Friday, August 3, 2012

Looking for a new flight school

It is high time to start instrument training, the need for a flight instructor/school and a craft arises. Who to choose? Do I continue with one that I did my private with or do I choose a new one? I wish I could continue with the instructor who helped me wrap up my private certificate, or the one who introduced me to complex airplanes. But they're 318 nautical miles east so the search must begin.

I've been through three flight schools, two flight clubs and nine flight instructors on the road to my Private Pilots License. If there's a gimmick or a catch chances are I've stumbled across it on my journey. I heard all the spiels and sales pitches. I've chosen what I want, what works. A relaxed (not carefree) professional instructor who flies because he loves it and teaches because that's what he's good at. That's the kind of person you want. As for the bird, keep it simple, first learn the basics, then upgrade. You'll save yourself heartache, time and money.

I tried out a flight school close to my home, they have a decent operation, but they don't allow rentals outside of the training syllabus. That's a big NO in my book. Isn't the idea to be able to rent when you want to go where you want? So the search moves north to the airport in my colleges backyard, Beaver Countys KBVI. there are two flight schools on the field, among other reasons I pick the one with the most familiar airplanes (remember keep it simple to save time), Cessna 172s in steam gauge and a 182 TURBO G1000 with a sprinkling of Piper Warriors. I wish they had a tail-dragger, but I guess that will have to wait.

I meet my prospective instructor, I'll learn that he's my style, no nonsense in the plane yet fun to be around. He gives me a tour of the facilities before we head out to the ramp to see all the aircraft. While I do the preflight inspection he tops off the tanks and then we climb in. It's just going to be a short flight, I simulate a short field takeoff with a right turnout to the north practice area. Jeremy points out the different landmarks before we follow the Beaver river back to the blue bridge for a 3 mile final. I execute two touch-and-goes with left hand turns and finally a full stop landing. I won't lie, some of the pattern work wasn't from my finest examples but I saved it on the smooth landings. I got my currency back, and I believe my quest for Mr. Right CFI is complete.