Why Pacific Skies Aviation?
Finding a flight school that is a good fit can be tricky. You may ask yourself, “How do I know one from the next?” or “What makes one better for my specific training goals?” or even “What questions am I supposed to ask?”
Well, let me, as a flight school owner, start by sharing my personal background. I started in aviation back in the ‘90s with no specific direction other than “I would love to fly an airplane one day!” I got passed around among more than a half dozen instructors. I thought they were all gods, the best of the best. Decades later, I look back and think it’s criminal how and what they taught me. But I just didn’t know any better. I spent thousands in borrowed money doing unplanned tasks, with zero guidance, and with strange and dangerous practices. I vowed that one day when I became an instructor (let alone a flight school owner), I would change everything about how I learned, and commit to giving students what they need, as I’ve learned from years of teaching and flying for the commercial airline industry. I hope we come to serve you well, and always work to improve how we do it.
Founder and Chief Pilot, Pacific Skies Aviation
A Customized Syllabus
Almost all flight schools that do use a syllabus (yes, most don’t even use one!), just have you purchase an after-market cookie cutter syllabus that usually don’t even get followed. And why would they; they’re very unrealistic, lessons covering things that are out of date and not practical.
We’ve again taken a very practical approach to how students learn, and make each lesson cover material that builds on itself and move methodically through a very safe new approach to getting to the finish line. In addition, there are over 75 pages of colorful guides that are a supplement to your regular private pilot manual. Topics such as communication, local area knowledge, pre-flighting, weather, how we fly all the maneuvers, etc. are all covered.
Both you and your instructor will always know what has been covered previously, where you are, and what is coming up. Never will you walk in and hear your instructor ask you “So, what do you wanna do today?!”
Visual Flying Method
Most books and instructors emphasize an instrument-driven method of learning. But getting your license you are going to be flying VFR: Visual Flight Rules. You’re supposed to be looking outside 80-90% of the time, so we teach you how to fly that way. We’ve distilled years of experience into a personal visual method of flying. You may find silly at first, but quickly realize how simple it is to climb, turn, descend, and hold altitude. Even landings, the most difficult part of any course, become simple, with much less emphasis on staring at instruments.
You’ll notice the syllabus is broken into three stages: everything you learn up to solo (flying the plane by yourself!), solo cross-country (flying to a destination that’s at least 50 miles away by yourself!), and final exam preparation. Before you move on to each new stage, you’ll be scheduled to have a lesson with either the Chief or Assistant Chief instructor. They’ll be able to help assess whether you are ready to move forward, and more importantly with give you an evaluation with tips and tricks to improve areas you’re having difficulty with. It’s an extra pair of eyes to oversee your training, and make sure the instructors are all doing exactly what they’re supposed to.
New instructors spend the first week getting familiar with the way we teach. They’ll go through the syllabus in detail, learn all our visual references, become familiar with our local area and airports, become proficient in flying every type of airplane we use in training, and more. Thus, if your schedule ever requires more than one instructor, the transition will be seamless, and keep you moving forward without reevaluation. The instructors have different personalities, but the basic foundation and how they teach will be the same.
Full Time Chief and Assistant Chief Instructors on Staff
Students sometimes struggle with their instructors running off to the airlines before they complete your training. This is an exciting milestone for the instructors, but you’ll always have senior staff to help with any aspect of your training. From stage checks to evaluation flights, spot-checking your training or assisting in problem areas, you can always request a lesson that puts issues or concerns behind you.
If you fly about once a week, you fall into the national average of getting your license in about 70 flight hours, which will take about 9-12 months. On the other hand, if you can take the time away from work, you can request an accelerated training program that would allow you to take a minimum of ten lessons per week (scheduled however you want) and receive your private pilot license in about 6 weeks! If you meet the prerequisites for your Instrument Rating (about 40 hours of cross country time/flying to airports more than 50 miles away), you can usually get your IFR rating in as little as 3-4 weeks. You can ask for a personalized schedule that works with your availability. The accelerated program also allows for a price break on the hourly cost of the airplane and flight simulator.
New renter pilots who come from other flight schools often tell us, “You guys have the nicest airplanes I’ve ever flown!” Not only do we keep our planes in compliance with required maintenance, but we also put our airplanes through mid-time non-required maintenance. A great maintenance facility just across from us is incredibly responsive to even the most minor loose screw, and often stays open overnight to keep our airplanes flying without interrupting busy schedules.
When we built PSA, we decided to get away from dirty hangar-type flight schools, or training in tight little cubicles. PSA offers:
- A beautiful outdoor patio to relax, study, or conduct a ground lesson;
- An indoor lounge to relax before lessons
- An advanced full-motion flight simulator that can be used in many aspects of private training, through instrument rating
- Water, coffee, tea in our kitchen area, which also lets you bring in your own food for between lessons
- A quiet computerized testing prep area to study for knowledge exams
- A fully stocked pilot supply store
Pay As You Go
We never ask for money up front or ask students to put money on account; the only exception is when you enter into a financing agreement with one of our partners, such as Stratus Financial, that funds based on training milestones. In fact, we encourage you to rethink ever putting money on account at a flight school. Fight schools can close overnight with no way to refund your money, or make it near impossible for you to get your money if you choose a different flight school. Our paperless system keeps your credit card information on file in a secure system that does not store your information onsite. Your online account provides 24/7 access to invoices, and you’ll see exactly what you’ve paid for.
PSA offers elective classes to improve your current skills or help grow to new ones:
- Spin Training
- High altitude/ Mountain flying
- High performance and complex endorsements
- IFR Refresher
- CFI and CFII
- Multiengine certificates and time building
Why Torrance Airport?
There are many advantages to training with Pacific Skies Aviation, with operations based at KTOA. Torrance Municipal Airport (Zamperini Field) is located at the base of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the Los Angeles basin of Southern California. Primarily a general aviation airport, Torrance boasts features that make it the most advantageous airport for flight training.
We invite you to visit our friendly facilities, featuring a VIP pilot’s lounge, seminar and training rooms and located right next door to the Western Museum of Flight. You can complete your aviation adventure with a relaxing break on our one-of-a-kind picnic patio, watching aircraft take off and land in the golden California sun.
The majority of traffic that flies in and out of Zamperini Field (KTOA) is general aviation (non- commercial traffic). There are many advantages to training with Pacific Skies Aviation, with operations based at KTOA. Torrance airport (Zamperini field) is located at the base of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the Los Angeles basin of Southern California. Primarily a general aviation airport, Torrance airport boasts some of the most favorable conditions to make it the most advantageous airport for flight training.
Centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange Counties and just off the deep-blue coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, Torrance Airport is minutes away from some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery–from mountains, to islands, to deserts and glittering cityscapes.
Only five minutes away from the FAA-designated flight training practice area, students maximize their flight training time greatly compared to most other airports
Above all else, we are enthusiastic teachers, sharing a passion and commitment to doing things right. We’re always striving to do better, whether it be through new ways of teaching, introducing new equipment, or improving organization to make things more efficient. You, our students, are our focus, and what is most important.
Who We Are