Should Flight Schools become More Accessible to Younger Generations?
At a recent flight school conference, speakers claimed that flight schools need to adapt quickly to the culture of younger generations. At Norfolk Aviation, we couldn’t agree more. After all, the children are out future. At the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) Operator’s Conference, speakers mentioned two main issues facing flight schools today: The aviation industry needs a huge amount of new pilots, yet the amount of people finishing flight school is very small in comparison. “Over the next two decades, 87 new pilots will need to be trained and ready to fly a commercial airliner every day in order to meet our insatiable demand to travel by air,” said Jon Ostrower of CNN Money.
Additionally, a survey by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association stated that about 80% of students who start flight training never actually complete it.“Young people will overcome a lot of obstacles to complete their flight training,” said Mark Leeper of Flight Schedule Pro. “They find ways to finance their education, they don’t have a problem with the rigorous course materials and regulatory requirements and check rides, they often willingly overcome many challenges because aviation is something that people get very passionate about.” Like most issues facing the young people of America: money is the root of the struggle. Sure, they knew the cost of the program before they started, but things (especially schooling) doesn’t always go according to plan. What the students of flight schools are uneasy about is not knowing if they’ll be able to finish the program before they run out of money.
The amount training that is required for a student to master a certain skill varies greatly based on his or her ability to perform tasks that are up to the satisfaction of the instructor or examiner. At around $250 per hour, (this price pays for the plane, instructor and fuel) any delay or hiccup can cause huge monetary issues. Adding to this uncertainty and complexity is the fact that most flight students have more than one instructor who could all interpret the course material very differently. “Young people have also grown up with everything online,” he continued. “They do their banking, schoolwork, shopping, entertainment, and even their workouts online. So when a flight school doesn’t give them transparency into their training program, they get really frustrated.”
A lot of business owners don’t understand just how large this cultural shift can be, and what it means for industries all over the world. Colleges are having trouble getting students to come to football games if the Wi-Fi in the stadium isn’t up to snuff. The most important advice one could take is this: you can either work with or against this shift. Flight schools should want their students to be connected and to have complete information about where they stand, and what material comes next, as well as helpful grading information.
We love being a part of the aviation community, and if there is a way to bring more gifted individuals into that world, we’re all about it. If you know of a budding aviator who wants to get in the cockpit – we have the perfect aircraft for you. Take a look at our wide variety of private planes and call us today to schedule a viewing. We’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure that you get the aircraft of your dreams for a price that your budget agrees with!