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2021 Flight Training Experience Survey

This year’s survey is now closed and will re-open again in 2022

The survey encourages anyone who has taken flight training in the past 12 months to candidly share their training experiences. Responses are used to measure the overall performance of the respondent’s flight training providers and spotlight areas where they are successful and where they have opportunities to improve.

Survey participants include pilots of all experience levels, from new students to those earning advanced ratings or taking a flight review.

Survey results are used to select winners of the Flight Training Experience Awards, which will be presented during Redbird Migration in October 2021.

Click here for previous award winners.

Students & Pilots

Students & Pilots

Make a Difference by Telling Us About Your Flight Training Experience

If you fall into one of the following categories and have received any type of flight instruction within the past year, we want to hear from you!

  • Current student pilot
  • New pilot
  • Pursuing or earned an advanced certificate or rating
  • Pursuing or completed a flight review
  • Pursuing or completed transition training or endorsements

Take the 2021 Flight Training Experience Survey and tell us about your experience by providing feedback on the quality of instruction from your CFI and/or flight school. This short survey measures flight instructor and flight school performance on four key factors: educational quality, customer focus, community, and information sharing.

We’ve streamlined the survey to make it quicker and easier to complete—approximately 10 minutes. We’ll use your responses to identify and recognize the nation’s best training providers. And, while positive feedback helps identify award winners, it’s the constructive criticism that helps flight training providers grow. Whether your experience was good or bad, we want to know about it.

And, once you complete the survey, you’ll receive 10% off your purchase at the AOPA Pilot Gear Store!

Student & Pilot

2021Flight Training
Experience Sweepstakes

By participating in the Flight Training Experience Survey, you will be eligible to enter to win one of the following 21 sweepstakes prizes:*

  • SiriusXM: One-year Pilot Express subscription ($360 value)
  • Sporty’s: One 12-month membership in Sporty's Flight Crew at the Platinum Level ($300 average retail value)
  • PilotWorkshops: Real World VFR program on flash drive ($149 retail value)
  • Aircraft Spruce: $150 Gift Card
  • AOPA Pilot Gear Store: ProTech Laptop Backpack filled with a packing cube set, blanket, and a mug (estimated value of $200)
  • Avis: Five (5) free rental (day coupon) certificates ($50 per certificate approximate value)
  • Jeppesen: Ten (10) aviator flight bags (estimated value of $50 each)
  • AeroSpace Reports: One free title search package which includes the FAA Title Search, Accident-Incident Reports, and PDF copies of all the Airworthiness and Registration documents on file with the FAA (Valued at $135.00) 

CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL RULES

 

*NO PURCHASE OR REGISTRATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. A PURCHASE OR REGISTRATION WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

Flight Training Providers

Flight Training Providers

See Yourself Through the Eyes of Your Students

How do your clients perceive you? Do you deliver exceptional training experiences? Do you provide exemplary customer service? If you deserve to be recognized as the “best of the best,” then encourage your students and clients to complete the 2021 Flight Training Experience Survey.

Who better than your clients to guide you when it comes to providing even better service? Your clients’ Flight Training Experience Survey feedback may help you identify areas of opportunity when it comes to training your staff, delivering customer service, and communicating with your customers.

CFIs and flight schools receiving at least five valid responses in the survey will be given a report card to help them know where they excel and where they can grow. The report card includes your average scores in each area, plus it lets you see where you stand relative to the national average.

To be eligible for an award, flight schools must receive at least 10 valid survey responses.

View sample flight school report card

View sample CFI report card

Additionally, regional winners will receive a Zulu 3 headset, compliments of Lightspeed.

The AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards will be presented during Redbird Migration in October 2021.

How to Promote the Survey

We’ve assembled some marketing ideas to help you promote the 2021 AOPA Flight Training Experience Survey to your students and clients, including a how-to webinar, message points, a sample email, and a poster.

Download “Marketing Tips for Flight
Training Providers.”

Download the 2021 Flight Training
Experience Survey poster


Encourage your students and clients to
take the Flight Training Experience
Survey today!

The survey closes July 15, 2021, 12:00 noon, EDT.

Flight Training Provider

Awards

Awards Categories

Survey scores are ranked using statistical measures, allowing smaller schools to remain competitive while accounting for the greater weight of evidence provided by a larger number 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.

Meet Our Past Winners

Best Flight School and Best Flight Instructor

Jamie Patterson-Simes from SkyTrek Alaska Flight Training receives recognition as the best flight school in the Northwest Mountain region during the 2019 AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards in Denver, October 16, 2019. Photo by David Tulis.

The award is given to the flight school in each region that has received at least ten valid entries, and the flight instructor in each region that has received at least five valid entries submitted on their behalf by students and clients through the Flight Training Experience Survey and has the top overall score from survey results in this category.

George and Debra Allen of AeroVenture, with other members of their team, are recognized as the best school int he U.S. during the 2019 AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards at the Wings Over the Rockies museum in Denver, October 16, 2019. Photo by David Tulis.

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: Northwest Mountain, Western Pacific, Great Lakes, Central Southwest, Southern, and Eastern. A national winner for each category will be selected from among the six regional award recipients.

Additionally, regional winners will receive a Zulu 3 headset, compliments of Lightspeed.

 

Distinguished Flight Schools and Instructors

This award is granted to flight schools that received at least 10 valid survey responses and instructors who received at least five valid survey responses. Additionally, they have consistently earned superior ratings from their customers on the areas highlighted in the Flight Training Experience Research (educational quality, customer focus, community, and information sharing).

Survey Map

Winning Makes a Difference

“We have seen an increase in demand since winning the award! It has accelerated our already growing momentum and we are looking to hire more instructors. Additionally, we have had an increase in interest from out-of-state customers. We are proud to be a part of the AOPA family!”

Nationwide Aviation flight instructors receive recognition as the best flight school in the Central Southwest region during the 2019 AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards at Redbird Migration in Denver, October 16, 2019. Photo by David Tulis. 

Trevor Hall, Owner/President

Regional Best Flight School - Central Southwest Region

Meet Our Past Winners

“AOPA’s flight training excellence initiative has provided an evidence-based pathway toward behaviors and competencies that have made a significant difference in the quality of my flight instruction. This extends to roles as both a flight instructor and as a manager of flight training programs. AOPA is uniquely positioned to offer insights into flight training and I am indebted to AOPA for investing in flight instructors through this program.”

Jim Stover of Shannon Airport, Virginia, and Aviation Adventures, receives recognition as the best flight instructor in the Eastern region during the 2019 AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards in Denver, October 16, 2019. Photo by David Tulis.

Jim Stover | Shannon Airport (EZF)

Regional Best CFI – Eastern Region

Meet Our Past Winners

“We were busy before the award but have seen an increase in business since winning the award. I've had more contacts from farther away. Students from the region will often drive past several closer airports to come to our school. I’ve also had calls and several students from farther away—across the country in some cases. Since winning the award, I find that students are more willing to accept our training advice and trust us. We’ve always done the right thing, but the award helps confirm that for the students."

Mike Biewenga of Lake in the Hills Airport, Illinois, receives recognition as the best flight instructor in the Great Lakes region during the 2019 AOPA Flight Training Experience Awards at Redbird Migration in Denver, October 16, 2019. Photo by David Tulis.

Mike Biewenga | Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK)

Regional Best CFI - Great Lakes

Meet Our Past Winners

Previous Winners

2020 FLIGHT TRAINING EXPERIENCE PROJECT

A Momentary Pause on the 2020 Flight Training Experience Survey and Awards

See Previous Flight Training Experience Award Winners

Considering the challenges that flight schools were facing due the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a pause on the 2020 Flight Training Experience Survey and Awards. In place of our normal competition, we took the moment to build community, and were excited to take the opportunity to celebrate and recognize the vital work of flight training providers.

To do this, we sought stories where aviation inspired us or others, demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, and showed how the flight training community contributes to aviation and our communities at large.

Some of these stories were highlighted during our presentation at the 2020 Redbird Migration, in social media, on AOPA’s digital platforms, and in AOPA’s magazines.

Here is a list of the contributors who led the way by sharing their stories in the 2020 Flight Training Experience Project:

Flight Schools

  • Ace Pilot Training
  • ADF Airways
  • Aeroguard
  • Aviator Air Flight School, LLC
  • Aviator Zone
  • Blue Line Aviation, LLC
  • Bravo Flight Training
  • Direct Connect Flight Academy
  • Fly San Diego
  • Great Basin Aviation
  • Leopard Aviation
  • Maui Flight Academy
  • Melbourne Flight Training
  • Nashville Flight Training
  • Premier Flight Center, LLC
  • Princeton Airport - NJ
  • Raritan Valley Flying School at Princeton Airport
  • Sierra Charlie Aviation
  • Skill Aviation Flight Training
  • South Whidbey Flying Club
  • Sterling Flight Training
  • Take Flight Aviation
  • Texas Flight
  • Travel Express Aviation

Flight Students

  • P217_student_pilot
  • Aditya Nair
  • Alex Wurts
  • Arkady Spevak
  • Cindy Duer
  • Cole Dostal
  • Erwin Castillo
  • Eric and Kevin with Mind Soul Aviation
  • Jake Keister
  • Javier Gonzalez
  • Jay Chiang
  • Jolie Lucas
  • Justin McLeod Bethune
  • Kurt Sensenbrenner
  • London Harrah
  • Mike Pell
  • Nick Beatty
  • Patrick Conroy
  • Shane R
  • Taylor Shenk
  • Troy Townsend
  • Warren Pittorie

See Previous Flight Training Experience Award Winners

4 Reasons to Take the Survey

1. The Survey is Brief!

The 2021 survey has been streamlined to make it simpler for you to complete. It should take you about 10 minutes.

2. Make Your Voice Heard

This is an opportunity to share your flight training experience. Whether you’ve had a great experience or a challenging one, AOPA wants to hear about it. Let others know how well your school or instructor is doing, and how they can improve.

3. Help Improve the Flight Training Experience for Others

You’ve spent countless hours studying and flying, working closely with your flight instructor and/or flight school. Sharing the good and bad aspects of your training will help AOPA develop materials to support CFIs and flight schools as they work to improve the training process.

Instructors and flight schools receiving at least five valid survey responses will be issued a report card showing them their strengths and weaknesses. This anonymized feedback helps training providers understand how they can provide better training experiences in the future. Also, flight schools receiving at least 10 valid survey responses will be eligible for an award.

4. Enter for a Chance to Win Great Prizes!

When you complete the survey, you’ll have the opportunity to enter the 2021 AOPA Flight Training Experience Sweepstakes and become eligible to win one of 21 prizes!

5. Receive 10% off at the AOPA Pilot Gear Store

Complete the survey and receive 10% off your purchase! You can never have enough pilot gear!

AOPA’s You Can Fly Program

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.

The You Can Fly program is made possible by generous donations to the AOPA Foundation. To make a contribution, and have your gift matched by the Ray Foundation, visit aopafoundation.org/challenge

You Can Fly