American Flyers

EMcx2

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I'm interested in anyones experiences with American Flyers, either as a student or CFI.

Thank you, Happy Holidays
 

antney

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well be a little more specific on what you want to know. i been instructing their for about 1 and a half years.
antney.
 

EMcx2

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I'm looking for a place where I can earn my CFI/CFII/MEI and then instruct.

Would you recommend the place? Which location are you at? Do instructors move from one location to another? What sort of condition are the aircraft in?
Thanks
 

Freight Dog

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I went there in 97. I think AF has a good CFI program, except from what I've seen, you have to be really current and have your stuff together in order to complete the course for the price they advertise. Prices on aircraft at AF are just downright ridiculous. You can rent twins for price they charge for a solo in C-172.

My impression about CFI's there, and this was 4 years ago is that many would build total time there, and go somewhere else to build multi time like fly 135 freight etc. Also, back then they were charging $45/hr for a CFI while paying a CFI $6/hr.

I'd try freelancing at flying clubs. A few buddies of mine built up their multi time there, and took a big pay cut by going to the regionals.

Good luck!
 

ILLINI

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AF

I was an instructor at American Flyers - DPA for a little over two years. I just left this past October, so this info should be fairly current. IMHO, I think the American Flyers CFI/II prep is among the best i've seen. But like the previous poster said, you MUST be instrument and commercial profficient in order to finish in the time and money alloted. It is absolutely possible to get signed off in the 30 days they advertise (not bad for the price they charge). It might take you another week to actually take the ride because DE's are very busy and backed up. So plan accordingly if you are taking off work. The students that seem to do fine are the ones that just recently finished their instrument and commercial ratings. The ones that drown are the ones that haven't flow in several months or even years, or it has been a while since they have recieved their inst. and comm. tickets, or who aren't dedicated students. Not to say that you can't do it if you got your comm. a few years ago, just study up and fly maneuvers and approaches before you start the Academy. Be aware that you will be exected to do A LOT of studying on your own and be prepared to show up at 8am and stay until at least 5-6pm for most days M-F. The group concept works very well, and you are encouraged to use each other as much as possible. I personally know each of the instructors that teach the CFI/II Academy at DPA, and they are very good at their job and will get you done. Keep in mind, this is by far the most challenging certificate you will ever get, so do not expect any handouts. All in all I think they have a very good program. There is alot of self study, only about 10 hrs a/c, long days, and it is very intense. On the other hand you get excellent instruction and all the free sim time in a Frasca 141 you can cram in. Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game". IF you have any problems I would recommend talking to the Chief Pilot first and see if there is anything she can do to help.

I really wouldn't recommend AF to get your ME or MEI. They do offer it but it is VERY expensive and there are only like two schools, out of 16, that have twins. Flyers really caters towards the business person that can afford the higher prices. If price is your number one concern, look somewhere else for your PVT, INST, or COMM licenses and ratings. The Instructor Academy is one of their only reasonably priced programs.

I think American Flyers is a good place to instruct at. Like all companies, their are some complaints. But as long as you can deal with a little BS and some politics, you should be alright. When I left DPA it was just starting to get better. It is a good place to build total time in various types of aircraft. I got my high performance and high altitude signoffs for free from them. Their planes aren't the best out there but they are better than alot of the other smaller schools i've seen. Plus they just bought 10 brand new Skyhawks. Additionally, lots of customers use their own planes. Most of the ones I flew were nice complex and high performance singles such as a Saratoga, Commander 115TC, and Bonanza. Pay is pretty good, considering you are an instructor. As a full timer, $2000-2200/mo during the summer and $1500-1700/mo take home during the winter wasn't uncommon. Flyers tries to hire most of its employees straight out of the Academy. Wear a tie and act professional. At DPA, they start looking for prospective instructors on the first day of the Academy! If they don't have a spot for you at the school you attended, they will try to see if there is another school that needs instructors. Once you are hired at a school, they don't ship you off to another school unless you agree. There is however the opportunity to sub at other schools while you are there. I spent two weeks subbing in New Jersey... ALL expenses paid! There is also the opportunity to go on true XC flights for aircraft reposition flights. I've been from Chicago to San Diego, Ft. Worth, Atlanta, and KC. Again ALL expenses paid. Makes for a nice company paid vacation! Benifits aren't the best, but at least they have some. They pay for part of your personal health insurance, offer a 401k, and a weeks paid vacation all after a year of full time employment. Flyers is a good place to build total time, but don't expect much multi time unless you have your MEI and are at one of those two schools with the twins. Another good thing about Flyers is that you don't have to worry about finding your own students like you would as a freelance instructor.

All this was based on my experience while at American Flyers - DPA. Other instructors may have had different experiences at different schools. Be sure to look into ALL options for training before commiting yourself to any one school or FBO. I'm sure there are lots of other good schools or FBOs that other users can tell you about.

I know this was long, but I hoped I answered some of your questions. If you have any more questions about American Flyers or the one at DPA specifically, PM me (or antney, he was also an instructor at DPA Flyers that would be willing to help. might have a different perspective) and i'll do my best to answer your questions. Oh and in case your wondering, I got most of my ratings at a University (can you guess which one?), not American Flyers.

Good luck!
 

antney

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well ILLINI is right i do have a different perspective on american flyers. i think all their programs are priced ridiculouslly. you really have to be nuts to pay it. but on the other hand you get what you pay. the instruction is great. youll most likely get done at the times in the program if with the right instructor, like ILLINI was one of the best!!!!!! do i think they charge to much? YES, but i do think the eduactaion you get, you cant get anywhere else, atleast for the most part. i do beleive there are good instructors or better ionstructors than american flyers but i do think you get what you pay for. about the CFI program i beleive this is the best program out there for your CFI, CFII. you can get it done in the required time, but you have to be very profecient like statde above. ILLINI is right you will get great instruction in the CFI program, they use their senior instructors for the CFI program. not all of them are the 195 instructors, but dont worry about that.
 

antney

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i got caught off in my last post, the only thing im going to add is about worjing at american flyers. youll come to learn real quick that your not respected by some of the management, i qoute some, i can name one person in particular but that wont be fair. remember one thing that your there to build time, while giving the best instruction you can. its a great place to build total time quick, but multi time is another story. you pretty much have to purchase that on your own. the only way you can build total time quick at flyers is that you have to have a in on the schedule, or you might be in thetrainer or doing ground school all day, but thats for another day, i know one instructor that started in june with about 200 total time, he has about 800 now, so hes racking it up pretty nice. the one good thing about flyers is that the pay is descent. yuo can live off of what they pay, but the more time you work the bigger the pay check. i can write about this company for days. things are improving there vrey nicely, but dont let that fool you. if you have any questions PM me or ILLINI or any other flyer instructor that post. all in all i wont regret working there, i think i made the best choice posiible. i work at the chicago office. some aircraft are very nice, but some are very old, but like ILLINI said you can fly some students plane that are very very nice. well good luck, and dont even think of getting your multi at flyers, youl lhave to take out a mortage to do it, hahaha.
antney
 

Jetdemon

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Re: AF

ILLINI said:
Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game"[/QUOTE

That's just it!! I am the customer. I have no interest in "playing any games".
 
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bobbysamd

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T - What that means to me

Apologies to Aretha, but the truth of the matter is flight school managers do not treat line instructors with respect. I worked in five different situations and experienced several degrees of disrespect. The general mind-set is one of a plantation mentality.

In one well-known school, I was lied to several times about pay. Pay is sacred to most people, especially pilots. :rolleyes: In the same school, students were yanked from me without notice. In another situation, I was training two foreign students for their instrument ratings. They ran to the bosses and whined that they wouldn't pass their flight tests. I was shown the door after the conehead ex-military bosses accused me of not acknowledging a problem. Well, ladies and gents, there was no problem. The truth is we hadn't finished their course yet and, yes, at that point in time they wouldn't have passed their tests. The ex-AF bosses were unfamiliar generally with civilian flight training and with small aircraft specifically.

Not all places treat instructors poorly, e.g., ATC Arizona and IFTA. I have a friend(s) who worked at both and liked them. Unfortunately, it's something you put up with. Not that I cared to, especially. Just try to work as much as you can. It really is good prep for BS you will encounter on the way up.

Toss another .02 in the can for me.
 
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ILLINI

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Re: Re: AF

Jetdemon said:
ILLINI said:
Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game"[/QUOTE

That's just it!! I am the customer. I have no interest in "playing any games".

Jetdemon, the quote you posted of mine was in reference to getting a job as an instructor at American Flyers after completing their Instructor Academy. You're right, you are the customer. Up until the point when you hand in your resume. Unfortunately, one of the determining factors of weather or not you are hired as an instructor, is how you played your cards when you were the customer. "Playing the game" doesn't mean letting anyone walk all over you, just watch what you say and when you say it. SOMETIMES it's just best to keep your thoughts to yourself, bite the bullet and deal with it. There are several posts on this board (and the old one) that clearly prove that this is a game you must learn to play, not only with this or any other flight school, but within the industry.

Anyway, you don't have to agree. That's just my opinion.
 

EMcx2

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Playing the games, the BS, that's why they call it work. At least that's what my boss says. In my corporate job, you need wings to stay above the BS: the knee jerk reactions, the petty turf battles, poor planning, no planning. I know actors making seven figures whom complain about the bull; they think they have the hardest job in the world.

In the current business climate, what are the odds of being hired at AF if you go through the instructor program? How many schools of any type are hiring instructors?

Thanks
 
F

FlyersCFI

I've instructed at Flyers since January. The time racks up quickly, but I had to work 6 days a week for that to happen. I'm about to head off to a 135 company.....all in all...it was a good experience. I built good time and learned an enormous amount over the last year.
The training is top quality, but you are gonna pay for it. The rates just went up and they're going up again in January. Don't plan on doing any multi training here either because we got rid of all the twins over the summer. Apparently too expensive to operate....although I can't see how they can't make money on them given the rates they charge.
Lemme know if you have anymore specific questions....Good Luck.
 

bobbysamd

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"The games people play now"

Apologies to Joe South. Don't understand why I'm in a musical mood. :)

You're right, you are the customer. Up until the point when you hand in your resume. Unfortunately, one of the determining factors of weather or not you are hired as an instructor, is how you played your cards when you were the customer. "Playing the game" doesn't mean letting anyone walk all over you, just watch what you say and when you say it. SOMETIMES it's just best to keep your thoughts to yourself, bite the bullet and deal with it. There are several posts on this board (and the old one) that clearly prove that this is a game you must learn to play, not only with this or any other flight school, but within the industry. [emphasis added to original]

ILLINI hit the nail precisely on the head. Aviation is a very personality-oriented business. Stories abound about how lesser-qualified pilots were hired simply because the interviewers liked them. I saw it first hand a number of times.

Example: I had a student at Mesa who really was a decent enough student. He was prepared and would learn. But he did obnoxious things that antagonized everyone. He felt he was owed. No instructor wanted to have him. E.g., he demanded that I come in early to work with him, which I refused after pointing out to him my workday. He refused to be scheduled on weekends, which were two normal workdays for me. Then, he refused to be scheduled altogether. Then, he made inordinate demands on my time to finish his course. Finally, he argued with me vehemently during a flight, while we were on a clearance, on MY ticket. The upshot of it is Mesa students are scrutinized closely on how well they work within its system and how well they get along with people. This guy drove me nuts. The long and short of it is this student's conduct cost him the chance to interview with the airline. That, in no small part, was the name of the game at MAPD. The Chief Instructor said to me there was no way we could send such a person to interview because it would reflect very badly on the school.

Folks, even though you're shelling out $30K you still need to play the game with the higher-ups at your school if you want a chance at a job after you finish, even if you have to bite your tongue and maybe swallow some pride in the process.
 
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Slim

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I don't disagree with any single item posted on this thread. However, there are two items that need to be addressed in more detail...cost and instructor compensation.

First, American Flyers is expensive. One of the reasons they have such a high cost structure is they do most, if not all, maintenance in house. Another reason they are expensive is their facilities are set up to train students as rapidly and efficiently (at the lowest possible cost to AF!) as possible. Their facilities are set up to accomplish that.

Second, instructor compensation may vary from one school to another. When I taught for AF in FTW/ADS, I started at six dollars/hour in a part-time status. When I went full-time, my pay went to seven an hour. I left in 1997 making nine dollars/hour. I never made over $1,000 in any month there. Rumor, at the time, said instructors in Illinois made more because AF had to comply with state laws regarding medical insurance and state-mandated minimum compensation for full-time employees. I emphasize that as rumor. I do not know if it is accurate.

The CFI program is designed for the pilot who is current and proficient. American Flyers knows that and they also know a good many (like me!) come to them to regain currency and work toward additional certification.

There advantages and disadvantages to schools like American Flyers. Those who benefit are those who can commit to a full day for 30 straight days. If perspective students can't/won't do that, they should look elsewhere.
 

bobbysamd

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American Flyer$ pay

My friend, you were underpaid. I hope you got away from there quickly to bigger and better things. NO ONE should work for such low pay.

Let me provide a few 10-year-old-plus examples. You can adjust them up for the new millenium as necessary.

MAPD: I was paid $15 per contact hour in 1993.

FSI: I don't have my old pay records at hand, but in 1991 I was paid something like $10-$12 per contact hour. There was also some kind of bonus system in place for generating 100+ contact hours in a month. I also was on salary for a while at $20K+. I hear that FSI pays $15/hr now.

ERAU: Something like $11-$13 per contact hour in 1989, plus bonus for more than 1000 contact hours. I knew one guy who made great money, $30K+. I was paid $25K salary as a stage check pilot, which was generous pay in my .02 opinion and extremely competitive with commuter captain pay in those days.

I realize as well as anyone that instructing pays entry-level wages. But try not to take less than $10/hour if you can.
 
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antney

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i currentllt work at the flyers inthe chicago area, full time pay is 1200$ a month, for the first year, after that it goes up to 1400$. their are perks though, their is a trainer pool for full time instructors i believe 10$ for every hour the simulator makes revenue. after 100 hours of revenue time your pay is then hurly on top of your salary, its 12$ hour for up to 150, then 16$ aboove that, this increases after a year of time. you can easly pull in 1500 clar of taxes each month, thats not even working hard. i really dont know how other flyers schools work, i do believe its the same. i am now part time and my pay is 15$, but from what i seen you can negiotate this, not to sure though, im happy with 15$ im not in it for the money, but does not mean ill take nothing.
antney
 

bobbysamd

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AF Training

I just wanted to add that when I started at ERAU thirteen years ago an instructor who was training with me was an AF grad. He trained in Florida, I believe. I remember him saying that he started from zero time and flew 700 hours his first year flying. I remember him talking about applying at that point to Comair. Then, just over a year later with a bunch more time under his belt, he got hired.

Evidentally, the place works.
 

antney

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overall the school is probaly one of the best to instruct at. a lot of our instructors work at chicago express, while some are at some nice cargo or corporate outfits. american flyers is one of the most repetuable flight schools out there, is it the best i cant answer that ive only been at american flyers and panm in phoenix, i do believe panam is just as good, but the nice thing about flyers is that its a tight nit group of instructors, youll make lifetime friends with the group your with, i do believe that is more important than a lot of the other things that we have been posting here. everyone is in the same boat, and you meet some dedicated people that you can share the misery with.
antney
 

ILLINI

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Pay at AF

When I left the American Flyers at Chicago, DPA last August I had been there just over two years. During the two years that I was there, the way we were paid changed at least three times. Not really pay raises, but just different methods used. And I am pretty sure that each Flyers school pays its instructors a little differently.

When I left this is what a new full timer at DPA could expect:

$1200 base salary for 0-100 revenue hours
$12/hour for 101-150 revenue hours
$16/hour for 151+ revenue hours

After one year of full time employment you got a raise as follows:

$1400 base salary for 0-100 revenue hours
$15/hour for 101-150 revenue hours
$19/hour for 151+ revenue hours

***A revenue hour is that time billed to a student weather it was in the a/c, trainer, or ground.

The base salary is nice because you are guaranteed to make at least that no matter how many rev. hours under 100 you work. This comes in handy when the Wx goes to pot and nobody is flying. Like antney said, there are other incentives that go along with this as well. These bonuses can add an additional $50-150 to each paycheck. Additionally, if you taught one of the weekend groundschools, you were paid for 34 revenue hours for 24 hours of class time. Other bonuses were unlimited use of the Frasca 141 trainers, and a few hours a month in the a/c for proficiency... all at no cost to the instructor. Once a month we would have an instructor meeting and afterwards the school manager would take us out for dinner and drinks. We instructors ALWAYS took advantage of this. Tack on another $35 per instructor for those nights! My two years at Flyers were not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do not regret working there at all. Again like antney said, I made some life friends there and had a blast working with them while I was there! Come to think of it, I actually miss it sometimes. How wierd is that!:rolleyes:

Like I said, for an instructor, I think I made pretty good money at DPA Flyers. A heck of alot more than my first regional job.... while it lasted anyways.
 

Slim

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I left American Flyers in 1997. I spent about 18 months there between FTW and ADS. I had two other sources of income in addition to my wife's. She was a computer programmer.

We knew I was underpaid. However, that was what the instructor market was throughout Texas. I knew instructors at other schools who were paid six dollars/hour for flight time and nothing for ground and sim time. Comair Aviation Academy instructors were paid something like nine dollars/hour for flight time and four-five an hour for ground and sim time. That was also in 1997.

I worked part time with my CFI (got my CFII at AF) at another school prior to AF. I earned $12/hour there but had to recruit most of my own students.
 
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