PPL: SportCruisers, Structured Learning Environment

ATP certainly appears to have the most efficient and effective approach to training future pilots. I’ve done one introductory flight at a local school and I enjoyed it and would like to continue pursuing a career in the field.

However, I understand the training is a different story than a mere introductory lesson. I’ve read books and attempted to learn on a simluator at home, but with little success and would strongly prefer some training and coaching to better get my feet wet in the field. I wish to pursue a PPL first to ensure this is a reasonable and comfortable career path for me before investing more money into the remaining ratings/certifications.

As I’ve been conducting my research on local schools, there are two questions that come to mind:

  1. School #1–offers all PPL training on SportCruiser aircraft. When asked on the advantages/disadvantages to training on this aircraft, the answer received is that there is really only an advantage–lower cost. _Do you feel that there is any disadvantage to building one’s flight foundation on a SportCruiser, especially if potentially planning to continue with ATP to obtain remaining ratings?

  2. School #2- offers all PPL training on Cirrus SR-20 (and similarly dated Cirrus aircraft). Aircraft appear to be much more technologically advanced. Training is “Cirrus certified” with a very strong syllabus and structure and learning modules to complete on the online training portal. School is Part 61, but syllabus and training is “Part 141 compliant.” School totes more “TAA” time and “destination-based training” as a result of completing its PPL license. The structured learning environment seems more appealing, but are there any further advantages/disadvantages to building one’s foundation in this atmosphere compared to any other traditional flight school (where instructor may simply give student a chapter to read).

Thanks in advance.


I personally believe you could benefit from either. It really comes down to what works best for you? Some people prefer a structured environment but others prefer to progress (and advance) at their own pace. The thing is you stated you want to get your PPL to get your feet wet and make certain this is really for you (which I think is a great idea) so I’d say either will work for your purposes. If you can save a few bucks there’s nothing wrong with a SportCruiser airplane.



Based solely on the information you provided I would absolutely say to go for the cheaper option. Cirrus offers a nice airplane, but it is a bit too much to learn for a new pilot and really offers you very little, if any, advantage. The Sport Cruiser looks like a nice little airplane that will serve your needs very well.

As a caution, I would stay away from Flight Simulator. I have seen students pick up some really bad habits and misinformation from using that program. There is just no substitute at all for the real thing.


Thanks for the turnaround on the response. Regarding flight simulators–do you feel they are beneficial in supplementing the ground school and lessons learned in the sky? Or (as you mentioned Chris)–are more or less more detrimental?

Just looking for resources outside a flight school to reinforce the lessons learned. Can always re-read methodology, policies, procedures, but seeking for a resource to continue practicing and reinforcing what is learned up in the sky.

Flight simulators (I assume you’re talking home?) can be a useful tool to work on your scan. Scan is an essential skill used to interpret your instruments. Beyond that the benefits are somewhat limited.