Basic to our training program is an understanding that our students are self-motivated, will set goals for completion of each phase of training, and will devote a certain number of hours each week in preparation for the Knowledge (written) Test and the next flight training session. If you are one of those self-motivated and disciplined types and want to receive your training on YOUR schedule and stay close to home, YOU are our type of student!
Whether our students have a goal of obtaining the certificate or rating in three weeks, three months, or a year is not as important as working towards those goals with a specific completion date in mind.
This is how Alas de San Miguel produces confident, safe, professional pilots:
An orientation meeting is held to set specific goals and schedules based on the student’s motivation level, availability, and other commitments. Dates by which AFSP clearances will be obtained (see Preliminary Matters above), flight training commenced, the Knowledge (written) Test taken, and the Practical Test (checkride) completed will be established.
Your flight training will include multiple cross-country trips that will incorporate “scenario-based” training techniques. This approach, designed by flight training professionals and aeronautical educational institutions in cooperation with the US FAA, seeks to apply “real-world” situations and decision-making opportunities into the training environment. FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) has also measurably improved safety, the “fun-factor”, and increased the student’s appreciation of the great utility of General Aviation aircraft. In other words: “On the first day, we’ll start using the aircraft like YOU will be using it!”
As stated earlier, there is NO minimum requirement for classroom sessions when preparing for a US FAA certificate or rating (except the ATP certificate). Therefore, it is very important that the student commit to a home-study program, take good notes, develop a list of questions on items needing further clarification, and adequately prepare for the next flight training session.
Students are encouraged to involve family and friends in their training, particularly those persons skeptical of General Aviation, the quality of flight training, or the level of safety inherent in small aircraft. We also encourage students to occupy a rear seat during a friend’s flight training. The experience offers the non-flying student a low-stress observation position that economically adds to their knowledge and confidence.
Communications! Understandably, many students whose first language is not English are nervous about their communications in English, particularly in a high-stress aviation environment. Our advice? RELAX! We work to simplify the process and have developed methods over the years that include ground simulator sessions, written “rehearsals” in the aircraft before keying the microphone, home-study courses based on the Macmillan Aviation English training manual, and “active listening” to websites such as LiveATC.net.
As part of Private Pilot training several hours of flight training and at least two cross-country trips to the US border will be scheduled. These trips, and training provided in US airspace, are important for several reasons: to explain and practice border-crossing and entry procedures, to better understand Air Traffic Control requirements, and to build confidence in communications. During at least one trip the student will obtain his/her Medical Certification and complete the Knowledge (written) Test. Most of the required night flight training and all of the required solo flight requirements will be accomplished in the United States with our flight training partners there. On at least one trip the Practical Test (checkride) will be scheduled with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE).
It is also possible to plan training flights that accommodate the student’s business and family matters (business trips, family reunions, weddings, etc.).
If you indicate a desire to fly you own aircraft in the future, your training will also address the costs, challenges, and joys of aircraft ownership. We will spend time discussing acquisition and operating costs, the legal requirements to maintain airworthiness, insurance, preventative and scheduled maintenance, cost-saving measures, and many lessons we have learned in 40+ years of helicopter and airplane ownership. If desired, simple preventative maintenance tasks authorized under 14 CFR Part 43 will be demonstrated and practiced by the student.
There are many excellent flight schools in the United States and elsewhere that cater to those students who need full-time classroom instruction, a highly structured program, and have the resources in time and money to spend months in the United States in pursuit of their certification or rating. This approach is certainly an alternative that should be explored by students who have not yet developed their study skills, personal discipline, or unable to set their own schedules.
Our goal is to offer professional level ground and flight training, to help you become the best and safest pilot possible, and to make it FUN!
1). For more information on FAA/Industry Training Standards see:
2). For access to LiveATC.net and communications practice: