Flight Schools Now Can Seek Accreditation

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Colleges and universities have long participated in accreditation programs that provide an independent assessment of the school, and now a new program promises to do the same for flight training. The Flight School Association of North America, based in Allentown, Penn., recently launched a flight school accreditation program, which it says is the first of its kind. A committee comprised of flight school owners and operators and a variety of industry partners drafted the accreditation standards. Schools will be evaluated on seven core areas: safety, security, risk management, business practices, finance and accounting, education, and customer satisfaction.

For example, the safety standards require the school to have a designated safety officer, a safety committee, and an operations manual; the school also must ensure that every aircraft is equipped with a checklist and POH, all instructors must be enrolled in the FAA's FAASTeam safety program, and more. Fees for the accreditation process are $4,000 for FSANA members and $5,000 for non-members. The approval is good for three years. Accreditation may make it easier for flight students to attain certain loans, FSANA says. The group also hosts an annual conference for flight school operators; the next one is set for April 13-15 in Nashville, Tenn.