My experience at ERAU, Prescott


New Member
ERAU is not what is appears to be.

This is my second semester here at Riddle and I have some words of caution for anyone thinking about coming here for a major in Aeronautical Science. It costs much, much, much more to get your flight training at Riddle then it does at a typical FBO. That is 3 "much"'s because it is going to cost at least 3 times as much. The cheapest you can possibly get your Private's for is $10,000 to $11,000 - and only the best get away with it for that little. I would estimate that the majority of pilots here pay $13000 to $14000. That is just your private pilots license. The next step is your multi-engine which is at least another $10000. Realize that you could get that ticket at a normal FBO for $1000-$2000. At best an A.S. degree costs $120,000. With student loans you are talking $160,000. If you have that kind of debt your career path is chosen - you must be an airline pilot. It is the only aviation profession that makes enough money to pay off those loans in any reasonable amount of time.

So far that is only the financial side of things. Money is not the only thing wasted at Riddle, you also get to waste time. Sometimes a student gets screwed by not getting any regular flight time, but it is usually the waiting for check rides that really hurts. Imagine months of preparation for a check ride. It is the pinnacle of your training, where you get to prove your skills and show that you have what it takes. Information memorized, maneuvers honed you put in your paperwork and... get to wait a long, long, long time before you take your ride. Do you forget things? Yes. Do your flying skills atrophy? Yes. You are taken out of aviation for at least a few weeks to sit in your dorm room and wait. I had to wait for 6 weeks for my last ride. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: for each license you get at Riddle you get to take 3 check rides, not just the normal one. 3 times the wait, 3 times the money spent on check rides, 3 times the stress.

That is not all the time wasting I got to do. I had to wait for 3 more weeks to get my temporary pilot's license. If I had taken my ride at a normal FBO with a normal FAA examiner it would have been handed to me 10 minutes after the flight. No matter how hard I investigated where exactly my paperwork went after my ride I, nor anyone else, could find it. They told me it existed - but only in some limbo between offices. Here at ERAU this is affectionately called the "Riddle run-around".

Flight isn't all bad here though. I was blessed with an incredible instructor. He was intelligent, responsible, laid back, and friendly. He was an recent ERAU grad. and a family man who had wanted to fly for United since a child. I was lucky though. Some of my friends have instructors who go out drinking every night and come into early morning flights still hung over, if they show up at all.

The principles of safety taught at Riddle are the best things here. I can't imagine not having every checklist memorized for any plane I ever fly in the future. Especially the emergency checklists. This is something you will only get at Riddle. Sure, you don't have to go to Riddle to memorize a checklist but this is just a small example of how safety oriented this school is. It is this attitude that separates Riddle pilots from other pilots. It is what will keep you alive.

It is professional from the start here and that is reflected in ERAU's safety record. The planes very well kept maintenance wise and 180hp 172's are nice when taking off with 7000ft density alt.

Knowing what I know now, I switched my major to Aerospace Engineering (ERAU is the #1 undergraduate AE school in the country). A degree in AS will do me no good if I am not flying and it would be nice to have something to fall back on. Being an Aerospace Engineer doesn't look to shabby when applying for a pilot slot somewhere anyways. I wish I had gotten the core classes out of the way at a community college or in-state before I had come here. ERAU isn't world renowned for their English classes - one of which I am spending nearly $2000 on. Tuition is just $7000 a semester by itself! That is pretty damn expensive when you see that your major in-state university costs $2000 a semester.

My math and science classes are *great*. That is really the best part about this place. Those classes and professors are worth the money.

Girls are a bit scarce and they seem to know how valuable they are around here. That is dangerous ammunition to give a woman.

The food isn't very good. ERAU signed a 10 year contract with a food company named Chartwells. Every student living on campus (freshman and sophomores are required to) must spend about $1500 on a meal plan. They (Chartwells) are the only people allowed to sell food on campus and they can charge whatever they want. This means they have no desire to serve good food, being secure in their position here (and even their income!).

The students here are for the most part intelligent and driven. They know what they want and work hard to get it. The little partying that goes on here on campus is only on the weekends and kept very quiet. I like it - it keeps me focused and out of trouble. I don't know about you but at sunrise I would rather be climbing into the cockpit of a plane then stumbling back to my room.

I am definitely not giving up my dream to be a pilot by changing majors. I am now taking flight across the runway to the FBO like many others of my fellow students who feel the same as me. I will have the rest of my tickets for the price of multi-engine at Riddle. That sounds much better to me. Hey, I might even be able to get a job flight instructing at a local FBO next year, or maybe flying grand canyon tours after I build some time. I may not have all my flight training at Riddle but I might have a couple thousand hours when I graduate. Knowing how much money I am going to save in training feels good, and any money I make flying while still in school is going to feel even better.

Riddle isn't all bad - it just isn't the best way. For me at least.

You have to be a good pilot to pass a flight course at Riddle, but that doesn't mean that you aren't a good pilot because you don't go there.

And that is what I'll end with...
For ERAU flight: unless you have money (and time) to burn, don't go there.


[ October 23, 2001: Message edited by: PRCpilot ]
Keep your head up PRC Pilot! There are just as many horror stories from the left coast campus. My cousin has something like 90 hours and he just got signed off for his first solo. I though he might have been lazy or just a little dangerous, but I took him flying with me the other weekend and he was very knowledgable and had good skills.

It's true you'll spend lots more there for your ratings, but the aircraft are in great shape. There are lots of students who fly at local FBO's here to save money and for better scheduling. I'm happy to hear you have a great instructor. If you ever get one you don't like GET ANOTHER ONE! I would give them several flights, and if it doesn't work out, let someone know. You're the customer!

Keep up the hard work and it will all pay off!

This sounds exactly like Comair Aviation Academy.

Can I cut and paste this into that message board? (just kidding)

I have realized that 141 schools don't offer anything more than 61. Except they are more expensive. MUCH more expensive.

Comair student
Hello guys,
I am a senior in high school. I will get a 75% scholarship i know but the rest is up in the air. I am going after my private pilots now. Any suggestions on what i should do?
I transfered to ERAU-PRC in 95 from University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA. Came in my my ppl.

I am an AS grad who did not go into flying, I went directly to a Big 5 consulting company now making around 70k. I just quit, after 3 years. Going to get my CFI and instruct. I have to say if I could, I would instruct at ERAU. I had a lot of issues with ERAU, but I think the training is good, also I did not spend 10,000 on my multi. I have about 50 hours multi and if I recall right it was about $3 a minute. Do the math, it is under 10,000 and I have my Com Multi Insturment. I only have 207 total time.

Have to admit ERAU is not for everyone, but I think it is a great place.
Ok, I'll do the math...
50 hours * 60 min = 3000 min
$3 * 3000 min = $9000
$9000 + $1950 (3 credits at $650 each) =

mmmm... what a bargin
Pyrator, you will not get a scholorship at embry in the aviation science program if you had a 4.0 and 1600 sat. From what I understand they are just plainly not offered in that program. IT is all about supply and demand, people want it , so why should they give up a little money to help some people

WHen I applied I found out that they have a lot of money offered in the comp sci program and such, but not the "big" majors there. That was one reason I did not go to embry, they really do not offer all that much money, especially if you want to do aviation sciences.