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What if more people had wings?

I believe it is important to make sure that the freedom of travel and the pioneering American spirit that is embodied by general aviation and personal flying is saved for future generations. Since starting to send these emails a little over a year ago, my goal has...

Understanding Pilot’s Licenses

Understanding Pilot’s Licenses

Understanding Pilot's Licenses: Demystifying the Different Types and Their Distinct Qualifications Pilot's licenses can be complicated and intimidating.  But if you've ever looked up at the sky and dreamed of flying, you've probably wondered what it takes to become a...

Where do you fly from?

Many years ago, back when I started my flight training, I met up with some friends for dinner. One of them––who had worked for many years in Camarillo––said they had always been interested in learning to fly. “Where are you learning?” she asked. “At the Camarillo...

Some people like …

Some people like ... airplanes. Some people like ... the feeling freedom they get from flying. Some people like ... the challenge of flying. Some people like ... the convenience of traveling by personal airplane. Some people like ... the earning potential offered by...

Competing at a busy airport

Last week I shared some of the data we have analyzed from our directory. If you missed it, you can find it here. Amazingly, almost five percent of all US flight schools are based at just eight airports. So at a large airport with many schools to choose from, what...

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Over the break I’ve been analyzing our directory data and there are some numbers in the listings that may surprise you. For instance, almost sixty percent (60%) of US flight schools are based at an airport shared with another flight school. Perhaps...

It’s that time of year again.

The day after Thanksgiving my inbox is overflowing with Black Friday offers, including some from a national tire retailer. Like many of you, I don’t buy tires unless I need to. No matter how good the deal, I’m simply not going to spend the money replacing perfectly...

Word of mouth

If you have customers, they are talking about their experience doing business with you. For local businesses in an established and well-defined industry like flight training, positive word of mouth can supplement or even replace time-consuming and expensive marketing...

How much more would your customers pay?

A couple of weeks ago I was traveling out West for work. When scheduling a rental car, I looked for the cheapest option: I was traveling by myself and just needed reliable transportation from Point A to Point B, so the company offering the best rates got my booking....

Getting off the bus

Recently, while visiting a new city with my family, we booked a tour on an open-topped double-decker bus. It was great. The tour guide was informative and funny (my 11-year old is still repeating some of the jokes we heard). And we enjoyed learning about the city and...

Paper or Electronic Logbook: Do you know which to choose?

Paper or Electronic Logbook: Do you know which to choose?

Paper or electronic logbook? When it comes to flight training, pilots must keep track of their progress and achievements in a logbook. For many years, paper logbooks have been the go-to choice for pilots, but with the advent of digital technology, electronic logbooks...

Ways to pay for your flight training: do you know all 7?

Ways to pay for your flight training: do you know all 7?

Are you interested in becoming a pilot, but worried about the cost of flight training? Don't worry - there are several ways to pay for your flight training! From saving up money to taking out loans and applying for scholarships, there are many options available to...

I want to visit your airport

I love airports. They are their own little eco-systems. Many small airports offer fuel and maintenance, a flight school and even a cafe. Some might have an EAA chapter, CAP squadron. When I learned to fly mine even had a Navy Flying Club. Like most eco-systems, all...

Zulu Time: Learn how its used in aviation

Zulu Time: Learn how its used in aviation

Zulu time, also known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), is a standard time reference used in aviation, military operations, and other fields that require precise coordination across different time zones. It is based on the 24-hour clock system and eliminates the...

The Aviation Alphabet – How many letters do you know?

The Aviation Alphabet – How many letters do you know?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation alphabet, also known as the NATO phonetic alphabet or the aviation alphabet, is a standard set of words used to represent letters of the alphabet over voice communications. It is designed to ensure clear...

Understanding Student Pilot endorsements: Do you know all 16?

Understanding Student Pilot endorsements: Do you know all 16?

Student pilot endorsements are authorizations given by a flight instructor to a student pilot to perform specific activities or operations during flight training. These endorsements are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, to...

Should pilots worry about LASIK?

Should pilots worry about LASIK?

Should pilots worry about LASIK? The decision to undergo LASIK or any other refractive surgery is a personal one and should be carefully considered by pilots. 5 things to consider about LASIK for pilots: Visual Acuity Requirements: Pilots are required to meet specific...

6 Low time pilot jobs to help you build hours.

6 Low time pilot jobs to help you build hours.

As a low time pilot, there are several entry-level jobs you can consider to build flight hours and gain valuable experience. Here are some common low time pilot jobs you should consider: Flight Instructor: Becoming a flight instructor is a popular choice for low-time...

Love aerobatics? 8 steps to become an aerobatic pilot.

Love aerobatics? 8 steps to become an aerobatic pilot.

Do you want to become an aerobatic pilot? If the answer is yes you will need to follow these 8 steps to ensure you have the necessary skills, training, and certifications. Here's what you need to do to become an aerobatic pilot: Obtain a Private Pilot Certificate:...

Do you have the ROADS app?

A couple of weeks ago I was having coffee with a friend who asked, “do you have the Porsche ROADS app?” Full disclosure: I don’t have a Porsche, but my Chrysler minivan enjoys a spirited drive as much as the next car. If, like me, you are not familiar with ROADS it is...

Do you know who your secondary customers are?

Many years ago I was friends with someone who was very keen to become a helicopter pilot. She was married to a work colleague of my wife, and every time we met socially we spent the evening talking about flying. Here’s the thing … despite being knowledgable about...

How long does it take to get a license?

What do you tell clients when they ask you how long and how much will it cost to get a pilot license? If you’re like most school owners, you probably answer something like it depends … and then maybe follow that with the minimum FAA requirements and the typical...

Is it worth it?

I often hear people involved in General Aviation saying we can’t grow the pilot population because it is too expensive. Last month I wrote an email about the prices some people pay for luxury cars, watches and household appliances. You can find that email here. Here's...

How is age affecting your students?

Successful companies create niche products and services to cater to different segments of their customers. They can then serve those customers better while increasing utilization and productivity, increasing their revenues, and reducing their overhead. So let’s look...

Do you segment your customers?

Do you segment your customers? Here are some reasons I have found that make segmenting customers useful and worthwhile. About thirty years ago I worked for one of the well-known collector car auction houses based in London. In our business we had two customer...

There’s a bug going around…

Like many families this winter, we’ve been fighting a series of bugs. This past weekend, while my youngest was stuck in bed with a fever, he and I rewatched Disney’s animated feature film Planes: Fire and Rescue (if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it)! The story is...

Do you want some acetylsalicylic acid?

Imagine the phone rings. A guy is on the line trying to sell you acetylsalicylic acid. He has a great deal for you if you sign up right now. You ask them for more information and they rave about how their acetylsalicylic acid also includes hypromellose, powdered...

Is it really about the money?

Why do people buy Ferrari sports cars? Prices start at around $250,000 with the most expensive production models topping out around double that. The performance is not legally useable on any public road, but the sales figures show Ferrari sold over 11,000 last year....

They could have just changed the sign …

Customer experience is the process is matching a business’ procedures with customer expectations. Done well and you have created a fan; poorly and you get bad reviews. Recently I took my dad to get a haircut. We went to a nearby barbershop with a sign in the window...

Expectations, experiences, Apple, & Starbucks

Happy New Year! Like many of you, I traveled over Christmas period to spend time with family: Three generations brought together in one house for several days of celebration. As a member of the middle generation who grew up with time in both camps, I smugly enjoyed...

How to stabilize the flight training industry

Last week I posed a question: Can pilots learning to fly for personal reasons play a role in stabilizing the cyclical flight training industry? Here are some of the benefits that personal pilots can bring. Local pilots are not subject to the cyclical nature of airline...

Year end thoughts

Now that the holiday season is underway, I've been reflecting on the past year. One of the things that keeps coming back is the cyclical nature of flight training. Over the last three years we've seen a shortage of instructors, followed by what seemed like the end of...

How safe is it to fly in bad weather?

How safe is it to fly in bad weather?

Soon after you begin your flight training you’ll start thinking about the weather. Until now, thoughts about the weather have probably been about whether to sit inside or outside for lunch, or to bring a raincoat when you leave home. Now that you’re actually flying in...

Customize your pilot license with ratings and endorsements.

Customize your pilot license with ratings and endorsements.

You’re going to hear about pilot license ratings and endorsements. What are they and how are they different?   All certificates, except for the student certificate, come with at least one pilot license rating. So what is a rating?There are different levels of...

How to choose a flight school

How to choose a flight school

Perhaps you have always wanted to get your pilot license ever since you watched airplanes flying overhead as a child. Or maybe your interest in learning to fly has come more recently, following the gift of an intro flight, or while researching a change in career....

5 Reasons to get your pilot license more slowly

5 Reasons to get your pilot license more slowly

There are plenty of articles about how to get your pilot license faster, and if you already have a reason to fly it can save you time and money. But if your primary reason for taking flying lessons is to fulfill a long-term dream of learning to fly, here are 5 reasons...

9 Tips to get your pilot license faster

9 Tips to get your pilot license faster

You pay for flight training by the hour, so when you make the effort to get your pilot license faster, it also becomes cheaper. The FAA requires a minimum of forty hours to get a pilot license, but in reality the national average is about seventy hours of flight time,...

How long does it take to become a pilot?

How long does it take to become a pilot?

You’ve been thinking about learning to fly and now you’re wondering, how long does it take to become a pilot? The steps to get your pilot license include completing ground school (classroom training for the written test), flight lessons, and pass a practical test....

How old do you need to be to get a pilot license?

How old do you need to be to get a pilot license?

If you’re planning a career as a pilot, you may be wondering how old you need to be to get a pilot license. While there’s no minimum age to start logging flight lessons––the only requirement is that you can properly reach the controls––you’ll need a student pilot...

How to become a pilot: everything you need to know in 10-steps

How to become a pilot: everything you need to know in 10-steps

Many people have had dreams of learning to fly since childhood, but they don't know how to become a pilot. For a lucky few, those dreams dreams become reality and they get to experience the joy of seeing the world from a different perspective at the controls of a...

9 steps you need to getting your student pilot license

9 steps you need to getting your student pilot license

Although you don’t need a student pilot license to start taking flying lessons, one of the first big milestones in your flight training will be piloting an airplane solo. Here are the 9 steps you need to getting your student pilot license before your first solo. Your...

Is Ground School required for pilot training?

Is Ground School required for pilot training?

Is ground school required for pilot training? If you’re thinking about becoming a pilot, you’ve probably heard about ground school and wondering if it's really necessary. After all, you are researching flight schools so you can learn to fly a plane, not sit on the...

What’s the difference between ground school vs flight school?

What’s the difference between ground school vs flight school?

As you search for a flight school, you may wonder what's the difference between ground school vs flight school? Since you’re goal is to learn to fly, you may be wondering what ground school is all about. Ground school refers to the academic and theoretical part of...

How much do airline pilots earn?

How much do airline pilots earn?

No doubt you’ve heard that there is a pilot shortage, which may leave you wondering how much do airline pilots earn? Demand for airline travel is expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, and with the current generation of airline pilots coming up for...

How long does it take to become a pilot?

How long does it take to become a pilot?

If you're thinking about becoming a pilot, you're probably wondering how long does it take to become a pilot and when will you get your license. After all, you're going to want to know what you're committing to before you start. There are many answers to this...

Pilot’s license with a DUI

Pilot’s license with a DUI

Is it possible to have a pilot’s license with a DUI? Most of the major airlines will not hire a pilot with a DUI conviction. If you are thinking about a career as an airline pilot you need to plan your steps carefully. Most airlines––and the FAA––view a DUI as a...

Getting a pilot license for a private jet

Getting a pilot license for a private jet

You’ve decided you want to fly your own private jet and you want to know how to do it. Well you’ve come to the right place! First let me tell you it’s absolutely possible. Second, it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of money. Because the speeds and altitudes...

Helicopter Pilot’s License : How to Get One

Helicopter Pilot’s License : How to Get One

Helicopter Pilot's License : How to Get One For many people, flying their own helicopter has been a dream since childhood. Fortunately, with some hard work and for about the cost of a new small car, you too can discover the freedom (and the personal responsibility you...

Getting a Pilot’s License for Small Planes

Getting a Pilot’s License for Small Planes

Getting a Pilot's License for Small Planes For many people, flying their own small plane has been a dream since childhood. Fortunately, with some hard work and for about the cost of a motorcycle, you too can discover the freedom (and the personal responsibility you...

Pilot License Levels : What’s the Difference?

Pilot License Levels : What’s the Difference?

Pilot License Levels : What's the Difference? There are five pilot license levels, which can be split into two groups. One group of licenses is intended for pilots who are paid to fly. The other group of licenses is for pilots who only intend to fly for themselves....

What does a private pilot license allow you to do?

What does a private pilot license allow you to do?

What does a Private Pilot License allow you to do?  A private pilot license allows you to fly your own personal airplane (or seaplane, jet, helicopter, glider, or hot air balloon). Because you are sharing the same airspace as professional pilots, you are trained to a...

Private Pilot license: What can I fly?

Private Pilot license: What can I fly?

When people start thinking about getting their private pilot license, they often wonder what can I fly? But perhaps a more useful question is, who can I fly? The most common levels of pilot licenses are private pilot and commercial pilot. Commercial pilots can be paid...

A pilot’s license is issued by the FAA. Sort of.

A pilot’s license is issued by the FAA. Sort of.

A Pilot's License is issued by the FAA... Sort of.  Anyone who drives knows that US driver’s licenses are issued by the states. Each state has its own license and process for training, examining, and issuing the license. Moving to a different state requires exchanging...

When to get a pilot’s license

When to get a pilot’s license

When to get a Pilot's License For many people, learning to fly is a childhood dream they’ve had their whole life. Which means, it can be difficult to know when to get a pilot’s license or if it’s too late. Since a pilot’s license doesn’t expire, it’s never too late to...

Which countries accept FAA pilot licenses?

Which countries accept FAA pilot licenses?

One of the best things about learning to fly is that all countries accept your FAA pilot license. When you get your FAA pilot license, you will be able to fly an FAA registered airplane anywhere in the world. Because aircraft are so mobile, US-registered aircraft can...

When does a pilot’s license expire?

When does a pilot’s license expire?

When does a Pilot's License Expire? Unlike driver’s licenses, U.S. pilot licenses don’t expire. That’s the simple answer, but the reality is a little more complicated and it starts with understanding that there are three documents you need to carry with you when...

How to personalize your directory listing

How to personalize your directory listing So you've heard about how you can personalize your directory listing. But you're reluctant to make changes without learning more about it first. I get it, I'm the same way. A well-prepared flight plan should be important to...

Did you answer when I called?

During my search for the right flight school, I called many places and not all of them answered. I realized then there had to be a better way.

Google is not your friend

But I’ll show you how you can make it work for you by helping people find the school they are searching for.

How long will it take you?

Here’s a challenge for you: how quickly can you find a school renting a steam gauge DA40 within 2-hours of your location?

Lessons from COVID: The growing importance of digital marketing

Lessons from COVID: The growing importance of digital marketing

Today’s younger, digitally savvy consumers are routinely renting cars and vacation homes, and buying all kinds of products and services on their cellphones. If you’re not able to provide them with the results they need, they will continue to search for a competitor that will.

Why you should personalize your flight school listing

Why you should personalize your flight school listing

Some time ago, soon after the 2008 financial crisis, I was helping a student pilot look for a flight school. They had just soloed a Diamond DA40 when their school closed down at short notice. Obviously we needed to quickly find a new school fast but things didn’t go as expected

Redbird’s Ominous Prediction. What Will You Do?

Redbird’s Ominous Prediction. What Will You Do?

Like you, we recognize that independent flight schools are critical to general aviation’s future. To survive as a flight instructor going forward, you need to be able to reach consumers where they are most active: online.