My Pan Am Ft. Pierce experience, so far.


New Member
I am a long time lurker on this website, and I decided to finally jump in and post about my experiences at Pan Am Ft. Pierce.

Disclaimer: This post is not meant as a response to other people that have had problems/issues with Pan Am. I don't know them, and can't comment/opine about their problems. The only thing that I will say about their posts is it sounds like they have some legitimate issues, and I honestly hope that they can get them resolved and get their training completed. After all, that is what we are all striving for.

Also, I am only commenting on what has happened to me directly.

I have been at Pan Am since the end of last year. I started with 0 hours and 0 idea about what I was really getting into. Sure, I have had a few issues with Pan Am. But, nothing that I wasn't able to get worked out. These issues were mainly about scheduling and administrative problems. To Pan Am's credit, these areas ( to me ) have improved over the last couple of months.

I have not had any issues with the level or quality of the instruction or the aircraft. I now have over 200 hours in Pan Am aircraft. I have had one squawk. This squawk was in a Cherokee I was using for a solo flight. The alternator light came on during the runup. I could not extinguish it, so I returned to the ramp. I squawked the plane, was given another to use and was not charged for the .2 on the hobbs. As far as the level of instruction, I feel that I have been very well prepared for all of my checkrides. I have had 4 so far (ppl, inst., comm. s.e., comm. m.e.) with 3 different examiners. I have not failed one yet ( I've jinxed myself now! /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif )

Now for the nitty gritty, money. I am one of the few who is on the "old" program. I was grandfathered into it and decided not to switch. I could see the advantages/disadvantages of the new program, but I felt that the program I was on was the best for me. Alot of people mention that it will cost you 15-25% more that quoted to complete the program. Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. But, if you start having a lot of repeat lessons, failing stage checks, and bust checkrides, then the costs will certainly add up. My costs, so far:

Private: I went over the estimate by a little over $1,000. I chalk this up to it taking me a little longer to "get" some of the maneuvers and landings, plus time off for Christmas doesn't help at that early stage of training. I also had an extra review flight the day before my checkride.

Instrument: I went over the estimate by $75. I attribute this one to my instructor being very good. Again, I had an extra review flight the day before my checkride.

Commercial Single Engine: I was under the estimate by $10. Different instructor than instrument, also a very good instructor. Once again, I had a review flight the day before my checkride.

Commercial Multi Engine: This checkride was 2 weeks to the day after my Comm. SE. checkride. I was under the estimate by $400. I was reunited with my instructor from instrument, and we get along well. Yet again, I had a review flight the day before my checkride.

So, I am about $700 over budget. That works out to about 2% over budget.

In closing I would like to say that I have had to work very hard to get these ratings. I have never studied so hard in my life, and it is only going to get harder in order to earn my CFI ratings. Could I have acheived this at another school? More than likely, it is up to the student to earn the rating. Do I think that Pan Am is better/worse that other flight schools? I can't answer that because Pan Am is the only school I have attended. Do I have any regrets about attending Pan Am? No, one year ago I didn't even know I wanted to be a pilot. Seven months ago I had 0 flight time. Now I have a Comm. ME. rating and will be a CFI at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. Thanks for reading, good luck to all!
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm going to go on the line here and say that if anyone believes this post was written by an actual student, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya!
And how do we know all the folks bitching about Pan Am dont actually work for Gulfstream? /ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif
How much for the bridge? /ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif

Seriously, like I said I have been lurking for some time. Actually, I have been lurking since before I started at Pan Am.

If you don't believe that I am a student, well, that is your right. I just finally got tired of nothing but negative posts about Pan Am. I just wanted to post a summary of my time at Pan Am. If I felt that I was getting a raw deal at Pan Am then that is what I would have posted. Send me a PM and we will talk some more.

I bumped into Perpetual today. You may remember him as a poster before he got to Pan Am. I also know Dakovich (sort of). I'll try to find them in the next couple of days and get them to vouch for me.

Of course, maybe they aren't "actual" students either. /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
I'll vouch for Pan Am. Believe it or not people, some of us have had good experiences here. I think your experience depends on how much effort you plan on putting into your training. For those who like to have things spoon fed to you, you will spend more money and it will take you more time.
Good lord, I think I had enough "extra training" at riddle that I probably could have purchased a type rating on something that burns jet-A.
hey, its very true that many people at Panam read these have no clue how many people come up to me and read my badge and ask if i'm Dakovich on jetcareers. thing is nobady but myself, Perpetual, and a couple more ever really post. so its not so inconceviable that someone new would post. panampilot, stop me and say whats up if you see me walking around, its good to know someone else spoke up on these strings.
How much for the bridge? The bridge costs 166,000 dollars which is approximately what you will end up paying if you stay and get all of your ratings at Pan Scam. And I have a quick question for any advocate of Pan Am here: explain the benefits of the Ace program to me please? Why would I pay 7000 dollars for the Ace program... especially when I can go somewhere else and pay 7000 dollars for a type rating? Chew on that for a while.
$166,000....maybe if you pay minimum payments for the length of the loan. but who does that, if you're smart you attack loans like this...just as you do with college loans. i should know, i owe money in all kinds of states that i am paying off right now. its the price of success, or at least i like to tell myself that. as for the ACE program, yes, at first i thought it was a big sham also. but then as i got into looking at the job market (mind you a very pilot saturated market) i noticed more and more that it would take a leg up in some departments to get ahead. check out the gouges on regionals who are hiring....many many many new CRJ's out there, and many to come. now, can you really say that someone who has had training on the systems and functionality of the aircraft the airlines want to hire you on for would have wasted $7000? i really feel it will give me an edge out there. put an ACE grad against someone who knows nothing of jet systems or glass cockpit environment in an interview (everything else equal) and tell me who is going to impress the interviewer more?? i'm not praising Panam or anything, i'm just saying that i came to see the possible benefits, and they made sense. check out web page and check the gouge. i'm sorry that some people had such bad experiences here at panam, i really am. i'm just happy that i am not having the same experiences.
Let's not forget that a flight school is first, and foremost, a business. My experience at Pan Am was also very positive, for the most part, but did not justify the outrageous price. Schools like Pan Am spend enormous amount of money advertising, and the ones who are funding that advertising are the students. They have made many promises to many people who have yet to see results. I have been a student at several different types of schools in the past and would say to the true aviation enthsiast: avoid the "pilot mills" and go to a local flight school. It will not only save you thousands of dollars, it will make you feel like you belong to the general aviation community. The pilots I know from smaller schools have been far more successful in finding a job because they have daily contact with real life aviation like corporate and regional operations. If you go to Pan Am you will be trained well, but you will be sheltered from many real world aspects of flying.
I think what you get out of a flight school is directly proportional to the amount of drive and dedication you put into it.

I went to ERAU. A lot of kids with lots of mom and dads money went there, thinking that they're going to throw money at airplanes for four years and pop out a 747 captain without putting any love into the art of flying.

Those were generally your pissed off and disgruntled students.

Then there were students that were full of loans, borrowed money and grants in order to make it through ERAU that understood the price of flight instruction and put their heart and soul into delving into the aviation world and were highly successful.

It all depends on YOU where ever you go.
Hey Dakovich.....I am not saying that the ACE program is worthless. I am saying that Pan Am lures people in with their HYPE about getting your money back and then making it damn near impossible to do that. I agree, any extra training helps. I just wish that Pan Am would disclose their shady business practices in a better manner than they do. They also LURE you in with the "promise" of hiring you on as a CFI, they don't lie to you about it, but in reality, they don't hire 90% of their own grads. I am glad you are having a good experience with Pan Am, however, IF you ever run into a money situation with them, kiss it good bye. Be sure to check your account every week, I am sure you have heard of people getitng charged for NO-SHOWS and cancellations that never happend. Just keep a watchful eye on their every move.

Why is everyone bitching about the money it cost's to go to Pan Am? If you did your homework you would know that all the flight academies (with the exception of ATP) cost about the same, all between $50k and $60k. If you want cheap flight instruction, go to your local FBO, and be happy. The academies offer more than what the FBO can. That is airline style training and scheduling. Whatever they call it doesn't matter. Try going to ERAU for $50k! If your late for flights, your car breaks down, and you always have a problem, then more problems keep coming up. I have a feeling people who had money problems at Pan Am, probably brought those problems upon themselves. Either by constantly being late, blowing money on beer and girls, or just not having actual flying ability, and having to take flight lessons over and over. If Pan Am routinely ripped everyone off, wouldn't all the students be complaining? And then the word of mouth would be out, and they would shortly be out of business. Some people never figure out why they get screwed. Its always them, and no one else. I wonder why? Try taking some responsibility for your actions and look inward, then you will find out why you feel like you got scamed.
Hey Turkey....In my case, I am not bitching about the actual cost of training at Pan Am. It is high, I knew that before I signed up. I myself am not bitching about the high cost, I am bitching about getitng ripped off for something that wasn't my fault.
My car decided to take a crap and cost me 2K worth of repairs, I lived 75 miles from the school. I notified the school that I could not make some flights and to please take me off the schedule. They continued scheduling me anyway, even though they knew I could not be there. Instead of NO-Showing my flights, I was courteous and cancelled. But they still charged me for the flights and the briefs. They also had several scheduling errors that affected many students, those students were chrged for stuff that wasn't their fault either. So I ask you, did I bring it on myself that my car crapped out? I had never had problems with it before, it has always been a good car, actually it was the tire that blew and the tread tore away all the fuel lines, and beat the hell out of the body of the car. Debris was sucked into the fuel injectors and had to be removed. Was it my fault that the car was in the shop for 3 weeks? Pan Am knew I could not be there for the flights and fraudulently charged my account.
In regards to your question of "If Pan Am routinely ripped people off, wouldn't all of the students be complaining? And then word of mouth would be out, and they would shortly be out of business!" Turkey, read these threads....people ARE speaking out, with the exception of maybe one or two. Word IS getting out. Sorry to rain on your parade like this, but it is a fact.
I wasn't looking for a spoonfeeding, I worked hard and did well, my flight hours were not excessive, Pan Am charged me for something they shouldn't have and then had the nerve to be rude and arrogant about it while I was still a student. Then they got worse after I left. When someone pays that amount of money to go to a school, you would think that the staff would treat the students like gold because that is what brings in the money (as well as the investors). But to be so arrogant about literally everything that is questioned, is just bad public relations.
Now I am sitting here on my butt, waiting for Pan Am to get their greedy hands off my money so I can continue my aviation education. Do you really think it takes 60 days to audit one account, cut a check to the bank and reimburse someone their money? HELL NO IT DOESN'T !! They sit on money that is not theirs and collect the interest, then they charge you a 2K fee for the administrative "efforts" on top of that and slam the door in your face. Again, while contractually legal, it is unethical to treat anyone like that.
So Turkey, as far as me taking responsibility for this, I DON'T think so. I did the responsible thing and communicated with my instructors as well as administration, and informed them of my situation. I am looking inward now, as you suggested,......hummmmmm...NOPE, didn't change a thing, they still owe me $1500.00 and the rest of my tuition...I did my part. Keep reading these posts, be informed, BEWARE PAN AM !!!

Whoever wrote "If Pan Am was ripping people off, then wouldn't everyone be complaining about it?" Well they have been, check the posts.

Dakovich, we've all benefited from your posts and I wish you good luck. However, I don't think you realize what it means to have a type rating. For the same price as the ACE program, you could basically have a license to fly the actual jet that the sim is modeled after.

As for the rest of my thoughts, I'm tired of yip yapping back and forth with people about whether or not Pan Am is a good school. Although the vast majority of people have agreed with me, I don't think this constant bickering is benificial to anyone or the website. Therefore, I am going to post what I've been trying to say in the general info section and stop spending so much time writing on this thread. I've posted my own honest opinions about the school, and that is all anyone can really do.
i do understand the benefit of a type rating, i did the whole ACE vs. Type decision. i just couldn't find a type rating that was within the price range (including ground school) that would make me marketable. i found many type ratings that ran into the $13000 range though, if you know of a cheaper way/place to get the ratings please let me know. i'm sure there are but i haven't seen it yet.
What good is a type rating if you only have 800 hours? Who cares if you have a type rating and you are low time. I am so sick of this type rating discussion. The airlines don't give a damn about the 737 type rating when you are flying BE1900's. Get over it!
My original post contained an error. I was not under the Comm ME estimate by $400. I was under by $200.