Level 1 – The Highest Standard
All of the schools at this level consistently teach and test students to a standard well above the FAA requirements. They provide thorough ground school and flight training. They also provide well – maintained and equipped aircraft, simulators and the latest training aids. Graduates are exceptionally safe pilots who are knowledgeable and competent and who get the most enjoyment from their flying. Programs are well – structured, following an approved syllabus. Level 1 school graduates take their final oral and flight tests (check rides) from a legitimate FAA – Designated Examiner and typically do outstanding on their check rides. All of the graduates from American Air use Dan Emin, an FAA – Designated Pilot Examiner at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport for their check rides. Dan has a reputation among professional instructors for being thorough and fair on the tests. American Air has an excellent safety record and test pass record with consistently high test scores from our graduates. Because of the higher fees, which reflect higher training quality and exceptionally well – maintained aircraft, and the higher number of ground and flight hours in the program, the cost of each program at these schools is by far the highest. This higher level of investment results in a much higher degree of safety and enjoyment for graduates and their passengers. Nationwide, approximately 80% of people who start a Private Pilot course drop out. At level 1 schools, over 80% of new students enrolled, finish their courses and pass their check rides with a legitimate examiner and achieve excellent grades.
Some examples of schools that consistently meet the Level 1 standard: American Air Flight Training, Inc., University of North Dakota, Embry-Riddle University at Daytona Beach, LeTourneau University in Texas and Western Michigan University. Approximately 20% of the schools nationwide train at this level.
Level 2 – Training to the FAA Minimum Standard
Schools that train and test to the minimum passing FAA standard are at this level. Students usually get their limited ground training from DVDs, books and home study. Some schools may provide a test “cram course” ground session that basically teaches what is on the multiple choice knowledge test at a rote level. Cross country, night work and maneuvers training and practice is minimal. Since graduates from these schools typically just meet the minimum test standards, they are in effect minimum standard pilots. The training time is significantly shorter at this level compared to Level 1. The cost of training at these schools is significantly cheaper than at a Level 1 school. A Santa Claus Examiner may be used by some of the graduates of Level 2 schools.
Approximately 40% of the flight schools nationwide train at this level.
Level 3 – Training to Below the FAA Minimum Standard
These schools train and test students to a level below FAA minimum standard for passing tests to be price – competitive. Their students are given the bare minimum training experience. These schools may also provide a ground “cram course” for the test. Students are sometimes unaware of the knowledge and skills they may lack. There is little structure or ground instruction in their training. Since these students are not trained and tested to even the minimum grade for passing, they usually take their FAA checkride with a Santa Claus Examiner (usually, out of state) to get their Pilot certificate. Graduates of these schools may not be as safe as they expect to be while flying. Aircraft at these schools are usually not maintained as well as the Level 1 or Level 2 schools. When schools try to cut maintenance costs to offer lower rental fees to students, it is usually by not doing all the maintenance that should be done and when it should be done. The training costs at these schools are the cheapest. Approximately 40% of the flight schools nationwide train at this level.
Flight schools that train at the Level 2 and Level 3 categories are dependent on a high volume of students to sustain their business. There are 9 flight schools at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. This high number of schools creates some intense competition among schools that require high student volume. This forces serious price competition among the Level 2 and Level 3 schools. In order to have the cheapest prices, some of these schools may cut their costs by lowering aircraft maintenance standards and completeness of training. Also, some schools, by using the Santa Claus examiners, can advertise fewer hours of flight and ground training, knowing that their students will still get their pilot certificates, regardless of how well they are prepared. American Air typically has no more than 5 students enrolled at any given time. This allows for more personalized and complete training. Flight schools that train at the Level 1 category will be significantly more expensive as necessary to provide much higher quality and safety. Level 1 schools are sensitive of the cost to the student, and therefore operate very efficiently, assuring that every minute of time spent is meaningful and productive. The typical trend in flight training is the cheaper the cost, the lower the level of safety and quality. Some schools use private contractor instructors. These instructors are not employees of the school and this can result in a lack of standardization and quality control. The best schools with a staff of instructors regularly train, evaluate and standardize employed instructors and assure that they consistently follow the school syllabus and safety standards. At American Air, all instruction is given by Steve Shaner, the owner and Chief Flight Instructor, so the highest standards for your training are consistently met.