Any experience with Mazzei Flying Service or Epic Aviation?


Well-Known Member
I posted this on the FBO page but there's not near as much traffic there. I hope you all don't mind it being posted here also. If that's a big no-no I'm sure it can be deleated.

I'm looking for smaller flight schools to take my training and these are a couple that seem to stand out above the rest. They are very different in some respects but both impressed me after the limited research I have done. I will probably be taking a trip to visit each one but I would like to hear some experiences if anyone has any.

Go into your personal profile (click "My Home" at top), and then edit your profile. Add your City/State so that people have an idea what part of the country you're looking. You'll probably get tons of replies when people see you're from their stomping grounds.
Hi, John!

I posted in another thread that you started and mentioned that Mazzei was one of the schools that I had checked into while searching for my "match." After a lot of consideration and thought, I have committed to Mazzei and will be heading to California in a few weeks. As I said before, I have not started yet and only know what I have seen from the outside, but I'll try to explain what made me choose them over all of the other options out there.

First, I am a BCU certified kayak guide and instructor and a professional photographer who leads tours and workshops. I also spent some time teaching high school English. I am very concious of instruction quality and methods, recognizing that every student is unique and has individual needs. One of my first attractions to Mazzei was their commitment to hiring and producing instructors who know how to fly AND how to teach effectively. As aviation academies and FBOs go, there are many that are equally dedicated to flying, but I didn't find any that were as committed to teaching their instructors how to teach.

Second, when I visited Mazzei, I had free reign to speak with anyone I wanted. Students, instructors, owners, support staff, mechanics . . . they were all available. The recruiter, Jerry, let me walk the grounds and the offices alone so that I could speak candidly with whomever I chose. What impressed me was that, though people mentioned little things that they thought could be changed for the better, everyone was very happy with the program. I even ran into five people in Fresno who had attended MFS in the past and were extremely positive. (They did not attend the Professional Pilot courses - just private instruction.)

I was welcomed into the cockpit of the aircraft, taken on a tour of Mazzei's maintainence facilities, and allowed to backseat during a multi-engine lesson. Though the aircraft are not brand new, they are impeccably cared for and only one person I talked to had ever had an issue with a plane being down for a scheduled lesson.

Fresno Yosemite International is a great airport and provides a mix of traffic. Corperate, light recreational, regional, and military traffic are all present. As for weather, there are a few weeks in the winter when the fog rolls in and the rain falls, but it is usually clear and sunny. Unfortunately, I am a lover of water, forests, and green things, while Fresno is dry, brown, and hot most of the year. Luckily, though Fresno isn't my favorite place, the mountains and coast are both within a few hours' drive and give me easy escapes.

As for the future after Mazzei, I know that one of the instructors I talked to on my visit was just hired by a regional. (Congrats, Ben!) At least a few others have been taken on by the neighboring corperate operation. Though places like Delta Connection Academy sound great to me and might get me into an RJ cockpit faster, I firmly believe that I will be fine going with Mazzei, too. If I am a good pilot, good instructor, and have the qualities that an employer is looking for, I think I'll find a job. As Mazzei is a lot less expensive than many of the bigger academies, I'll also be a lot happier when it comes time to repay the loans . . .

I saw that you've listed the Mazzei web site. I'll assume that you've seen their promises, programs, and prices, so I don't need to tell you about those.

For who I am, how I learn, what my goals are, and what I want from my time at an academy, Mazzei seems as perfect as any school could be. I won't start for another 4 weeks, but I am quite confident that this is the right choice for me. Much like the last road bike that I bought, there were little things that I'll need to change or get used to, but, as a whole, the fit was much better than anything else I looked at. I am sure that they aren't for everyone, but I would encourage you to give them a chance.

Good luck, John!


Thanks for the reply's. I did go update my profile. Just for reference though. I'm a 34 year old mechanical engineer looking to make a career change. I also love the outdoors and whitewater kayak as many chances as I get. I've only been doin it for 2 years though. So class 3 is as high as I have ventured.

Both Mazzei and Epic have been great on the phone. Like I said. They both have plusses and minuses. A big plus for Epic is the chance to fly 200 hrs in a 747 cargo jet as a first officer. You pay more but you leave the school with approx 500 hrs.

Shoot... meeting in the cube farm.

A big plus for Epic is the chance to fly 200 hrs in a 747 cargo jet as a first officer.

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I wouldn't pay for a job that someone else should be getting paid for. Also, what cargo airline is allowing Epic's students to fly as a FO on a 747? I think you will want to look more into this company.
I was kind of thinking the same thing but it's an experience that no one else offers. Of course... I don't really know if the benifit is worth the price. Maybe it would serve me better to take that money and invest it towards picking up more hours.

any thoughts on that?