Only about 44% of students succeed in earning their student pilot certificates. But why?

In addition to lifestyle challenges, becoming a private pilot is a journey that not all students are prepared to take. On one hand, it’s exciting to pass on the love for aviation to younger generations. The knowledge, skills, and experiences of respected pilots are unmatched – even in a world seemingly obsessed with AI.

To clarify, a student pilot certificate only allows you to fly solo within the restrictions set forth by your Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) in your logbook. This means you may never carry passengers unless they are a private pilot with proper certifications.

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Exploring Flight & Pilot Training Programs To Meet Future Demand

Using the AOPA’s recent Flight Training Experience Survey, the following are the 6 winners voted for being the best in their region.

RELATED READ: Top University Flight Programs 2022

1. In The Pattern Flight School & Aviation Services – Central Southwest

Featured Instructor: Bryan Gutraj

Located in the United States Central Southwest region, the In The Pattern Flight School and Aviation Services reaches the top of the AOPA’s list of ideal flight schools.

In The Pattern is a comprehensive Part-61 flight school that focuses on making aviation accessible and fun. Whether individuals are newcomers or long-time aspiring individuals who want to pursue a career in flying, In The Pattern offers support every step of the way by teaching and developing a vibrant aviation community in North Texas. In The Pattern’s fleet of aircraft features IFR and VFR instrumentation. They serve the North Texas, Dallas, and Fort Worth areas.

2. NoVa Pilots – Eastern

Featured Instructor: Douglas Auclair

NoVa Pilots in Leesburg, Virginia offers a wealth of experienced pilots and resources for a top-notch instructional experience while keeping costs reasonable. NoVa Pilots specializes in Cirrus Aircraft. They train in all Cirrus models to help students achieve their aviation goals. Instructors are passionate, driven, and eager to pass on their knowledge and expertise to aspiring pilots. drawing from their years of experience in the field.

NoVA Pilots has a fleet of some of the newest and most advanced aircraft in the market. Instruction for students flying their own or other accessible aircraft is also available. Don’t have your own aircraft? You can rent aircraft from NoVa Pilots’ fleet at an affordable rate.

3. Blue Skies Flying Services – Great Lakes

Featured Instructor: Logan Arlis

Located in Hills, Illinois, Blue Skies Flying Services has been part of the McHenry County community for over 24 years. The owner actively oversees daily operations, including school fleet maintenance and customer aircraft maintenance.

Blue Skies establishes itself as a leading aviation training facility. It houses a large pilot shop and testing center that offers CATS FAA testing and other computer-based employment tests.

Because of their Pilot Shop, students can easily locate a wide range of pilot and student aviation supplies like…

  • Books
  • Training Materials
  • NOS charts
  • Gifts
  • Headsets
  • Flight bags

4. Ridgeline Aviation – Northwest Mountain

Featured Instructor: William Dale Crabtree

Ridgeline Aviation operates in Gallatin County, Montana. They partner with Purdue University Global for flight school students in Bozeman and Billings, Montana. Programs allow aspiring pilots to advance their aviation careers through an online bachelor’s degree in “Professional Flight”.

Established in 2019, Ridgeline and Purdue’s collaboration combines Purdue Global’s professional flight degree program with Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology.

For many, it’s far too costly to pay for and enroll in traditional universities. This is why students who receive their professional pilot certificates and ratings also have the potential to receive 45 transfer credits toward their online degree. The benefits of choosing Ridgeline Aviation’s training program gives students the ability to complete the program in 2-3 years. This can save them up to $28,400 in college tuition.

5. MIL2ATP – Southern

Featured Instructor: Brandon Gardner

Focusing on assisting military pilots in transitioning to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification, MIL2ATP is a flight school that provides courses tailored to:

  • Help military pilots effectively achieve their ATP certification
  • Transition to careers in commercial airlines

Their courses also include supplementary flight training for both military and non-military pilots.

6. Bush Air – Western Pacific

Featured Instructor: William Cole Hickcox

With over 900 pilots trained, Bush Air provides flight training for safer, more proficient, confident, and skilled pilots.

Milne “CC” Pocock is an FAA-certified flight instructor (CFI) for both land and seaplane vehicles. Bringing a wealth of experience as a bush, stunt, and test pilot with extensive hours in bush flying and off-airport STOL operations, Pocock is a leading expert in:

  • Short take-off and landing (STOL)
  • Backcountry instruction
  • Mountain instruction
  • Tailwheel instruction

Courses at Bush Air are FAA Safety Team accredited and include an FAA 61.56 Flight Review. Courses are taken with a wide range of aircraft to choose from including light sport to multiengine turbine models. Training is available at Bush Air’s home base in Nevada with additional options to train in Alaska and other locations across the nation.

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Why There’s A Growing Demand For Airline Pilots In The Future

The growing demand for airline pilots is due to several factors including general aviation industry expansion. Especially in the private and commercial market, there is a larger need for pilots to be able to fly and operate aircraft full-time. But the problem with simply finding pilots to take the wheel lies in safety, availability, and proper training.

Aging Out Of The Industry

A large number of current pilots are reaching retirement age with the potential to result in a wave of pilot retirements in the coming years. However, there are fewer pilots in training than in previous years. In fact, the 1986 film Top Gun led to a surge in interest at Navy recruiting offices. Over the years, genuine interest in aviation has declined, leaving companies scrambling to fill demand.

More Advanced Aircraft Than Ever Before

Also, advancements in technology and the increasing complexity of modern aircraft have increased the demand for skilled and well-trained pilots. The real challenge here is to create comprehensive training that combines classic flight lessons and technology training for future pilots.

Travel Demands

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 16,800 openings each year demanding qualified pilots. This projected increase takes into account air travel demand, private aircraft owners, and charter companies. Those all contribute to the growing need for pilots across the nation.

30 Years & Counting Of Reliable Aircraft Appraisals

Aircraft and engine valuation services are essential to the global aviation community. We make the process straightforward and hassle-free. Contact a VREF team member today.