Business Overview

Flying a plane requires a significant amount of knowledge and skill, which must be learned. Flight school businesses teach individuals who are interested in flying the knowledge and skills they need to attain a private pilot license. Schools’ curriculums typically consist of both classroom instruction and flight time.

Who is this business right for?

Running a flight school requires knowledge of flying and airplanes. Even if a business owner isn’t the person taking students up in planes or servicing the school’s fleet, they still need to know enough to accurately assess instructors’ abilities and make wise decisions regarding the maintenance of planes.

Because a knowledge of flying is extremely helpful, experienced and former pilots are particularly well qualified to open a flight school business. A flight school business might be a good venture for a pilot in the armed forces who is leaving active duty, or a commercial pilot who would like to retire from the industry and stay home more often.

Business owners don’t technically need experience as a military or commercial pilot to open a flight school business, but the experience can be a great help.

What happens during a typical day at a flight school?

Starting out, a flight school business owner may double as an instructor. Successful business owners, however, spend more of their time running and growing their business than teaching individual students.

A flight school business owner’s daily activities can vary a lot from one day to the next. On any given day, they might:

  • Have to address a maintenance or repair issue with a plane
  • Manage and schedule instructors
  • Promote classes to prospective students
  • Bill and collect payment from current students
  • Ensure students are satisfied with their training
  • Schedule exams and relay scores to students

What is the target market?

A flight school business’ ideal customer is someone who has interest in flying and is wealthy. Learning to fly isn’t cheap. Usually, only individuals who have a decent amount of discretionary income are able to afford the coursework.

How does a flight school make money?

A flight school business makes money by charging students for training. Training typically consists of classroom instruction and one-on-one flight time with an instructor. Students who need additional training beyond the typical coursework may be charged on an hourly basis for one-on-one lessons with an instructor.

What is the growth potential for a flight school?

A flight school business can be a single, independent school or a national chain. Two national franchise organizations are ATP Flight School, which has forty locations throughout the United States, and American Flyers, which has six locations.