Being an FAA-approved Part 141 program inside a traditional flying club has its obvious advantages in satisfying the community aspect. But just because the school is part of the club doesn’t mean that students are naturally connected and know each other. The staff works hard to cultivate the group through social media and events. St. George says you can’t deny the benefit to the students. “To be all by yourself in the left seat suffering with your CFI is not the way to learn,” he said.
It’s not all fun and games. St. George and others have toed the delicate line between a fun and easygoing atmosphere and an unwavering commitment to safety. “We want to have fun,” he says, “but it’s serious fun. Hurting yourself is never fun. Breaking planes is never fun. We aggressively sell safety as being fun.”
The sales pitch is working. The school’s award nominations made numerous mentions to safety. That could partially be due to the school’s safety reporting form, which is tied to the scheduling system. All members are encouraged to report safety hazards for everything from other pilot members to maintenance and more. “We’re all in this together. If someone bends something, it’s going to hurt all of us,” St. George says.
Training takeaway: Safety is critical to schools. See screen shots of the school’s safety reporting system.