Farmington tour on Friday


New Member
Hey guys, I'm a senior at the Univ of Oklahoma and I am traveling to Farmington on Friday, October 11 to check out the facilities. If everything looks good, I hope to go through the PACE program next fall. Anyway, If there are any specific questions you think I should ask, let me know and I'll be sure and ask them. I plan on speaking to the chief instructor about their changeover to the CRJ systems and simulator program instead of their current B1900 classes.

Oh, and by the way, I have already asked about Freedom Air and they said no one is forced to go to Freedom, that it is totally optional in addition to Mesa Air Group.

So if anyone has any recommendations for questions I should ask, just let me know.

Hi Kevin
I am also interested in the PACE program through Mesa. Are they planning on phasing out all the B1900s and replacing them with CRJ?? You probably already know, but when??
Also I heard about full motion CRJ sims in Arizona some place. Will the PACE folks have to travel therer during their stint in Farmington?? Present all the details about the program when you get back, then I will have more questions!!
Good luck, Thanks, Cory
I spoke to the chief flight instructor and he said that they were getting an RJ FTD the end of May and that it will be in use for the Fall 2003 semester. He went on to say that the PACE proram will shift its focus from the B1900 to the RJ, and will replace the 1900 flight time with more time in the RJ sim. The program will be about the same in total cost, but will still be "pay by the hour", so it's not a firm number, but it's expected to be around $10-13K.

Do you live in Norman? I live in OKC and I'm also trying to figure out where my training will lead me. Does it scare you to enter this industry the way things are going right now? I'm just trying to make some decisions on my end and I thought it might help to talk to someone who is in the same boat.
Well, I'm not exactly comforted by the state of the industry, but I'm just trying to make the best of it. I'm not really a natural teacher, so I'd like to stay away from instructing if possible. That is why I'm considering Mesa's PACE program. It's relatively inexpensive, and it's my best shot at getting straight into the regionals. Mesa isn't exactly the best regional to work for, but it can't pay much less than instructing and at least I will be building turbine time.
Anyway, my other option is instructing at PWA at Air One. I have already talked to the chief pilot there and he encouraged my to give him a call if I decided to instruct. The instructors there are paid relatively well ($16-$26) and also do some contract pilot work for some aircraft that local businesses own, but don't keep a pilot on staff for. Nothing too big, but it ranges from a King Air C90 to a C182. Anyway, that's what I'm considering so far, but we'll see how the industry changes by next summer. If you have any other questions/comments, either post them or email me at (and yes, I'm in Norman)
Don’t you have to finish their 2 year college program at San Juan College to attend their flight program?
That is for their ab initio program. If you already have a four-year degree, 300 hours, and you Comm / Multi / Instrument then you can apply for their PACE (Professional Airline Career Enhancement) program which is one semester of ground school and Baron and Beech 1900 time and still guarantees you the Mesa interview. The cost is anywhere between $10-14K (vs. ~$60K for the ab initio). Next fall they are supposedly switching from the 1900 to the RJ FTD. We'll see.
Well, my impression of the place was favorable, but there were some trouble spots. The aircraft are the best I've seen as far as trainers go. If all goes as planned with their transition to the CRJ-based training, I think the PACE program is one of the best opportunities for a 300 hour commercial pilot. I can't say the same for the ab initio program, however, since I don't really know that much about it. From my limited knowledge, I don't really think it would be that great a deal considering the astronomical cost and the fact that you only get an associate's degree out of the deal.

Anyway, back to the tour part. Although I was quite impressed with their equipment and the PACE program in general, the staff did not seem very helpful, organized, or even that knowledgable about anything. I drove 13 hours to tour the place, had an appointment, and was met by a "tour guide" that was a first-semester ab initio student that had no knowledge of the PACE program at all, and little knowledge of the rest of the operation. All he did was show me the sim room, the dispatch area, and the planes. I then spoke to a CFI and asked about Mesa Airlines' hiring/interviewing situation and what bases most people were getting. No luck there either. He didn't have a clue.

Finally I was able to speak to the chief pilot and he was extremely helpful and knowledgable about everything. If I had not visited with him, I would've left very pissed off. He was able to tell me about the whole RJ program and what to expect from the entrance interview, course workloads, etc. I also was surprised by his honesty and sincerity. For once I wasn't getting a huge marketing pitch, but instead was treated respectfully and had my questions answered directly without a lot of BS to sort through. This carries lots of weight in my decision also. Honesty is becoming increasingly hard to find in the flight school industry.

Overall, my impression of the place was good enough that unless something changes, I will be doing the PACE program in Fall 2003 and I will hopefully have a regional job building quality turbine time by spring/summer of 2004. Much quicker and easier than the CFI route, especially since my heart really wouldn't be in instructing. Good luck with whatever you choose.