I live in New York City, Manhattan. I have always wanted to fly since I was five years old. I’m now 35 and have the means to achieve my dream of becoming a private pilot. When I finally decided to take the flight training plunge I visited Farmingdale Airport, (FRG) and did an intro-flight at one of the many flight schools. As a side note, it wasn’t really a flight school, it was a sort of club with aircraft owned by others and loaned to flight instructors who didn’t even work there. They made me believe it was a school; but it wasn’t. It was not a good experience. Trust me; it’s a story for another time. Anyway, back to my experience of the airport.
- Long delays: On average, no matter how early or late I arrived for a lesson I spent more time on the ground (with the meter running) waiting to take-off than time spent on the actual lesson! Then once airborne we had to fly 20 minutes to the practice area, and then 20 minutes back to the airport at the end of the lesson, and then be told you’re number 6 for landing upon reaching the pattern!
- Landing Fee: $2.50 per landing! Even for flight students. That expense was passed directly to me. And that’s every landing, every practice landing, and every touch and go: $2.50! The instructor would take me sometimes to MacArthur Airport to do landings to avoid the multiple landing fees.
- Congested Airspace: Too many flight schools all trying to cram in flight training operations! At last count there were 11 flight schools/flight clubs offering flight instruction at Farmingdale. Not to mention all the general aviation and corporate jet traffic. It’s crazy. I went for a lesson on a Saturday once. It was like the aerial combat scene in the movie “Hells Angels.” Rent the movie, you’ll understand what I mean.
A friend of mine referred me to a flight school at MacArthur Airport. He said the airport was quiet, that I would spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. He was right, MacArthur airport; (even with Southwest Airlines) conducts less than 220 operations a day, (2015) whereas Farmingdale conducts close to 600 operations in a day, (2015)! It was a no-brainer for me. I visited the school, Heritage Flight Academy, an approved FAA Part 141 flight training academy (not some instructor teaching out of the trunk of his car), placed a deposit, trained twice a week and completed my Private Pilot License in less than three months. Best choice I ever made. – Michael S., Attorney at Law.