Aviation community can help improve flight training

May 19, 2011

Anyone who has ever taken flying lessons can help improve the training process by sharing his or her input in one of a series of regional meetings that kicks off May 24 in Fairfield, N.J.

AOPA launched the Flight Training Student Retention Initiative in 2010 to help increase the percentage of students who earn a pilot certificate. From May through September this year, the association is following up on the comprehensive, independent study it commissioned on the flight training experience with meetings in six metro areas around the United States: New York City (held in Fairfield, N.J.), Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Orlando.

“Member and flight training provider input is critical to developing and prioritizing real-world solutions,” said Jennifer Storm, AOPA director of flight training initiatives. “We’re holding regional meetings so we can make it more convenient for as many stakeholders as possible to participate in this important process.”

Up to 80 percent of those who start flight training do not earn a pilot certificate. AOPA’s flight training initiative is working to help more student pilots succeed by developing resources and programs that improve the flight training experience. The initiative is a collaborative effort to reverse the decline in the pilot population and ultimately strengthen general aviation.

AOPA will hold two meetings in each city, one for the aviation community and one for flight training providers. The aviation community meetings offer members, pilots, student pilots, and aviation businesses other than flight schools an opportunity to hear more about the initiative and share their thoughts on steps that should be taken to help more students become certificated pilots. AOPA is honoring the request of those actively providing flight training by holding separate, dedicated meetings for flight school owners, managers, and flight instructors.

The first aviation community meeting, in New Jersey, will take place on May 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. In order to provide adequate seating, materials, and refreshments, attendees are encouraged to register online. Additional dates and venues will be posted on the initiative Web page, and online registration will become available as dates and locations are confirmed.