To get to the very top, you have to fly.
We became a top flight school for aspiring global aviators because we recognized that we needed to build our reputation one student at a time.
Where one-size-fits-all flight academies see a name on a roster, we see an individual, with their own unique strengths, challenges, and needs. As we’ve grown, we’ve never lost sight of the need to honor each student’s personal path to success.
10 Things to Look for in a Flight School
If you’ve been comparing flight schools, you might find them hard to tell apart. But when you understand what to look for, important differences start to emerge. Consider these factors:
Accreditation means a flight school is held to the same high academic standards as colleges and universities. With our Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) accreditation, we must be able to show proof of our training standards and outcomes, which gives incoming students assurance of the highest quality training.
All flight schools in the US must be FAA-approved, but international certifications make a big difference. They partly determine whether a student will need to undergo additional conversion training, often at great expense, in order to fly in another country or region. Our EASA, CAAC, and CAAV certifications make us a truly global flight school.
Most US flight schools can only offer international students the M-1 visa, which requires the student to return home upon completion of their training. With our F-1 visa program, students can add up to 23 months of employment to their training, typically as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), to build the flight hours that employers require.
Flight schools in sunny climates often rely on simulators to teach instrument flying. But the best pilots have built flight hours mastering the kinds of challenging weather conditions, diverse geographical features, and urban/rural mix that the Pacific Northwest can offer – not to mention the stunning beauty of the landscape we call home.
A flight school’s professional partnerships – its relationships with airlines, helicopter operators and other aviation industry employers – are critical to its students’ ability to gain employment at the completion of their training. See below for just some of the industry players that we’re proud to call partners.
Completing your flight training through a two-year or four-year college degree program has many benefits beyond the value of the degree itself: It can deepen your aeronautical education, making you a better pilot, and give you broader eligibility for financial aid. We partner with multiple college degree programs, including Portland Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Liberty University.
Every flight school will tell you that safety is their highest priority. So how can you know for sure? Look for the prestigious IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) certification, the recognized standard for aviation safety. HAA is both the first flight school to achieve this certification and the only school holding Stage III, the highest level of safety management.
While the right flight school training is an excellent long-term investment with well-defined, high-paying career paths, there is no question that the upfront investment is significant. Training at HAA can offer cost savings in a couple of key areas: 1) there is no sales tax in Oregon, where our three campuses are located, and 2) our international certifications can reduce the time and expense of license conversion in order to fly in other countries.
U.S. military veterans can use their GI Bill® benefits directly at HAA or through our collegiate partner. With more than 20 veterans on our staff, we are privileged to have deep ties to the veteran community, many of whom join us for their flight training through the G.I. Bill.
Commercial flight training is a big financial commitment, and payment flexibility is often key. When applying to flight schools, pay close attention to the payment terms: many 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 course.
Captain for Avianca Airlines
Hillsboro was paramount to my success in aviation. I completed my entire certified flight instructor training at Hillsboro. After passing my check ride, I was hired as an instructor at just 19 years of age and flew over 1000 hours during my time as an instructor teaching students from all over the world. Flight instructing at Hillsboro was a unique experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
This experience helped open doors at airlines for William. After flying a Boeing 737NG for GOL Airlines, he was hired by Avianca and at 28 years old was promoted to an Airbus A320 Captain.