The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)'s 2024 Flight Training Experience Survey received thousands of submissions from students and pilots across the country. Six flight schools and six flight instructors were chosen as the most excellent in their respective region.

The Flight Training Experience survey asked student pilots, newly minted pilots, and pilots pursuing advanced ratings or taking a flight review for feedback about the quality of their flight training and instruction experience. The survey gave respondents the opportunity to highlight the best parts of their flight training and identify where flight schools and instructors may want to make improvements.

Of the regional winners, one flight school and one flight instructor will be recognized as the nation’s best, announced at Redbird Migration, a flight training conference hosted March 5 and 6 at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston.

“This year we have seen something similar to past years,” Chris Moser, AOPA's senior director of flight training education, said. “The emphasis was on how much the best schools and instructors made their customers feel like family. Whether through creating a warm or welcoming atmosphere, or simply just being there when the client needs them, I am excited to hear about the strong community that is being built right from the start.”

The Flight Training Experience Survey has helped the AOPA You Can Fly team recognize superior flight training professionals since 2012.

AOPA’s You Can Fly program is dedicated to building the pilot community by creating programs for flying clubs, rusty pilots, and high school students who need support with their aviation goals.

Regional Winners:

Central Southwest - Code 1 Flight Training / Wills Point, Texas

Eastern - Air Ventures Flying School / Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Great Lakes -Pilot Flight Training Courses / Lake in the Hills, Illinois

Pacific - Mike Smith Aviation / Napa, California

Southern - Aviator Zone Academy / Miami, Florida

Western - Copper City Aviation Services LLC / Bisbee, Arizona

Flight Instructors:

Central Southwest - Norm Rathje / Wills Point, Texas

Eastern - Malinda (Lin) Caywood / Frederick, Maryland

Great Lakes - Ernest Boys / Lake in the Hills, Illinois

Pacific - Margaret Watt / Hollister, California

Southern - Kurt Belsten / Melbourne, Florida

Western - Kerry Constable / Scottsdale, Arizona

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