Flight school for dad

I am writing because my dad, just turning 50, is retiring from a job with a state law enforcement agency. He is convinced that he would love to become a pilot. I am supportive of his decision, although he tends to change his mind frequently. Thus, I have been doing research into flight schools that offer an “academy” type approach. Observing my father, over the years, I have learned that he functions well in structured environments. Are there flight schools that offer classes everyday or have an academy type setting? What are things to avoid when looking for flight schools? I have browsed his aviation magazines and some of the ads look like rip offs. I also used to work at the Pocatello, ID airport and remember they had a flight school there. Thanks in advance for your help.


Post deleted by trunyan

Flight training can be as structured or casual as you want to make it. Most instructors that are qualified at the “master” level will appreciate the structured same time, same number of hours each day or three times a week (some specific fixed schedule that they can plan for). All the “AB INITIO” (which means “from the beginning”), are geared towards young folks seeking an ATP job so assuming that your dad isn’t planning on a new job as an airline pilot or a freight dog, you will normally need to build your own program. Your dad will also need to resign himself to the fact that 90% of the available instructors will be half his (and my) age… Since I also came from a public safety background I can relate to the culture shock that is inherent in not being the older guy in charge… (Like being assigned to a training officer less than half your age for OJT), You mentioned Pocatello, try looking at the website url www.justflightschools.com/Idaho/ for something that looks and feels good to you… talk to a bunch of instructors and find one that your dad is comfortable with, in my case I landed on two here at our airport in San Jose Ca, one is a retired airline pilot and one is a retired FAA air traffic controller… for precision and procedure it was a winner of a combo and since they were also in their 50’s we mixed well and are still friend and flying buddies to this day.

Bill C

If your dad wants to learn in a cirrus, Try “The Flight Academy” They are Cirrus certified trainers and are now offering rental aircraft training in select locations. Web site:

Another person’s two cents worth: I tried the approach of using a local school for my basic training, which consisted of a couple of hours lesson every Saturday morning, and lots of reading and studying. At that time, instructors came and went, often getting hired by the airlines or corporate shops. I found I changed instructors frequently, but what was worse was the slow pace of advancement due to flying only once a week. For my instrument rating, I took time off from work and hired an instructor to teach me full time. I found the accelerated approach much more efficient…what I learned in one lesson did not have to be reviewed or learned again…it was immediately reinforced and practised under the accelerated approach. If finances are a factor, I’d say the accelerated approach is the way to go.

I always appreciated having multiple instructors, and frequently use different instructors for my flight reviews and/or aerobatic training. Something different and important is gained from every instructor.

But there is no question in my mind that having an older, experienced senior instructor for most of one’s primary training is the best way to go. I would opt for an instructor with 8000 hours and every known rating, over a younger, less experienced instructor, irrespective of whether it is in an accelerated academy setting, or by weekly lessons. I am close to your father['s age and have found that much younger instructors (i.e., early twenties) are usually too deferential toward me because of age. If I do something really stupid…I want the instructor to rap my knuckles, figuratively speaking. The older guys don’t hesitate to holler at the student!