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There are many to choose from, and they will all be very happy to see you sign on the dotted line. All I can say is be careful with what you hear and see. Some are good, and some are bad. Currently, I'm looking into FlightSafety in Vero Beach, because some of the pilots I talked with had good things to say about them. I was looking at Pan Am in Phoenix, but I started to hear some bad stories about them, and have had serious second thoughts. I of course heard good things about Pan Am as well until... My preference is to stay away from the ones that aren't accredited. FSI and Comair are accredited, but Pan Am isn't, so I'll be looking at the two in person sometime this spring. Sorry I can't be of much more help at this point, but maybe some of the others will, and I will certainly keep my eyes open.
One thing I might add is that all of the Pilots I have talked with have told me it doesn't matter to the airlines whether you get your ratings through an FBO or a full flight school. One thing that matter to the airlines BIG TIME is a 4 year degree.

Edited to add:
By the way, welcome to the forums, and congratulations on your decision to fly!

Originally posted by Erik R:
FSI and Comair are accredited, but Pan Am isn't,
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What makes you say that? Pan Am is pretty big and well known, and they do have 2 locations. It is at least as accredited as Comair.
1st time I have ever heard anyone complaining about Pan Am.

What do you mean by accredited anyways?
A school is either accredited or not accredited. The last I checked, Pan Am is NOT accredited. What I mean by accredited is that Community Colleges, Universities and private post secondary vocational schools are normally accredited by an accrediting body like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) which is the one that FSI and Comair is accredited through. A school can be big and bad, but they don't always have to be accredited.

This site on Overview of Accreditation can explain it better.

Here is the ACCST site to learn more about the process.

Before you spend a bunch of $$ on school, make sure you know and understand about regional and national accreditation!! Like I said, a school that is accredited is a plus for different reasons.

One thing to note is that it's more difficult to transfer credits from a nationally accredited school or college to a regionally accredited school or college, but not vice-versa.

If I'm not mistaken, nationally accredited schools mostly base their education on a specific core curriculum (eg. flight training, computer training, etc.) Whereas a regionally accredited college bases their education mostly on an academic curriculum that doesn't always involve "hands on training" (like Flight, Computer, etc). There are a few that are different however, and I'm no educational expert, so I might be totally wrong. If someone can explain it better, that would be great. At any rate, DO YOUR HOMEWORK on this so you are aware!!

As far as the complaints about Pan Am, there are quite a few on the Pan Am forum.

You might look at Florida Institute of Technology. It is located in Melbourne, Fl So far, I have not heard anything negative about it. I'm strongly considering this school for my training.
I second the idea of getting your PPL before taking the step to bigger school like FSI. You will probably save time & money. I got my PPL a few months before starting at FSI and I certainly would have been unhappy doing that part of my training here (too slow). I am however very happy with the commercial/instrument portion of the program.

Take the time to look at as many schools as possible. If you have time try and see the schools that you may have already written off. If they are truly not worth attending at least you will know why they are no good, and the benifits of the better schools will become clearer.

Keep an open mind & take any comments you see about specific schools with a grain of salt.
Hey VINCYPILOT you said you have no experience in flight training.. I would strongly recomend you get your PPL or a couple of hours of Flying Time before you put your CASH in anyone of those BIG time Flight School.. and i don't thing any of those school can take you straight to the Majors... if your Lucky you can get into a regionals.... But best of luck in any of your decision.. i would get my PPL( or a couple of hour) before getting into any of these BIG TIME Flight School...( just my thoughts)
I received my CIME from FSI in May 2001 and finished the (now defunct) ASA program in August 2001. While I was at FSI, I met several people who had transferred from other flight schools, and usually they had good things to say about FlightSafety in comparison to those other places. The school does a good job of teaching you, but they are on the expensive side, if not the most expensive. They will prepare you for the airline environment, and you'll do much more mult-engined flying than at many flight schools.

I'd recommend getting your PPL and building some hours first. In the 141 Flight School environment, there is a syllabus for every lesson and almost every activity (ground, flight, whatever) generates paper work. The rigid structure can be stressful, but most of the students there try to help each other out.

I don't mean to start any battles with people who have gone to other flight schools, but this is what I heard while at FSI. I don't know anything specific about Pan Am in Fort Pierce, but the FAA examiner I flew with did not have many good things to say about them. I've heard that the instruction at ATP is not as good (in fact, my partner in the ASA program was from ATP and did not succeed in completing the program.) My roommate, who came from ATA in Orlando said that they were a "mess." I also heard from many that the students at Comair were very competitive with each other. Now, I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of these comments, they are just what I heard from other students who had experiences with these other schools.
I've heard ASA is draining it's pool...are there any talks about the ASA program reviving?

How bad is the backlog of instructors @ FSI? Is anyone being hired out (to anyone, not just ASA)?
I start Private Audit on 03June02...keeping my fingers crossed that I'm not jumping into a bottomless pit of guys looking for jobs with no one climbing out the top.

Chunk &lt;--gettin' the butterflies about leaving a perfectly good job, dropping serious coin, and having to work at Wal-Mart waiting to get a CFI job!

I was speaking to several current CFI's about the backlog. Based on what I am hearing I am not optimistic about staying around to teach at FSI. It sounds as though it would be at least a several month wait. I know that my CFI finished up as a student late last spring and was not teaching here until January. The fact that you are not starting until June could work in your favor, as there seems to be plenty of current instructors that are ready to move on if they get the chance.

Is anyone giving any offers to move on (hiring)? Or are the few instructors that are leaving just moving on for moving's sake?

Chunk, I would not worry to much about the back log now because in about a year from now when you get done with cime, sead, cfi and the fsi interview it will be totally different. It could be the same, way better or twice as bad. Enrollment is picking up, cfi's are starting to leave and the industry is slowly gaining ground so my bet is way better for you. If you want to be a pilot get use to the industry alway's changing. Welcome to FSI and have fun, worry about what to do later, later.
Hey Chunk, I'm here at FSI, we've written/responded to each other before. I think things are improving here, I've seen some instructors leaving, some airlines stopping by to pick up resumes (I think COMAIR was just here). I wouldn't worry if I was you, like someone just said, by the time you're worrying about becoming a CFI I think this will all be resolved.
Thanks guys for the encouragement. I'm just one of those guys that likes to have everything planned out to the nth degree. Not in an anal way, just hate to be suprised by anything!

We're all gonna have to get together and toss a few (diet cokes [a.k.a. liquid crack] for me!)when I get there. I owe somebody @FSI a PBR, but I don't remember who. Oh well, PBR's all around! (That's all I'll be able to afford!)

Take it easy,


Regarding ASA program, there is no solid information at this time. I have heard from a couple of different sources that ASA will be needing approximately 40 pilots/month and that the hiring pool has been drained. Whether these new hires will be CFIs, furloughed pilots, or fast track students is not determined. Personally, I would expect that a fast track will not open up until the pilot job market revives and the airlines have to start competing for pilots again.

Other companies that I have heard are or will be hiring are Comair, ACA, Piedmont, AC Jet.

You might want to consider registering on That way, you can see who is interviewing and hiring, plus get interview gouge for those companies.

I agree that by the time you finish the program, things will probably be looking up. I don't intend to still be instructing by that time.
MMmmmmmmm....Pabst Blue Ribbon.....Grrhhhhh...
(Homer Imitation)....I'll be waiting for the beer, I'm the proud winner!!
this whole thing about accredited or not really does not apply to many of the pilot mills such as panam, FSI, etc...

they are all, for the most part accredited under the FAA as part 61 or 141 schools as stated in the FARs. university and college accredidation really only applies to the relm of college and university. if you plan on getting a degree in aviation(purdue, ERAU, etc...) then it matters. we're talking about degrees at such institutions, not certifications as with the pilot training mills.

so, to be accredited as stated doesn't really affect the non-university flight training facilities.