How absolutely sad


New Member
It has been a few months since I've posted, some things haven't changed ( Chunk still pluggin away) but some sure have, and it's NOT good. After reading so many of Flight Safety's latest posts I am more discouraged than ever. I went for my second tour at FSA in Oct. 02 and the ASA program was supposedly being revived. I was extremely thrilled and knew I'd probably be on board in Jan-Feb 03 time frame vs. Comair ( although Frank @ Comair has been the absolute BEST marketing employee there by far and I have NOT ruled them out ) and have been tying up millions of loose ends with my business and family to get there. ASA seemed to be really the only option because the instructor route did not look good ( six month wait at that time) and ASA was supposed to be picking up 5 hires per month as a start per Elder. I am two days away from my flight to FL to put my deposit down on a school ( Comair or FSA ) and am shaking my head. I am wondering if my love of flying will allow me to be sucked into this current craziness or if my brain will come through and show me the logical side. My business partners are calling me the Kamikaze Kid for leaving a lucrative position for this endevour. Isn't that how we are all suckered and put up with all the bull thrown at us, because we LOVE to fly, it's in our blood, we can't get enough? To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory, however if I may use this as an analogy, "flying VFR in IFR conditions is just plain stupid". Heart vs. head.

I have overcome so many obstacles in the past 37 months to open the opportunity to go to flight school. I have my PPL. I cannot afford
( not financially, although, rightly so it is of great concern to the vast majority ) to not see a light at the end of the training tunnel to a potential job that can't even be available for up to two years. It does sound crazy when you say it out loud. I'm now believing love of flying needs to be tempered with current realistic conditions.

If even the "best of the best' are being passed over for IP positions at FSA what message does that send to the informed? Well, that the IP's lucky enough to be currently employed are going to be there MUCH longer ( they'd be crazy to leave ) and that the IP's on the waiting list better look elsewhere and actually have to, and the students coming up in the system don't have a prayer. Sad and very discouraging. The ASA program class now ( and no more classes in the near future ) not getting a second look until 2004? Please.

$50,000 and rising. Situation is dismal. Why go to school at FSA? Well, some say the training is second to none. I did my own comparasion some time ago and yes, dollar for dollar with Comair, FSA provides more multi time, and more specific training, and perhaps better training. Where do both schools put you when the $50,000 is all used up and you are scratching your head? Again, the situation appears by all accounts dismal. What to do? Or should I say what would a sane, non-flying person do? Rah, Rah.

Perhaps I should find one of those excellent trained FSA IP's who are waiting two years and recieve the benefit of their excellent flight training at whatever FBO they are "lucky" enough to have spent $50,000 to get to and for half the price of FSA or Comair be trained. Either way I'm going to be hard pressed to find a job, even if I'm the best of the best so it seems. It's not FSA or Comair's fault of the current aviation climate, however, both schools need to speak realistically, reputation is everything in business. They both need to be very careful in these times.

For me, I'll see what I do in two in days time in FL. A year lease somewhere...$50,000+ dollars. My love of flying. Any other viable options? Time to make some tough choices.

Just my thoughts from a potential student looking in from the outside.....Doug, I could use an employed commercial pilot's take on this right about now.
I'm at FSI now, and feel the training is superior. In reading your post, I can understand your dilemma and it raises one particular question: What is the rush? It's a given that things will improve at some point in the future, and if I had a lucrative job (which I did not) I might consider staying and delaying my entry to flight school. I have heard from many that now is a good time to be training and to be ready for the upturn when it happens, and I generally agree. But there is no need to get into a frenzy and rush down to flight school-if your situation is good now, and the job is not replaceable, I would wait-that costs nothing. A love of anything always needs to be tempered with reason and rationality, but especially so now. FSI isn't going anywhere, and will be here when you are ready. The marketing people at any school would of course like you to come now, but they are just doing their job.

About my situation, to provide a reference of perspective-I was in the IT field doing fixed-length contract jobs. I'm at FSI now, but will likely pick up another IT contract when I am done here, waiting to be a CFI or for the ASA program to resume. My job was replaceable. I've taken a lot of crap over this from other people that I am not committed to a flying career, etc...because of this plan, but it is realistic and rational. When I am waiting to be called back, I will be able to afford to fly and keep current.
Thanks for your comments. What is the rush? There is no rush. This date to fly back to FL has been on the calendar for months, what I choose to do is at hand because I will be in FL in two days, so decisions should be made. As I said this is a HUGE process for me due to career and family... simply cannot pick up and go and what seemed "good" three and a half months ago is looking worse and worse... it seems to be the current trend and when this trend will halt or improve is anybody's guess. My opinion, it will continue to worsen for a while longer. Pending decisions about Iraq will only make things worse if war is declared. I suppose I could "wait" it out but that doesn't fit well into my whole game plan with built in contingencies as it is.

I too did the PPL with work & family it took me much longer than some, that is why the structured daily living of flying, ground school, etc. is very appealing to me. Get it done. Get it done right. But it has to flow in a fairly timely manner from training to employment, not years as some have stated and probably is fact. It would be difficult for my situation to start, stop, wait, start, wait, etc. Mine is pretty much a one time shot... I have numerous committments.

All I was trying to convey was that it is so sad that three months ago looked better than today and three months from now will probably not be better. It's a gamble, I know. I just got hooked on flying and want to do it full time, as a career, not just here and there between career or the other if you know what I mean. I think your plan is rational. It is good that you can get employment between your waiting periods. I mean really, what else can you do? One certainly doesn't fly to become rich, one flies because they love it and couldn't think of much else they'd rather be doing.

I plan to speak with Frank @ Comair one last time and to Jay Elder. I've heard from Frank nearly three times a month since I was there in October. Very professional. After I received my "free mug and pen" at FSA after my tour I haven't heard a word from ANYONE there. Great follow up. FSA in my opinion REALLY needs to get on the ball about being more personable and following up with perspective students. The recent poster's comments about his tour (or lack of) at FSA has been repeated more than once by many prospective students. If FSA doesn't make it more attractive to join them
( with the current trend the sweet treat would be to entice prospective students with less $$ rather than focus on non existant job interviews or IP positions. FSA will not go under) student enrollment will continue to go down, and it's a snowball effect from there all the way to the currently employed IP's. Take care of the student paying the $$$ and the rest will follow.

I will try to be more optomistic. Good luck and thanks for the reply!
It's funny you say about the follow up calls. I see two ways, I definitly think a follow up call is good. But to me, getting alot of calls would be like them pushing themselves on me. I got that feeling at a lot of schools in Florida, too much like they were selling me a car. At FSI I enjoyed their approach to marketing the school, I felt absolutely no pressure. Hey, if I want to call them, I have their number to ask questions. I don't need some guy in a cheap suit telling me how I can be flying in some RJ in 12 months.

I wouldn't base any decicions on what a marketing rep says, base it on what you see and hear.
I agree with Baronman here. One of the great things about Flight Safety Marketing is that they dont keep calling you. They are happy to answer questions and they know you have the 800 number. Other schools certainly gave me lots of "follow up calls" when I was still in limbo about which academy to attend, and I viewed each call as a point against the offending school. I know that when I filled out my evaluation sheets when I left FS I thanked marketing for the zero pressure approach and suggested that they keep it up.
Hi. Thanks for the replies. I value "follow up" calls. Perhaps not as many as I have received but at least ONE saying something to the effect, "Thank you for visiting our school. Now that you've had some time to read over the material do you have any questions I can answer? Would you like any updates on our programs and services? Can I offer you further assistance to locate housing here? We appreciate your time and thank you for taking the tour and hope to see you here soon." You catch my drift. What is so difficult about that? It's common courtesy. Makes one feel as though they too are important out of the 25 who took the tour that month, and more importantly, that they HOPE to see you there. I personally believe you must take care of your bread & butter, or at least make them feel they are more important to you than $$$$ signs. (cash cow) Just my spin, I believe it has helped me succeed.

But that is just one part of the whole equation. You would think one follow up would be in order for FSA considering their IP's are starving for students. If I were an instructor there I know I'd be wondering what FSA is doing to get student enrollment up.
>>If I were an instructor there I know I'd be wondering what FSA is doing to get student enrollment up.

I'm a student here and wonder the same thing. They are probably doing all that they can right now, but I agree that things look somewhat worse than they did even a few months ago. I wasn't sure if it was just me, having moved to FL and removed myself from my normal routine, or if it really did look worse to others on the outside. There have been several people hired recently, two I met personally. One is going to Cape Air and one to Chataqua, and there are supposedly several more. But these are high-time people, and Cape Air requires an ATP I believe, to give you an idea of their qualifications. I know several people who came here with the intent of doing the ASA program, but are now rethinking their decision since the program is on hold for a while-not everybody wants to be an instructor.

I'm planning to stay here, as I said before I really like the structured training and the organization. If you're willing to put a lot into it, you will get a lot out of it. I plan to get the absolute best training, pay a lot for it
then get a job and instruct part time wherever I can.
In terms of marketing and calls I guess it’s a case of damned it you do and damned if you don’t. I would rather not get a single call from any marketing department. To me the effort is nothing more than trying to reel a person in to buy. I would prefer to make the call if I have any questions. I can understand your point and there is probably an even split on opinions about this. FS just happens to take the less intrusive approach, and in my case it was a positive point.

As far as feeling more important than $$$, my experience while at school was exemplary. How great the marketing department treats you before you sign is not always reflective of how the staff & administration treats you once enrolled. I was always treated like a valued customer when I was a student and that treatment carries on after you leave with resume and job support. I give FS marketing, administration, & the teaching staff very high marks.
Everyone considering FSA is too concerned about the job prospects as a CFI here at FSA. FSA is not the only place to find a job. I am taking my CFI checkride tomorrow and already had a job offer from a flight school in New Jersey as well as a tentative offer from a school in Orlando provided I come with a CFI-I. Don't choose a school based on whether a job is available there upon graduation. Choose it basd on the quality of training. I am disappointed and hate the current IP situation at FSA, but have absolutely no regrets about doing my CFI here. It was a great program and I feel well prepared for the checkride.

To Journey and anyone else reading this post and considering FSA:

I started here in July with a Private and 125 hours. I am finsihing tomorrow with a CIME/CFI and 340 hours. It was money well spent and I have no regrets. I highly recommend FSA to anyone looking for a career in aviation. I have had job offers for a CFI position based on the fact that FSA is so well respected. The IPs here are top notch, the staff is friendly and helpful, the maintenance is impecable, and the students are friends. Good Luck to anyone looking to start an aviation career and best of luck to new incoming students at FSA!
I am taking my CFI checkride tomorrow and already had a job offer from a flight school in New Jersey as well as...

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Good luck as a CFI, and thank you for your advice with FSI, I'll be attending as soon as I can make it out of active-duty. I just hope that the Jersey flight school in question is not Garrett Flight Center at BLM. Stay away!

I declined the New Jersey job for many reasons. I think it was Garret Aviation. What is the deal with them and why did you say stay away? Just curious! Glad I declined the job!
First off, bashing flight schools is not my thing.

I fly at a different FBO at BLM (Monmouth Executive/Allaire), and it seems that a bunch of CFI's were leaving Garrett and jumping over to mine (Eagles View). After a while I became drinking buddies with a few, and they told me that the proprietor of Garrett is horrible in the way he pays, treats CFI's, and maintains (or lack of) his aircraft.

They were reluctant to discuss the situation until they knew me however, but after all, this is Jersey! They could get kneecapped for talkin' smack!

If you're interested in BLM, here are the two FBO links:

Eagles View

Garrett - too cheap for a website

Good luck!