Skip to Content

**Top Honors Awarded to Mike Smith for Best Flight School in the United States**

The recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association award for the top flight school in the USA is an Australian aviation instructor who opted to establish operations outside Australia due to CASA regulations.

In 1993, Mike Smith and his wife Kimberley founded Mike Smith Aviation in Napa County, California. Despite being registered as a director with AOPA Australia, Smith has been vocal about his reservations regarding the stringent regulations imposed by CASA on flight schools in Australia, which deter him from replicating his successful model there. His concerns were highlighted during the 2018 AGAA Summit in Wagga Wagga.

Following the 2024 Flight Experience Survey conducted by AOPA, Mike Smith Aviation was recognized as the premier flight school in the Pacific region and excelled as the best flight school nationwide in the USA. Smith expressed his excitement at accepting the accolade for the best flight school in the Pacific region and was pleasantly surprised to clinch the title for the entire country.

At his aviation school, Smith takes pride in the significant female representation both among the instructors, comprising 50% of the team in recent years, and the students, with female enrollment ranging from 25% to 30%. The training at Mike Smith Aviation utilizes aircraft such as the Cessna 162 and 172, along with the Beechcraft Type 76 Duchess.