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VOL. 6-ISSUE 26-12/27/2016
A LOOK BACK
The news that affected flight schools
General aviation saw a lot of regulatory activity in 2016. The most significant was the enactment of third class medical reform legislation in July, although flight schools aren’t certain how much of an impact medical reform will have on their operations until new rules are issued sometime in 2017. Meanwhile, on April 1 the FAA discontinued the combined medical certificate/student pilot certificate, instituting a new plastic student pilot certificate. The three-week time lag to request and receive the certificate put the time-honored tradition of soloing on a student’s sixteenth birthday in peril. However, in November the FAA revised the system so that students can request a temporary printable certificate after a short interval for security vetting. Finally, in June the FAA rolled out the airman certification standards for private pilot certificate and instrument rating, replacing the practical test standards and adding task-specific knowledge and risk management elements to each PTS area of operation and task. Some in the flight training community have criticized the ACS’s new standard for testing maneuvering during slow flight, which requires applicants to establish and maintain an airspeed five to 10 knots above stall speed without activating a stall warning.

BEST OF 2016
These are the stories that caught your attention in 2016.

Airline pilot training at the small flight school
College and university aviation programs frequently have partnerships with airlines—but does that mean small flight schools are out of the game? Absolutely not. With the huge demand for airline pilots, the regionals are struggling to find qualified applicants. Ed Helmick explains how the small flight school can position itself to take advantage of this demand, and why small flight schools can provide a better training experience in some respects than the big schools. READ MORE ›
Beyond pink: marketing to women
If your marketing efforts don’t include women, you’re missing 50 percent of the population and 50 percent of the discretionary funds. In this article, flight instructor Peg Ballou discusses ways flight schools can reach out to the female demographic and bring in more customers. READ MORE ›
Ten things you must know before starting a flight school
You’ve dreamed of starting your own flight school. William Woodbury says chasing your dream is fine just so long as you’re aware of some hard truths about operating a flight school—such as the fact that very few flight schools make their owners rich, and your very first “trainees” will be your flight instructors. READ MORE ›
Back to earth
General aviation experienced an unexpected drop in accident rates throughout 2013 and 2014, according to the latest Joseph T. Nall Report. And the safety record of flight instruction improved more dramatically than that of GA overall. David Kenny took a closer look at the numbers and found that, among other things, flight training benefited from a modest drop in crashes caused by mechanical malfunctions. READ MORE ›
How to start a flight school: plowing through turbulence
So you’re determined to start a flight school? William Woodbury talks you through all the steps you must complete before you hang out your shingle—from talking to the airport manager to securing office space and aircraft for your new venture. He also offers tips on marketing the new venture; keeping good records; and maintaining a good reputation with the FAA and the IRS. READ MORE ›
Airline hiring agreements accelerate
Regional airlines need pilots—and collegiate flight programs have long been a source for new hires. What’s changing is that regionals are offering jobs to students while they are still acquiring certificates and ratings, with the expectation that students will work for the regionals once they reach 1,500 hours. Tuition reimbursement and employment bonuses sweeten some of these deals. READ MORE ›
A Florida flight school’s take on ab initio
Florida-based Pilot Training Center rolled out an ab initio program that aims to take students from 0 to 250 hours, at which point they’re qualified to work for overseas airlines. The program includes a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 type rating, along with training in crew resource management, high-altitude and high-airspeed jet aircraft aerodynamics and theory, and more. The program has 100 enrollees in Fort Myers, Miami, and Naples. READ MORE ›
 
‘Loyal’ versus ‘satisfied’
Customer satisfaction is a goal of nearly every business—but you should be cultivating loyal customers who will be more committed to your business than someone who is simply satisfied to some degree. Ed Helmick explains how you can develop loyal customers, starting with creating a culture for you and your staff. READ MORE ›
Unaccountable lapses, part one
Pilots are obligated to follow procedures designed to prevent or mitigate in-flight mistakes, and stay out of the cockpit on the worst days. CFIs are responsible to make sure off days don’t compromise a student’s chances to learn. But unaccountable lapses in judgment do happen, and primary students are vulnerable when trust proves to have been misplaced. READ MORE ›
Build a better relationship with your customers
There’s no lack of marketing advice for small businesses on the internet. About 98 percent of it doesn’t really apply to flight schools. But flight schools can excel at building relationships with customers. Here are 10 ideas that range from the simple—sending out customer surveys—to the more elaborate—cross-promoting products and services with another local business. READ MORE ›
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AOPA
Flight School Business Editor:
Jill W. Tallman
Production Specialist:
Sylvia Horne
Advertising Production Coordinator:
Donna Stoner

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