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FAQ for Parents

We understand that safety is a key concern for parents considering a professional flight school, and we want to assure you that we take every precaution to ensure the safety of our students.

Our excellent safety record speaks for itself, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our safety standards. We are proud to have received the prestigious IS-BAO accreditation, which is an internationally recognized set of safety standards for business aviation. We are the first Part 141 primary flight school (academy) to receive this accreditation, which is a testament to our commitment to safety.

Our Safety Manager oversees our Safety Management System (SMS), which is an integrated system that supports our safety culture. The SMS allows students and employees to report any hazards or incidents anonymously from any location, at any time. Once a report is received, it is immediately responded to and logged into a tracking program for documentation and trend analysis.

In addition to our safety program, we take pride in maintaining a fleet of reliable aircraft that are regularly inspected and maintained in our FAA-approved repair station by factory-authorized mechanics. We also employ a team of quality inspectors to ensure that all work is completed thoroughly and accurately.

Sustained support for your student’s progress is one of the primary advantages of an accredited flight academy like HAA. With an average student to staff ratio of 1:4, HAA commits to the success of each student. Your son or daughter’s progress is carefully tracked through a centralized training management system, and their progress is formally reviewed each month. Student advising is available through the office of the School Director or Chief Instructor. Our Learning Resource System provides further support through a library of training resources, as well as access to the Foreflight training system. We also offer placement assistance services to assist students with job placements, in addition to the career mentorship that specific training programs, such as Alaska’s Ascend Pilot Academy, provide to their cadets.

We believe that it’s important to consider the future demand for pilots when choosing a flight school, which is why we rely on resources like the Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook to project the long-term demand for aviation personnel. According to this outlook, the demand for pilots is expected to be unprecedented over the next 20 years, with a global shortage of 763,000 pilots.

We also understand that effective training and an adequate supply of personnel remain critical to maintaining the health, safety, and prosperity of the aviation industry. This is why our training program is focused on producing safe and competent pilots who are well-prepared to meet the demands of the aviation industry.

We take pride in our students’ success and work closely with them to help them achieve their career goals. Whether your son or daughter is interested in becoming an airline pilot, a corporate pilot, or a pilot in another aviation field, our training program is designed to prepare them for a successful and rewarding career.

There are many flight schools to choose from, but a flight school’s level of career orientation is one of the most important selection factors. HAA’s exceptional focus on career outcomes is demonstrated in several places. Our ACCSC accreditation, which few flight schools hold, means that we’re held to the same high standards of academic excellence as colleges and universities. Our FAA-approved Part 141 curriculum is recognized by airline employers as an indication of high training standards. And perhaps most importantly, our industry partnerships – such as our Alaska Airlines Ascend Pilot Academy – and our track record of career placement for our graduates demonstrate our success in preparing our students for pilot careers.

For airplane training, we maintain two campuses in Oregon – one in Hillsboro, just outside of Portland, and one in Redmond, in central Oregon. Both offer the advantages of dedicated facilities with classrooms, flight simulators, and large training fleets, in addition to the camaraderie of a campus environment. Our helicopter campus is just east of Portland in Troutdale, at the gateway to the spectacular Columbia Gorge – one of the most breathtaking and diverse flight environments on the planet.

Our approach to training equipment is to invest in the most reliable and proven aircraft for instruction and keep them outfitted with the very latest navigation equipment, known as avionics. For our airplane school, that means a fleet of Cessna 152 and 172 airplane in addition to our multi-engine Piper Seminoles, and for our helicopter school, a fleet consisting of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. These aircraft are all known for their responsiveness, reliability, and safety, and are considered the standard for professional training worldwide.

Because each student learns differently, the flexibility to self-pace is a critical component of the success of the program. At the same time, students who maintain a consistent schedule persistently progress faster and at higher success rates. We recommend that students in our Standard track airplane training and helicopter training schedule five flight activities per week.

For our Accelerated track airplane training, we request that students plan to schedule at least six training activities per week.

These schedules, alongside ground school and simulator training time, still allow students time for relaxation. Our campus environment and our proximity to both city life and outdoor recreation create a wonderfully balanced lifestyle that attracts students from around the world.

Commercial flight training is a big financial commitment, and payment flexibility is often key. Many flight schools require students to pay a portion of their tuition upfront, before training can begin. We require no upfront deposit; students pay at the completion of each flight lesson. Airplane students do pay for each ground school in advance.

If a student has personal funds deposited on account with the school, those monies are fully refundable upon request. A check will be issued to the student within ten business days from receipt of request. Funds from other parties will be returned to the source of funding.

Ground School tuition paid in advance is refundable on a pro-rated basis up to the completion of 50% of the published course.

The quality of our instructors is perhaps the single largest reason that prominent operators, from Alaska Airlines to ADAC, have chosen us to train their future pilots. As a professional flight academy, our instructors work within a defined curriculum, standard operating procedures, and safety protocols, thereby ensuring consistency and accountability across the teaching staff.

Because we are one of the largest flight schools in the U.S., we are able to hire most of our instructors from within our own pool of graduates and select those with the strongest teaching skills. Why is this important? It means that those instructors completed their instructor courses with us, and are highly trained to the conditions and protocols under which we operate. We seek instructors who hold additional certificates beyond just the CFI – meaning that they have completed not only their Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Rating, but also their CFI Instrument (CFII), and/or Multi-Engine (ME)  ratings, ensuring they can instruct students in more weather conditions and with more aircraft types for the broadest possible education.

Many of our students hold down part-time jobs while training with us, and we are able to hire some to work on campus. We encourage parents to talk to their student about the demands of college-level coursework and make a determination on what’s right for them, keeping in mind the requirements outlined above: at least five flight activities per week on our Standard Airplane and Helicopter programs, and at least six for our Accelerated Airplane program. For this reason, we do not recommend full-time work for students to maintain adequate pacing in the program.

Students enrolled in Alaska Airline’s Ascend Pilot Academy are the exception: in order to meet the requirements of the program, it is not possible to work part-time while enrolled.

The simplest answer is that the M-1 visa allows you to participate in our flight training courses in the US, but you are not allowed to work. The F-1 visa allows students to participate in flight training and be eligible to work as a pilot after the completion of your training. There are different requirements for the M-1 and F-1 visas, and there is more information on our website regarding the specific requirements.

A student’s training timeline depends both on your son or daughter’s own progress and on the training track they select. The Standard Track for our Airplane Professional Pilot program is designed to take 16-18 months for students with availability five days per week and 4-5 scheduled training activities per week.

Our Accelerated Track requires student availability for seven days per week and at least six scheduled training activities per week and the full program can be completed in 12 months. Detailed information on our airplane training tracks can be found here.

Our Helicopter Professional Pilot Program is structured to take less than 15 months to complete if your son or daughter is a full-time student on the flight schedule five times per week.

Please note, that these estimates can vary depending on how often the student flies, resource availability, and weather at the campus where the student is based.

Please note that the biggest variable factor in training cost is your son or daughter’s own availability, aptitude, and pace of learning. Flying more frequently improves retention and accelerates skill development. Some students are able to understand and retain the material more quickly than others. These factors can all affect the total cost of the program. We estimate our program costs based on averages to complete our Professional Pilot Program.

The Airplane Professional Pilot Program includes the private pilot, instrument, commercial, and flight instructor courses. We also recommend students get the two additional instructor ratings to improve their knowledge and experience and enable them to build additional flight hours more quickly. Our current program pricing based on averages for our students, can be found here.

The Helicopter Professional Pilot Program includes private, instrument, commercial, and flight instructor courses. And we recommend obtaining the additional instructor rating as well. The current pricing for this program based on averages, can be found here.

These estimates are based on average program pricing for flight instruction, ground instruction, aircraft rentals, simulator rentals, and written tests. The only item not included in this estimate is the fee a student pays to the Designated Pilot Examiner when they take their check ride, because those fees are paid directly to the DPE.

If you are interested in the Ascend Pilot Academy, our partnership with Alaska Airlines, your student should first apply for the program via Alaska’s website at: https://careers.alaskaair.com/career-opportunities/pilots/pilot-training/. Once accepted, your son or daughter can begin their application with HAA. You are also welcome to contact us with any questions you have.

Our helicopter training takes place at the Hillsboro Heli Academy Campus in Troutdale, OR. For airplane training, we have two campuses. The Hillsboro campus in Hillsboro, OR accommodates our students who are doing Standard training track in addition to those doing Accelerated training March through June. Our Redmond campus in Redmond, OR also has some very limited space for those doing the Accelerated track. Alaska Airline’s Ascend cadets will be assigned to one of these campuses based on availability, with the majority of these students training in Redmond. You can contact our admissions team for more information.

Our Apply page lists the available starts dates by program and campus. Please refer to this page to see our current openings. If you have questions about the programs or our campuses, please contact our admissions team, and one of our representatives will follow up with you.

Yes, we have two strong financing partners that can offer up to full tuition coverage for students who qualify. We have partnered with Meritize and College Ave Students Loans for student financing; College Ave Student Loans offers both direct student loans and parent loans. Visit our Financing page to learn more and to apply directly.

HAA does not currently offer any scholarships, but there are a number of aviation organizations that offer scholarships for portions of the training. When we are made aware of these opportunities, we share them on our social channels, so be sure to follow us.

Tuition Funding Sources is a free scholarship search engine with over 7 million scholarships totaling more than $41 billion to help pay for college. Visit TuitionFundingSources.com to learn more.

The simplest answer is that the M-1 visa allows a student to participate in our flight training courses in the US, but the student is not allowed to work. The F-1 visa allows students to participate in flight training and be eligible to work as a pilot after the completion of their training. There are different requirements for the M-1 and F-1 visas, and there is more information on our website regarding the specific requirements.

Financial verification is proof of funds available to cover the flight training and living expenses of the program for 12 months. Please note that these funds only cover the average cost for 12 months of program and housing; the student will need more funds to complete the entire program. These funds must be a liquid asset in a checking or savings account shown on a bank statement or an approved loan application. A signed letter of support is needed if the funds are not in the student’s name. All documents must be accompanied by an English translation. The funds that must be shown for each program are:

Airplane Professional Pilot Program – $60,000 USD (Standard track) or $76,000 (Accelerated track)
Helicopter Professional Pilot Program – $84,000 USD

We do offer student housing located near each of our campuses. Housing is only available to enrolled students. We are not able to accommodate families or pets in our housing, and students must be 18 years of age to stay in housing. Each student who requests housing is asked to pay prior to their arrival to secure their housing spot. The rates vary between our campuses so contact our admissions team to get the current rates. The apartments all have shared living space, even if a student has a private room. Students will have at least one roommate. The apartments come fully furnished and include all towels, bedding, and kitchen items.

The first job for the majority of our students is to work as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) which allows them to build the hours necessary to progress in their career. We hire a large number of our graduates to work as CFIs. While we do hire many graduates, we cannot guarantee employment. We also have connections with numerous other operators and can make recommendations and sometimes introductions if they choose to begin they career somewhere besides HAA.

Other questions?

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