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I've gotta couple general questions i'd like to ask. When picking a flight school how important is it that a designated Pilot Examiner be on staff. Do you worry about not passing your flight medical someday?




Hey Adam73,


Here's my 2¢ - and bear in mind I'm a low time guy, so my experiences are limited.


Having a Transport Canada examiner on staff has two advantages, IMHO. One, it's convenient. They're there and available. If the weather is foul or the machine is down on the day of your test, then setting up another exam should be a non-issue. The other "advantage" is familiarity with your examiner - you might feel more comfortable doing your flight test with someone you already know.


Now, you'll notice the quotation marks... I wouldn't call the familiarity an advantage - the flight test is done to Transport Canada's standards, and it WILL NOT be any easier just because the examiner is part of your school. There was an examiner on site where I trained, and I know of at least one student who didn't pass on his first go (no, it wasn't me, and yes, he did nail it on his next shotbiggrin.gif). I did feel more at ease with our examiner, but I was still nervous as ****. He wasn't a "buddy" nor a regular instructor up there - he was very much a Transport Canada flight examiner.


When you're out in the job market, odds are you'll be doing a check ride or a PPC with someone whom you've never met until that day. The sooner you get used to flying with and being evaluated by an unfamiliar face, the easier those things will be.


To summarize: Examiner on staff - certainly convenient, but not a deal breaker in my opinion.


As for losing the medical - yeah, I think about it all the time, and I'm a fit and healthy dude with no medical issues nor any in my family history. But when your career hinges on your good health, you tend to think about it a lot (especially as you get older cool.gif). My advice here is take care of yourself, make at least a cursory effort to keep fit and eat healthy, and keep the boozing moderate. And whatever you do, make sure your medical certificate s all in order BEFORE you start school - as in several months before. I started my process in what I thought was plenty of time.... I was given a clean bill of health, but my medical paperwork got mired in beaurocratic red tape and I spent the first few weeks of flight school wringing my hands over the delayed paperwork. Like learning to fly wasn't stressful enough!


Hope this helps; with luck the experienced folk will jump in. Good luck in your training!


- Darren

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Personally i wouldn't worry about an examiner on staff. If the instructor says you are ready to take the flight test then you are ready. Don't be fooled by the sales pitch all the flight schools want your money and bigger is not better. Go meet the people and find a school and instructor that meets your needs before you drop $25000 and wish you had gone with the other school which does happen quite a bit.

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Just a thought,

If you're looking at getting into flying and worried about loosing your medical why not put off flight school for a few years and become an engineer? Its a foot in the door of the industry and you'll always have a career to fall back on if your medical gets pulled or flying just plain slows down or doesn't pan out for you. I pretty much guarantee you'll be laid off from flying for the winters if you ever do get a job flying, so being an engineer first might be a good idea.

I'm not an engineer, but the industry has really changed since I started flying 14 years ago.

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Skidmark's suggestion is the one I've always made to potential helicopter pilot candidates. I don't think we'll ever again see the day when there are enough AMEs available, and their knowledge is a wonderful resource for a pilot to have.


I'm not sure statistics would back up your fears about the medical, except of course, for 'grey hair time.' I've been in the industry a long while, and could probably count on my two hands the number of people I've seen 'medicalled out' while young. Believe me, you'll have a lot more things to focus on when you get flying than worries about losing your medical.


Seriously consider the AME track, though. It's a lifelong work guarantee.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you choose not to go the AME route and are determined to fly, I would look only at reputable schools that have a Charter operations as well, not just flight training. If you have the right attitude, maturity, skill and work ethics, you never know they may have "something" for you after you finish...... what ever that might be?



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