How to choose the best flight school! – My Tips & Tricks

First of all, thank you all so much for reading my articles about my experiences in aviation. It is a great hobby to write about these topics and I hope you will enjoy and learn something from my stories. So let’s move on to the subject before you decide to leave the page. šŸ˜‰ Ā How do you choose good flight school and where did I do my flight training? A lot of people ask me these questions lately so why not answer them in a new article!

My experiences
I went to CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Amsterdam (NLS) and I will tell you why.
When I decided to become an airline pilot I knew nothing about flight schools. I really had no clue at all… The only thing I did know though was that I wanted to become a pilot, a successful airline pilot withcae-oxford-aviation-academy a decent opportunity to obtain that very important first job! I started going through pilot forums to gain information about Dutch flight schools. Then I made a collection of the schools I wanted to visit and I paid them a personal visit during information days. It didn’t take long to notice the difference between the schools (price, location and so on..). The biggest difference between the flight schools were the attitude and the atmosphere! There are some schools where the attitude is simply not ok (in my opinion) and these schools are well known to have this problem. Too arrogant and proud which is definitely not my cup of tea. I decided I wanted to go to a good school where people stayed down to earth, no matter what they were wearing.

Aviation forums & Contacts
In the meantime I contacted people from those schools and other people via aviation related forums. I found out which flight schools were actually delivering graduates to airlines and which schools did not. In the end they will all tell you the greatestĀ stories about their history and success in aviation.. I guess you do well not to rely on those stories. The more I found out about these schools, the smaller my list became.Ā In the end I got in contact with someone who worked at the airline where I currently work. He choose the earlier mentioned school and this, together with all the information I gathered earlier, led to my decision.

What I want you to know…
During the recession and during my flight training I realized how important it was to go to a school which is a part of a greater company. In the past few years I have seen a lot of flight schools go bankrupt. Being a student on that school? I wish you good luck! Prior to starting I did not look at this but in the end it saved my **s.bankrupt
My school was attached to CAE, a great simulator company which has a lot of connections with airlines and all sorts of other aviation related companies. In a time where jobs were hard to find, CAE still sent me emails with airlines which were hiring. Maybe you think this isĀ normal, but in general flight schools will not take care of you after your graduation. On a regular basis, my school sent me invitations from easyJet, Norwegian, Volotea, BMI, etc. When your school is not attached to another company and your school goes bankrupt, you will have nothing anymore. No final report, no references and no files. Exactly the stuff you need in order to apply for your first airline job. You might think that the chance of a flight school going bankrupt is not that great but trust me, it happens more often than you think. Even CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Amsterdam closed their doors! I was lucky that my school was a part of CAE, otherwise I would not have had a job right now. However, please understand that bigger schools are not automatically better than the smaller ones. ThisĀ brings me to the next item.

Watch out for factories!
After you made your choice, you will have to undergo a selection process. This selection process will filter the candidates. A selection program usually consists of math tests, physics tests, flying skill tests, personal tests, intelligence tests and a lot more. 126955-200Not to be rude but… In general, quite some people fail these selection tests. This will result in not being accepted by that specific school. Almost everyone who fails a test like that and is really willing to become an airline pilot continues to search for another school. Some flight schools are well known for being factories, which means that they will acceptĀ almost anyone as long as you pay them tuition fee. Any help or care after the training? Forget it. Ā Be aware of this because in this situation it is easy to go to a school like that and to forget the consequences. Airlines know that some schools hire anyone and therefore they will not hire you since you are from that school. And of course, when you never get the job, you will be stuck with: Ā The real deal…

Cheap or Expensive?
Nowadays there are a lot of companies, like CTC for example, which have a good connection with several airlines. If you use their company you pay a huge amount of money to get a job. In Europe the worst place you can start a pilot training regarding the costs is the Netherlands. I have never heard of any other country where it is so expensive to become a pilot. Poland & Lithuania known to have some of the lowest tuition fees for pilot schools.

Like everything in life: failure to prepare is prepare to fail! Make sure you do a good research on your flight school before you decide.


4 thoughts on “How to choose the best flight school! – My Tips & Tricks

  1. hola michelle, encuentro estupendo magnifico, su orientaacion, yo puedo leer ingles, hablo espaƱol, y sueco, me hice piloto , en aeronaves de un motor, y quiero saber como reunir 100 horas de noche para para postular a una trabajo, en hawai. tu ya eres piloto comercial y bastante joven , creo que tienes bastante experiencia. gracias thank, eller tack……………..

    1. Hi Frank Emilio,

      If I understand you correctly you are asking how to get 100 night flight hours so you can apply for a position in Hawaii? Most pilots in Europe graduate with a limited amount of night time (because It’s not a requirement to have 100 “night” flight hours to get a CPL). Hence, the only way to gain those hours is by working for an operator that requires you to fly during the evening/night. I hope that answers your question. All the best!

  2. Hello Michelle, how are you? I am Vincenzo I have 25 years old and I started to follow you a few weeks ago. I found out your contenute very useful and I would like to thank to you for what you are doing! My dream is to become a pilot exactly like you, but since when I was 10 years old. I found on internet a cadet program with the BAA and I am applying to. My question is, where do you advise me to prepare for the compass test? do you advise me to go there? How much does the living cost in general for become a pilot and studing? Thanks so much best regards Vincent

    1. Hi Vincenzo,

      I am good thanks, how are you? I am actually planning an article about the compass test. in the meantime you might find this article to be helpful. It’s about the Adapt test, a more advanced test. It contains information that can be useful in your situation!

      I always advice people that wan’t to get their pilot license to do so in a sponsored program. If the program is sponsored or comes with a job at the end of the course (job security) I would always go for that. Following a pilot course at a normal school usually doesn’t include a job at an airline and you need to pay the tuition yourself. It does allow you to apply with any airline after finishing the course though.

      Living costs really depend on where your training takes place. In “The Real Deal: the price to become an airline pilot!” I mention all the costs you need to deal with šŸ˜‰

      Good luck!

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