I am often asked if “Accelerated Pilot Training” is a better way to learn to fly and the short answer is yes, most of the time it is. Those of us in the flight training industry find that time and time again students enrolled in accelerated pilot training programs finish and get their ratings in fewer hours and in a shorter duration.

Accelerated Pilot Training - Ken CraneSo why is that you ask? It’s simple really; the fact that the course is “Accelerated” has little to do with it. The real magic comes from the full immersion into the course that these programs provide. When you are flying two times or more per day with your instructor, have one on one ground sessions daily and using the time in between for independent study you tend to learn faster and retain more between sessions. This highly focused training tends to also limit outside distractions which we all have.

Back in the early 70’s (yes I know I am old) when I took my first lesson the typical student would show up for his or her flight lesson on a Saturday and then not do anything again until the following Saturday. This worked, but to amass the knowledge and skills required to be a private pilot took over a year to finish. In addition to that the number of hours it took were considerably more. In training parlance we refer to the problem as disuse (call it brain fade if you like).

Accelerated pilot training programs have their roots in the Military. As the flight training industry looked at our processes, we could not help but notice the Military was training their pilots much faster in fewer hours and keeping to a very tight schedule. What we discovered was the single largest difference in training was full immersion. A Military Aviator literally does nothing else except eat, sleep and do aviation stuff. It took a few iterations to get it right. After all, most of our students are not military and they have lives outside of aviation and need to attend to work and family matters. Our schedule is a blend that provides a little breathing room in the program so as not to overwhelm the average learner.

So you may have noticed that I said in the beginning that accelerated pilot training programs are better “most of the time”. To take advantage of these programs there are a few things you can do to ensure success and actually save you money:

  • Get Organized – schedule your training in advance and then do everything you can to take care of the work and family details beforehand. This limits distractions and allows you to focus your energy on achieving your goal.
  • Study in advance – The most successful students usually complete their online (CBT) portion of their course before they arrive. If you can’t get it all done don’t fret about it, just do as much as you can. By planning your training 6-8 weeks in advance most people can usually complete this task before starting. It does not take that much time.
  • Pad a few days into your travel – Arrive a day early and allow yourself to get acclimated. Time zones, weather and travel in general takes its toll. Just one extra day on the front end can get you off to a great start. Add a few days on the back end as well just as a buffer to keep the pressure off you.
  • Stay with your routines – Eat well. If you exercise continue to do so, get proper rest and sleep and budget your time for your self-study activities. Remember you are here to achieve your goal and get your certificate or rating. I promise you will have fun doing it, but remember that little thing called full immersion.

On behalf of myself and the entire SunState Aviation team, we look forward to helping you achieve your dreams.

Ken Crane

General Manager, SunState Aviation Flight School