flight school uniforms

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Moderator: drseti

Does your flight school or FBO have employee uniforms?

Yes, and I love it
3
38%
Yes, and I hate it
0
No votes
Yes, and I tolerate it
0
No votes
No, and I wish they did
0
No votes
No, and I'm glad they don't
2
25%
No, and I'm ambivalent
3
38%
 
Total votes: 8

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drseti
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flight school uniforms

Postby drseti » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:50 am

This is from another thread:

Jack Tyler wrote:There are many flight schools here in Florida which mandate a full commercial flight uniform from day one (blue slacks, white collar shirt, shoulder boards denoting progress in their ratings). Flight instructors, ditto. FBO meaintenance techs at most of the airports I visit wear a work uniform of some kind.


The idea of flight school uniforms is one to which I gave a good deal of consideration three years ago, when I was writing my business plan. Though I'm not a big fan of epaulets, shoulder boards, and big fancy watches, I do believe that a formal uniform of some sort does project an image of formality, and professionalism, to which most students respond in kind.

When I wrote my company's Policy Manual, I mapped out five separate company uniforms:

    Flight instructor summer uniform -- short sleeved light blue golf shirt with logo embroidered above the pocket; solid colored shorts.

    Flight instructor winter uniform -- long sleeved blue denim shirt with logo embroidered above the pocket; solid colored slacks.

    Flight instructor spring/fall uniform -- short sleeved light blue golf shirt with logo embroidered above the pocket; solid colored slacks.

    Maintenance Department summer uniform -- short sleeved light gray t-shirt with logo silk-screened on chest, blue denim jeans.

    Maintenance Department winter uniform -- long sleeved blue denim shirt with logo embroidered above the pocket; blue denim jeans.


(I give my employees the first shirt of each type; they can buy more from me at my cost.)

May seem overly formal, but one side benefit is that flight school employees are conspicuous, thus easy to locate. I believe this formality also makes the students take their training just a bit more seriously.
Last edited by drseti on Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

jnmeade
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Postby jnmeade » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:18 pm

I didn't vote because there is no suitable category.
The FBO no longer runs a flight school, but allows another operation to run a flight school Neither had uniforms.
The FBO runs a charter operation and has a standard dress code, but not a uniform. The dress code is black slacks and white shirt. Sometimes with tie (not provided). The shirts were provided. The slacks are not.
The mechanics are provided a muted but distinctive shirt. The shirt has the FBO name and the mechanic's name. It helps the public identify if a man in the shop is a mechanic and what to call him. The shirt is provided so it is also a perquisite (the origin of the word "perq") of employment.

I don't have any problem with dress codes. Many charter companies have dress codes for pilots.

Fewer have uniforms, and they tend to be high end like NetJets, etc. Uniforms are another perq so there is a monetary benefit to having and wearing them. I think more mechanics and line staff get free perqs. They are a help in identifying these functions to the public.

When I see an FBO level pilot in a uniform, as opposed to a nice dress code, my first impression is, "who are they trying to impress?" It's a turn-off to me.

N918KT
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Postby N918KT » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:06 pm

When you say if the flight school or FBO have uniforms, are the uniforms for the students, or the CFIs, or both? I chose "No, and I'm ambivalent" if the students had uniforms at my flight school.

Jack Tyler
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Postby Jack Tyler » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:34 pm

Paul, I too have not responded to the poll because my preferred answer would be that I think instructor 'uniforms' (however that is defined at the individual training center) are very important, as they communicate not just the identity of the instructor but also his/her intentional role. (In a broader sense, I think many GA businesses communicate the impression that they are shade tree mechanics, shoestring businesses and part-time flyboys simply because they don't demonstrate a sense of professionalism with a wide range of behaviors - how clean and professional looking their facilities are being one example). OTOH I think the relevance of student 'uniforms' varies greatly, depending on the nature of the school.

A number of training centers in Florida have substantial numbers of international students. By definition, they need to be on a rigorous, day to day training schedule since everything about their stay in the USA is costly: board, room, transportation (for some at least), incidental expenses (if not the 'big watch' then at least an iPhone, it seems) and so on. Therefore, the training regimen for these folks - and perhaps for some Part 141 schools - becomes very much like a job. And because such students are thinking along those lines, a uniform is consistent with their career goals as well as the nature of their training experience. For students of that type, who primarily socialize at that school and with those fellow students, what most of us would find 'odd' is actually for them very much a norm. OTOH most of the students at the rural airport's school near my house (at KHEG) drop in once or twice a week, take many months to finish their PPL because flight training is incidental to their normal lifestyle, and for those students I've met and talked with, I think they would think the flight school is putting on 'airs' to expect a uniform.

About the comment: "The FBO runs a charter operation and has a standard dress code, but not a uniform. The dress code is black slacks and white shirt. "
That feels to me like we're splitting hairs. If there's a specific 'dress code' in place for a specific role (e.g. student trainee, flight instructor), then I think that serves the intent of and is viewed by the individual as a 'uniform'.
Jack
Flying in/out KBZN, Bozeman MT in a Grumman Tiger
Do you fly for recreational purposes? Please visit http://www.theraf.org

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:10 pm

Jack Tyler wrote:I think the relevance of student 'uniforms' varies greatly, depending on the nature of the school.


The survey and discussion thread were intended to address employee uniforms (those required of flight instructors, mechanics, etc.), not those worn by students. I have modified the questionnaire accordingly.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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zaitcev
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Postby zaitcev » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:39 pm

Being that I gave the Hypocritic Oath, I feel comfortable to love uniforms everywhere except flight instruction.

When I come to dojo, I feel uncomfortable out of the gi.

Still, my best flight instructors wore jeans and assortment of shirts and jackets according to weather.

As a student, I always was mindful of two things: being comfortable in a drafty and hot airplane; and have at least rudimentary fire protection. So, no synthetics such as nylon, in particular in socks. My "uniform" is jeans; redneck cotton shirt. It works well as temperature changes from +40C on the ground to -0C up high. I think if I had an option to change for flight, I would wear a flight suit and a helmet.

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:44 pm

Jack Tyler wrote:If there's a specific 'dress code' in place for a specific role (e.g. student trainee, flight instructor), then I think that serves the intent of and is viewed by the individual as a 'uniform'.


I concur (and that's what I intended to convey when I said "uniform").
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

bryancobb
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mORE mORE

Postby bryancobb » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:21 am

A flight school who wears uniforms costs the student $1.25 per $1.00 when compared to a school with a much less formal format.
Bryan Cobb
Sport Pilot CFI
Commercial/Instrument Airplane
Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter
Cartersville, Ga
bryandcobb@att.net

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:45 am

Citation, Bryan? :wink:

Actually, those figures suggest that uniforms should account for 20% of my overall operating expenses. In fact, my ledgers show that logo shirts for me and my other employees account for less than 0.1% of my total expenditures. So, even if I passed those costs on to the student (I don't), the impact would add 12c per flight hour to my flight school's fees.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

bryancobb
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Only an Opinion

Postby bryancobb » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:39 pm

drseti wrote:Citation, Bryan? :wink:



There's a lot of intangible costs rolled into the hourly fees for instructor and aircraft rental at a flight school that wants to LOOK professional.

I will take my small home Sign Shop as an example. I work out of my basement with ZERO overhead. I am the only employee so worker's comp' insurance is not a factor. I have no liability insurance and no company vehicle, or phone.

I compete with "Professional" sign shops in town with a storefront, commercial phone, employees, equipment leases, and insurance.

They HAVE to pass those costs to their customers by charging at least 1.5 x what I charge. Their owners' mindset is to look and act professional. I work half as hard and long to make the same profit.

If you have an independent guy in a single hanger that teaches Sport applicants on your airport, his prices for the same thing is a fraction of what you must charge.

This is not new information for you, I know. You were just looking for a citation from an article in a publication. My source was way simpler than that.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

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drseti
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Re: Only an Opinion

Postby drseti » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:01 pm

bryancobb wrote:If you have an independent guy in a single hanger that teaches Sport applicants on your airport, his prices for the same thing is a fraction of what you must charge.


You make a lot of assumptions, Bryan, about the nature of my business, apparently based solely on my choice to wear a uniform. I am that independent guy in a single hangar, teaching sport pilot applicants on my airport. OK, so I do have a small office in the terminal building (at $55/month), and a couple of part-time employees (an adjunct flight instructor and a reserve mechanic), and a single airplane, and the lowest prices and best Sport Pilot program in the region -- and logo shirts.

If you want to see the details of how my business can remain competitive with logo shirts, feel free to browse this year's (http://avsport.org/docs/report2011.pdf) and last year's (http://avsport.org/docs/report2010.pdf) annual reports.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

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designrs
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Re: Only an Opinion

Postby designrs » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:38 pm

bryancobb wrote:If you have an independent guy in a single hanger that teaches Sport applicants on your airport, his prices for the same thing is a fraction of what you must charge.


Uniforms are such a nominal cost. However if the discussion evolves into the whole big flight school vs. one plane / one instructor flight school then economies of scale come into play. How many hours a month can one man instruct? How many hours a month does that plane need to fly to pay for itself? Is the flight school paying a mechanic full rate? Or can someone within the business service multiple planes for the same cost?

Some one man flight schools might charge less, is it really making a profit, or is the instructor doing what he enjoys while primarily offsetting the cost of his own flying?

I've seen Paul's operation and he has a really nice setup there, apparently very well organized match his scale, resources and business model. I've also seen several other operations that are larger and benefit from economies of scale (albeit with more overhead and management responsibilities but also more opportunity for profit as long as everything keeps running). Different strokes for different folks. Choose the business model to match preferences!


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