handshake with clouds and sky backgroundlast updated: 1/22/19

Flight schools are scattered all over the country, and there is a good chance you’ll find one at your local airport or within reasonable driving distance. Various web sites maintain online flight school directories. These days, searching for “flight school” on Google or Google Maps is one of the best ways to find nearby flight schools.

There are many different types of flight schools, ranging from small mom & pop operations at small airports, to larger flight schools that have multiple locations, to college and university flight training programs.

Not all flight instructors work for flight schools. Some are independent and self-employed. Often, these independent instructors don’t advertise because they obtain a lot of business through word of mouth.

If you find a directory of individual flight instructors (vs. flight schools), keep in mind that a lot of flight instructors on the list might not be actively instructing. Many commercial pilots who fly for airlines, corporate flight departments, cargo companies, etc. have a flight instructor certificate because they earned one at some point on their career ladder, but they don’t currently instruct. This is why, especially in cities where there are a lot of commercial pilots, an online instructor database is not be the best method for finding a flight instructor who can work with you.

Your best bet is word of mouth from local pilots in your area. Ask around for recommendations. Research a flight school or flight instructor’s reputation before making any commitments. Shop around. Check reviews. Your local EAA chapter, flying club, or other grassroots aviation organization can be a great resource for helping you get started in flight training. It’s okay to take introductory flight lessons at multiple flight schools or with multiple flight instructors in order to comparison shop.

Online directories of flight schools and flight instructors:

AOPA Flight School Directory
Database of flight schools, searchable by zipcode radius

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the Entry-Level Pilot Certificates?
  2. What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Pilot Certificate?
  3. What are the Medical Certification Requirements for Pilots?
  4. What is Ground Training Like?
  5. What is Flight Training Like?
  6. What Tests are Required to Become a Pilot?
  7. How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?
  8. How Can I Find a Flight School or Flight Instructor?
  9. How Does a Pilot Stay Current and Proficient?
  10. What Additional Certificates and Ratings Can a Pilot Earn?
  11. How Do I Sign Up for an Introductory Flight Lesson?