The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced the recipients of the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards at Redbird Migration Flight Training Conference in San Marcos, Texas. The awards are based on the results of the 2016 Flight Training Poll and recognize and celebrate those who provide a customer experience that supports student pilots and facilitates their entry into all aspects of the aviation community. The Flight Training Poll is conducted using an online survey process and 11,356 individuals completed the poll in 2016, an increase of 60% compared to 2015.
Flight Training Professionals of Orlando, Florida, was named Best Flight School and Brenda Tibbs of Bravo Flight Training in Frederick, Maryland, was named Best Flight Instructor. The Student’s Choice Award was given to Paragon Flight of Fort Myers, Florida, as the flight school that received the highest number of positive nominations. This year’s President’s Choice Award winner was Take Flight Aviation of Montgomery, New York, selected by AOPA President Mark Baker for significant and innovative contributions to the flight training community.
Nine additional flight schools and 10 more flight instructors were judged to be “outstanding” by their students; 60 flight schools and 50 flight instructors also were recognized as being on the flight training “honor roll.” Flight schools that received awards, including those on the “honor roll,” represent the top 9% of the flight schools mentioned by respondents in the poll and top 3% nationwide, and flight instructors who received awards are in the top 3% of the flight instructors mentioned by respondents in the poll and top 1% nationwide.
“AOPA’s Flight Training Excellence Awards recognize outstanding flight schools and instructors, and the more than 11,300 individuals who responded to the poll have identified the top flight training providers,” said Director of AOPA’s Flight Training Initiative Chris Moser.
The Flight Training Excellence Awards are part of AOPA’s You Can Fly program. AOPA launched You Can Fly in January 2015 to build a vibrant, growing, and self-sustaining community of active pilots. You Can Fly is moving the needle when it comes to building and supporting the pilot population with programs to improve student completion rates, bring lapsed pilots back to the cockpit, introduce young people to aviation careers, and provide a cost effective way to fly and share that experience with a community of fellow pilots.
Best Flight School
Flight Training Professionals (ORL – Orlando, FL)
Best Flight Instructor
Brenda Tibbs (Bravo Flight Training, FDK – Frederick, MD)
President’s Choice Award
Take Flight Aviation (MGJ – Montgomery, NY)
Student’s Choice Award
Paragon Flight (FMY – Fort Myers, FL)
Outstanding Flight Schools
AeroVenture Institute (3B0 – Southbridge, MA)
Brazos Valley Flight Services (CLL – College Station, TX)
Centennial Aviation Academy (PDK – Atlanta, GA)
Illinois Aviation Academy (DPA – Chicago/West Chicago, IL)
Skill Aviation (UGN – Chicago/Waukegan, IL)
SkyTrek Alaska Flight Training( MRI – Anchorage, AK)
Stratos Aviation (GMU – Greenville, SC)
Valley Aviation (WBW – Wilkes-Barre, PA)
WINGS Flight School (VCB – Vacaville, CA)
Outstanding Flight Instructors
William Allen (AeroVenture Institute 3B0 – Southbridge, MA)
Allan Burke (BCB – Blacksburg, VA)
Scott Campbell (Sierra Charlie Aviation SDL – Scottsdale, AZ)
Jennifer Frost (Aspen Flying Club APA, Denver, CO)
Kayla Harder (Paragon Flight School FMY – Fort Myers, FL)
Steven Casey Jones (Wings of Carolina TTA – Sanford, NC)
Domenic Lafauci (Bridgewater State University; East Coast Aero Club EWB, New Bedford, MA; BED, Bedford, MA)
Stephen Matheson (U77 – Spanish Fork, UT; DVT – Phoenix, AZ)
Jason Schappert (MZeroA OCL – Ocala, FL)
Joseph Standley (Flight Instructor Joe/Blue Skies Pilot Shop 3CK – Chicago/Lake In The Hills, IL)