Prediction 2011 – Students soar

2011 will be an amazing year for General Aviation. The following is one of a series of absurd (unless they come to fruition) predictions. The quotes are manufactured (by me) and the only thing standing in the way of making these a reality is the cajones to make it so.

Student pilot retention rate soars

Research conducted by AOPA in 2010 showed that only 20% of student pilots complete their training successfully. Shortly after the results of the survey were published, Sporty’s Academy, the educational arm of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, issued a press release that reports (among other things), “Sporty’s Academy enjoys a 70% retention rate — over 3.5 times as high as the industry average — due to the confidence and motivation brought about by the modular approach to flight training.”

As a result, flight school owners/operators descend on the Batavia, Ohio-based company for a how-to primer. “Instead of re-inventing the wheel… or airplane, in our case… we decided to see how Sporty’s does it,” stated a large flight school owner who wished to remain nameless.

By the end of 2011, the nationwide retention rate climbs to 48%.

“All these flight school operators showed up to learn how we do things here in Ohio,” noted Sporty’s founder Hal Shevers. “It was great, but they flooded the airport each Saturday, during our weekly Saturday hot dog grilling. Go figure.”

Agree? Disagree? Have your own absurd prediction? Post your comments below.


  1. Kent Misegades says

    If Sporty’s has a 70% retention rate, it would be great to know the details how they have achieved this. One issue is cost, and here cheaper fuel, i.e. Mogas, can play a major role, especially when combined with lower-cost LSA aircraft. It would be interesting to see how retention rates at the top-tier flight schools compare to those catering to weekend flyers. My guess is that intensive, ab-initio schools where students spend several weeks flying multiple times daily have a high retention rate, especially if a package is offered that includes room & board. That’s how I learned to fly gliders at a school in Germany and I would recommend this to anyone. Take a week’s vacation and just knock out a rating, or two. If the school offers financing, better yet.

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