Can I switch flight schools or instructors?

Sometimes circumstances require you move to a new location or you need to change schools.  It is also common to change instructors within a school.  If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret.  Here are some tips to minimize any negative affects with your training progress.

Switching Schools

While not ideal, changing schools should not be a detriment to your training.  In fact, if your current school is not providing a satisfactory learning environment it may be best changing early and find an operation that meets your specific needs.  See our article on Selecting a Flight School for considerations.

If you are changing from a Part 61 program to another Part 61 program there is little progress lost.  You will need to spend some time becoming familiar with the policies and procedures of the new operation and possibly a new aircraft type.  If you can find a school with the same airplane type you are already familiar with you can minimize this transition time.  The new school will need to spend a few hours evaluating your knowledge and skill to determine an appropriate lesson in syllabus to resume.  If transferring to a Part 61 from a Part 141 enrollment, all hours and experience will transfer with the same process.

Transferring to a Part 141 program is a little more complicated.  By regulation, the Chief Instructor needs to formally assess your knowledge and skill.  They can then apply a portion of your hours towards the 141 course requirements, usually a maximum of 25% from Part 61 or 50% from another 141 program. Therefor, depending on how far you progressed in your previous training this may or may not be a desirable option.  Be sure to discuss options with potential schools when transferring.

Switching Instructors

Sometimes you may be halfway through training and your instructor gets hired by an airline.  Or perhaps your instructor simply is not a good personality fit and may need to look at other options.  See our article on Finding an Instructor for useful tips.

A reputable school should help you find an instructor that is a good fit for your needs.  If the instructor is leaving for another job they should make you aware and assist with the transition as a professional courtesy.  With a well-organized and standardized program there should be no detriment to your training progress.  At worst, the new instructor many need to review some material to legally provide an endorsement.  Consider it extra practice.

If you are working with an instructor and feel it is not a good fit, don’t hesitate to address your concerns.  Talk with your instructor or school administrators to ensure a smooth transition early.  While it may feèl uncomfortable, professional instructors understand and even the most experienced are not the best match for every personality.

In any case, hours and experience gained is never lost.  They are forever records in your logbook and any time spent flying is not wasted