22 Jan Aviation Training Management: 5 Key Challenges (With Solutions!)
Aviation training management is just like running any other business, but with a few (not insignificant) twists: You manage employees who are responsible for your customers’ lives. You manage assets that happen to be million-dollar aircraft. Come to think of it, running a flight school is like nothing else on this planet—you are teaching people to fly, after all.
Whether you’re a flight instructor lured into the office or a seasoned executive entering the aviation industry, you’ll find that flight school leadership has its share of surprises. The good news is that, where there’s a problem, there’s a solution. Here are a few of the top challenges to successful aviation training management—along with some fixes that have helped other flight schools thrive.
Top Challenges in Aviation Training Management
1. A lot of your employees may be new to the workforce.
Flight instructors skew young, ranging between 19 and 25 at most flight schools. For many of these young pilot-instructors, teaching is a first career-track job. You may need to include basic professional norms in your employee-training programs—everything from dress code minutiae to why it’s important not to eat your co-worker’s lunch!
2. Staff turnover may be higher than you’d expect.
For many young flight instructors, teaching is a first step on the way to commercial airlines or another flying career. You may find yourself running employee training programs more or less continuously—which is why it’s a good idea to set aside plenty of time and effort for their development. Just be ready to streamline your program as you go.
3. The paperwork can be a full-time job in itself.
If you run a Part 141 flight school, you must keep a record of every single student training session. Multiply that across all your students, and record-keeping starts to become a serious drain on your work week. The solution is to digitize your student records with Flight Schedule Pro. This full-service flight school software automatically compiles data from your scheduling and training hubs to produce Part 141-compliant records for every student—no filing required. The Flight Schedule Pro team will even work with your Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to help get your digital records system approved.
4. Students are sometimes unpleasantly surprised by their bills.
Flight school billing is complicated. You may rent aircraft and instructors with a single fee, or charge separately, or both. You may rent additional equipment, like headsets, which students grab without thinking. Students may pay for blocks of flight time upfront, without keeping a close eye on how their account gets depleted. It’s all a recipe for a less-than-thrilled customer come billing day. The solution is more transparency. Flight Schedule Pro’s billing hub gives students access to invoices immediately after you create them. That way, students can track their balances, watching them rise and fall without delays. This digital billing transparency also helps to reduce errors, as both staff and students can review invoices as they’re created.
5. Scheduling flights can get incredibly complicated.
When an aircraft’s parked, it’s not making money. But it isn’t easy to arrange a schedule that optimizes air-time for the whole fleet. Flight scheduling is dynamic; a flat tire or cancellation can throw your whole day off. Meanwhile, the “flight schedule” as a singular entity does not exist—instead, we have “flight schedules,” plural: the instructor’s, the student’s, the aircraft’s, the maintenance team’s. As an aviation training management professional, it’s your job to make them all line up. Talk about a challenge.
Bringing order to this chaos is the core of Flight Schedule Pro’s software platform, the scheduling hub. This drag-and-drop scheduling interface allows you to make changes in an instant, immediately notifying all the stakeholders—students, instructors, dispatchers, and more—as appointments fluctuate throughout the day. Students have their own accounts; they can log in and schedule their own training flights, saving considerable staff time on your end. And this scheduling software integrates with Flight Schedule Pro’s billing and training hubs, so changes in any one system are instantly reflected across the rest.
Master Aviation Training Management With Flight Schedule Pro
Ultimately, Flight Schedule Pro’s platform-based approach gives you the data you need to make business decisions based on reality, not guesswork. Is one plane being underutilized while another’s overworked? Will a light week’s schedule let you get ahead on maintenance for the bulk of the fleet? These are the kinds of rubber-hits-the-runway decisions that data collection and reporting from Flight Schedule Pro make possible.