Like many people over the age of 4, I hate to fly. My loathing has nothing to do with a fear of heights. Rather, it’s just the whole rotten experience. Before I really start going off in full-on grumpy grandpa mode, let me get to the point. I stumbled across a question from Woon, who wanted to know what it takes to become a pilot. I presume that like me, he wants to avoid the nightmare that is commercial aviation. Here’s what I found out…
A Yahoo! search on “how to be a pilot” yielded a slew of results from different flight schools and training programs. I wanted to get the official answer, so I glided over to the Federal Aviation Administration’s site. The FAA explains that there are two types of pilot schools: those that are FAA-approved and those that are not. “Enrollment in an FAA-approved school usually ensures a high quality of training. FAA-approved schools meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula.”
But that’s not to say a non-FAA approved school isn’t worth your time. Again, according to the FAA, “many excellent pilot schools find it impractical to qualify for the FAA certification, and are referred to as non-approved schools.” So, what exactly is the difference? For one, FAA-approved schools require fewer hours to qualify for a pilot’s certificate. You’ll need 35 hours of training at an approved school, while a non-approved school requires 40 hours. However, since many prospective pilots go well above 40 hours anyway, the 5 hour difference often doesn’t matter.
The FAA hosts a school finder for those who are serious about obtaining their pilot credentials. But beware: Flying isn’t exactly a cheap hobby. Aside from the significant time commitment, aspiring pilots can drop some serious cash on schools and plane rentals. Fortunately, there are a few scholarship opportunities floating around.
What about you guys? Anyone out there thinking of going back to school to indulge a passion like flying? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thanks for reading,
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