Why You Should Begin Your Flight Training at a COMPLETE Flight School!

Beginning pilots can learn at ANY FAA Part 141 or Part 61 flight school. Why begin your training at a school that specializes in advanced training by and for airline pilots?

Three reasons:

1) They have the philosophy of creating the best pilots. They know they’ll be flying with you in the future, and want to make sure you’re not just legal, you’re the person they want in the cockpit with them, their friends and families!

2) They have professional-grade equipment on-site, and COMPLETE online resources that the other schools don’t need.

3) You’ll be working, training and socializing with pilots from all over the world! The insights and synergy from these relationships is priceless.

Captain David Santo and Student Pilot Michelle Laraki discuss how our unique school takes students from their very first flight lesson all the way to airliner simulation training, at one great location in Kissimmee, FL.

This rare combination of capabilities allows our trainees to accomplish their flight training needs from private pilot all the way through the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) licensing, and certification on Airbus A320 or Boeing B737 airliners. 

Michelle Laraki:

So, my name’s Michelle Laraki. I am the admissions department here at AeroStar. I have been here more than a year.

David Santo:

Well, hello everybody. My name is David Santo and I’m the training center manager here at AeroStar. I think AeroStar has always had in mind from even before we opened the doors and I taught our first student was, how do we make a better pilot? How do we create a better environment that puts more into the student, so that we can get more out of the student later on? I like the analogy of how do we bake the cake with the right ingredients from the beginning? So many schools are still teaching like we did in the 1930s and forties, where they teach to the solo. Then they teach to the private and then they teach to the instrument, and on up the ladder until we get them in the airlines, or we get them in a A320 or a 737 type-rate program. And we’re shocked at the gap between where they came from and this next step that they’re trying to make, right?

David Santo:

They don’t understand checklist philosophy. They don’t understand crew coordination. They don’t understand aircrew decision-making and risk management. Well, we asked the question, why don’t we teach that from the very beginning as a building block, so that by the time we get them to the type rating, this is just the next logical and not overly challenging step to their career. See, our goal is not to be able to say, “Hey, we’re the Harvard of aviation,” like some other schools do. What we want is our students to be in the cockpit of an airliner and the people they’re flying with, the captain that they’re flying with, ask them, “How do you know that? You’re pretty inexperienced. Where did you learn how to fly?” And when they say, “AeroStar,” we want our reputation to be the success of our students. That’s the reputation we’re looking for.

Michelle Laraki:

Listening to you talk about that, I’m thinking, “Alrighty, I already know … I can follow, and I know what you’re talking about. And I’m thinking, how do other students learn?” Because this is all I know. I only know the AeroStar philosophy and ways of training, and everything is baked with the right ingredients. So I already feel better listening. And even as an employee here, and as a student pilot, I can follow conversations with these captains that are coming from abroad. Or for me, even just people in the 737 type ratings, I pop into the ATP CTP class. And I know what mock tuck is now. As a private pilot, that’s not something you would know about at all. Or even … that’s my favorite day, actually. I like to send that date a lot. So it’s that we’re encompassing everything that you need to know at the beginning. So it’s muscle memory, or it’s already set in stone. A good foundation, if you will, to build on top of.

David Santo:

AeroStar’s been in business since 2009, and we started as a 142 certified program, which for those watching who aren’t familiar with the term FAR 142, that’s the simulation certification. A thing you’d have, a flight safety or some of the other schools that are out there. We started training airline pilots for placement all over the world, but specifically in Airbuses and Boeing. We grew from that background and experience to now cover the 141. So we’ve been in business now for 12 years and growing. Many of our team have been with us that whole time, which has been fantastic. And so we’re bringing a lot of experience. But beyond the 12 years that the company’s been in existence, the founders and the majority of the staff have lifetime, 30, 40-year career in the aviation industry that we bring to the school as a resource for the students.

David Santo:

I think when we look at the competitive advantages that AeroStar has over our competition, we all, at least the schools here in the Kissimmee Airport and their stickle, we have a great location, right? We can offer Part 61 and Part 141 training. What nobody else can offer is 142 training, right? So we’re the only school that can actually provide the additional follow-up piece of the ATP CTP and take you all the way through the type rating and placement training. I think our instructors are different because we’re using airline pilots as instructors, and we’re able to attract airline pilots because we have simulators for the airliners. That gives us a huge competitive advantage.

David Santo:

We have an online library that allows our students to study any number of really relevant topics like ATC communication, CRM, controlled flight into terrain. Most schools just don’t provide those types of resources because it wouldn’t need to, they don’t have a 142 affiliated school. So by taking these 141, 142 certified training programs and combining them, we’re providing some overlap that nobody else can really do.

Michelle Laraki:

And on top of what no one else can really do, we have our own maintenance facility as well. So we are 141, 142, 61, and we have our own maintenance facility all in one place.

David Santo:

Yeah, that’s a very good point.

David Santo:

I’ll tell you an interesting story that happened to me. So several years ago, when we were in the very early stages of AeroStar, we had trained some pilots from Royal Jordanian. Now AeroStar initially, its foundation was to train pilots for placement all over the world, right? So ex-pat pilots. They were coming from Asia, from the Middle East, from Central and South America, from Europe. And we got to know a lot of cultures. We got to meet a lot of different people, but this particular group of students from Royal Jordanian, we had seen them when they were first coming onto the Airbus. So they had finished their commercial multi-engine instrument. Super excited, right? And then a few years later, they came back to us in preparation for their captain upgrades. So we got to now see them at a very early stage, and we saw them again for their captain upgrade.

David Santo:

And it was really, really kind of touching if you’re trying to help people to watch their evolution and their success. But the funny story for me was about five years after that, I’m at my day job, flying for the airlines. And I have a young person approach me and I don’t recognize them at first. And they’re wearing the same uniform I am, working for the same airline, and it was one of my Royal Jordanian students is now flying for the US airline that I fly for. And he rode up in the cockpit on the jump seat with me and we got to touch base. So AeroStar actually helped him and his colleagues succeed at home in Jordan, but at least for him, he wanted to make the move to the US and it helped him to do that as well. I thought that was a pretty cool story.

Michelle Laraki:

That’s a great story. The circle of how it came to be. Oh, I like that.

Michelle Laraki:

And I’m very grateful to have her as my instructor, she’s the best.

David Santo:

And yeah know, Sherrie is a great example. As an instructor, she brings a lot to the table because she’s been in general aviation for a long time, and she owns her own airplane. But like so many of our instructors, she was an airline pilot. She worked for an airline. She understands the airline environment. So she’s been around the industry. And I think that, that secret sauce of being able to talk about, this is how we fly the airplane today, towards this flight. But this is where you’re going to go. And let’s talk about the things I hope to bake into this lesson that you’ll take on to your successful airline career.

Michelle Laraki:

Even now, when I’m just working on private pilot, she’s implemented instrument things and aspects and tracking, and it’s always, “This is the lesson, but we’re going to add this on because I know that your goal is this. Your goal is not just to be general aviation forever.” So it’s always an onion lesson if you will, of this and this and this and this, but the objective was really this. And I like it. She knows I like a challenge and she caters, you’ll see her with all the other students. She’s a chameleon of an instructor. She changes her way of teaching with each student. And for me, I like tasks, homework, critique. I’m very regimented and not everyone’s like that. And she recognizes that.

David Santo:

Yeah, I really appreciate the instructor style, right? Where you develop a bond and rapport, you put your students at ease, you build some camaraderie. So it’s fun. Learning how to fly is a challenge, no matter how you slice it, but if you’re having fun doing it, you’ll do much better at it. And you’ll get more out of it. And flight instructors, not all flight instructors are created equally. Right? I think they’re all safe. I think they’re all wonderful. And my hat’s off to anybody who’s gone and done a CFI, but I think somebody who’s been in the airline industry who has seen that side, brings a lot more value to their student because they’re able to share with them their real-world life experiences. And in her case, her thousands of hours of flight time and experience. She’s not a newbie. She’s not a two, three, 400 hours CFR. She’s a lifer. And that’s like so many of our instructors.

Michelle Laraki:

Going back to that green. No, our instructors aren’t green. They’re amazing. They are.

Michelle Laraki:

I joke about how I used to just stare out the window all day. And my, the teacher comment, “You can’t just look out the window and make a living.”

David Santo:

Actually, you can in aviation.

 

 

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