Flight Lessons - How to choose the right flight school in Mesa, AZ

When you're looking for the right place to get your pilot training, it may seem overwhelming with all of the search results you get when looking for "flight school in Mesa Arizona," or "how to become a pilot," or worse - "flying lessons near me."  There seems to be too many search results that just want to capture your business, and not enough actual information and direction.

Let's see if we can change that.


First of all, welcome to the group!  The aviation community is a tight-knit network, and we're always glad new people show up.  We know there's a lot of industry-specific terminology, difficulty for newcomers to figure out where to go from here, and some major barriers to entry... but we're glad you're here regardless.  We can walk through this together!

Take your time!

Don't rush into a decision on where to begin your flight training.  If a company or school is pressuring you to "sign on the dotted line," that's a pretty big red flag saying you might want to back up and look at this a little harder.  There are countless stories from pilots all over the world of companies not telling the whole story, or leaving information out, or worse - straight up lying to potential students so they can get them committed to their program.

This is a major financial decision - if you're wanting to get your certifications so you can become a commercial pilot, you may be paying in excess of $100,000... so it makes sense to approach it from a very cautious perspective.  That's a lot of money!  If you were looking to spend that much money on anything else, you wouldn't just hand it to the first person who pressured you into a sale!  No, you would do your research, you would talk to people, you might even find a mentor who you trusted so they could help you with your questions, pose questions you haven't even thought of yet, and give you some direction on where to go from here.

Interview Multiple Schools

Look at big schools, look at small schools, talk to independent Certified Flight Instructors (CFI's), and ask them any question that comes to mind - ask about their cost, ask about their schedule, ask about their background, and their success rate, and their cancellation/rescheduling policy, and what happens if you need to take a few weeks off for family emergencies... you might be surprised at the variety of answers you'll get from each of them.

When you go to buy a house, there's the time period where you're able to perform your "due diligence," or in plain English, when you're able to investigate everything about that property so you can make your final decision on whether to buy or not.  Treat this transaction with the same amount of investigation and due diligence.  Walk into the school, talk to instructors, look at their airplanes, ask about their syllabus, their financing options, their policy on what happens to students who don't pass a checkride or stage check, look at how they treat their employees, how clean they keep their buildings, hangars, and airplanes... do your due diligence!

Not One Size Fits All

There is no such thing as a One-Size-Fits-All flight school.  There are big ones who push you through their program, there are small ones that offer more flexibility, and there are independent CFI's who will work with you directly on your training.  But each comes with their pro's and con's... the big schools treat you more like a transaction, but they have large plane fleets and in-house mechanics, so they're always running.  The smaller schools are a little more personal, but their fleet might be booked out more, so you can't fly as often as you'd like.  The independent flight instructors might be extremely flexible, but they might not own an airplane, so you might be flying different airplanes on different days depending on what's available.  But you wouldn't know any of this unless you talked to them and asked questions.

What one person is OK with, might be a deal breaker for the next person... look at all of your options and decide what factors are most important to you, then use that to find the school the fits you the best.

A Final Word

If you don't feel comfortable, or if you feel that someone is trying to sell you a program that seems too good to be true, maybe you're right.  Find someone who you can trust and explain the situation to them.  There are tons of resources available to you - find an online group, or a local flying club, or stop into another local flight school and ask them the same questions... if you feel something is fishy, trust your instincts.  There are unscrupulous flight schools, just like there are bad actors in any industry.

And remember - we are always willing to answer your questions, even if it means finding out we're not the right fit for you.  We want you to be educated and happy in your decision on where you end up going for your pilot training.  Contact us today if we can be of any help!

Happy flying!