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Old 09-04-2007, 05:47 PM   #21  
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That sounds about right. I got up to CFI with tailwheel, hi perf., glass and multiengine-instr.-comm for about $27k. It took me a tad longer than academies, but I learned more about aviation in that time. I am not a fan of fast tickets.
After adding up the months I would spend there give or take a few, it was about 16 months. So is there something I am missing? I feel like with what I have read on these big schools that going to a smaller school will leave something out on me and I will have to spend more and more money to catch up or become an instructor to make money and gain flight hours.
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Old 09-04-2007, 05:59 PM   #22  
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After adding up the months I would spend there give or take a few, it was about 16 months. So is there something I am missing? I feel like with what I have read on these big schools that going to a smaller school will leave something out on me and I will have to spend more and more money to catch up or become an instructor to make money and gain flight hours.
If you want to go that route the only thing you would be missing out on is a degree. Which of course, you can pursue at a local community college while pursuing your flight training.
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:02 PM   #23  
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The advantage you hear about a place like AllATP is in gaining more multiengine time. It's a pretty good argument, but not as much of one lately because of the tendency toward lower mins. I think the argument would hold up better in other times than it does now.

As far as learning experience goes, people who have been in a variety of aircraft and training situations like tailwheel, single engine commercial, glass cockpit, etc. are more broadly experienced. I have noticed that academy cfis are not as adept at teaching, they learned a system more than a subject; but I doubt anyone cares very much about that.

I guess the thing is one should not go through life without a 4-year education, and by the time you have taken out your loans on that plus $55k for ATP you are in some serious debt. If you go to college but go to an FBO you save $20k and will be that much closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. With flying jobs starting at $16k I can't see the hurry to get there. Why not do it more cheaply, arguably better, with a $20k incentive. Another thing is that FBO-style flight training makes a wonderful complement to college coursework. Study all day then go fly for a couple of hours.

Last edited by Cubdriver; 09-05-2007 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:34 PM   #24  
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As far as learning experience goes, people who have been in a variety of aircraft and training situations like tailwheel, single engine commercial, glass cockpit, etc. are more broadly experienced. I have noticed that academy cfis are not as adept at teaching, they learned a system more than a subject; but I doubt anyone cares very much about that.

I guess the thing is one should not go through life without a 4-year education, and by the time you have taken out your loans on that that plus $55k for ATP you are in some serious debt. If you go to college but go to an FBO you save $20k and will be that much closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. With flying jobs starting at $16k I can't see the hurry to get there. Why not do it more cheaply, arguably better, with a $20k incentive. Another thing is that FBO-style flight training makes a wonderful complement to college coursework. Study all day then go fly for a couple of hours.

I have a few problems with what I believe is the accuracy with your post. There are two things that make you an effective CFI, depth of knowledge and how you communicate that knowledge. Being that you have a tailwheel endorsement or glass time does not make you a better CFI then someone who doesn't. I used to fly aerobatics in a Decathlon and I can say it did nothing for me as a CFI. 141 instructors have both pros and cons. I believe that your 141 instructor usually has a deeper understanding of the subject matter because it has been ingrained everyday, 8 hours a day, for the last year. At a 141 school you have numerous stage checks at which you must demonstrate, hopefully, your somewhat vast knowledge of subjects so you have to know your stuff. Cons are that most 141 instructors lack "real world" flying experience, having never left anything outside their practice area unless on a X-Country.

Also, keep in mind that a part 61 education will take longer. So everyone will need to weigh the pros and cons with extra cost vs. an extra year of training.

Although I do not reccomend DCA as a flight school I do suggest the 141 school. After receiving my private part 61 I decided to make to make this a career I wanted to go somewhere and immense myself in flying; eating, drinking, and breathing it. You get this at a 141 not a 61 which are usually more laid back with their limited number of planes and availability.
 
Old 09-04-2007, 08:14 PM   #25  
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I disagree. There is little you can do 141 you can't do 61. 141 vs 61 has nothing to do with number of planes available. Heck, I know many schools train under both and use the same planes. I think you're making a big school vs little school argument, not so much a 141 vs 61 one.

There are 141 schools that are larger than little FBO's, no doubt. You can live and breathe aviation at either, it's really up to you. I think flight training is about you, your CFI, and the airplane you rent. The way I see it, 141 is only an advantage if you have VA benes to burn.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:32 AM   #26  
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I disagree too. I have trained and worked both part 61 and 141. The 141 system is cumbersome and inflexible...I believe it was actually created just to meet the VA requirements for vocqational training for military education benefits (GI Bill)...it was designed by one bloated government agency to meet the requirements of another bloated government agency

If you are a good study you can do most of your ground training yourself with a self-study course from the pilot shop. If you need a full-on classroom setting, there are a variety of places to go (flight school, local colleges, etc).

The only possible benefit to 141 might be lower hours to complete the commercial rating (PPL and IRA will almost certainly require more than the min hours). Unfortunately the 141 schools charge so much more more that it doesn't save you any money...so you spend the same (or more) money and graduate with less flight time. See a problem here? Airlines and other employers care only about total time, not 141 training.

If it makes you feel better, the school made out big time cuz it cost them less airplane time to get you out the door.
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:34 AM   #27  
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Dislipson is that the Sterling Flight Training in Jax, FL? If it is I can tell you its good place right now they only have 3 instructors but if your flexible enough and book it in advance you can fly everyday.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:15 AM   #28  
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Dislipson is that the Sterling Flight Training in Jax, FL? If it is I can tell you its good place right now they only have 3 instructors but if your flexible enough and book it in advance you can fly everyday.
Yeah, they are out at Craig Airfield. So they only have 3 instructors?

Alot of the post's before had a lot of good info. Thanks, this is giving me a better understanding of what I need to look for.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:25 AM   #29  
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I would give Skymates a call out of Arlington, Texas. Those guys are really good, fair price, and you won't spend a bunch. No matter what school we went to, we all had to pass the same FAA standards to get our tickets.
I went to DCA and while I was there, the training was top notch, however I wish I would have gone somewhere else, for CHEAPER!!!! (which I did, try Falcon Flight Sanford, just buy a block of time then pay the instructor apart from the rental fees, or try Skymates, both have web sites.)

Anyway whatever you do, hope it works out. Doug Taylor over at jetcareers.com can tell you about his experience as well as others about DCA. That's all I'm going to say.

Blue Skies!!
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:18 PM   #30  
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DCA IS in big trouble..as a former CFII, MEI and check pilot in the Mass base they have had a huge decrease in morale and profitability recently, the last few quarters especially. Last i had heard, DCA up in Mass is 1/4 million in debt, largely because of poor management, awful (and i mean awful) airplanes (mx costs add up quick), and improper facilities to perform those maintenance actions in a timely manner. By this i mean no owned hanger. The hanger used was across the main runway, and was usually 99% full due to storage. The airplanes at the Mass DCA are old, very old. Not only that, but every single airplane has over 10,000 hours..and some as high as 18,000 in a 172. All are from the late 70's early 80's and were in utter disrepair, barely airworthy. The inadequate facilities really made it difficult to get the airplanes started in the very low temps during the New England weather. Since we had no hanger, we had to preheat the airplanes with these prehistoric propane heaters, which did more damage to the instructors operating them (melting clothes, burning hands) than it actually heated the airplanes. Write ups would bring the planes down if they wouldn't start, not because of an actual mechanical problem (our Cessna's just don't like to start in very cold weather) but because the Hobbs meter would click over during the failed start attempts. Thereby leaving the student with an unacceptable charge on their account that DCA would have to swallow (most likely adding to the debt).

The unencumbered recruiting of students by both the affiliate collage and DCA did not help matters. As a dwindling instructor group (due to an industry wide shortage of pilots..from low minimums) got even smaller and smaller. Average student loads per instructor were easily over 10 and upwards of 15, and management demanded more still from the instructors.

DCAs strong armed bully approach to their employees has been well documented in the past, and has gotten worse in the present. As a student, you may think this does not concern you, but it does. If an instructor isn't motived, or happy to do his/her job, then he or she will never live up to their ability. The instructors by in large are miserable, the compensation is inadequate and the instructors can leave and go to an airline with out their "connections" at any time. DCA thinks otherwise, and will low ball their employees to do anything they can to make them stay, if this doesn't work, and if the employees attitude doesn't agree with DCAs (i.e. not a brown noser), they will straight up make your life miserable, including termination of employment. There have been many instances of management bullying employees to get what they want, at the expense of the employees career at DCA, their airline careers, or even their certificates. Pressures to fly unairworthy airplanes, and pressures to fly in unsafe conditions occur as well. Not necessarily from top to bottom, but they're high enough to cause problems.

DCAs training program is phenomenal, but they no longer have the support to sustain it (MASS closing for example) , or the resources to do it economically (questionable decision/reasoning on the SR-20s).

As a student for 4 years at DCA, and a senior instructor very recently, i cannot recommend a student goes with DCA. Your local FBO is the best bet. It's ashame what's happening, but the usual ups and downs of the industry, coupled with the flaws of DCA are really doing them in. I feel bad for the current students, but study other options long and hard before committing to anyone. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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