3 Things Football Can Teach You About the Business of Flight Training

Fall is in the air and football is on TV. On Sunday it’s game day in my house. And whether you’re an NFL or college football fan (or both) it’s hard to ignore the excitement come September. In light of the upcoming season let’s look at 3 things football can teach you about the business of flight training.

1. Manage your turnovers

The point of football is for the offense to get the ball in the opposing team’s end zone by running or passing it down the field without turning it over. Teams must prevent turnovers to give themselves the best chance to score. How Is your flight training program preventing turnovers?

Student pilots have the highest dropout rate of any discipline. Depending on who you ask the dropout rate is anywhere from 50-70%. Reasons for dropout include costs, misunderstanding of the true rigors of an aviation program and sub-par instructors. Further, an AOPA commissioned study found that “5 out of the 11 discrete factors [for drop out] determined by the survey were directly related to educational quality with respect to both individual flight instructor effectiveness and flight school support for management of instructors.”

Manage your program turnover by identifying predictors that identify why students drop out and shape your program accordingly. Studies have found that low grades, involvement in extra-curricular activity and pre-enrollment residency can all be predictors of student drop out. Perhaps you have a large population of out-of-state residents in your flight training program-- consider offering them extra resources and support since they may be disconnected from their own support network. Further, assess the overall quality of your program including educational quality and flight instructor effectiveness.

2. Don’t forget your ground game

In football it’s easy to get caught up in the big passing plays, the ones that quickly advance a team down field. But you can’t have a strong passing game without a running game, so most successful offenses have both. What’s your ground game?

When it comes to the business of flight training and your program, don’t forget about what’s happening on the ground. Recruitment is a key element to the success of any program. Think about sponsoring or hosting an aviation day for younger students to introduce them to a future in aviation. According to Boeing we (the flight training industry) is going to have to add 64 pilots per day to the aviation industry for the next 20 years in order to keep up with attrition, retirements, and growth. Focusing part of your recruitment efforts on the youth will help them identify early what it might be like to go through a flight training program.

Further, not only does your flight program need to have a strong curriculum you need to run a good business. Keeping operational costs down and increasing aircraft utilization is key. That’s why Brown Aviation Lease has partnered with RedBird to create an effective training aircraft for the global market using both new and old technologies called RedHawk. The RedHawk training aircraft will carry an innovative, consumption based pricing solution designed to be significantly cheaper than buying new aircraft for your training fleet as well as more efficient operationally. 

By focusing on your recruiting and operational ground games you’ll set your flight training program up for success now and in the future. 

3. Utilize your trade options

In the NFL players can be traded among teams for draft picks or other players, typically to help towards the betterment of the subsequent team.  When it comes to your aircraft inventory are you utilizing your trade options?

As your needs change you may need to add or subtract aircraft inventory. Brown Aviation’s On-Demand Inventory portal is designed to match-up aircraft buyers and sellers to help simplify the process of acquiring or disposing of aircraft.  This helps ensure you always have access to the right amount of inventory to keep your business running smoothly. 

Consider partnering with an industry expert that can help you utilize your trade options and manage the correct amount of inventory for the betterment of your flight training program. 

What has football taught you about the business of flight training? Leave your thoughts in the comments.