There are numerous sites out there that claim to help one find a flight school, but most are useless (and just serve ads). The AOPA's site looks good but I find it hard to believe there are so few in my area (Longview, Texas), so I was wondering if anyone could recommend other resources for finding flight schools. Thanks.
@Glyn Gowing Initally, I spoke with a few pilots I knew and got their recommendations. I also Googled searched for flight training. I went to visit each one offering Part 61 training asking about scheduling, payment of training, maintenance of aircraft, looked at the aircraft fleet, spoke to instructors and students, and took a discovery flight with each one. When finished I visited 6 schools and had five hours of discovery flight time.
Go to AirNav: Airport Information click on browse by U.S. state, click on your state, find the airport that is close to you. Call that airport and ask if they have any flight schools. If you go to the bottom of that page it will have a lists of airports that are near that airport, call them as well.
When you talk to the schools, ask for there website, instructor and plane availability, rates, etc… Ideally you would want to train at an airport that is close to you. However, some people will want to train at an airport that have the type of plane they want to buy or have the cheapest rates.
Try the AOPA Airport Directory. Look for airports near where you live and check to determine if there are flight schools or flying clubs located at those airports.
I tried that with little luck… it seems that most of the flight schools within a reasonable (< 1 hour) drive in my area are no longer in operation. I have a few leads on instructors in the area, though, and one of our students (we are both university professors) just passed her CFI, and another student is planning to have his checkride before the end of the semester (he aced the FOI and CFI written).