New Flight School Fischer Aviation Takes Wing in Fairfield, N.J., Lands Eclectic Array of Student Pilots

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Aspiring Pilots as Young as Nine and from as Far Away as New York City Flock to Essex County Flight School, Fischer Aviation, for Lessons with Certified Flight Instructor Tom Fischer.

When an airplane mechanic’s nine-year-old daughter wanted to take flying lessons, her father thought of only one certified flight instructor he would trust to teach his child: Tom Fischer, owner of Fischer Aviation ( in Fairfield. N.J. In fact, Fischer’s skills as a flight instructor bring him a wide array of students including several teens, first-timers, and seasoned pilots seeking to improve their flying skills.

Operated by Fischer and his wife Jodi, Fischer Aviation opened in March 2012 and continues a family tradition. Fischer’s uncles ran the original Fischer Aviation in the 1960s and 1970s at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, N.J.; the younger Fischer grew up around airplanes and had his first lesson from his father at age 12. Jodi, who has known her husband since their teen years, said Tom always dreamed of becoming a pilot. Today, he is a sought-after flight instructor ( who holds several advanced certifications, has more than 6,000 hours of flight time (most of that teaching student pilots) and a majority of students—70%—traveling to Fischer Aviation from New York City to study with him.

A Passion for all Things Aviation
“We stand out because of three main reasons,” said Fischer, “the quality of our staff, our instructors, and our fleet.” He noted that most other flight schools hire newly licensed instructors who only teach to gain enough hours to go on to the commercial airlines, but that he is a career flight instructor with one goal in mind: to develop the next generation of pilots ( He will only hire others who are equally dedicated to the development of their students.

Fischer said his passion for flying and flight instruction is equally mirrored by wife Jodi’s dedication to running the school and her attention to each aspiring or practicing pilot. “She takes a personal interest in every one of our students,” said Fischer.

Fischer holds a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate (granted to those with a high percentage of students who pass their flight test on their first attempt), and is a Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) and a multi-engine instructor. He also teaches other pilots to become certified flight instructors.

It was during a student instructor flight in August 2009, while working for another flight school, that Fischer’s skills as a pilot were put to the test. About one mile east of Rockaway Townsquare Mall, the airplane’s engine died. Fischer took over and made a successful emergency landing in the shopping center parking lot, maneuvering the aircraft to avoid any damage to property or people. Fischer and his student emerged unharmed. The incident was widely covered by the regional and national press.

Fischer Aviation owns three airplanes (, two of which the owners say are different than what most flight schools offer. “We have two Piper Cherokees which are low-wing aircraft, more like commercial airplanes, as opposed to the high-wing aircraft typically found at other flight schools,” said Fischer. “One of our Cherokees also has a glass instrument panel, two GPSs, and is our primary instrument training plane.” The school also has a Cessna 172 which is very popular to learn on, with plans to add additional airplanes to meet rising student enrollment. A flight simulator will be installed this summer.

Training the Next Generation of Pilots
His current students include two teenagers—one who has already flown solo and another who is approaching that milestone—as well as the young girl who is learning all about flying.

“She’s learning how to conduct all the preflight visual and safety checks. Once we’re airborne, she takes the controls, sitting on a booster seat so she can see out the window,” said Fischer. He added that his youngest student will soon be able to try her hand at taking off and landing on the flight simulator when that arrives.

For more information about flight training with Fischer Aviation, contact Jodi Fischer at or (973) 575-1900, or visit


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Jodi Fischer

Caryn Starr-Gates
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