How to choose your flight school: Taking a demo flight

How do you find the right flight school for you? Everybody is different and learns different than others. In this post I will give you some advice of how to find out if you like a prospective flight school or not.

Call the flight school and arrange for a demo or introductory flight lesson!

What happens on a demo flight?

They typically consist of  two parts. In the first part the flight instructor will sit down with you and explain the controls of the airplane or helicopter to you. They will also go over some basic aerodynamics so you get a very basic understanding on how an airplane or helicopter works and what to expect when you manipulate the controls of an aircraft for the first time.

After that they will walk out to the aircraft with you. They might do a short pre-flight inspection together with you. There you will get a first idea of how the controls actually work.

After the preflight you will get into the aircraft with the flight instructor. They will show and talk through the startup procedure, then take off. During that time you are on the controls but the instructor will be on the controls as well. Once you are airborne you get to fly the helicopter or airplane by yourself.

You’ll experience how it is to fly an aircraft, get a feeling for how it reacts to your inputs and fly around the local area for a while. Then you fly back to the airport, possibly doing a couple landings.

In the helicopter, you get to the part where you will hover the helicopter. One of the most exciting things to do and learn.

The length of the flight is usually somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on if you fly a helicopter, an airplane, or maybe purchasing some additional time.

The benefits of a demo flight

The great thing doing a demo flight is, that it is close to an actual flight lesson. You get to do some ground training and some time in the aircraft flying. You also get a feeling of the atmosphere of the flight school. Is it a small flight school where you get a more personal flight training, or a big flight school where the training follows a very strict syllabus. Do you get to fly with the flight instructor you will get training from later on, or are there many flight instructors?

Since everybody likes different scenarios, you get to choose what you like best.

You also get the opportunity to ask questions about the flight training, the availability of the aircraft, the amount of students you are sharing the aircraft with and billing. Do you have to pay a lump sum in advance or do you pay as you go?

You should keep all these things in mind, even write down questions ahead of time and get the answers then.

Hopefully this post answered some of your questions about how a demo flight works.

If you have any questions about it, you can give us a call, we are always happy to help.
Our office is available from 8am to 5pm every day. Call us at: 503-376-0190.

FAA finalizes rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)

On July 21st 2016 the FAA finalized the long awaited rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).

The rules are minimizing risk for other aircraft and people and property on the ground. A UAS may only be operated within line of sight and during daylight. If the drone has anti-collision lights, it is allowed to be flown during twilight. Some other restrictions apply as well.


In order to fly a drone, or sUAS as they are called by the FAA, you have to hold a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating, or be directly supervised by a person holding such a certificate.

Now how can you get that certificate? This is where we as your local flight school can help you. There is two ways to get a Small Unmanned Aircraft System license:

  • If you are a pilot holding at least a light sport or recreational license or higher, you need to be current with your biennial flight review (BFR). Then you can complete the online course for Part 107 (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) located on the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) website and receive a completion certificate. Find a direct link to the FAAST sUAS online course here. You need to create a login!
    After that you need to complete the application process in the electronic FAA Integrated Airmen Certificate and/or Rating Application System (IACRA). In order for it to be processed it needs to be validated and processed by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) or other authority. This includes the completion certificate, government issued photo ID and current address.
    A few weeks later you will get your certificate in the mail.
  • If you are not a pilot or are not current on your biennial flight review (BFR) you have to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test administered by a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC). After that the same procedure as above is required, applying through the IACRA system, although no instructor is required to validate the application since that has been done by the testing center test proctor.

Here at Konect Aviation, we can help you get current on your BFR in helicopters and airplanes, get you the required validation and can also administer the required knowledge test if you don’t have a license.

The small Unmanned Aircraft System Knowledge test will be available some time in August since it has not been released by the FAA yet.

Please call us at 503-376-0190 if you have questions concerning the sUAS certification.

How to choose your flight school: big school versus small school

If you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school you want to do your flight training with. This is how we think about big and small flight schools.

Big flight school:
The bigger the school is the more impersonal it gets. It is likely you are just one of many students that go to that school every day. How can a big flight school know all their students needs? Are there always aircrafts available for every student? It can easily happen that a student that just began his training will be pushed back because another student needs that same aircraft to get a check ride done.

Small flight school:
A small school has the advantage of better being able to stay in touch with the student. The instructor can easily react to any changes or personal needs of the student, because there are fewer administrative steps to take and less other students to take care of.

We think it is important to get a personal training that fits your needs and a flight school that is able to react to the students requirements. This is usually easier with smaller flight schools.

How to choose your flight school: busy airport versus small airport

If you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school you want to do your flight training with. This is how we think about flight schools located at busy versus small airports.

Big and busy airport:
Flight training at big and busy airports is usually more expensive than at small airports. Usually busy airports have a control tower that manages the traffic at the airport. You cannot move your aircraft, leave or enter the airspace without getting permission from the tower. This means that you have to wait! Either you have to wait for other aircrafts to finish their operation, or if the tower is busy managing other traffic you are low on their priority list and have to wait.

Since you usually get charged by the minutes you fly the aircraft you end up paying money for sitting on the ramp or a taxiway with the engine running while doing nothing but wait.

Another factor is the weather. Especially if you fly a helicopter you might be able to do flight training even though the weather isn’t great. If it is good to fly, but not good enough, some airspace restrictions might apply. In that case only a limited amount of aircrafts is allowed to fly at the same time. You might end up not flying at all.

Small airport:
At a small airport you just don’t have enough traffic to slow down aircraft operations, and if it gets busier it usually gets resolved very quickly and it slows down. Usually you should be able to just get into your training aircraft and take off. This saves you time and money to focus on the important parts of your flight training.

Some people say that your radio communication skills are not as good as if they would if you train at a busy airport. Make sure there are busy airspaces in the area that you can fly to to easily learn these skills. This way you don’t have to multitask from the beginning of your training.

It is likely that at busy airports you spend a lot of money just waiting to take off or enter an airspace. Small airports are usually quieter on the radio, making it necessary to fly to a different airport to experience a busy airport. The upside is, you can time your training to train your radio skills.

While you study your books, open the webpage and listen to a busy airspace nearby to get used to listen to a tower. Choose an airport you can fly to, to get used to locations, taxiways and runways mentioned in the radio calls. It will help you getting used to it.

How to choose your flight school: part 141 versus part 61 flight school

When you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school that best fits your flight training needs and goals. There are a lot of flight schools out there: big schools, small schools, some offer 141 flight training, others don’t have that kind of certificate. Some are at busy or big airports, others are located at smaller airports.

Everything has it’s pros and cons, and this is how we think about it.

Part 141 versus part 61 flight training:Part 141 - Part 61 flight school

Every flight instructor can do flight training under part 61. No certification is required for that. A part 61 flight school does not need to meet any requirements.

The flight training:
A part 141 flight school needs to have a syllabus outlining your flight training with several stages that are concluded by stage checks. This syllabus has been checked and signed off by the FAA to make sure it meets the standards required for the appropriate certificate.

A part 61 flight school doesn’t need that. They sometimes have one, but they don’t have to stick to it making your training less coordinated.

The ground training:
We think your ground classes are very important, because you learn what is important to be a safe pilot.

A part 141 school has to have an approved syllabus for the ground training as well. It usually consists of 2 stages, like the flight training. Usually you are not allowed to continue your flight training into stage 2 unless you finished your stage 1 ground training. These guidelines make sure you learn the topics required for each stage through your training.

Again, a part 61 school doesn’t need to have these guidelines or doesn’t need to follow a specific syllabus. This makes it possible for the flightschool to schedule a checkride because they think you can fly an aircraft while you are behind with the important ground training.

A part 141 school has to apply for this status with the FAA. This is a complex application and a process that even includes certain needs for the classrooms, flight instructors, ground and flight training. Everything needs to be approved by the FAA to make sure your flight training will meet the high standards required to be a safe pilot.

A part 141 school is always able to enroll you in a part 61 course to tailor the training to your specific needs. This would be the case if you already have some experience.

Talk to your flight school in advance and make sure they understand your particular situation. This helps you to get the best flight training you deserve.