Commercial Airline Flight Schools in Florida

Here’s a list of five of the best flight school programs in the state.

Editor's note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

With great weather year-round, an abundance of airports, countless military bases, and one of the largest air shows in the country known as Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo, it’s no surprise that Florida is home to many high-quality flight schools. 

Florida is also the third most populated state in the U.S. It is the location of the majority of airline pilots in the country as well. Though Florida is home to some four-year universities with heavy focuses on aviation, like Embry-Riddle, this list contains five of the best flight school programs in the state.

Quick Look: Flight School Options in Florida 

  1. Kingsky Flight Academy
  2. Florida Flyers Flight Academy
  3. Epic Flight Academy (Airline Pilot Program)
  4. Paragon Flight Academy
  5. Pan Am Flight Academy (ATP CTP)

5 Flight Schools in Florida

From the ages of 15 to 95, it’ll never be too late to learn how to fly! Here are five of the best flight schools in Florida, any of which could help you make your dreams of becoming a pilot in Florida come true. 

Kingsky Flight Academy

Kingsky is located in Lakeland, a big aviation hub, and home of Sun ‘n Fun. Owned and operated by two airline captains, Kingsky preaches safety and responsibility above all else, and offers housing options and funding.   

Location: Lakeland

Tuition & Fees: 

  • Part 61 Private: $8,060 to $9,460 depending on the aircraft
  • Part 61 Commercial: $2,790 to $8,060 depending on the aircraft
  • Part 141 Private: $8,700
  • Part 141 Commercial: $19,305 to $24,030

Additional programs include PPL instructor, instrument ratings, and certified flight instructor training.

Financial Assistance: 

Accreditation: Yes

Program Length: 

  • Self-paced
  • Private, Commercial, and CFI programs = 3 months on average 

Endorsements: 

  • PPL
  • Instrument rating
  • Commercial pilot
  • Multi-engine add-on
  • CFI
  • CFI multi-engine
  • CFII instrument rating instructor

School Size:  

  • Total: 135 students
  • Average class size: 1-on-1

Job Placement: Not officially, but many connections and opportunities

Virtual Learning: In-person

Florida Flyers Flight Academy

The Florida Flyers Academy aims to give their students a customer feel with personalization, 24-hour service, and an assessment to set you up with everything you’ll need and nothing you won’t. Their main course aims to take pilots from having no experience to becoming a CPL, either single or multi, within 12 months. 

Location: St. Augustine

Tuition & Fees:

  • Total Price of Zero to CPL Single Engine: $36,663
  • Total Price of Zero to CPL Multi Engine: $43,200

Financial Assistance: 

  • Financial assistance available for U.S. students
  • No scholarships

Accreditation: EASA Accredited

Program Length: Approximately 12 months

Endorsements: 

  • PPL
  • IR
  • CPL Multi
  • CPL Single
  • ATP

School Size: 

  • Enrollment: 100  
  • Class size: 1 Instructor per 4 students

Job Placement: No

Virtual Learning: 

  • Class is in-person
  • FAA test prep available online

Epic Flight Academy (Airline Pilot Program)

A program directed at those wanting to become airline pilots, the Epic Flight Academy boasts an impressive 100% hiring rate. They also offer many opportunities to instruct in order to get necessary hours towards your ATP.

Location: Smyrna Beach

Tuition & Fees: 

  • Zero experience to airline pilot: $67,000
  • PPL holder starting with IR course: $46,000
  • PPL/IR holder starting with commercial course: $33,000

Financial Assistance: Many options here.

Accreditation: FAA-accredited 

Program Length: 24 months for pilots with zero experience

Endorsements: 

  • PPL
  • IR
  • CPL
  • ATP

School Size: 

  • 250 enrolled
  • Class size: 1 instructor per 3 students

Job Placement:

  • Yes
  • Major selling point

Virtual Learning: In-person program

Paragon Flight Academy

Paragon offers a full gamut of pilot education options, from PPLs to ATPs. They refer to all attendees as clients, not students, and aim to customize each client’s needs. Some of their programs can be completed in a week’s time, but also offer a pipeline from zero experience to full-time airline pilot. 

Location: Fort Myers

Tuition & Fees:

  • Personalized programs ensure you don’t pay for anything you already know
  • A cost estimate is determined after an evaluation

Financial Assistance: Yes. Apply here.

Accreditation: FAA-accredited 

Program Length: Zero experience to ATP

Endorsements:

  • PPL
  • IR
  • Multi-Engine
  • ATP
  • CFI
  • CFII
  • MEI

School Size: 

  • 150 students
  • Class size: 1 Instructor per 3 or 4 students

Job Placement: Not officially

Virtual Learning: All in-person

Pan Am Flight Academy (ATP CTP)

The Pan Am Flight Academy is primarily for established pilots looking to get their Airline Transport Certification. Students must already have their 1,500 hours of flight and all other prerequisites completed before enrolling.  

Location: Miami

Tuition & Fees: $3,995

Financial Assistance: No

Accreditation: FAA-approved

Program Length: 

  • As little as five days with use of simulators
  • Actual duration of the program differs from one person to the next  

Endorsements: 

  • ATP CTP

School Size: 1 instructor for 4 students

Job Placement: No

Virtual Learning: In-person learning

How Does Flight School Training in Florida Work?

Flight training in Florida is similar to everywhere else, but the weather allows for more clear days, resulting in a more expedited process. There are also a lot of options in Florida, compared to other locales, especially for those looking to become Airline Transit Pilots.

How Long Is Flight School?

The time requirements necessary in order to qualify to be an airline pilot are extremely high, but most flight schools will do their best to have you in the air frequently. Many of these programs can take a zero-experience pilot to an airline pilot in under two years.

Florida Flight School Facts & Figures

Here are a few things to know when comparing the best flight schools in Florida.

Number of Schools

Being a big-time aviation hub, as well as offering four seasons of trainable weather, it’s probably no surprise that Florida has more than 125 flight training facilities. 

Number of Students per Class

Some schools boast a 1 to 1 ratio, but the norm is 1:3 or 1:4 with none reporting higher than 1:6.

Tuition Rates

Most flight schools offer customized rates depending on what levels and ratings a given pilot has already received. For those pilots looking to go from no experience to being an airline captain, the educational fees are generally between $60,000 and $120,000.

Average Loan Amount

Many aviation programs allow for federal student loan funding, and most student loans are the same for flight school as they would be for another educational institution. However, most 4-year colleges need to repeat every year, whereas most pilot programs take less than a year.

Scholarship

Most flight academies do not offer scholarships directly, but other entities do and the funds can be used at these facilities. 

Job Placement

With so many airlines headquartered in Florida, as well as a large military and government aviation presence (NASA, for instance), job placement numbers from Florida flight schools are very high.

Florida Pilot Employment Facts & Figures

For many pilots across the globe, being a pilot has busy seasons, and not-so-busy seasons, but in Florida

Employment 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida is the number-five employer of full-time airline pilots in the U.S., equaling about 7,130 pilots total as of May 2023. This certainly accounts for some of the reasoning behind all of the flight schools. Some of the major employers of pilots in Florida are Spirit, Delta, and the U.S. Military.

Biggest EmployerAverage SalaryFull- or Part-Time Pilots
Alaska Airline $93,000+Full-Time 
Delta Airline $92,000+Full- and Part-Time
United Airlines $91,000+Full-Time 
American Airways$90,000+Full- and Part-Time
JetBlue Airways$89,000+Full-Time 

Salary

Airline pilot salary in Florida is higher than the rest of the country, with an average of $147,000 per year.

Is Florida Good for Pilot Training?

With plenty of options, plenty of good weather, and many potential employers nearby, Florida is one of the best options for flight school, as far as locations go!

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FAQ


FAQ

How do I become a pilot in Florida?

It’s important to research your schools, but luckily there are plenty of options in Florida. If you just want to be a private pilot, you can probably throw a rock and hit a qualified instructor, but even those individuals looking to become airline pilots have a lot of educational options in Florida.

How much does it cost to go to pilot school in Florida?

It depends on how much training you've already completed and which license you want, but even a zero experience pilot can complete the necessary training to fly airliners for somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.

What college in Florida has aviation programs?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne are two colleges in Florida that offer extensive aviation programs. Other schools like Jacksonville University, Lynn University, Miami Dade College, and Polk State College also have aviation-related degree offerings.


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