In this post, we examine a flight school which is situated on the west side of the Greater Toronto Area known as Spectrum Airways. Spectrum Airways is located at the Burlington Executive Airfield and is a flight school in Ontario Canada. The flight school started as, and still continues to operate as a family run business by the Kovachik family.
Spectrum Airways and Canadian Flight Trainers
Students will travel from almost anywhere in the western part of the greater Toronto area to conduct some flight training at Spectrum Airways. With fuel prices on the rise and with students valuing their time, we have seen an uptick in students enrolling in our Private and Commercial Pilot ground school courses. Recently, Spectrum Airways ground school has taken a greater presence online.
The cost of their individual ground school is upwards of $1,999 + tax and their online group ground school is still a very high $395 + tax or $675 for a Commercial pilot groundschool. If a student misses any class, they are required to make it up with a flight instructor at the high rate of $80 per hour.
Update Sept 2022: In an email correspondence from the Chief Flight Instructor of Spectrum Airways, he states that the individual ground school is a niche product designed for those who do not mind paying the very high cost due to scheduling issues with their offered ground school. He also states that if students do not want to pay the $80/hr fee for make-up classes, they can be offered “supervised self study.” We are unsure if there is a cost associated with this supervised study.
In our experience, most Private Pilot Ground Schools are taught by inexperiences Class 4 and Class 3 instructors who may lack real world practical knowledge. Some of these instructors may be well versed in their knowledge and flying ability, but may lack real world familiarity with the knowledge.
With Canadian Flight Trainers, students are taught by active airline pilots, scholars, and flight instructors, and all at a lower cost with greater support.
Spectrum Airways Fleet
According to the flight school’s website, Kovachik Aircraft Service maintains a fleet of 13 aircraft for them and one Red Bird flight simulator.
- 3 Cessna 152’s
- 4 Cessna 172 L/M/N’s
- 4 Piper Warrior PA28’s
- 1 Piper Seneca PA34
Spectrum Airways Reviews
Reviews on the flight school tend to be positive overall. Some of the students enrolled in our courses who are also students at Spectrum have reported mixed reviews about the flight school, with one leaving the flight school all together in favour of another flight school which has since closed. The staff at Canadian Flight Trainers always recommend that students conduct research into their future flight schools by visiting the locations, speaking to flight instructors, examining the fleet, and inquiring about scheduling difficulties. Spectrum Airways is no exception to our recommendations.
We will call attention to a questionable business practice which we see as a pure money grab by the company. According to the flight school’s website, in order to fly at Spectrum Airways, future students must apply and pay an application fee of $30 prior to starting training. Students then may be accepted into the program and potentially risk not being accepted. We also acknowledge that this may also be a sign that Spectrum Airways is quite busy and full of students and renters. Historically, if a local student wished to begin flight training, they would simply call or walk into the flight school and begin the flight training process.
Update Sept 2022: In an email to CFT, the Chief Flight Instructor of Spectrum Airways defended the $30 fee as a way of recovering costs due to onboarding, financially incentivizing students to not begin the process unless there is a certain level of commitment, and advised that the $30 fee covers an orientation session to meet with a Spectrum Airways flight instructor. A positive note was that their policy was to refund students the $30 fee if they could provide a legitimate reason for not continuing training. This policy was not made available to CFT staff for our own independent evaluation.
In addition to this, the website claims that they will assign you a flight instructor for training, which is traditionally not the status-quo in a “pay-as-you-go” flight school system. Generally speaking, when students are spending at least $17,000 on a private pilot license in Canada, they will have a voice in choosing their flight instructor.
Update Sept 2022: In an email to CFT, the Chief Flight Instructor of Spectrum Airways stated that they will do their best to accommodate a student’s preference in flight instructor.
This analysis is limited to the information which is found on the Spectrum Airways website and a Sept 2022 email from the CFI and is subject to inaccuracies.
Spectrum Airways Hourly Rates
Hourly rates are subject to change. Here are the rates as of June 6th.
Flight Training: $166.00
Cessna 172 M/N/L
Flight Training: $187.00
Flight Training: $198.00
Flight Training: $336.00
Flight Training: $104.00
Instructor Airtime & PGI Rates:
Class 3&4: $84.00
Class 1&2: $95.00
The Chief Flight Instructor of Spectrum Airways reached out to Canadian Flight Trainers to clarify and defend some of their business practices in September of 2022. The staff at CFT appreciate the engagement of local flight schools in providing accurate information which better informs students of their full range of options.