The Around the Pattern blog recently noted in a two part post (see Part 1 and Part 2) an informal survey by the AOPA on their eBrief newsletter asked individuals why they had quit their flight training before getting their pilot’s licenses and the results were not surprising: Nearly 80% of respondents cited the expense of renting an aircraft and receiving flying lessons as the primary reason they quit.
However, it was also noted that the AOPA contracted market research firm APCO Insight to to conduct a more formal survey and their results were somewhat contradictory and different:
The research also made the important distinction that cost was not a statistically significant reason people drop out of training. While cost is a factor, Benson found that value, and a student’s perception of a school’s ability to be fair and honest, were more important. Student pilots are more concerned about getting good value with the money they spend than about the actual dollars and cents amount. They want to know that the flight school and instructors put the students’ interests first and look for ways to minimize cost and maximize the effectiveness of every dollar spent. Factors like flight simulators and well-maintained aircraft that are available to fit the student’s schedule affect this perception. quote source
Hence, we want to ask any of our readers, especially those in the UK and Europe in general, who may have started but never completed their flying lessons a simple question: Why did you quit learning how to fly? Moreover, was cost a major factor or was it something else? Finally, what changes or improvements would you suggest when it comes to flight training that may help other pilots complete their flight training?
There was a piece recently (maybe linked on Max Trescott's blog?) that looked at the same question but separating the responses based on age and gender. The split was very interesting. I'll see if I can find it.
I still don't understand how 80% dropped out because of the cost. I think there were other reasons and they choose to blame it on the cost. The cost is one thing that is known up front. Their instruction and their competenancy however are not. Even their available flight time. If they can only fly once every couple of weeks, it will take a lot longer than 40-60 hours to get the license. That of course will cost more, but the true issue is that they aren't flying enough. I think if that cost should have been broken out, or at least required an explanation.