home | contact us | disclaimer  

Schools for Flight Training

Learning to fly is a dream for many people. Some learn to fly for recreational purposes; others as a career. Attending a flight training school and gaining certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are basic requirements that all potential pilots must fulfill.

Job Description and Responsibilities of Flight School Graduates

In most aircrafts, the cockpit crew consists of two pilots - the pilot and the copilot (also known as the first officer). They share duties and responsibilities and are expected to:

  • Plan flights with precision and accuracy

  • Thoroughly check the proper function of aircraft instruments and systems

  • Communicate with air traffic controllers and aviation weather forecasters

  • Closely confer and coordinate with each other during takeoffs, landings and in-flight journeys

  • Regularly check the instrument panel during flights

  • Complete flight records and aircraft maintenance status

Airline pilots face unique risks and challenges on the job. Recognizing this, airline companies impose aptitude and psychological tests for potential applicants and reject those who do not pass. Periodic physical and ophthalmic examinations are required to maintain a valid license.

Most aircrafts manage well with only two pilots due to the advanced technology that facilitates computerized flight controls. However, a flight engineer may sometimes be present on large aircrafts. The responsibilities of a flight engineer include:

  • Monitoring and operating flight instruments and systems

  • Repairing minor in-flight problems

  • Assisting pilots with air traffic control and cabin crew communications

Career Options After Flight Colleges

Graduates of flight schools can consider careers as pilots, copilots, flight engineers and flight instructors. The most common area of work is in the transportation of passengers and cargo. About 20% of graduates find work as commercial pilots, engaged in activities like crop dusting, aircraft testing, rescue missions, and traffic monitoring. Air-taxi companies also hire commercial pilots to fly small planes. 

Flight Training & Certification

Flight Training

The primary objective of flight training is to impart basic airmanship skills, encompassing the principles of flight and the ability to safely operate and navigate an aircraft with precision. Courses comprise on-ground theory lessons and practical training in the air. Students will learn the basic principles of flight, meteorology, rules and regulations. In addition, students will be trained in navigation, radio communications, and the use sophisticated instruments, systems and other equipment.

Flight schools are principally divided into FAA-approved (Part 141) and non-approved (Part 61) schools, based on the regulations under which they operate. FAA-approved schools are periodically audited, have detailed FAA-sanctioned course outlines and must meet trainee pilot performance rates to maintain certification. Non-approved schools do not have similar requirements and cater to students who need more flexibility with lesson content and scheduling. In addition, pilots can also obtain training at nationally accredited pilot training institutions and via aviation college degree programs.

Before deciding on the most suitable type of flight school, you must assess your piloting aims, commitment level, available time and preferred training location.


Once the basics of airmanship are mastered, student pilots can then embark on certification courses that license pilots for various flying activities. The certificate system coupled with a set of add-on ratings specify the type of aircraft that pilots may fly and whether or not they can fly for hire, in inclement weather or carry passengers.

FAA licensure tests for graduates of flight training schools require that candidates meet several basic criteria. These depend on the type of license or add-on rating in which you are interested. Besides meeting age and physical criteria, graduates must also ensure that they have completed the minimum number of hours of flight experience.

Flight School Accreditation

As with all learning institutions, it is important to check the accreditation of the flight school to which you are applying. FAA-accredited flight schools (part 141) have vetted curricula and are periodically reviewed by the FAA to maintain high standards. However, do note that non-FAA accredited (part 61) flight training programs also effectively train student pilots whilst allowing flexibility in scheduling, in contrast to part 141 schools.

Flight School Graduates Earning Potential and Employment Prospects

The earning potential for flight school graduates varies greatly depending on the industry. Airline pilots' earnings' are amongst the highest in the country and depend on the pilots' rank, experience, aircraft type and the size of the airline. The median annual earnings of airline pilots and flight engineers in May 2004 were $129,250. Due to the considerable amount of time spent away from home, airline pilots are entitled to expense allowances. The median annual earnings of non-airline commercial pilots were $53,870 in May 2004.

It is quite common for pilots to start as flight instructors while simultaneously increasing their flying experience. Thereafter, they move on to fly charter planes or corporate planes. Some also seek employment with small air transportation firms.

Pilots who join airlines usually start out as copilots or flight engineers in smaller airlines. As more experienced is gained, they can expect a greater earning potential with larger national or international airlines. Flight engineers can expect to rise up to copilot within 1-5 years and eventually to captain after 5-15 years.


Back to Schools for Flight Training