June 21, 2011, issue of 'Flight School Business' newsletter
Recommendations target effective pilot training
The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) is recommending six projects for action to reduce fatal aircraft accidents, increase student pilot starts, and keep those trainees flying until their goals have been achieved. The recommendations—mostly achievable without regulatory revision—headline the preliminary report that has emerged from the 2011 Pilot Training Reform Symposium SAFE hosted on May 4 and 5 in Atlanta, Ga., attended by 148 industry leaders and educators. During the symposium in May, six working or “breakout” groups assembled to discuss key areas of pilot training reform. Each group reported its five top reform recommendations. SAFE then consolidated them into six “actionable and specific projects.” Read more >>
New product aims to keep students and instructors safe
Wi-Flight is one of those products that you’ve never thought about buying before, but now that it’s available, it might be hard to pass up. Marketed exclusively to flight school owners, Wi-Flight combines a complete fleet-tracking solution with an inexpensive and effective debrief tool for students and instructors. The system comprises a small cell phone-like device that mounts to the glareshield, an outdoor wi-fi access point, and a website. Read more >>
AOPA Flight Training Student Retention Initiative will be heading to six metro areas this summer to get a national perspective on the flight training experience. The association held its first set of meetings in Fairfield, N.J., in May and will visit the Seattle and Orlando areas in June. Events in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas will be held later this summer with dates and details to be determined. Come to these meetings to provide valuable input on improving the flight training experience and to let AOPA know what the industry can do to help. The June 22 and 29 meetings are dedicated to flight school owners/managers and flight instructors. To help ensure adequate seating, materials, and refreshments, registration is required; please click the appropriate link below.The
— Wednesday, June 22—Flight Training Provider Regional Meeting in Renton, Washington, from 1-4 p.m.
Call in the reserve team
You’ve probably heard of Pinch Hitter® courses before—the ones geared to nonpilots that cover the basics of radio work and landing in case the pilot becomes incapacitated. But have you thought about how you could capitalize on these popular courses? Other flight schools have had great success offering custom weekend courses such as this. Maybe it’s time you did too. Read more >>
Got a problem? Use a checklist
Let’s face it—most of us are pilots by trade. So the idea of hiring someone can be daunting. But there is no more critical decision in a flight school than hiring the right CFIs and front desk staff. And as a pilot, the way to attack this problem is with a checklist. Read more to learn how to develop your own hiring checklist, which includes every phase from requirements to offer.
Do you already use a customer relationship management platform in your school? Maybe you’re thinking of adding one. Tell us your thoughts in this issue’s poll.
In the last issue we asked if you use a syllabus in your flight school. Thankfully, 78 percent said they use one religiously, while 6 percent said they have one but don’t rely on it, and 17 percent said they don’t have one at all.
It’s all about the leads
A business is nothing without customers. But sometimes keeping those customers straight, and making sure to follow up on prospective customers, can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Make the process easier by employing a powerful tool—a customer relationship management system (CRM). Last issue we covered the basics. This time we go over how best to implement and learn to get the most out of your new CRM. Read more >>
Checking the numbers brings harmony
Getting renters and CFIs to preflight is one thing. Getting them to do a post-flight inspection and check things such as fuel level is quite another. How many times have you experienced lessons being delayed because the prior user failed to fuel the aircraft? Throwing off the schedules for aircraft, instructors, and students is not just inconvenient for everyone—it can make your operation appear disorganized, inefficient, and unprofessional to clients. Reduce frustration easily by enacting a fuel reserve policy on all rental agreements, as well as including it in each CFI’s job requirement. Just as a pilot must close out his flight plan or record the Hobbs, recording the fuel levels on departure and on arrival for each flight should be a simple measure. Incorporate fuel-level recordings as part of your dispatch procedure to ensure there will be sufficient fuel for the next flight, plus at least a one-hour reserve.
Do we need more than desire?
As instructors and business owners, it’s seemingly in our best interest to encourage anyone who walks through the door that he or she is capable of becoming a pilot. And to a large extent, that’s true. But there are some pilots out there who do more harm than good. Their poor judgment makes the rest of us look bad, and they are a black eye on our flight schools, our insurance rates, and more. Getting hold of those prospects early may be a key to improving the situation. Read more >>
Editor: Ian Twombly
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