1. An environment where the customer is the north star.
2. Low amount of flight instructor churn.
Consistency is key. Ideally, you would like to go through your entire training with one instructor. Doesn't happen to often because guys are always making moves weathers its to a regional airline or another flight school. With a consistent instructor, you will know right where you left off last time. Saving hours of recap and review.
3. A laid back environment but one that is also laser focused on safety.
Don't be so up tight dude. Yes, we are flying planes here, but com-eon, no one likes a jerk. Pilots are safety centric constant learners, but they skew towards the humble. Good schools attract these types flight instructors.
Ask yourself, could I see myself hanging out here on a day I don't have a flight lesson.
I call this the 'hang out factor.' The school should be a comfortable place to be. Kick your feet up, plan your next cross country flight. You'd be surprised how much you learn just hanging around fellow pilots.
4. Dedicated space for ground school training and check ride test preparation.
Quiet always good for those study sessions.
5. Well maintained aircraft
Most trainer planes are old, built circa 1969. Make certain they are in top operational form. See the difference between Cessna Skyhawks and Cherokee Pipers.
6. An Involved Owner.
Having a super involved owner is great because they have skin in the game and can dictate the culture of the school to ensure a the instructor-student relationship is operating at full throttle.
7. Clear Goals
An dexpectations in terms of hours needed and the dollars required to get you to sit for the practical exam. This should not be a protracted negotiation. If the school is being difficult before you even fly with them, just imagine what that could snowball into down the line.
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