Pan Am FL?

Pilot_Chad

New Member
Hey I'm considering Pan Am and was wondering if some of you on here that attend the Florida campus could answer these questions for me.

How do you like the school? Is it a fast paced program?

Once you complete all your training (PPL-CFII,MEI) does the academy normally hire its students to come back and flight instruct? If not where do the students typically go?

Finally, Pan Am claims that they have conditional employment offers with several regional airlines. Are Pan Am grads getting hired by these regionals in times like this? What kind of hours are the grads. getting hired with? ( I personally would want to goto Mesaba but its looks like their having some troubles within the company)

A reply with some answers would be great. I appreciate your time!

Chad
 

theman

New Member
I've been here about 6 months at the FPR campus, and here's basically how things are... It's moderately paced until you want to slow down, then they speed up the pace... once you get used to the fast pace and you're ready to just bust it all out, they throw things into stop... sometimes even reverse. If they have any agreements with the airlines, its just that PanAm can use their name in the advertising. No one from those airlines are walking around here, and from what I understand, the couple of contracts that PanAm did have are no longer existent. While the ACE program sounds wonderful, and most people are happy that they did it, $7k seems like way too much money to spend on a jet transition course with time in a "FTD" that you cant legally log (they didnt even mention this fact until students in ACE started complaining). Another thing that I wasnt aware of or told about until I moved down here is that you have to sign a contract, stating that if FOR ANY REASON you decide to leave PanAM... it will cost you $2,000 or 10% of the remaining cost of training... whichever is cheaper. It is true that you can get your $7k on the ACE program back if you dont have a job within 6 months of reaching 800 hours TT, (the six month mark coming up for many instructors) but one of the instructors was told by someone in admin that if you requested your money back, you'd more or less be black listed by PanAm, and would never receive recommendation from them. Due to the economy, there are several instructors here with over 1200 hours, have been here over two years, and only 4 have recently gotten interviews. There are 4 DPE's here, and who you get pretty much determines how you'll do. One goes straight down the PTS and is quite forgiving, the second only does about a third of the PTS and will pass you as long as you keep the shiny side up, the third goes strictly by the PTS with no room for error, and the fourth will fail you if you even think about going outside the PTS or if he thinks your oral was "memorized and not understood." Sorry to take up so much space, but you asked and I couldnt resist venting as much as I tried to. Every place has its ups and downs, but here they give you the s**t and tell you to eat it with a fork and knife or "sign your papers and go home." If you have any more questions, believe me, I have many more answers.
 

flyallday

Well-Known Member
If you could do it all ove again would you stay home and train at your local FBO, or sill go to an academy
 

theman

New Member
Well, I would have thought about transferring over to the AZ campus, but after reading the posts here, I think that is out... I'm very thankful I got my private at an FBO, kind of wish now that I had gone to ATP.... still might do that to finish out. At least at ATP I dont think I'd be paying $600 for a ground school that spoon feeds me the GLEIM. Maybe that is why the FAA pass rate is so low around here...
 

theman

New Member
Absolutely.... I firmly believe that the CRM program is the best thing I have ever done so far in my education... if anything, this school was worth the CRM and Route programs for me. I dont think there would have been anyother way for me to total 102hours multi PIC in just under two months, other than by coming to PanAm. The emergency procedures I learned in the Hawk, were absolutely amazing. Even by leaving the school in general, and by paying the penalty, what I learned in CRM and Route would more than make up for that. On top of that, I have to say that flying in south Florida has really made my radio skills top notch. Like I said in my previous post (I think) every school has its ups and downs, PanAm just seriously lacks in customer relations and basic business skills and judgment. In my experience, they would rather tell you to leave than help you work out your problem(s). What they dont understand is the basic concept that one happy customer tells three people... one unhappy customer tells a dozen. Just by not being willing to work with students, three that I know of have left over the past two weeks... I dont plan to stay much longer, unless the PHX campus is better and I can transfer there. But considering where the three people left (because they wanted to delay ACE to the end of CFI/II/MEI training or not take it at all), PanAm lost a minimum of $45,000 worth of tuition. Considering a couple of college friends wanting to pursue a career in aviation that I have steered away from here, there's another $90,000+ that they have lost. If they'd be willing to negotiate, things would be better, but the two main guys in charge will tell you up front, "If you dont like it, then sign your papers and go home." Turk, it isnt that I intentionally want to bash PanAm... God knows I've had my share of good experiences here. But the bad has recently been outweighing the good, and the future here looks dim to me. You're just in the middle of your private right now, so you havent been here long enough. Just wait a couple of more months and let me know how things are going for you. I personally wish you all the best here, but for me, this place could be better.
 

franknes

New Member
You say you started there with your Instrument Rating 6 months ago. At what stage of the program are you at now and were you able to do your instrument within 8 weeks and on budget? Do the stages take longer than advertised for most students?
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
Theman didn't have anything good to say about Pan Am, because there is nothing good to say about Pan Am. I read those posts carefully and there is no embellishment in them either. Unfortunately, that is the reality at Pan Am. However, despite all the facts he, myself, and others have listed, there are still many naive suckers out there wiling to plunk down over fifty grand for their ratings. Consider this: even on this website, where tons of ex Pan Amers have vented their frustrations about the place, there are still those who think it's a great place and want to go there.
 

Snow

'Not a new member'
Hey mav I thought even you said the training was good there? So you can't say nothing is good about the place.

And if your wanting to do your ACE class last.. why don't you just enrole in one course at at time? That way you can pull out mid way if your unhappy or take a holiday or whatever without penattly, that's what I'm seriously considering doing.
 

theman

New Member
Apparently they dont let you do that anymore... when I signed up, they never gave me an option or mentioned doing anything like that. I was told in so many words that I had to sign a contract for the entire program.

To answer Franknes's question... I'm getting close to the end of my training (still have CFI's and ACE scheduledt to do), and I have to say that so far, I have come in underbudget on everything except Route, because they upped the price of the seminole by about $20/hr. Stage checks around here dont take long, because fewer and fewer students are coming in every month (could the word be spreading?), and each instructor only has 2-3 students.
 

franknes

New Member
Why don't the students organize and stop flying (for a week or even a day or so). Call the newspaper, AOPA, and some industry magazines so they can cover it with a blurb in one of their sections. I think this kind of publicity would get the administrations attention that they need to listen and make some changes. It seem that if there are enough disgruntled students it shouldn't be that hard to get them together.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
Well there are some good instructors at Pan Am, but that is just them as individuals. People aren't evil, but greedy executives looking at bank account numbers and never seeing student's faces tend to become quite nefarious. Besides, when the best flight instructors I had at Pan Am started complaining about their bosses, that's when I first realized this wasn't the place I saw in the brochure or tour.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
Also, it would be very difficult to get AOPA or one of those organizations to post anything negative about Pan Am, since Pan Am pays those organizations a lot of money in advertising. Ever wonder why you don't see any ads from Pan Am on jetcareers here? Like Doug says, he bites the hands that feed him. Pan Am won't give this website any money because nothing is skewed here to help their company. AOPA doesn't want to lose that income.
 

TheFlyingTurkey

Fetus Worshiper
From what I have seen, and heard here at Pan Am, the complaints I have read here are the exception and not the norm. It is very very simple: If you show up for your flights, study, and come prepared, you will have absolutely no problems with the administrators.

If you plan on having your car break down constantly, you get sick a lot, like to party instead of study, then dont bother coming here.

I have studied more in the past 3 weeks than I did in all of high school. ( I was lazy then) All that hard work got me the highest GPA in the PPL class. Since I want to be an instructor here, that's a good thing.

Bottom line: each person makes the most of their own experience. Work hard and it will be good. Dont, and it will suck. Easy choice?

The Turk.
 

FLDiver

New Member
Turk,
How do you PLAN on having your car break down??? How do you PLAN on being sick??? I do understand that it becomes a problem if it becomes EXCESSIVE. I know in my case, just one event of having car trouble set up a whole chain of events that eventually led to me disenrolling from Pan Am. Pan AM's administration was directly responsible for my decision to disenroll. I had to deal with the administration and got to see first hand how ugly they can get. I do agree with you that you get out of it what you put into it, that is true for ANYTHING in life that you do. As far as unhappy or disgruntled students are concerned, doesn't it seem that there are more and more unhappy and disgruntled students starting to come out of the woodwork at Pan Am? It may be true that some of these bad circumstances are the exception to the rule (other wise Pan Am would have gone under a long time ago), however, people must understand that no one goes into this school actually planning on having a bad experience. Most people actually think that it can't or won't happen to them, WELL IT CAN !!! Even if you study hard and play by all the "Pan Am" rules, bad stuff can still happen to you, and when (and if) it does, the Pan Am administration are definately NOT there to help you. At most places, if students were dropping or investing large sums of money into the company, the company usually would treat them very well. The admin at Pan Am just haven't got a clue on how to do that. Its their way or the highway !!!
I have read most of the other schools boards on this website, I don't find nearly as many disgruntled students posting on those boards as I do on the Pan Am board. There MUST be a reason for this. Prospective students really need to think twice about going to a place that has as many dis-satisfied students as Pan Am does. Can the school get you from point A to point B? Yes! Can you do it cheaper elsewhere? Yes!! Can you get good quality training elsewhere? YES !! Can you do it faster elsewhere?? YES !!!In todays questionable market and with the increasing costs of training, and the lack of job openings, wouldn't you want to invest your money in a more secure place? One that respects YOU as a person and a pilot? A place where you are not just a number? A place where they actually care about you, your education and your future? After all, YOU are THEIR product. But YOU are also THEIR customer and YOU are spending YOUR money to go there. You EXPECT to be treated well at your favorite restaraunt, YOU are THEIR customer. Why is it any different at Pan Am? Anyone who passes through Pan Am's doors becomes an involuntary spokesperson for the school. You would think that Pan Am would realize this and start working to help their students through the temporary tough times instead of exacerbating the problem by being inflexible and totally unforgiving. WAKE UP PAN AM !!!!!
 

theman

New Member
I agree with you 100%, Turk... I have studied more in my 6 months here than I did all four years of college. You only get out of it what you put into it. But just hang around a couple more months, and you will see what everyone is talking about.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Hey Turk, yeah maybe 10% do alright and can make it through in under 60k. That fig is probably more like 5%. Just ask around how many people have gone through the program exactly as advertised.
If no one, and I would put money on it, does it exactly as advertised then how do they get off advertising it as such?
 

Snow

'Not a new member'
Those all seem like valid points FLD, but what places offer the ACE program AND airline style instruction? The only two I can find are Pan Am and ATA and Pan Am seem to have better facilites. If those are 2 major things your are looking for then you don't have a lot of options.

As for the car breaking down... buy a pushbike :p
 

FLDiver

New Member
Almost ALL the bigger schools offer "Airline Style" training. Most offer CRM and all of them go through similar "Airline Style" Call Outs as well. As far as the ACE is concerned, NOT ENOUGH BANG FOR THE BUCK. Its a good learning experience and thats about it. You don't get to log that time in your logbooks (from what I hear) and by the time you finally get hired on with an airline (after you instruct for at least a year or two or three or four), the training will be but a faint memory...but that HUGE loan payment will come every month. My point to all of this is...why pay some greedy company to treat you like crap. If you want that, hell..pay me, I will abuse you and treat you like trash, then charge you more money for leaving once you get sick of the abuse. The training you get at Pan Am is NOT superior to other schools but you sure do pay more for it. Again, in todays market, with no jobs available, fierce competition with pilots that have many more hours and experience AND 4 year degrees, it just seems extremely unwise for someone to go to Pan Am and spend more than they need to on training and get treated like crap at the same time. Your training can be done elsewhere during these rough times for cheaper. The airlines could care less where you were trained, why not save yourself some money? It seems to me that Pan Am capitalizes and profits from people who have big dreams. They lure you in with big promises, nice facilities and new aircraft, once you are there, things seem to go great for awhile until you notice that bank account quickly dwindling down...this kind of reminds me of a vampire movie hehe. As far as the car problems for me...go back through and read my posts on "Beware Pan Am", that may clarify a few things. I won't rehash all the things in that thread. I just want people to know what can happen to them and that they CAN avoid Pan Am and still accomplish their goals. Good Luck To All !!!
 

franknes

New Member
I don't see much discussion about the ground schools. How are they? Do they prepare you for the writtens and are they good precursors to your flight training? Also, do they move at a good quick pace?
 
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