Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

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emmjayy
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Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#1 Post by emmjayy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:59 pm

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to start out by saying I have read and searched through many threads on this forum and others with regards to all the different options for flight schools here in Vancouver and surrounding areas. The vast majority of the information I can find is either very conflicting, or quite dated and most likely not too relevant for present day. I am hoping to get some insight from folks on here with some first hand knowledge of the schools in this area. I am trying to decide on a flight school for my PPL, CPL and Multi/IFR training starting hopefully in January or February of 2018. I am located in North Vancouver and have primarily been looking at schools out of Boundary Bay and Pitt Meadows due to their proximity. I plan on doing my training on a full time basis and ideally would like to fly 5-6 days/week (weather permitting).

I have been out to visit both Pacific Flying Club and Professional Flight Center (PRO-IFR) out at Boundary Bay. I had quite a good experience at Pacific when I dropped by. The lady at the front was great with answering all my questions and an instructor who happened to be near by took the time to take me out and show me some of their fleet which I appreciated. There are mixed reviews for this school with many people seeming very happy with all the training they have received there, others have complaints of scheduling issues and having their flights bumped for the BCIT program students which I find a bit troubling.

When I dropped into Professional Flight Center I didn't feel I got quite the same attention and enthusiasm that I received when stopping by Pacific but I did show up unannounced and they seemed quite busy so I don't put a whole ton of stock into that necessarily. Out of all the schools I've researched this one seems to have the most universally positive reviews of the schools in the area which is quite encouraging. Professional also have teamed up with Douglas college so I'm curious if they may have the same scheduling issues as Pacific with regards to getting bumped out of a booked time for a program student.

I have also heard quite good things about Pacific Rim Aviation out at Pitt Meadows although I have not been out to visit them yet. Also depending on what you're reading and who you ask there seems to be no great consensus on which of the two airports is best to train out of. Some say training at Boundary Bay was very beneficial as it gave them invaluable busy airport experience, others say to only consider Pitt Meadows/Langley as they are so much closer to the training area and you are not paying for travel time.

Essentially what I would like to get is some real world knowledge from some recent or current students or instructors who might be able to provide a bit more insight into what school in this area might fit with what I am looking for.

Thanks for your time,

MJ
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lhalliday
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#2 Post by lhalliday » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:43 pm

Go for a flight. See what the planes are like in the air (which is what matters). See what the instructor's style is like.

Have you talked to CFC?

...laura
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rotorspeed
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#3 Post by rotorspeed » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:47 pm

pitt is nice because youre right next to practice area as you have stated.
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emmjayy
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#4 Post by emmjayy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:58 pm

lhalliday wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:43 pm
Go for a flight. See what the planes are like in the air (which is what matters). See what the instructor's style is like.

Have you talked to CFC?

...laura
Thanks for the reply! I have not talked with CFC yet. I was only able to find lump sum pricing for the PPL/CPL listed on their website and no pricing for planes/hour. Also they appear to have a bit of a smaller fleet. Is that likely to impact my ability to fly with a high frequency when the weather is good? Do you have first hand experience with this particular school?
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#5 Post by emmjayy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:59 pm

rotorspeed wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:47 pm
pitt is nice because youre right next to practice area as you have stated.
Do you have recommendations for any particular school/instructors at Pitt Meadows? Thanks for the reply!
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#6 Post by lhalliday » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:17 am

Flight schools all charge about the same for their planes because they fly the same planes (152, 172, Cherokee, DA20) and are subject to the same costs.

I have personal experience with Canadian Flight Centre (positive) and Pacific Flying Club (negative). Langley Flying School taught me to fly and I recommend them without reservation. Like Pitt Meadows, Langley Airport is adjacent to Glen Valley. With the added bonus of a postage stamp runway: if you can land on 01/19 at Langley you can land on anything.

...laura
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#7 Post by rotorspeed » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:26 pm

pacificrim aviation is good they have 3 172's and 2 diamonds
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#8 Post by emmjayy » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:22 pm

lhalliday wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:17 am
Flight schools all charge about the same for their planes because they fly the same planes (152, 172, Cherokee, DA20) and are subject to the same costs.

I have personal experience with Canadian Flight Centre (positive) and Pacific Flying Club (negative). Langley Flying School taught me to fly and I recommend them without reservation. Like Pitt Meadows, Langley Airport is adjacent to Glen Valley. With the added bonus of a postage stamp runway: if you can land on 01/19 at Langley you can land on anything.

...laura
I figured that would be the case with pricing. All the other schools I’ve seen are all quite close in terms of pricing.

I will definitely look into Langley Flying School. If you don’t mind would you care to elaborate on your experience with Pacific? Feel free to pm if you would rather not post on here.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#9 Post by Mike23 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:46 am

Hey!! I was in the same situation like you looking for flight schools here and there. Then I joined Pacific Flying Club where I had the worst experience of my life (instructors are little bossy, and they ripped me off and also there ground school is only two days at night and also Saturdays where you don’t really learn much.

Then I did some more research and decided to join Langley Flying School and honestly I would highly recommend you this school. I still go to that school and I’m loving it. I passed my Transport Canada exam already and preparing for the flight test. At Langley flying School, instructors are really friendly and they actually care about you!! So Go there and see if you like it..! 5stars
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#10 Post by lhalliday » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:15 pm

As a weekend warrior rental pilot I found PFC to be deeply suspicious of any flight training they didn't perform themselves, with a written exam to blow your nose and a check ride to sneeze.

To fly out of the lower mainland you need a mountain check ride. So be it. I had done my mountain check ride at Langley Flying School, with additional training in California (The Finer Points), flown to Pemberton, Kamloops, Penticton, Merritt, but that wasn't good enough. I had to do their check ride. Ditto their U.S. check ride.

There are only so many times you can fly to Chilliwack before it gets boring. After a year I gave up and bought my own plane. It didn't help when a PFC person got hostile with me because I was waiting for an updated TAF (i.e. due diligence) rather than cancelling my flight immediately.

...laura
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#11 Post by rookiepilot » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:01 pm

lhalliday wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:15 pm
To fly out of the lower mainland you need a mountain check ride. So be it. I had done my mountain check ride at Langley Flying School, with additional training in California (The Finer Points), flown to Pemberton, Kamloops, Penticton, Merritt, but that wasn't good enough. I had to do their check ride. Ditto their U.S. check ride.
...laura
US check ride? Hello, want to run that one by me again?
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#12 Post by rookiepilot » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:11 pm

rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:01 pm
lhalliday wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:15 pm
To fly out of the lower mainland you need a mountain check ride. So be it. I had done my mountain check ride at Langley Flying School, with additional training in California (The Finer Points), flown to Pemberton, Kamloops, Penticton, Merritt, but that wasn't good enough. I had to do their check ride. Ditto their U.S. check ride.
...laura
US check ride? Hello, want to run that one by me again?
Never heard that before.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#13 Post by flyhigh008 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:58 am

I would recommed Pro IFR. They are the best at IFR teaching in the area and ZBB is great for busy airspace experience. YPK always has worse weather than ZBB too. I have had negative experience with Pacific and can confirm that they prioritize their BCIT students over anyone else and will bump your flights if the BCIT kids have to fly as well. They also have cadets in the summer who get priority. Stick with PRO.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#14 Post by lhalliday » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:42 pm

rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:01 pm
lhalliday wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:15 pm
To fly out of the lower mainland you need a mountain check ride. So be it. I had done my mountain check ride at Langley Flying School, with additional training in California (The Finer Points), flown to Pemberton, Kamloops, Penticton, Merritt, but that wasn't good enough. I had to do their check ride. Ditto their U.S. check ride.
...laura
US check ride? Hello, want to run that one by me again?
Yup: file eAPIS, file a flight plan to KBLI or KBFI, fly it, clear U.S. Customs, call Canadian Customs, file a flight plan back, activate it, land at CYXX or CZBB, phone Customs, record the report number.

The first time I flew to Bellingham the flying school in question told me to have fun and to expect to brief others on border procedures when I got back. I bought a t shirt at Bellis Fair to make sure I had something to declare when I came back to Canada.

I have no issues with doing checkrides: a good pilot is indeed always learning. My PFC 172 checkout did wonders for my Cherokee landings. But I expect checkrides to happen in a reasonably timely manner.

...laura
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#15 Post by rookiepilot » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm

Laura,

All of those US procedures can be learned, on the internet. I did have a conversation with my instructor, and another pilot about the filing procedures, but that's about it before I did my first US flight.

Was this then a required dual flight? Maybe I'm misunderstood.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#16 Post by lhalliday » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:46 pm

rookiepilot wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm
Laura,

All of those US procedures can be learned, on the internet. I did have a conversation with my instructor, and another pilot about the filing procedures, but that's about it before I did my first US flight.

Was this then a required dual flight? Maybe I'm misunderstood.
Yes, this is a required dual flight with PFC before you can fly their planes to the U.S.

From my research the big gotcha seemed to be not activating flight plans on the way back, so I took care to do exactly that. Seattle Approach told me to remain clear of the Class B on the way in to KBFI. So I did.

...laura
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#17 Post by rookiepilot » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:05 pm

lhalliday wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:46 pm
rookiepilot wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm
Laura,

All of those US procedures can be learned, on the internet. I did have a conversation with my instructor, and another pilot about the filing procedures, but that's about it before I did my first US flight.

Was this then a required dual flight? Maybe I'm misunderstood.
Yes, this is a required dual flight with PFC before you can fly their planes to the U.S.

From my research the big gotcha seemed to be not activating flight plans on the way back, so I took care to do exactly that. Seattle Approach told me to remain clear of the Class B on the way in to KBFI. So I did.

...laura
Just wow......OK. Seattle.

Somehow I survived NYC and DC airspace on my own. In weather, too. Bust DC airspace it's another ball game.

Not demeaning you, BTW, only wondering about the process. I don't think it's ideal for gaining experience. Going with another pilot who actually travels to the US -- I did that before on my own. Much better than an "instructor".

Its like business. It's one thing to learn from your college prof, quite another to learn a few things from someone who's run a company for a decade.

Sure this last line will get flack --- nothing changes.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#18 Post by emmjayy » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:23 pm

Mike23 wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:46 am
Hey!! I was in the same situation like you looking for flight schools here and there. Then I joined Pacific Flying Club where I had the worst experience of my life (instructors are little bossy, and they ripped me off and also there ground school is only two days at night and also Saturdays where you don’t really learn much.

Then I did some more research and decided to join Langley Flying School and honestly I would highly recommend you this school. I still go to that school and I’m loving it. I passed my Transport Canada exam already and preparing for the flight test. At Langley flying School, instructors are really friendly and they actually care about you!! So Go there and see if you like it..! 5stars
Hey thanks for the reply! Glad to hear you are having a better experience at LFS. I will be booking a familiarization flight with them based on the good reviews from folks on here.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#19 Post by emmjayy » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:28 pm

lhalliday wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:15 pm
As a weekend warrior rental pilot I found PFC to be deeply suspicious of any flight training they didn't perform themselves, with a written exam to blow your nose and a check ride to sneeze.

To fly out of the lower mainland you need a mountain check ride. So be it. I had done my mountain check ride at Langley Flying School, with additional training in California (The Finer Points), flown to Pemberton, Kamloops, Penticton, Merritt, but that wasn't good enough. I had to do their check ride. Ditto their U.S. check ride.

There are only so many times you can fly to Chilliwack before it gets boring. After a year I gave up and bought my own plane. It didn't help when a PFC person got hostile with me because I was waiting for an updated TAF (i.e. due diligence) rather than cancelling my flight immediately.

...laura
Thanks for elaborating. Definitely does not sound like an ideal situation.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#20 Post by emmjayy » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:32 pm

flyhigh008 wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:58 am
I would recommed Pro IFR. They are the best at IFR teaching in the area and ZBB is great for busy airspace experience. YPK always has worse weather than ZBB too. I have had negative experience with Pacific and can confirm that they prioritize their BCIT students over anyone else and will bump your flights if the BCIT kids have to fly as well. They also have cadets in the summer who get priority. Stick with PRO.
Thanks very much for the advice! That was definitely my biggest worry with PFC. I would be less than thrilled spending 10’s of thousands for training at a school to be bumped by other students in a different program. I will definitely be booking a familiarization flight with PRO IFR.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#21 Post by rotorspeed » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:48 pm

I thoight proifr got bought by cfc
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#22 Post by rotorspeed » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:54 pm

No theyre called pro flight center now
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#23 Post by mike123 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:39 am

Highly recommend Island Coastal Aviation Inc. in Pitt Meadows.
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Re: Flight School Help - Vancouver Area

#24 Post by Ifr0990 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:26 am

I would recommend against PFC. Instructors there do not care about you getting anything done. They might be not-for-profit but this just gives them an excuse to drag out your license as much as possible to get the most money from you that they can. All of the support staff are amazing but the instructors have massive attitude problems. Pick anywhere but here, even next door. Ended up switching flight schools and finished everything up so fast I thought PFC was actually trying to rip me off.
Please don't use PFC.
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