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March 23, 2021
President's Message
Spring is here and allow me to start by saying how very proud we are of all the flight school owners, managers, flight instructors and related staff for the wonderful and professionalism they brought forward during 2020. Your perseverance and focus has paid off and today, we are seeing many flight training organizations well on their way to a good 2021.

We are equally happy to see how the diverse supply chain remained strong as the world navigated through the most severe disaster in our lifetime. COVID has impacted the world and we will always remember 2020 even though it will soon be in the rearview mirror.

We thank you for your positive feedback regarding the re-positioning of our annual flight school conference. We look forward to an outstanding event in August that will bring the training industry together to compare notes and work toward an even better future.

Speaking of the future, people are really starting to move around. In a previous president's message, I mentioned that Americas airlines would start to see their domestic enplanements come back nicely by the third quarter of 2021. Airlines are creating new and exciting city pairs to help build revenue passenger miles (RPMs).

The fourth quarter of 2021 may be a blockbuster for the airlines and the flight training industry. People are ready to get out and explore and take on new and exciting goals including learning to fly.

May is around the corner and May is Learn to Fly Month. We look forward to many flight schools holding open houses and related functions to help bring newbies to the airport and their schools.

Let's talk the pilot pipeline. The demand for airman will be back sooner than later. FSANA encourages flight schools to stay the course and support the new pilot learners and encourage them to continue to follow their career pathways.

The sky is the limit and with Clear Air and Visibility Unlimited (CAVU), we may be heading
toward some very busy times in the aviation and aerospace industry. I learned along time ago to never say never.

Aerion, a new aerospace OEM based in Melbourne Florida will be producing flying machines that will transport people between America and Europe in 3 hours. COVID helped boost platforms like ZOOM and others but nothing replaces being with your customer face to face.
What would the Wright Brothers think about the world of flight today?

The aviation and aerospace industry is a fun and rewarding place to work and for many of us, it is not like work. We live in the greatest nation in the world and the people that live and work here are skilled and highly motivated. Keep in mind that the aerospace industry creates between 2%-4% of America's annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Safety has always been a concern for FSANA and we believe that everyone who operates an aircraft should establish a goal of Zero GA Accidents. We encourage all airman to Think Before You Fly since a majority of aircraft accidents start before the airman ever steps foot in the aircraft.

Be well and I hope to see or speak with many of you during 2021 as America continues to once again blossom and advance toward a better tomorrow.
Survey to Support FSANA Accreditation Project
FSANA is conducting a brief survey to help us better understand the flight school environment. Please take a few moments and complete the survey. Please base your responses on 2019 pre COVID.

This is a very short survey, a quick 9 questions, that will use at FSANA craft work we are doing with our accreditation efforts.

FSANA To Begin Producing Webinar Content Soon
Continuing efforts to provide meaningful and useful content to the flight training industry, FSANA is now working to develop additional webinar content coupled with conference listen only delivery that directly pertains to the business of flight training and its provision.

Starting in April, you will begin seeing content from FSANA on a variety of topics. Some of these presentations will be available to anyone who wishes to see them, but others will be more targeted and specifically only available to members. It is a goal of FSANA to continue to expand the information we provide to help the flight training industry and those businesses that provide training. Keep an eye out soon in our upcoming newsletters and correspondence for the first efforts.
Redbird Issues 2021 State of Flight Training Survey and Report
This past week, Redbird issued its 2021 State of Flight Training survey results that details a great deal of data from instructors, pilots, and flight training operators.

FSANA and many other industry partners helped spread this survey for data collection and is now helping spread the results for the industry to review.

The Redbird survey sampled a variety of sizes of flight training operations and had responses from instructors, owners, and even students.

Some of the highlights included the following:

  • Over 50% of the flight training operations indicated they had hired an instructor in 2020 to increase staff headcount; over 50% also indicated they planned to do the same in 2021;

  • Only about 12% of the flight training operations indicated they had purchased or leased a new aircraft in 2020; about 18% indicated they planned to do so in 2021;

  • Of the top 5 challenges FTOs indicated for 2020, COVID restrictions topped the list with the cost of insurance and then DPE sourcing following;

  • In general, most FTO's indicated that they believed 2021 was a positive business outlook.

  • When looking at CFI responses, an average of 14 hours of billable time per week was indicated with over 70% of the CFIs indicating it was a part-time job for them.

An interesting perception value that was developed from the survey data was a perception by Students and Pilots that simulator training time is of more value than instructors perception of that time. There is certainly something here worth further evaluation.

There is much more data that can be analyzed and reviewed in this survey and FSANA encourages industry members and CFIs to take a look through the findings. Data such as this is a great help for all of us as we work within the industry going forward.

2021 Flight School Operators Conference Rescheduled to August 18-20, 2021
Through discussions with members, suppliers, government officials and hotel management, the FSANA board and staff have decided to reschedule the 2021 conference. FSANA is committed to the value of an in-person conference and is making this change to not cancel, but to reschedule the event to provide this value as our country goes forward with its battle to manage Covid-19.

NEW DATE: August 18-20, 2021
SAME LOCATION: Rosen Plaza in Orlando, Florida

We apologize to anyone unable to make the new date, but feel the move will make for a better conference for all who attend or exhibit. We expect that we may have our largest attendance ever.

The 2021 conference will set the stage for the strong rebound that is already taking hold in the flight training arena. FSANA is dedicated to the pursuit of helping flight schools achieve their goals. Our ongoing advocacy for the training market continues to help create the next generation of aviators.

Please visit https://www.fsana.com/conference.php for the latest information on the 2021 conference.

Revised Early Bird Registration Information
The rescheduling will give everyone a chance to save $200 off the regular registration rates. New dates will be posted on the website along with updated attendee registration information.

Attendees who previously registered under the conference SPECIAL rate will be credited based on the revised Early Bird date.

This year's conference will highlight current conditions and efforts in the flight training community to move forward from the effects of the last year, to work with current and expected market conditions, and to share best practices and efforts from other flight training providers around the country.

New schools continue to pop up and existing schools are growing. The conference will again have multiple education tracks designed to meet the increasing demand for added content in the ever-changing world of flight training.

COVID-19 Update
Aside from reminding everyone at our Orlando conference to be COVID smart (masks, social distancing), our host hotel, the Rosen Plaza, has gone to great lengths to assure everyone's safety at every turn and will continue to make this effort for our rescheduled conference dates. Rosen's Covid Commitment

Book Your Room at Rosen Plaza
Guests who prefer to phone in their reservations can call the hotel Reservation Center at 800-627-8258. Conference group name is Flight School Conference. Callers may also use group code 70073.

Conference Registration & Program
FSANA staff, board and conference committee members have worked hard to put together a productive and beneficial slate of content for the 2021 conference. The conference program is available to view and registration is open.

Want to sponsor or exhibit at this year's conference? Click the following link for more info:
FSANA Co-Chairs GAJSC Marketing and Outreach
As a member of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), FSANA CEO Robert Rockmaker has been selected to co-chair as the industry representative the GAJSC marketing and outreach working group. Tom Hoffman, FAA Safety Briefing Managing Editor with the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) is the co-chair for the FAA.

The GAJSC is is a collaboration of government and industry organizations focused on reducing GA accidents by using non-regulatory, proactive, data-driven strategies.
The idea is for the GAJSC member organizations to become the delivery points for their respective members and constituencies.

FSANA will continue to report on the GAJSC as the new marketing and outreach data comes forward and becomes deployable.

More information about the work of the GAJSC can be found at www.gajsc.org.
A Lost Year of Full ATP Pilot Certificate Production?
by Jason Blair

Some things you just can’t get back. Like time. And time is what it takes to train pilots.

About mid-way through 2020, as the country managed its responses to COVID-19, most regional airlines stopped hiring new pilots due to reductions in the need for pilots as airline service needs were significantly reduced. Without an actively flying public, fewer flights were needed, and that meant fewer pilots were needed. Most of these pilots were put on reduced hours or even given time off.

While our country is beginning to return to some higher volumes of flight activity, we still haven’t reached the same production level of ATP certificates that we were seeing approximately one year ago at this time.
When we look at the numbers month-to-month in 2020 and this January, we see that by May and June the production levels of ATP certificates had dropped precipitously.

The dropoff very predictability started when in the midst of the country’s lockdown efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 and as airlines (mostly regional airlines) stopped conducting new hire classes during which pilots complete their ATP certification (and their ATP CTP course to be eligible for their ATP certification) along with their type rating.

This reduction in 2020 that currently continues, but shows some slight signs of improvement, results in a partially lost year of ATP pilot certificate production.

When we compare it to years in the past decade, we see the 2019 to 2020 production as a 52% drop in ATP certificate issuance.

This is further seen in the recently released FAA knowledge test statistics, where we see that ATP knowledge test volume fell 56% from 2019 to 2020.
The good news from this chart is that we don’t see the same levels of the dropoff in other FAA knowledge tests, with a more nominal approximately 10% dropoff being seen. This is a strong indicator that training at lower-level certificates continued through the effects of the COVID-19 responses and that interest in continuing pilot training remains strong in spite of the restrictions that were in place. These pilots continue to progress through the training pipeline and were able to keep moving forward and will be ready to enter into training at airlines that would lead to their ATP certification as training ramps up again.
Why is this a problem many will ask? Well, the reality is that we have lost a significant portion of ATP pilot production through the last year.

The first response to this by many is to simply say, “train more when we need them then,” but this is an imperfect answer. Major constrictions such as available simulator resources (needed for a part of the ATP CTP course), instructor resources, and testing (DPE) availability all come together to limit our capacity to some degree. It isn’t an immediately increasable resource playing field when it comes to producing more pilots. The result may be that if highly active hiring returns, which some are predicting, our training system may not be able to fully meet the personnel demands of airlines and thus may curb some of the recovery to full flight volumes we all would like to see.

The infrastructure requirements for pilots to complete ATP certification are such that scaling of this training pipeline is more challenging than lower-level certificates and ratings. Monitoring this and modeling it will be critical to making up for any expanded needs for training and hiring of qualified pilots in the upcoming years.
Best Maintenance Practices for Flight Schools
By Chris Erlanson, President, Nashville Flight Training

Flight training is expensive. I mean really expensive. I’m not talking about from the customer’s perspective; I’m talking about how expensive it is to own and operate a flight school. The joke you commonly hear is, “How do you make a million dollars in aviation? You start with two million dollars, buy an airplane, keep it running, and then you’ll have a million dollars left.” Fuzzy math, but it’s fairly accurate.

Don’t you feel like you’re spending millions of dollars to keep your flight school running? Trust me, we all do. But there are several best practices to consider when it comes to fleet maintenance that will help you keep your sanity:

1. Don’t EVER compromise on maintenance. Ensure you’re using manufacturers’ parts. Stay on top of that 100-hour inspection. It’s not worth compromising. When customers walk in the door and do business with you, they are actually saying that they TRUST you. Whatever you think would be a compromise is not worth it. It takes years to gain a good reputation and a single moment to lose your reputation. Plus, the FAA doesn't look kindly on compromise. Never compromise.

2. Don’t rely on a single person for your maintenance, but instead rely on a team. Our team consists of me watching the big picture, another staff member who tracks time usage and searches for parts, three on-site A&Ps, two independent contractors, and an off-site IA team of six people. Sounds like I have 50 planes? Actually, we only work on 10. It takes a team to stay safe. The more eyeballs, the better. Don’t worry about costs; that will pay off in the long run.

3. Know your neighbors in aviation. Do you have a relationship with every maintenance company in the area? What about your competitors? If not, you’re wasting a valuable resource. I’ve traded parts with competitors to get my plane running immediately. Relationships are valuable in this business, and you never know when you’ll need to be bailed out of a maintenance situation.

4. Slow isn’t bad, it’s just uncomfortable. Of course, as a flight school, we’re always looking for ways to respond like a NASCAR team. But, we have to remember it’s better to have a repair done RIGHT than done fast and risk safety.

5. Have a relationship with parts experts. We’ve focused on purchasing the majority of our parts from a single vendor. Vendor relationships are important especially when you’re needing to do parts research (e.g., how many times did the part number supersede?) or needing parts overnighted. Those relationships can save valuable time.

6. LISTEN to your instructors and students. If something is wrong with the aircraft, you NEED to know. Even if it seems insignificant at the time, there’s a chance that something small will turn into something large if it’s not addressed right away. Our school has a contest for the instructor that can report the most squawks. Sounds silly, but it encourages everyone to participate in the process. Our maintenance team loves it as it perpetuates job security!

7. Breathe. There I said it. Not to be insulting, but there are just moments you have to stop and breathe. Ask yourself if having a grounded airplane is the end of the world. It’s not. It’s better than the airplane is broken on the ground instead of in the air while a student is in the middle of a solo. Remember, airplanes that fly need maintenance. They also need maintenance when they don’t fly. Simply put, airplanes will always need maintenance – that’s why God made A&Ps. It’s going to be okay.

Chris Erlanson is President of Nashville Flight Training based at Nashville International Airport. Chris serves as Vice Chairman of the Flight School Association of North America and also as a board member of AOPA’s Flight Training advisory panel.
DPEs Available to Travel to Help Training Providers Source Practical Tests
FSANA has been collecting DPE names who have expressed a willingness to travel to help flight training providers secure practical tests since our last newsletter.

This list is published on the FSANA website and is kept up-to-date with contact information, so if you are a flight training provider who is finding a challenge of scheduling DPEs in your local area, feel free to reach out to these individuals and you may be able to have them help serve some of your local testing needs.

This effort is being made in general, but also as many DPEs have self selected to delay a return to providing practical tests during the effects of COVID-19 periods and in some locations. FSANA will continue to hep provide this information as the flight training industry continues to move forward with both new and existing students in all phases of their training.

If you are a DPE who is not on this list but would like to be, please let us know by emailing us at info@fsana.com with your email and phone number and we will add you.
COVID-19 Resources for Flight Training Providers
As the flight training industry moves forward amidst various COVID-19 effects, FSANA will continue to providelinks and resources that are useful for flight training providers.

At this time, the links and notifications below are some that we have found that may be of use depending on your operation and local restrictions that are in place.

CISA Updates memo to better include flight training
Version 4.0 of this memo came was issued on August 18, 2020 and continues to include "flight instructors" as essential workforce.

FAA Memorandum: "Information for Airport Sponsors Considering COVID-19 Restrictions or Accommodations"
"Prohibiting certain flights (e.g., certain locations, types of aircraft, and types of operations): As is normally the case, actions such as these may violate Federal law and the airport’s grant assurances, unless approved in advance by the FAA (and, in some cases, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) as well). To seek such approval, the airport sponsor should contact the applicable FAA Airports District Office to discuss the matter."

Part 141 Training Interruptions Related to COVID-19 and Applicable Deviations to Order 8900.1
The FAA has offered a deviation memo for FAA Part 141 training providers to better accommodate for distance learning in parts of the approved TCOs.

FAA Dedicates Web Page for FAA COVID-19 Relief For Certificate Holders: Policy Deviations, Exemptions and Rule Changes
Visit the following link for regular updates to deviations and policies:
Useful COVID-19 Related Links
Have feedback concerns about FAA practical tests? Email inquiries here
International CFIs Available to Work
International CFIs available to work immediately with two years of work authorization in the United States. Most of the candidates have both CFI and CFII. Please contact Brett Hart (503) 726-8378 or email bhart@flyhaa.com if you have any openings.
University Air Center Flight School, Gainesville Florida  Looking for Certified Flight Instructors-Instrument for a full time busy flight school. We fly Piper Warrior, Cessna 172 (G1000), Cessna 182 (Garmin glass), Cessna 210 and Piper Aztec. We have the option of time as flight instructor then move into the Caravan for Part 91 operations then to our Charter department flying Citation Jets. Come join the UAC team! Email resume to PamL@universityaircenter.com.
Flight School Needs Cessna 172 Aircraft Ocean City, Maryland
If you have Cessna 172 aircraft that might be useable in a flight training program, contact Mike at mfreed@flyoceanaviation.com to discuss possibilities.
Tell us what is important to you as a school owner, manager or chief flight instructor. We will share comments in an upcoming edition of Flight Training News. Send your thoughts to info@fsana.com.
V I S I O N A R Y •• P A R T N E R S
D E V E L O P E R •• P A R T N E R S
B U I L D E R •• P A R T N E R S
L E A D E R •• P A R T N E R S
Established in 2009, the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) is the first and only association of its kind dedicated solely to the flight training industry. FSANA represents flight schools, firms that provide products and services to the flight training or aviation industry, and other supporting partners.

The Mission of the Flight School Association is to support, promote and advocate for the business of flight training; to provide knowledge, programs and services that help its members thrive and better serve their customers and communities; to foster best business practices; to educate and inspire youth; to increase the global pilot population; to improve general aviation safety; and to work in alliance with the aviation and aerospace industry.

fsana.com / 610-791-4359 / bob@fsana.com