According to General Aviation News, 80% of student pilots drop out of flight school each year before receiving their pilot certificate. Here are some of the most common reasons…
1.The flight school is a dump – The first time you rolled up to that decrepit building next to the transient bathrooms and thought it was charming should have been your first clue. You were too enamored with learning how to swagger like John Wayne in “Wings of Eagles” to notice that the only thing in worse condition than the building were the planes used for training.
2.False advertising – The website of the flight school has pictures of the fleet showing a sexy lineup of composite trainers with glass panels promising to make learning to fly as easy as using an iPhone. What they actually have on the flight-line are 1970’s era Cessna’s still sporting the original burnt orange and brown plaid interiors with worn patches on the seats that students and instructors have been dragging their asses across for decades. When asked what happened to the cool planes from the internet photos, students are told that the website hasn’t been updated in a while.
3.Financial fraud – You were told the FAA requires 40 hours minimum to get a private pilot certificate, did the math in your head and figured around $7500. Now you have flown 60 hours, spent $10,000 and there is no end in sight. Your instructor does seem to like flying to local airport cafes where “CFI’s with students eat for free,” so you have tons of dual cross country time, but aren’t ready to go on solo trips yet.
4.Poor flight instruction – How many instructors have you plowed through because they keep leaving for jobs at regional airlines? Why is that 23 year old who just graduated from an elite aviation college wearing a uniform with 4 bars on his shoulder? Sure seems like they only give a shit about long dual cross country flights, free hamburgers, and telling students how they are looking forward to finally getting a job at the “majors” after paying their dues.
5.Medical issues – Whether you are missing a few limbs or had a stroke recently, there’s no reason you can’t start training today then try to get a medical later. You don’t need the medical until it’s time to solo – and we all know that’s not going to happen anytime soon, so just get up in the sky and start making your dreams come true! Now go back and read #3 again.
6.The “Solo Plateau” – No, we are not talking about what happens when you are on Pornhub.com for too long. Instructors will find all sorts of reasons not to let you solo. The number one reason you haven’t solo’d is the instructor is still short on rent money for the month. You better hope he doesn’t have a car payment too. If you want to solo sooner, find an instructor that lives at home with his parents and owns his car outright.
7.Your instructor is too busy taking selfies – Every flight instructor wants to be that cool internet pilot shooting HDR selfies with multiple effects & filters applied to look so Gucci. That guy is a douchebag and only cares about himself and where you are taking him for a free hamburger.
8.Your instructor is a pervert – Isn’t it weird how every time you bend over to check the belly of the plane during pre-flight he is right behind you? Does it seem odd that his hand keeps slipping off the throttle into your lap? Does he give himself an over-the-pants-handy during steep turns? You get the idea…
9.You can’t sell rides to make money – There is a fine line between sharing the cost of flying and outright selling seats in the plane. Most instructors do a terrible job explaining how to get around this regulation.
10.You just don’t look like a pilot – We aren’t all blessed with a square jaw, perfect teeth and amazing hair. No one believes it when you regale them with tales of adventure in the wild blue yonder. They think you joined a sim squadron or bought a drone.