Award recipients are named from the results of the 2017 Flight Training Experience Survey. The survey is based on AOPA’s extensive research into the optimal flight training experience and focuses on four key factors: educational quality, customer focus, community, and information sharing.
We invite anyone who has undertaken flight training within the past 12 months to complete the Flight Training Experience Survey and tell us the Good, the Bad, and the AWESOME! Plus, you’ll be eligible to enter the survey sweepstakes* to win one of six valuable prizes!
Designed to measure the overall performance of flight training providers through the eyes of their clients, the survey uses a customer service feedback approach, giving participants an opportunity to candidly share their training experience. This includes anyone who has undertaken flight training within the past 12 months – from a budding student pilot preparing for his or her first solo, to commercial pilots brushing up on VFR rules.
The Flight Training Experience Survey is conducted online and includes several measures designed to prevent ballot stuffing. Survey participants can provide customer service feedback on one flight school and one flight instructor per survey. In 2016, this resulted in reviews of 789 different flight schools and 1,515 different flight instructors.
Scores are ranked using statistical measures, allowing smaller schools to remain competitive while accounting for the greater weight of evidence provided by larger numbers of responses. Free response answers are scored by a panel of industry experts who are unaware of the identity of the school or instructor being judged.
For each of the two categories, Best Flight School and Best Flight Instructor, a total of six awards will be presented, one for each of the following regions: West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast, and an overall National Award winner.
This award is given to the flight school and flight instructor in each region that has received at least five submissions completed on their behalf through the Flight Training Experience Survey and has the top overall score from survey results for this category.
To narrow it down to one winner in each region, the committee may also conduct a phone interview or visit with the top finalists. A national winner will be recognized out of each of the five regional award recipients.
This award is granted to flight schools and flight instructors who received reviews from at least five students and received 80% of the maximum possible score from at least 50% of their customers.
The Flight Training Experience Survey and Awards are part of the You Can Fly program, powered by AOPA. You Can Fly is a comprehensive set of initiatives designed to get people flying and keep them flying. The Flight Training Experience Survey and Awards support that effort by recognizing flight schools and instructors that deliver exceptional training experiences. Click here to read the Flight Training Experience Research.