Anyone else hear about this?


New Member
Just to show how low PanAm is sinking, here is something that I heard today that completely blew my mind. PanAm recently changed its policy on check rides so that the student would not be able to know who his checkride would be with until the day before the ride. This policy was further amended (I believe starting last week) that the student would not know who the checkride was with until the DAY OF the checkride! Today a student (about to take private or instrument check) went to the Chief Flight Instructor to find out if he could see who his ride would be with tomorrow. The Chief told the student to send him an email about it and he would get back to him. The student explained again how the checkride would be tomorrow and that he'd really like to know, and the Chief instructor called scheduling, which apparently was not of assistance and told the Chief it was a "managment thing." The Chief, who could see that the student was understandably unhappy with the situation, took the student to see the big man upstairs. The student asked the big man about the checkride, and the big man asked the student if he wanted to ask that question again. The student did, and the big man told the student that because of his attitude, he would not recommend the student to any airline, and the student was to be disenrolled immediately. What the hell has this place come to? I'll post more when I find out more information.


Well-Known Member
Dude, no wonder we keep getting you guys coming up to FSI to tour....I'd bail on that place. YOU'RE THE FRIGGIN' CUSTOMER! If they have a good reason to institute a policy, fine, but to put the smacketh down on anyone who asks an honest question about it, that's just wrong.



New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Now if it's a checkride for a rating, you might as well get used to it because at the airlines, we don't know who our checkride is with until about 12 hours prior.

As long as you know the required critieria to pass the checkride, you could have the checkride with Adolph Hitler and it wouldn't matter- As long as you're prepared.

That's basically the way things work in the real world of aviation. I wouldn't worry about it because you're going to see it again....and again...and then some more.

Who do I have for recurrent in 2003? I don't know and I really don't care because I know in advance that the checkride is going to cover certain things, and be prepared for the worst, most anal check airmen on earth.

That way, when I go thru training, it's a breeze because I've already trained for the "worst".


Well-Known Member
problem was people were calling off sick on check ride days because they were getting scheduled with a certain DPE whom no one seems to want to fly with. bad rep. or whatever. also, some jackass who i won't mention by name went balisitc on one of the shceduling staff becuase this individual passed his stage check one day and was placed with the above mentioned examiner the very next day. yeah, that situation sucks but it could have been resolved by the students and instructor pretty easily without any confrontations.

i do say that it sucks a bit not knowing who your DPE is going to be....only takes one person to screw up things it seems

students issues with this are:

-the 3 guys we use are completely different in terms of how they give the exam

-the 3 guys focus pretty deeply into completely different areas ( nice to know if you should concentrate in some area)

-students pay $300 for the ride and want to be extra prepared as not to spend another $300

-good students just want to be extra prepared for the ride, and have to suffer because of some others idiots actions. although sometimes, if you're a good student, they'll give you a heads up


Well-Known Member
I am not a Pan Scam student, but would like to add that it should not matter who your check airman is. You should be able to pass your checkride with any desiganted examiner. There is no better feeling than passing a chceckride with the guy everyone fears. Sure we all would prefer to have the easy guy, but it helps your confidence when you pass with the hard ones. As long as the examiner is fair, you should be able to pass no matter how much of a jerk he is. Flying airplanes is stressful, at least it gives you a gouge on how you fly when you are under some intense pressure, chalk it up as a learning experience....just my 3 cents...


New Member
Rage On! For one, this policy is the worst in aviation. I had the opportunity to talk with the guy who was kcked out for asking the fat man about the policy. He was very Pro-Pan Am prior to this. It is needless to say what he thinks now. Several of us are considering a move to another school out of disgust. There is a petition that is circulating, I've already signed it! Beware that the 9 month wonder is already instilling fear of repercussions! This policy sucks and who is paying $55,000 for a recommendation from someone who hides on the second floor and has no professional aviation experience. Pan Am has become a laughing stock among its peers. The day will come when the bank comes calling for the planes and the lights get shut off all because the fat man, spineless and the 9 month wonder were all too right and let all the high paying customers hit the road instead of listening to their concerns. He is a great guy, and a great pilot, he'll be at the majors with or without the Pan Am Mafia's recommendation.


Well-Known Member
Let me get this straight....the customer got kicked out of school for asking a question to management with the chief flight instructor there who is the one who recommended him asking in the first place? Ludicrous.....

As far as finding out who the examinor is i don't feel you should know ahead of time. Yes they all may concentrate on different things but the whole point of a test is that you have to know ALL of the material/maneuvers. Preparing only for certain ones because a DPE is known for asking about those is cheating yourself in the long run. What if he decides to switch things around on you because he realizes his MO has gotten around to students? Then you are basically up [expletive deleted]'s creek.......make sure you are prepared and you should be fine.


Well-Known Member
well of course you should know what is necessary not only to pass the exam but also to fly safely and profesionally, thats not the issue. if you just wanted to pass because you knew what the examiner would ask there is a school out there that will get you through that names

so whats wrong with a heads up? whats wrong with knowing how the DPE operates during an exam? just so you know, the school teaches in a much different manor than the DPE's would like things to be taught. i'm not talking knowledge base, i'm talking flying based. every DPE i've had told me to throw away my Panam issued flight manuevers handbook and to rely only on the FAA products. i mean its not to difficult to just adjust how you do things in the air, but when a DPE is known to fail people for doing things that are common practice as taught by your instructors, wouldn't you like to know????


New Member
The person who raised the question is more than a competent pilot. He's not one of the guys barely hanging on. It is clear that many of the instructors who know him will vouch for that. However, when you are laying down the bucks, you have a right to an explanation of any policy change. The DPEs are the same at Pan Am, FSI, Aviator and who knows where else. Found out today, that Aviator is the only flight school in Florida that has experienced an increase in students since 9/11/01. Why? Two words PAN AM. Pan Am has no regard for the customer paying the bills. If the planes were old, there would be nothing there. I estimate they will be bankrupt within 2 years. If the DPEs are too predictable for Pan Am, maybe they need to find a bigger pool of guys to use. When they start paying for all my training, I'll freely accept any policy change without question. It is an outrage about the guy Pan Am got rid of. None of us who remain are safe for the fat man's wrath.


New Member
Wow...and I was begining to think that I was one of the few that had problems at that place. My complex is fading fast. Not that I am glad that other people are having bad experiences at Pan Scam because I am not, but all of these stories that are coming out of Pan Scam give my own story even more credibility. The place should be run out of business because they are surviving despite themselves.


New Member
Who is this Big man? I went to PanAm for 8 months is Phx and although I did'nt agree with many of their policies I never met anybody that seemed to be that rude. This must be a Florida situation....correct me if I'm wrong.


New Member
Here in Phoenix the policy on checkrides was changed, and one of the reasons was to save the students time and money. What would happen would be that instructors would stack the rides so it would look like the examiners were booked for three, four, sometimes six weeks out. However, the system was changed so that the checkride was not scheduled until the student passed the final stagecheck. Then the student is scheduled for a checkride, which typically takes place one to five days later. Under the old system the student had to wait weeks after taking the final stagecheck, thus ensuring extra flights to remain current. With the new system the student can go straight from the final stagecheck to the checkride without any extra flying, and can save time between ratings.

In Phoenix if an examiner is failing students because they are doing Pan Am procedures the management works with the DE, and if a solution cannot be found that examiner is no longer used. All the examiners will give you a fair ride based on the PTS. Pan Am’s checkride policy isn’t much different then ATPs, your checkride is already booked with an examiner there before you show up and there is no way they would change it to make you happy.

It sounds like they need to either talk with an examiner, or ditch him entirely in Florida.


Well-Known Member
the one fella who was failing people for some really odd reasons no longer is used by our campus. and i wasn't refering really to them so much failing people for Panam PTS procedures as i was about them constantly asking "why do i keep seeing all you guys performing this manuever the same wierd way?"....not saying our manuevers manual is crap, just saying its nice to have a heads up on how whoever likes to see manuevers performed if they differ from how we are taught.


New Member
Dak, can you give an example of what this guy was actually looking for? What was the difference in the Pan Am manuvers and the standard PTS and why was there such a difference?


Well-Known Member
I agree with what others have posted in that it should not matter who the examiner is. At FSI you found out at 4:00pm the afternoon before your ride. At the same time I can't comprehend a school that would have such a militaristic attitude on inquiring about school policy. Unlike working for an airline you are paying big bucks not being paid big bucks. Asking any question related to your training should not only be acceptable, but it should be encouraged.

I do have to laugh when I hear that students were canceling if they learned they had a specific examiner. I bet I can guess who it was. I am pretty sure this same person also does Part 61 check rides at FSI where he also has a negative reputation. I had him for single engine add on ride and I will be kind and just say his poor reputation was well deserved. I passed but what a miserable sod he was to fly with.


I think you guys who mentioned 'it should not matter who the examiar ius.....' are REALLY missing the point, the matter of the fact is the lack of customer care Pan Am are providing to its students!!

Such behaviour is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by anyone (especially not adult customers!!). I would report them to the better business bureau and play cat and mouse games with any oustanding debts, and threaten legal action over breach of contracts (if it is in small claims, it is too complex afterwards). Companies who upset me, certainly hear about it, companies who look after me (most notable AA, there customer service is grand), gain loyalty like no other!!


New Member
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paying $55,000 for a recommendation

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New Member
I sent the following e-mail to Pan Am's Corporate Headquarters. Hopefully it will provide some relief for you guys still at Pan Am. It's obvious that the management (and I use the term very loosely) at the Ft. Pierce campus isn't interested in what you have to say. When all else fails - go to the top.

Dear Sir/Ma'am:

I went to PAIFA (Ft. Pierce) for about a year and a half. My impression was that the ariplanes were first rate and management stunk!

I'm not alone. Do you want to know what students REALLY think of Pan Am?

Go to (this is a VERY widely read website for potential students to get unbiased information on flight training). In the left margin, select the "main" menu and go to "discussion groups". There's a section on flight training with all the major flight schools listed. Go to the section on Pan Am and take a read. You aren't going to like it.

Specifically, go to the thread, "Anyone else hear about this?" If you can read that without taking action you deserve to go out of business.

It never ceases to amaze me how Pan Am can do the "hard stuff" so well (i.e. spending a small fortune to have top quality airplanes) and TOTALLY blow it on the "easy stuff" (treating your customers like human beings).



New Member
I sent letters to the Corporate HQ addressed to the CEO, I also sent letters to the training directors in Ft. Pierce and Orlando. I even sent a letter to the representative govenment official for that area AND to the CEO at Key Bank. I got a few replies back, particularily from the training director at Ft. Pierce and from the CEO. The CEO just basically blew smoke up my rectum (my canal had a working over at Pan Am and is still a bit raw) and stated that he would look into the problem and have someone contact me immediately...a month later I got a reply from Ft. Pierce...same ole same ole. Judging from what I have been reading on these forums lately, Pan Am has definately NOT changed any policies for the benefit of the students, they are only in it for themselves and YOUR money.
Prospective students, if you are thinking of attending a pilot mill type academy, do yourself a favor and bypass Pan Scam.


New Member

Well, you certainly did far more than I did so I guess I won't hold my breath awaiting a reply.

It's incredible how stupid these people are. Think of all the companies that spend big $$$ to have surveys taken so they can find out what their customers like, don't like, etc. All these flight schools have all that info handed to them on a silver platter .... and they absolutely ignore it! If any of them acted on the info available at they'd have the best flight school in the U.S. I used to think you had to be smart to run a company. I guess I was wrong.

I guess the only thing we can do is just continue to post the info here. At least we've done our part and made it available to students if they choose to search for it.

Here's a question for everyone. Is there ANYONE at ANY flight school that's happy? I really don't know what school to recommend to anyone any more. It seems they all stink.