Finding a Flight School

Scott F. Smith


Buying a Used Single Engine Aircraft
Engine Research & Installation
Avionics Research & Installation
Air Frame Repair
Finding a Flight School
Negotiating a Lease Back Agreement
Commercial Operations
Cash Flow Analysis

Most flight schools typically welcome leaseback aircraft because they are not responsible for maintenance, fuel, tie down, and insurance costs. The flight school will add the plane to their fleet policy, but the owner pays the premium.

Flight schools take either a flat percentage, owner fly's at club rate, or a monthly management fee from your plane's revenue. I think the owner flying at a club rate is the best route because the accounting is easy and essentially the club rate becomes a management fee. A fixed management fee may be too expensive if the plane doesn't fly enough, and it could drive you out of business in a hurry.

I think the best strategy for finding a school is to look for a school within a 50 mile radius of your home. Since buying an airplane is much like having a child, you must actively participate in the success of the operation, and if you are too far away, your new asset can get out of hand in a hurry. With active participation you can also gain significant tax advantages if you run your plane as corporation or part of a corporation. I highly recommend putting the plane in a corporation, or creating one specifically for the plane's operation to help reduce risk exposure.

At times, I was going to the airport every day of the week, and a new issue would arise every time I was there, however, after the first few months, a visit every other day was sufficient, and then less and less.

Finding a school for 50037 wasn't too difficult. I chose the flight school before I bought the plane. In fact, since I was going back to school to get an Aviation Degree, I didn't consider even buying a plane until after I got my 3rd class medical. If I was going to have a plane, I wanted to make sure I could become a pilot too. What fun would it be to own a plane and not be able to fly it?

My CFI, Tyler Harriman, (614) 975-8248, is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, and my CFII instructor Gerry Kummer (856) 816-5070, is a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. They both are outstanding instructors.

Things to look for in a flight school from an aircraft owner's point of view:

  • Are they a Part 61 or Part 141 school?
  • Do they have pilot supplies available for purchase?
  • How many instructors do they have?
  • Instructor Rates? Aircraft rates? Price does matter?
  • Are planes fueled when students arrive for their lessons?
  • Are their instructors on time to their lessons?
  • Do they offer a discovery flights?
  • Do they give advise on how to pay for lessons?




• Home • Introduction • Buying and Aircraft • Engine Research & Inst. • Avionics Research & Inst. • Air Frame Repair • Finding a Flight School • Negotiating a Lease Back Agreement • Insurance • Maintenance • Commercial Operations • Cash Flow Analysis • Conclusion •

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