Flight Schools

Today has been a combination of studying aerodynamics in the PHAK and FAR Parts 141 and 142. One might be inclined to ask, Why?

The answer stems back to my first Ground School Class in an academy setting. Some time around the second week of class it occurred to me; I have absolutely no desire, what so ever, to be an airline pilot. Becoming an airline pilot is, it turns out, the primary goal for most academy style programs. Also as it turns out that a vast majority of pilots who move on to the CFI/II not interested in that path, it’s gonna take a lot more time and a lot more studying on your own, and then more time and studying. Not to mention getting out there to see what other kinds of flying jobs are available.

So what does this have to do with my studying 141, 142 today? Back when I had my epiphany about career paths, I had thoughts of establishing a different kind of aviation academy program. Or, at least one that had more career track options. There are accommodations in Part 141 for schools teaching a wide variety of courses. If there is a certificate or rating for it, one could develop a 141 program for it. Even areas not certificated or rated can have a 141 program, a Test Pilot program to name just one.

Beyond certifying a 141 program, it makes sense for a school or career minded instructor to develop flight and ground school programs around the Part 141 program requirements. If you develop a 141 program and operate it as a Part 61 program you can accomplishing several things, beta testing a program that you could later certify, and teaching to a higher standard. Some of the complexities can weigh down the process, but a clear understanding of how a 141 school needs to be organized on the back end can go a long way in making a Part 61 program look, feel, and act more professional.

Building an career aviation school from scratch is a lot of hard work. It requires a clear understanding of the certificate programs the school will offer, the resources it can and will be able to provide its students, and what the target markets are for the school and its graduating students. These days it also requires a lot of planning for sustainability, flexibility, and endurance for a business to survive. And lets not forget, aviation training is a business.

As FAR 91.103 puts it “Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. …”