Flight Schools in Canada

To become a pilot is no easy task and choosing the right aviation academy is of utmost importance as it will determine your future as a grate pilot or waste your effort, time, and money on a meaningless endeavour.

Gathering vital information about potential flight academies from outside Canada can be difficult and lacking proper information.

We do advise you to schedule a consultation with one of our aviation experts to discuss potential flight academies for you to study at in Canada before investing huge amounts of money needlessly.

Educational institution in Canada must have a DLI number (Designated Learning Institution number) to enroll international students.

When conducting you research, there are some factors that can be studied by internet research, but others can only be looked upon in person, here are some of these factors:

1 – Fleet Size

The size of the fleet is important, having available aircrafts to book your flight with ease of mind makes all the difference. Being able to choose the time and date of your flight bookings will make your progress much faster while at the same time allowing for a part time job (in most cases study permits allow international students to work around 20 hours per week).

2 – Management

A good CFI (Chief Flight Instructor) will ensure all instructors have their student’s progression as priority. Some flight academies overload their instructors with excess number of students leading both lower results and less focus on individual student progression. In general, each flight instructor should have between 10 -15 student pilot allowing for better focus and better results while giving each student his fair time with the flight instructor.

3 – Student Capacity

When trying to register at an aviation academy you may be informed of a waiting list.

this is an indication of a good flight academy. A typical flight instructor will have an average of 10-15 students to train, yet some flight schools assign more students per instructor, in some cases reaching more than 20+ student pilots overwhelming the instructor, decreasing the efficiency and affecting the progress of each student wasting their flight hours and subsequently forcing them to purchase more hours from their academy to complete their training!

4 – Maintenance

Every 50 flight hours, small training aircrafts must be sent for maintenance which may take few hours to few days to complete.

The bigger the fleet the more workload there is on the maintenance department and aircraft mechanics.

When choosing your academy, it is important to check if their maintenance department (or the maintenance company the academy hires) has the capacity to perform the maintenance effectively on the aircrafts without having aircrafts waiting in line, sitting on the ground (grounded) unable to fly.

5 – Aircraft age and module

Not all aircrafts are the same. Most flight academies operate Cessna aircrafts, mainly the 172, 152, and 150 models. You can find a Cessna in almost every flight academy.

Cessna 172 was first introduced in 1955-1960 and still being manufactured until today, Cessna 172 (A) model (1960) is not the same as the (S) model (2009+) which comes with a more powerful engine, glass cockpit, and more advanced instruments.

Training will not be the same and the older models may have more mechanical problems due to old age.

6 – Hangar size

Canadian winter is extremely cold. It brings with it extreme subfreezing temperatures, snow blizzards, icing and many more winter phenomenons, it is referred to in aviation terms; winter operations. Most flight academies park their aircrafts on the tarmac, during winter aircrafts will be subject to snow and icing which requires a long de-icing process.

A single aircraft hangar will allow 1 aircraft to be defrosted leaving the rest of the fleet waiting on the tarmac (grounded) waiting for their turn. Leading to flight cancelations.

Some provinces are not affected by winter operations as others. For example the lower mainland in British Columbia does not face the same freezing temperatures and snow as Ontario and Quebec.

7 – Location

Depending in which province you choose, you can improve your learning process. For example, British Columbia and Alberta are the best places to gain mountain flying experience.

Another benefit of BC is its controlled and busy airspace.

Flying in BC exposes the pilot to controlled airspace allowing for better professional training.

As for Ontario and Quebec you will be prepared more for winter operations and flying in subfreezing temperatures that may reach -40 Celsius.

8 – Flight hours obtained and the type of aircraft.

Pilots with multi-engine experience accompanied with IFR flight hours will have easier time landing a job at an airline compared with a pilot with only single engine hours.

The program you choose must include multi-IFR flight hours,

Avoid flight schools with only 200 hours program, most students will require more flight hours to complete the training. Transport Canada’s CPL Average is above 200 flight hours. Even if it appears cheaper, students end up purchasing more flight hours to complete their training.

9 – License and ratings offered in the flight school program

Several aviation academies only offer PPL/CPL with night rating. Additional ratings are not included in the program and will cost extra to obtain. Other academies offer PPL, CPL, Multi-IFR, night rating, and instructor rating in one single package for students.

Before you apply you need to check what is offered!

10 – Reputation

Each academy has its flaws, no school, college, university, academy, or workplace is without its critics. But some flaws can be overlooked while others not.

What is advertised on the internet is not always showing the entire picture.

It is advisable to inspect the school in person if applicable, if not ask a friend or family member in Canada to visit the academy or ask one of our professional aviation advisors and avoid what may end up a waste of your money.