Integrated flight training is not worth it

Another year and another post on why integrated flight training is not worth it.

Over the past 2 months, two of the more prominent integrated schools have fallen into administration. Tayside Aviation and just this week FTA Global have both gone into administration taking their former student’s money with them. There are reports of people paying money right up until the day they went into administration.
This is a sad time for all involved and there are going to be hundreds of students who unfortunately have lost vast sums of money that they are not going to see again. As a student you will be right at the back of a huge list of creditors and in the rare situation you did get anything back, it would be a very small percentage of what you are owed.
These integrated schools have the flashiest websites, a list of airlines their students have gone to and the latest and greatest aircraft and fancy simulators for your MCC. The issue is apart from a few who legitimately have training contracts for some airlines, a lot of these are just listing airlines where students have gone and got the job of their own back, with no placement from the flight school at all.
Think about what you actually need, you need to get your licence with quality training without spending more money than you should. What you don’t need is to be overpaying to swan around a flight school in a “uniform”.
The problem with how the entire integrated courses are set up is that the fees are all front-loaded. You pay huge amounts of money well before you actually use it, so really you are paying for the flying of the courses in front of you. When there is not enough money from the students behind you, and the costs of running these schools cannot be met, the house of cards falls down and whoever is stuck in the pipeline will be the loser. Your money will always be best in your bank account, not someone else’s.
None of these schools uses an escrow service even though they could because they are using your money to fund the costs of running the operation. If they didn’t need your money as they claim, then why not use the escrow service and draw down on it as you use it?
For years many of us have been trying to drill a moto into perspective pilots. DO NOT PAY UP FRONT FOR FLIGHT TRAINING. Even if you feel you have to, you should be paying on a credit card as you will be protected in the case of the company becoming insolvent (up to a limit).
However, do not take this post as bragging. Unfortunately, the bigger integrated schools have bigger marketing budgets and have really excelled at their sales techniques to convince people that this is the best way to become a pilot.
In the wake of these schools going bust, I have seen one legit offer from help and of course it is from a modular school. Bristol Ground School have offered to finish the ATPL studies for affected students free of charge.
The Integrated school’s offers of “help” seem to be “discounts” to their overpriced course fees of about £10,000 or so leaving you with somewhere between £80,000 – £100,000 to find. To be honest, anyone who gives another integrated school that sort of money after losing thousands or tens of thousands to an integrated school previously needs their head examined.
Where are the CAA in all of this? They need to do more, this happens time and time again and it’s about time that they put a system in place to protect the money of flight students. This has been going on for far too long and they need to sit up and take action. No school should be allowed to take these sorts of sums of money from people with no protection and people who take flight schools into administration should not be free to go set up another school elsewhere and do the same thing all over again.
Please go modular and check the finances of any school you are going to on companies house. It is a legal requirement for these businesses to post their accounts and while they are a year or so behind, you can see who is looking solvent and who is circling the drain. Granted that doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it’s better than doing no research.
And yes I know what people are going to say, modular flight training schools go under also. Yes, while this is true, but if you are paying as you go, they won’t be taking your money with them.
I hope everyone affected, pilots and employees find a way to move on from this horrible situation.
To anyone else thinking about flight training, do modular flight training, pay as you go, and stay protected.

Thinking of training via the modular route? Or started and still have questions? Then read The Essential Modular Flight Training Guide.

The essential flight training guide

3 thoughts on “Integrated flight training is not worth it”

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Sad state of affairs. I’m currently training and I wouldn’t dream of paying up front for anything. If it’s not PAYG I’m not interested.


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