The best flight training schools make all the difference for aspiring pilots. I think the quality of the school impacts how much a pilot learns and how well they apply that knowledge.
There are specific criteria that I feel are important when selecting flight schools. The quality of the education received is essential, with the best instructors contributing to overall quality.
Flight schools should offer the best range of experiences for their students. Diverse aircraft fleets for flight schools and innovative learning experiences for ground schools are examples of the best experiences for student pilots.
I’ve reviewed the best flight training schools for those training as private pilots. To start, I’ve looked at the types of training schools for flight students.
Table of Contents
Types of flight training schools
- Ground school – This type of training is more theoretical, focusing on airport rules, weather, and similar topics
- Flight school – This is the type of training where prospective pilots gain the necessary experience
- Online ground school – These schools allow the ground school portion to be taken online
The following are the best flight training schools I have reviewed:
- 1. the biggest flight training school in most states, ATP
- 2. the flight school with the most comprehensive program, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- 3. the best online ground school, Gleim Online Ground School
- 4. best flight training school with a flexible schedule, Thrust Flight
- 5. flight school with the most diverse fleet, American Flight Schools
ATP boasts more locations in more states than virtually any other flight school. There are 77 locations, making finding a local option easier.
Although focused on training for commercial pilots, private pilot trainees who want to expand their horizons will benefit from the training received here. I’ve always thought it was good for private pilots to stay open to flying for airlines.
One of the best training options I found at this school was the 100+ hr program for multi-engine ratings. The number of career opportunities is exceptional with this option.
2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the oldest flight school in the U.S., which gives the school an air of prestige for me. I can see why this school has set the standard for similar schools.
Degrees are available at undergraduate and graduate levels. One of the things that stood out for me was how many students and faculty were involved in research efforts for wildfires.
I also enjoyed the diverse experiences that Daytona Beach, FL, and Prescott, AZ, learning environments provided. An excellent option, too, was the online learning environment, perfect for students in other locations.
3. Gleim Online Ground School
The Gleim Online Ground School is the best overall option for online ground school. Although I urge students to carefully consider whether an online ground school is their best option, I think Gleim is the right option for those students.
This ground school option is a self-study program, which worked well with my busy schedule. This course was easily compared to in-person classes used to study for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests.
I liked how crucial effective knowledge transfer was for this curriculum. After sampling this curriculum, I felt confident anyone taking it would succeed.
The best part of this curriculum was the ability to take the knowledge tests at authorized testing centers. For me, this proved that the curriculum was worth its reputation.
4. Thrust Flight
Thrust Flight offers some of the most flexible scheduling in the industry. Anyone who wants to be a pilot has the maximum flexibility available if they choose this option.
One thing that appealed to me about this school was the accelerated training programs. Many would-be pilots want to get their licenses sooner, and these programs make that a reality.
Although there are private pilot lessons available, this school also offers commercial, instrument rating, multi-engine rating, and accelerated options. I appreciate schools that make it easier to maximize your learning.
5. American Flight Schools
American Flight Schools maximizes its programs by offering a diverse fleet of planes. Some of the most popular aircraft makes include Diamond and Cessna.
This school offers ground training as well as flight training. I appreciated how easy it was to log flight time during a typical lesson.
I liked the lesson structure that allowed many students to get their certificates in six months. The prices were also comparable with other schools offering a similar curriculum.
How much does it cost to learn to fly a private plane?
Flight training for private planes has varying costs. Costs may average $10,000-$20,000. The type of flight school, location, student pace, instructor experience, and planes used will determine the cost. I’ve covered this in my how much does it cost to learn to fly a private plane article.
Is becoming a private pilot worth the expense?
A license is a great investment, especially because it never expires. Becoming a pilot gives you more travel freedom and new job opportunities.
Is there a demand for private pilots?
There are over 63,000 people licensed as private pilots, which puts this type of license in demand. The only kind of pilot license that outranks this license in numbers is the student license.