I have copied a detailed post from the past which might help you in your evaluation and selection process
Topic: RE: Pilot Training
Username: Jetgate [User Info]
Posted 2000-05-18 13:25:30 and read 46 times.
To add my two cents worth the name of flying school does and doesn't matter. One of our instructors who had about 2000 hrs, recently got hired on by Cathay Pacific and he's in paid for accomadation with all meals included and soon to be flying the 747 and this is from teaching in a flying club! Also in the other hand I spoke with an Air Canada 767 captain who went to a famous flight college in Canada and got the right seat the minute he graduated, but that was in the 60's.
The first step is to see what you can afford for training costs and for living costs during the training. Be generous because it always seem to cost more by about 20% at the end. It would be great if you can arrange all your finances before starting the training as what you don't want is to worry about money whilst training, can be a MAJOR distraction. Big schools give you training on certain things that are simply cosmetic and you'll have to figure these out when looking at there brochures and videos. Very small schools can't even afford the brochures, so this really says it all! It will have to be a personal decision whether you want to pay $5 to $10000 more dollars for the same training at a school which has a big name, I would personally opt to use that kind of money to build more time on a twin engine aeroplane than HOPE to get in somewhere because of the name of my OLD school. I can only
relate my own experiences, to cut a long story short, I moved from London, England to Vancouver, Canada (& hello Buff!) to primarily to do my training as I couldn't in a million years afford to do it back home. So the first lesson, plan out your finances until completion of training or it will be a stop start affair which will cost you more in the long run.
Next step is to find an ESTABLISHED school that will treat you like a customer and a student, the personal touch. I have heard so many stories about incidents where the student had a different instructor every other week as the CFI's were bailing out to commuters the minute they had the ATPL. Also many hideous hidden charges at big school prices! Now this doesn't mean that you should go and join with Mike's school of flying that operates 2 C150's and has a PC for a simulator (Sorry Mike!) you know that future prospects from an establishment of this sort will be not forthcoming. To give you an example about the experience level within your future teachers, before joining my present school I checked the experience of the senior Instructors and found that between the three Class 1's (in the U.S I think you guys call them Gold Seal or something) they had over 30,000 hrs with there average age being 47, therefore when I looked at the whole pool of instructors which also included several junior guys I could see a balanced structure. So the second lesson is whether you want to go somewhere where you are an enrolement number or a person. Believe me when I say that during your training there will be times when things a grim and you are not feeling like a god flying your humble C172, at these times a school with approachable management and Instructors who actually care about your Readiness to learn and students who look out for each other and are not wraped up on there own egos will be PRICELESS! Therefore, if you can go and visit your shortlisted schools, talk to past and present students inspect there flight line and chat to some of the instructors, trust me you will know the place for you within a few hours. I was lucky enough to meet the manager of my school at a flight training trade show in London last April and I was immediately able to gauge the professionalism and compassion at first hand.
Step three is what route, now this is bloody hard to figure out and it took me nearly three months of talking with people from the U.S. to South Africa and even New Zealand. The most common route is Instructing to gain the valuble PIC hours and then climbing the next ladder to Commuter or Charter ops. This is a tried and tested method and most Commercial operators respect the fact that you have been slogging your guts out nearly twelve hours a day teaching fools like you and I to fly in return for a few cents. I personally wanted to be an Instructor so that I could learn more and understand more before stepping in to the big league. Think about this, you complete your Ab-Initio and walk away with 250 hours to your first interview at an operator. You might go on a check flight so they could asses your handling skills or might do this in a simulator. Now tell me who will be able to nail their steep turns in Instrument conditions (Ben if you didn't know this is a manouver which requires great deal of pilot input and skill in normal visual conditions so it becomes even harder when in clouds flying on instruments)? The 250 hour would be captain or the poor yet experienced Instructor? Need I say more, however you might be an extremely gifted individual at 250hrs and this might not be a problem but there are an exceptionally few individuals like this around. So the lesson here is go the standard route, there is a reason for why it's a standard route! As an afterthought also use in your selection the training environment, what I mean by this is a happy medium between your training airport to be busy but not too busy and the weather being sunny and clear to cloudy and overcast. It's pointless to me in training in an area where it's sunny and clear 350 days of the year, you will more than likely poo in your pants the minute you see a cloud and in the other hand you will also like to get higher than a few thousand feet up when on cross-country flights.
And FINALLY try and find a school that can provide the full training within a year, I see no point with you having a Masters in prolonging your training. The guy who finishes in a year will have roughly about 750 hrs more experience instructing than the guy who takes two years to get all his licences and 250 hrs. I'm 29 and started my training last July and plan to complete my Instructors ride on the 5th of this June to start working as an Instructor for the summer.
So Ben to summarise the way the job market is going you will more than likely get a job as a pilot no matter where you train, quicker if you make a good choice. Be carefull about the cash and decide what method of training and then aquiring the experience, then STICK TO IT.
This has turned out to be a very long post, so appologies to all but I feel it is unbelievable that in most countries (Europe has finally started......for good or for worse) there are no Educational Regulatory authorities monitoring Flight Training. We have to cough up a disgusting amount of money to pay for our own training, which might be wasted if the training provider is useless or if we make the wrong decision as to the type of training.
I guess they know that flying is more of a vocation than a profession initially and we do it for the love of it.