Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

Top Schools

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web
Depends on your criteria. What are you looking for? Riddle is great when your looking for highest total cost. So is FlightSafety and PanAm.
I second the comment that Riddle is the best at sucking your money away! Go to a public four year university with a good flight school. I suggest finding one that offers lots of internships with the majors and a good previous job placement record. You will get the same education and have a lot more fun at the public university.

A good start would be to look at the collegiate flying competitions and see who regularly finishes in the top three.

Good Luck

I think it is safe to say that FSI is a top flight school. It is expensive, but it sets the standards for flight schools!

If you were to look at how schools finish in national flight comptitions Riddle, UND and Western Mich, would be your top schools. But as far as Riddle sucking your money, I personally think any private aviation school does a fine job at that, not just Riddle. Just my .02 cents
FSI isn't NAFI

I don't know if it was your assertion to say that FSI wasn't high in the SAFECON rankings or not, but FSI isn't eligible since it isn't a university, just a flight school.

By all means I not saying Flight Safety in not a really good school if not the best. I was just replying to the prevous post about NIFA competions. I have had many friends and students go on to FSI and recieved great training.
No. 1 School??

I worked at Riddle-Prescott for a year and a half and FSI-Vero for a year and a month. Therefore, I consider myself to be qualified to opine on both.

Both places do their respective jobs well, and, yes, both schools will suck off your money. Riddle indeed provides a great education. Riddle's ground schools are okay, but where Riddle excels is in providing a great education, in teaching flight phys, aerodynamics and especially systems. Riddle's flight training is okay. We learned and taught our students plenty about flows. Getting airplanes at Riddle was almost always a challenge because we always had plenty of students and not enough airplanes. When I was at Riddle eleven years ago students typically finished on campus before they finished flying, and had finished the ground school appropriate to their current flight course long before they would start the course. Therefore, flight line instructors had to provide a lot of remedial ground school training. That frustrated both students and instructors, especially because the ground school wasn't always in sync with the flight line. And we all must pass the same exams to teach the same subjects? :rolleyes:

Riddle has an option to earn initial certification either in singles or multis. Most students chose the multis and graduated with at least 50 hours of multi. If they chose the multi track, they did get a commercial single as an add-on, but it was part of the course.

There's no question whatsoever that an ERAU degree means something in this business. Whether it carries more weight than a degree from Smallville State U. is always a subject of debate. Moreover, possessing a Riddle degree seems to antagonize a great many people. Riddle offers quite a few internships that can open doors.

FSI differs from Riddle. It is the typical large commercial flight school. Ground school provides a basic background and enough to pass the writtens. The flight training is fine quality. One thing I liked about FSI was spins and unusual attitudes were part of the course. When I was there they used 152 Aerobats and Decathlons. Now, they use Zlins. Initial certification for Commercial and Instrument is in the multis. I believe that it costs extra to earn a Commercial single. FSI was challanging because it would train people for their Commercial-Instrument in six months. Students HAD to keep up, or else. Ground school was in sync with the flight training. There were always plenty of aircraft. I don't recall ever canxing a flight for students because I couldn't get airplanes.

Of course, FSI has its connections, p-f-t and otherwise, with various commuters.

Hope this comparision furthers this discussion. Once again, both schools have their roles and their pros and cons.
Last edited:
Choose a school according to who finishes in the top three in the flying competitions?!?!?!?! Give me a break. Sorry Browntail, but that's some of the worst advice I've ever seen. Unbelievable.... Flying competitions mean absolutely nothing. In my opinion (and everyone's entitled to one), the flying competition is to see who can taxi in formation the best. Story time: I was flying charter (during college) and sitting in Grand Forks, ND, home of UND. The flying competition was going to be that week and the Riddle guys showed up in their 152s, or 172s, or whatever is was they flew in. They taxied onto the ramp in formation, and pulled the mixtures at the same time so their engines died at the same time. They walked across the ramp in military-style formations, it was crazy. To be honest, it was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. I laughed my a$$ of for the rest of the day watching those guys in those little military-wanna-be flight suits wandering around the ramp. One of them came into the FBO where I was sitting and we started talking. I was flying a Navajo at the time on a 135 ticket and he about shot a load looking through my airplane. It brought him down from his high, almighty place above everyone else. He figured out there was a life in aviation outside of Riddle.

The best place to learn to fly is different for everyone. I know guys from my airline with a "bachelor of science in aviation science" degree from UND or Riddle, they are now furloughed, and have to resort to stocking shelves at the grocery store. Meanwhile, their counterparts who have a useful degree are getting productive jobs as loan officers, real estate agents, and police officers to pass the time until they get called back.

I'm glad I took the route I did. I went to a four year university for a degree in criminal justice. I finished up all of my ratings at the FBO in town and started instructing my third year of college. After a year, I had enough time built up to get on the 135 certificate flying pax and freight in our Navajo, Seneca and 421. When I got out of college, I had 1800 hours and got right into a regional flying a 1900. Less than two years later, I am in the left seat of our ERJs. If I ever end up furloughed (knock on wood) I'll have a degree to fall back on, and can still find a decent job.

When considering a flight school (or FBO), look into all options. I'm sure UND and Riddle are good schools, but you'll pay out the nose to get the same ratings the other guy got at his FBO for 1/4 the cost. Usually if you find a good FBO, you can find a decent college or university nearby as well. Often times, you'll be able to find someone on the field who needs pilot service done or someone looking for pilots for a turboprop, jet, etc. It's a great place to network. Take it for what it's worth.

Latest resources