In conjunction with the annual AOPA Aviation Summit last week, AOPA arranged the Flight Training Summit — a meeting with flight instructors and industry representatives to introduce AOPA’s new field guides to flight training, get ideas for initiatives for the Center to Advance the Pilot Community and announce the winners of the organization’s new training awards.
More than 100 participants attended the meeting. After senior vice president of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community Adam Smith briefed the attendees on the goals and plans of the newly established center and Brittney Miculka, manager of prospective pilot and youth outreach, introduced the field guides, the attendees were divided into four focus groups.
Each focus group brainstormed ideas on how to develop best practices at flight schools with respect to building relationships, creating milestones, building community and focusing on the student experience. The session was effectively a trade of information. Representatives from AOPA provided tips to the instructors on how to improve their businesses by using the three field guides to flight training, each developed specifically for student pilots, flight instructors and flight schools. In return, the instructors and other industry representatives provided information from the field on what strategies have worked at their places of business.
At the conclusion of the meeting, AOPA’s inaugural flight training awards were distributed. Out of approximately 2,500 nominees, 11 awards were handed out: five flight school awards, three flight instructor awards, two presidents’ awards and one student’s choice award. Operating out of three locations in Virginia, Aviation Adventures was the big winner, taking home the student’s choice and one of the flight school awards.