Sporty’s Academy, the educational arm of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, recently participated in AOPA’s Flight Training Summit that focused on retaining more student pilots. One significant finding from AOPA’s research study was that fully two-thirds of student pilots describe their motivation for beginning flight training as primarily recreational.
Recognizing this fact, Sporty’s Academy, which conducts flight training under both FAA Part 61 and 141, has long used a modular approach to flight training. “We don’t focus solely on the private certificate,” said Sporty’s Academy President Eric Radtke. “Instead, we break the training syllabus into three manageable steps: The first solo, the recreational certificate and the private certificate.”
Sporty’s Academy enjoys a 70% retention rate — over 3½ times as high as the industry average — due to the confidence and motivation brought about by the modular approach to flight training, he noted.
While the first solo is well known as an important step in flight training, the recreational certificate is an under-appreciated tool, he adds. It provides students with a highly accessible short-term goal, resulting in customers flying sooner with a smaller upfront investment. At the completion of the recreational requirements, new pilots can participate in the typical flying that motivated them to learn: Flying friends and family from their home airport on pleasant days. And they can quickly move on to the private certificate if so desired.
“A dedicated student could be ready for a recreational checkride in a matter of days after their first solo,” said Radtke. “And while the majority of recreational pilots will then go on to earn their private certificate, they will do so from a position of success and enthusiasm.”
To support flight schools everywhere, Sporty’s offers the tools for flight schools and instructors to adopt this same strategy for success, with Sporty’s Complete Flight Training Course. The course (delivered on DVD or online) can be used in a modular format, and walks student pilots through each of the three main goals. Sporty’s Complete Flight Training Course is available in two parts: Private Pilot Part 1 includes the solo and Recreational Certificate; Private Pilot Part 2 takes students right through the checkride for the Private Pilot certificate.
For more information: Sportys.com