How to Start a Flight School

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Beginning a flight school is a staggering investment of money and time. Many of these facilities require strict procedures and high levels of maintenance. Insurance should also be purchased and certified flight instructors must be hired and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to train potential pilots. There are many concerns and complications when starting out a new flight school.

Acquire two or three small aircraft for flight training. These assets might be either leased or purchased and can be two or four-seat models, depending on the number of people you want in the plane. Consider some popular models such as Cessna, Cirrus or Piper. You can find discount and well-used aircraft for around $35,000 instead of paying $100,000 to lease a new model. Look at your available finances to find the purchasing method right for you.

Contact an insurance agent specializing in aircraft insurance and aircraft training protection. Insurance might not be required in your locality, but it is always a good idea to spend a little extra money for protection of your business and the aircraft. The insurance will cover accidents and customer injuries sustained at flight school. Insurance prices will vary by location, size of the business and type of aircraft.

Establish some type of maintenance contract with an aircraft service provider. Aircraft will need proper maintenance when parts are not functioning along with regular inspection that follows FAA regulations. Training school will often be extra-strenuous on a plane, as it will be used heavily for only a short time each run. Find a maintenance shop as close to you as possible so travel distance will not be a problem.

Find a location to house your training school. More than likely, access to an airport will be needed. In very rural areas, abandoned field runways can be used as long as the FAA approves. Secure the airport property by either purchasing or renting office space and runway usage rights. Take all things into consideration when determining what airfield to use such as local regulations and operational limitations.

Hire FAA-certificated flight instructors, because these will be the only people certified to teach training school. Qualified instructors have received the proper training as required by the FAA to fly an aircraft. Make sure they have all their documentation in order. Instructors can only teach based on their instruction level. For example, a new instructor cannot train charter pilots to fly large commercial planes. However, they can teach private or sport fliers. Keep this in mind when choosing your training staff.

Establish your school title and begin advertising. Make sure you have a visible phone number or e-mail address so interested parties might easily contact you. Ensure you have plenty of money in the bank to cover operating costs for your school. This will not only make the training service more reliable, but it will increase the chances of your success.


There is no need to rent a hanger to store airplanes unless it is desired. The aircraft should be OK if placed outside.