Flight Training - March 2011 - 28
tant training factor (each was combined into a single category). On a 10-point scale, the industry was rated a 6.57. If you are still involved in training, chances are you feel that your flight school and instructor are being honest with you. Amazingly, among those who have finished training, this was the highest-scoring factor at 7.24. Those who have quit are seriously distrustful of the entire process, which is reflected in a score of 6.32. It was far and away the biggest gap in score between those who’ve made it and those who didn’t. If you are frustrated with the training process, and you feel your school or instructor isn’t being forthcoming, remember that you are the customer. You should exert the same influence over that relationship as you would if you were buying furniture.
COMMUNITY. Lead researcher Mark
AOPA convened a summit on the issue of student retention last November. The association invited members of the flighttraining community to discuss the results and brainstorm initial solutions, which resulted in hundreds of ideas ranging from tried and proven to out of left field. At the end of the day, the group was asked to vote for those ideas they believed would move everyone toward a solution. VALUE. Probably no word in the survey Factors such as professional development has been more scrutinized than value. and mentoring for flight instructors, better Prior to the research, and in many hangar- integration of flight simulation into traintalk sessions since, the issue of cost has ing, and a closer look at curriculum reform been a big player. For many people who rated highly. Flight-school accreditation learned how to fly in a Piper J-3 Cub or also received a number of votes. But there Cessna 150, the idea of paying $10,000 or was discussion about whether or not $12,000 for a pilot certificate seems crimi- the large investment of time and money nal. Control costs, they say, and you’ll required to launch such a program would solve the problem. That may be true for be worth the considerable drawbacks. some prospects. However, the study didn’t Questions such as the benefits to flight support the notion on a macro scale. Why? schools and students still remain. Think about it this way. A $50 steak may Any meeting is useless without actionseem like a lot of money for one dinner, able items, and there were many. For its but if that steak tastes wonderful, you’ll part, AOPA will introduce its three major
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Benson, a new pilot and chairman of APCO Insights, with decades of research experience across dozens of industries— said he had never before seen the issue of “community” come up in research like this. He said that made him think aviation is a special and unique activity that is challenging but highly rewarding. To those already established in aviation, “community” is also one of the most exciting opportunities. It’s an area that’s virtually unexplored, and new technologies offer myriad ways to bring students together. Mentors, online communities, clubs, recognition, and the like have the opportunity to truly make a difference.
be happy to pay the bill when it arrives. Flight training is no different. Students participating in the research said the value of the flight training experience was more important than the cost. And value is more than just a dollar figure. It includes such factors as scheduling availability and commitments, quality aircraft, and everything from inexpensive simulators to providing free training resources. Value ranked as the second most important factor, but scored only 6.38. Scheduling and the quality of aircraft were less important, but scored roughly the same. Half of the respondents said the airplanes were not in good condition and appearance. Even fewer said rates were reasonable. Not surprisingly, those who quit training ranked aircraft, value, and scheduling lower than those who finished. Although scheduling and value were equally important to both groups, the condition of the aircraft was twice as important to lapsed students as it was to those who had finished training. This calls for the availability of well-maintained aircraft.
THE MEETING. With research in hand,
new initiatives aimed at the problem. MyFlightTraining will be a way for students to chart their progress via the Flight Training website (http://flighttraining. aopa.org), and be rewarded along the way. Some exciting features are still in development. Each is targeted to enhance the sense of community in the flight-training process that was shown to be lacking in the study. Our hope is that it will provide anyone thinking about dropping out with an outlet to work through their concerns. The scholarship program begins this summer, with two $5,000 awards to be announced at AOPA Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, in late September. It will be open to anyone who has completed some training and is looking for a financial boost to help them along the way. Eligibility requirements and details will be available on the Flight Training website soon. Finally, Flight School Business represents an opportunity to communicate directly to the professionals providing flight training and running flight training businesses. It will include information on a broad range of topics, including advice on marketing, sales, student retention, security, technology, products, insurance, and finance. We think the publication, which will begin arriving to flight school owners and managers via e-mail in the next few weeks, will fill a large gap in information for these important business leaders. AOPA has committed to further cultivate and vet ideas with the flight training community in 2011. The association will be holding six regional meetings starting later this spring. Each will be open to any flight training provider who wishes to participate, with a special session also available for all pilots and students. We know there are many good ideas out there and we want to provide the opportunity for stakeholders to voice them. There’s no guarantee this exercise will ensure no one will ever again have to endure 20 flight instructors or take two years to finish a private pilot certificate, but it’s clear that inaction is, at this point, a large step backward.
Ian J. Twombly is deputy editor of Flight Training magazine.
Flight Training - March 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011
Air Safety Institute
Since You Asked
Legal Q & A
The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Where Do You Stand?
Is This Flightopia?
The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Who Will Fly?
Career Pilot News
Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Instructor Burnout
By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Training - March 2011
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - March 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - March 2011 - 2
Flight Training - March 2011 - 3
Flight Training - March 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - March 2011 - 5
Flight Training - March 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - March 2011 - 7
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - March 2011 - 9
Flight Training - March 2011 - Going Places?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 11
Flight Training - March 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - March 2011 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - March 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - March 2011 - Air Safety Institute
Flight Training - March 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - March 2011 - 17
Flight Training - March 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - March 2011 - Legal Q & A
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - March 2011 - 21
Flight Training - March 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - March 2011 - Checkride
Flight Training - March 2011 - The Flight Training Experience: Making It Work
Flight Training - March 2011 - 25
Flight Training - March 2011 - 26
Flight Training - March 2011 - 27
Flight Training - March 2011 - 28
Flight Training - March 2011 - 29
Flight Training - March 2011 - Where Do You Stand?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 31
Flight Training - March 2011 - Is This Flightopia?
Flight Training - March 2011 - 33
Flight Training - March 2011 - 34
Flight Training - March 2011 - 35
Flight Training - March 2011 - The 12-Step Lesson Plan
Flight Training - March 2011 - 37
Flight Training - March 2011 - 38
Flight Training - March 2011 - 39
Flight Training - March 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - March 2011 - 41
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - March 2011 - Who Will Fly?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - March 2011 - 45
Flight Training - March 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - March 2011 - Can a CFI Use Pizza in the Cockpit?
Flight Training - March 2011 - Flight Instructor Burnout
Flight Training - March 2011 - By the Numbers
Flight Training - March 2011 - 50
Flight Training - March 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - March 2011 - 52
Flight Training - March 2011 - 53
Flight Training - March 2011 - 54
Flight Training - March 2011 - 55
Flight Training - March 2011 - 56
Flight Training - March 2011 - 57
Flight Training - March 2011 - 58
Flight Training - March 2011 - 59
Flight Training - March 2011 - 60
Flight Training - March 2011 - 61
Flight Training - March 2011 - 62
Flight Training - March 2011 - 63
Flight Training - March 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - March 2011 - Cover4