64. And you are paying by the hour, ground and air. When you compare the local flight school to Windsong, be sure to have them estimate the costs of a headset, materials to study for the written examination, and check ride fees. When you compare apples to apples, and considering that you will not repeat lessons, Windsong is a good bargain.

You will probably have more than one instructor, and three or four is not uncommon. Airline hiring is on the rise again right now, and as soon as your lad or lass gets enough time to be hired by a regional airline, that person will be gone without warning. Don’t worry, the school has a newly minted lad or lass they just hired to take over your training. Of course, you will pay for his/her orientation to get started with you.

Yes, I am aware that the above sounds cynical and negative. I am sorry… really. But, for heaven’s sake, it is not wrong. I would not operate Windsong if your local flight school made what I do irrelevant. By all means, check it out. If they offer accelerated training, an excellent orientation to customers, unremitting support of the student pilot, experienced instructors, and consistency, there is no reason for you to come to Georgia, and I don’t have a problem with that. But when you check them out, be a little skeptical. I founded Windsong because of how I learned to fly, because my training was a good lesson on what not to do.