You may know someone who attempted to do private pilot ground school online. The courses often consist of reading pages of material, followed by quizzes to see if you learned the material. It can be a challenge to stay motivated and it’s not unusual for student pilots to give up.
It happens at brick and mortar classes as well when hard copy books are used. The amount of material can be overwhelming, and to some people, especially millennials — those born in the late 1990s — the book work seems archaic. No wonder the drop-out rate tops 80%.
Jason Schappert, the founder of MzeroA.com, an online ground school, has beaten those odds and, in fact, reversed them by embracing the digital age.
“We are an online flight training community,” he says. “Our goal is to reach out to the youth, kind of on their level with training on the iPad. Students now a days go to YouTube to find their answers. We have over a million views on our Youtube channel. We have a bunch of great videos that really help create safer, smarter pilots.”
The online school was established in 2006 with just Schappert and his wife Ashley.
“We built the online ground school together,” he said. “ We have now grown to 16 members who help us with mentoring our online students.”
Schappert is a CFI with more than 8,000 hours dual given. He has also writer several educational books, which are available in both hard copy and e-format. Ashley is a private pilot.
The name “MzeroAviation” comes from Jason Schappert’s dream to fly jets.
“I wanted to fly the fast stuff, but I really found a great niche in instructing and a passion for it,” he says. “I say I never get to go at Mach speeds, so I named the company Mach Zero Aviation because I get to fly around at 120 knots instead.”
What sets MZero Aviation apart from other online ground schools is the mentoring, he notes.
“We go about ground school differently,” he explains. “It’s not just ‘here are some videos, good luck.’ You get assigned a mentor and that person follows up with you on a weekly basis to make sure you are watching those videos, to make sure you are prepping for your written test, to really hold your hand through the whole process. We find that with our mentorship, up to 80% of our students complete their certificates.”
The ground school costs $147, which includes connecting the student with a CFI to mentor them.
“The mentors are flight instructors from all around the country who are looking to make a little extra money. Most of them find us because they are sending students to our program — and the cool thing about that is that we can give back to the flight instructors.”
Schappert tries to connect the student with a CFI who is in their area, if possible.
The company’s webpage, M0A.com, is also a great resource, packed with free blogs, tutorials and videos. Topics covered include “The Toughest FAA Written Test Questions,” “If I Could Do My Flight Training Over,” “Slow Flight Clean And Dirty Configuration,” and “The Impossible Turn.”
Videos are the company’s main marketing tool.
“Almost all of our customers find us via YouTube,” Schappert continues. “They go there searching for information on steep turns, stalls, short field landings, all sorts of stuff — and we have videos for that. My premise has always been if you love the videos I put out on YouTube for free, imagine how good the online ground school that you pay for is — or the books.”
So far, Schappert has written 10 books. All are available in a digital format, as well as in hard copy for pilots who want that option.
For his book “Pass Your Private Checkride,” Schappert reports he “literally sat in on hundreds of FAA check rides “
“I wrote down every question they asked and I wrote down the best answer for that question,” he said. “There is actually a mock checkride in the book.”
His favorite title is “The FAR/AIM in Plain English.”
“We took out everything you don’t need to know to be a private pilot — you know, we took out all the lawyer speak,” he says.
Those who’ve met Schappert are immediately drawn to his enthusiasm for all things aviation — and especially for teaching others to fly. He remains a very reachable and hands-on type of instructor online. His website has a link where students can ask him questions. He warns that the site gets hundreds of emails per day. “I’ll personally do my best to get back with you,” he promises.
The business is growing every day, and this young innovator has an ambitious five-year goal: “When someone says I want to learn to fly, without even thinking about it, I want someone to say ‘you have to go see Jason.’ I want to be America’s flight instructor — the person you think of when you think about wanting to learn to fly.”
The upcoming year will be a busy one for the company as Schappert notes he has been contacted by several schools that are interested in using MZeroA’s curriculum.
This will also be a big year for the Schappert family, as Ashley and Jason are expecting a daughter soon.
Jason Schappert notes this will be a learning year for him as well, with new skills he’ll have to master as a new father.
“Like braiding hair — I don’t know how to braid hair!” he laughed. “I’ll probably have to go to the Internet to learn that.