Starlionblue wrote:- Find a school you like. Do you feel like going there all the time?
- Find a school you trust with regards to quality. Do they seem professional in most respects, such as maintenance, student bookings, payments? Even just the state of the facility.
- Find a school that doesn't ask for a massive upfront payment. A couple of thousand USD should be the upper limit IMHO. If a school asks for tens of thousands upfront they are trying to lock you in for some reason. A good school knows you will come back since they provide a product worth coming back to.
- Unless this is a part-time endeavour, find a school with decent weather. Florida and Arizona are big for flight instruction because it is VMC almost every day of the year.
As mentioned above, your long term career is not dependent on whether you went to a "name school" or a "mom n' pop" school. Employers care about your personality, your ability to learn, and your ability to work hard. They don't care if you went to Embry-Riddle or not.
I went to a school with a very "casual" attitude. Instructors in shorts and a polo shirts, lots of jokes and laughter, a ratty old couch where I spent hundreds of hours studying, and grabbing the occasional nap. That couch was sadly thrown out when they moved to a new building. Basically a fun place to hang out. But the planes were solidly maintained, safety was taken very seriously, instructor standards were high, and they would never let a student go to their checkride unless they thought he or she was solid. So even though it was a laid back environment, there wasn't any compromise on the important stuff. This was at Sunstate Aviation in Kissimmee.
Don't drib and drab your flight training. If you fly once a week you will spend many hours simply getting back up to speed. If you can, do your PPL in one go in a few weeks. Then come back and do your IR in a few weeks. And so on. Focused, intensive training over a short period is immensely more effective in terms of skills and money compared to flying every now and again.
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