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Flight school recommendation in NYC

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New member
Feb 16, 2024
I live in Queens and I am planning on completing a private pilot to MEI. I have zero flight experience. I am currently in the process of looking for a flight school. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it if I could get any recommendations for accelerated flight schools in New York.
Thank you for your help.
This is written from the perspective of a retired professional pilot.

There are many options, but the only one I have had any experience with is American Flyers at Morristown, NJ. Our daughter completed the majority of her training for a Private Pilot Certificate in our Piper Cub. That airplane is not equipped with an electrical system, navigation radios, gyro instruments, or lights, so she required additional training in an airplane thus equipped in order to attain the unrestricted certificate.

American Flyers accurately assessed her previous training and then provided everything she needed and nothing she didn't to complete her training and attain the Private Pilot Certificate. Her flight instructors did not have a great deal of experience but they provided good quality instruction and she was well prepared for her practical test. We found the company to be professional and efficient.

Whatever training organization you choose, you are about to invest a breathtaking amount of money in the enterprise. It is not necessary and may not seem relevant, but getting a tailwheel aircraft endorsement somewhere in your training will make you a more proficient pilot whether you are flying a Cessna 172 or a Boeing 747. Andover Flight and Tailwheel Academy in Andover, NJ can provide that, although I have no experience with them. The cost of that training is relatively small and provides big benefits. If you can get your initial training in a tailwheel airplane, all the better.

Another consideration is aerobatic training. Again, this is not required for your objective, but well worth the investment. A five hour training course is sufficient to make you a better and more proficient pilot. Without that training, any airplane you are flying is more capable than the pilot flying it.
Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it. I also have another question, the weather conditions in New York. Due to the weather conditions in New York, does it affect the flight training?
Thank you for your help.
Yes. You will have more training canceled due to weather conditions in the Northeastern part of the country than, for example, the Southwest. You lose knowledge retention between training sessions when there is more time between them. In addition, the flight portion of your training will be more expensive because of the overhead costs flight schools have to deal with in your area. The higher traffic density in the NYC area will cause longer taxi times on the ground and longer transits from home base to the practice area. You are paying for the extra airplane time this entails.

There is an upside to training where you live. You will be exposed to more "real world" conditions than you would where the weather is benign the majority of the time. Dealing with the complicated airspace and heavy traffic in your area also will also make you more comfortable flying anywhere else once you complete your training. There are licensed pilots that have trained and are based in more rural areas of the country that are not confident enough to fly into the New York metropolitan area even though the have the qualifications required to do it.
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Coming from the view of Airline Pilot and CFII that has been at this awhile. The previous posters make good valid points and I will add a bit more.

Training in congested airspace, and in areas that have all 4 seasons of weather is a positive over all. You will be a much more rounded pilot after training and you will have a good respect for weather and better decision making on weather. You radio work will also be better due to the congested airspace too.

You can mitigate the cost disadvantage by coming prepared for every lesson and making the most out of your time in the aircraft. You should try to fly 3-5 times per week to keep your training moving a long and so you don't forget stuff in between. On bad weather days, see if you can fly the schools FTD or SIMs and work on your instrument skills. If the school allows go in the hangar and plug the plan into the ground power unit (GPU) and practice setting up the avionics and make modifications to the routes and approaches until your proficient and go do that without much thought.

Last if you can, get together with other pilots at the school and ask to ride along on training flight. You will be amazed and what you learn from the back seat and mentally flying the plane. Your IQ goes up must moving to the back seat and observing.

If I am not mistaken FRG (Farmingdale) has a flight school too that may be worth checking out.

Don't be afraid to fly older Cessna or Pipers for training. They often have the old school six pack of instruments and will rent for cheaper. The cirrus and more modern training aircraft will cost more to rent. It is all the same license in the end.

Lastly NEVER GIVE A FLIGHT SCHOOL MORE THAN A COUPLE THOUSAND DOLLARS AT TIME ON YOUR ACCOUNT. If the school goes belly that cash is usually lost.

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