Each year the business providers of flight training services in the U.S. come together at the International Flight School Operators Conference hosted by the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA). This year’s 14th annual conference at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida, took place March 1–3 with more than 40 vendors, more than 300 attendees, and representatives from federal agencies in attendance to share information, concerns, and best practices.
On the first day of the event, attendees were briefed on challenges, upcoming changes, and efforts to improve feedback and working relationships between federal agencies that directly interact with the flight training process.
Some of these included potential updates and changes in FAA regulations, how busy flight training operations can work with local airspace management, concerns and solutions regarding knowledge and practical test availability, and how flight training providers work with the TSA to provide and get approvals for non-U.S. citizens they train.
FSANA 2023 attendees were treated to a lunch address from Bruce Landsberg on Friday, March 3, during the conference. Landsberg—vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board since 2018—discussed how critical good flight training is to the overall safety of our national airspace system and the safety of pilots and passengers. The base levels of training and skills developed from the initial training efforts affect a pilot’s ability and mindset for the rest of their career.
Throughout the conference, attendees had an opportunity to participate in discussions and sessions ranging from how to enhance flight training operation revenue centers, ADA compliance concerns, supply chain management for training assets, and updates from airlines on hiring and staffing efforts. The opportunity to share best practices is unmatched in other events for the operators of flight training businesses in the U.S.
“There are definitely concerns that can be better addressed as a group in the flight training industry,” said FSANA CEO Bob Rockmaker. “As we bring these groups together, we better understand the challenges of our industry and can work together to improve the overall flight training sector’s ability to train the next generations of pilots so highly demanded by our commercial flight operations.”
The aviation training industry has been operating under peak production demands to produce enough pilots to meet systemic needs. With continued projections of high demand for professional pilots, there is no doubt that the flight training industry will continue to need to produce large numbers of safe, skilled pilots in the upcoming years. This conference helps businesses that provide training more effectively and efficiently at meeting industry needs.