should i go??


Well-Known Member
hey guys,

I am looking to start flight school in january. I had intentions of going to pan am,So much so that i have submitted my application and a seat in the january class. but now iam looking at either ATA or Comair because of this message board. I really like Pan Am's facility and their planes. Nice, shiny, and new. I also like their progam, especially the route flying and ACE. But my main concern is getting out with a job and within the 80K loan that i will have to pull from key back which will inlcude my living expense.

Comair seems like the safest route to go, but i like it least out of the three because it has so many students and they dont wear uniforms. So should i go with my gut and go to the school that i orignally was planning on attending or should i thank this web board for keeping me away from pan am?


Yes, go with your gut. Read the posts from Dak and Turk about their experiences at Ft. Pierce. I'm very pleased with my experience at PanAm, I know that I made the right choice to move out to Phoenix.

Figuring about $60,000 for the PPL-MEII program, that leaves $20,000 for living. That may sound like a lot, but it can disappear very quickly if you're not careful.
Why should that fact that one school wears uniforms and the other factor in to your choice? Why would you want to wear a uniform during training? Airline pilots don't.
I know not wearing uniforms is a petty issue, but it just looks nicer. It gave comair a "messy" look.
Well I dunno about you, but they are training you to be an airline pilot and be professional, and when I dress smart, I feel smart too. But hey that's just me.

Uniforms have their advantages you know, you never have to decide on what to wear!

Which campus are you looking at going to blee? I think Pan Am is a good school only I'm not sure what your paying gives you good value for money as some other places may.
it really doesnt matter to me. i wouldnt mind going to either, they each have their advantages.
If you read a lot of posts and I mean a lot, you will see that many are unhappy with how Pan Am runs their business. Like I have said many times before, I received great training but they rip students off. If you go by what is on paper and start with private and finish the entire program, the cost is $52,304.60 on the 2002 new 61 program. Do you seriously think you will finish at the advertised price? You will easily pay $65k if not more for your training. $65k is a conservative number! Yes they have a great facility and new aircraft, but the only way for the school to make money is to steal from the students. READ all of the post if possible to get a clear picture of what it’s like to be a student at Pan Am, and learn from others mistakes. Ask them to send you a copy of the contract and see what kind of response they give you. Demand you receive a copy for your lawyers to read if they refuse, and ask how can they expect you to spend $80k if they can’t even send you a contract before you sign. DO IT! You owe it to yourself. Think real hard about that $80k you are willing to spend so you can go to a name brand school. I hope you don’t buy into their promises. You will get great training at Pan Am for a very high premium, but you can get just as good and if not better somewhere else at a much cheaper cost. They will fly you twice a day to squeeze as much money as they can out of you. Sometimes it is great to fly twice a day other times it’s not. And if you fly anymore than that it is a waist of money. Enjoy!
in this market, in this economy....well, i'd say take a much harder look at what you hope to achieve, and where you've narrowed your options to. reevaluate those options

do you have your initial training yet?? if not, go get it locally, save some $$$, and work part time or something to save up for your additional ratings.

do you have a degree?? if not, go get one. your dead in the water without it. if you don't have a degree then maybe consider one of the Aviation universities or colleges, kill two birds with one stone and save money. with the money i've spent thusfar i could have gone to one of them, gotten ratings, and also gotten a second Bahcelors degree. i just didn't know the game...ggrrrrrrr!

that $80,000 isn't just a toy, its going to be a huge burden on your back for the next 10-15-maybe 20 years. consider that, consider the hiring outlook (not what "x" school says it will be but what it actually is)...just take your time and think
just in replay to PANAMGUY: plan on at least $65,000 for all your ratings. the new loan limit is now $100,000 for a reason. i have done well througout, only have one failed checkride and will be in the neighborhood of $63,000 if i stick to the end.

used car salesmen always want you to go with your gut....they always want to sell you the really cool looking
piece of [expletive deleted], instead of the economical resposible car. mine was a '92 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD turbo! sweet car on paper but what a lemon!!

"YES, GO WITH YOUR GUT" : this statement would make me very suspiscious and very uncomfortable if i were asking for advice
Maybe I should have said that different. I meant that going to PanAm would be a good decision, so I think your gut is right.

I agree with Dak that you should get your PPL first at a local FBO. Take your time with your PPL, enjoy it. Fly when you want to, study when you want to. Decide if being a pilot is right for you before you plop down mucho bucks to an academy.

The PPL course is the biggest weed-out class, they find out that being a pilot isn't right for them. One guy last month had one lesson and decided he didn't want to be a pilot. Don't let that happen to you!

You were considering Comair or ATA based on what was written on jc? Did you check out their forums? They aren't exactly the stellar model of customer service.

Ever think about FSI?

Chunk <---No, I don't work for them. Yes, I am a student.
I would agree with the posts that say you should go to a local FBO first and do your private. That way, you can go at your own pace and find out if flying is right for you. Most of the academies out there offer a great program. Flight Safety and Pan Am are probably the most impressive to me. Good luck with your decision and make sure you listen to both sides of the story about each school. Some people have good experiences and some have bad.
Hey guys,
thanks for all your replies, all you inputs are noted. But here are some answers to some of the q' brought up. yes I do have a college degree. and I have no flight time. The idea about getting the ppl at a local FBO sounds like a very smart idea. One i will consider immensly,

I found this forum a couple weeks ago. I narrowed my choices to ATA and Comair before finding this site. I know ATA and Comair have their bad points on this forum as well. But at least from comair you here about people getting picked up by the airlines on a reglar basis. And as far as ATA goes, I just liked them the best, but i am a little hesitant with them because it sounds too good to be true. when they talk about guarentee jobs and no cfi needed, get hired with only 400 hours... and etc...

I really like pan am facilities, and i dont think anyone will disagree with tthe statement that they prolly have the best. But all these stories about failing checkrides and no one getting hired, getting blacklisted for asking for a ACE refund...its kinda scary.

And as for the 80K loan that i will have to pull, i look at it this way. I know its a lot of money. but i have friends going to law school and med school. they are gonna be in the hole up to twice my 80K. and I believe airline pilots have the same earning potential they do. Grant it, that pilots have a ceiling to their pay while lawyers dont its still a good chunk of money.

anyways thanks for everything, but at this moment in time i am leaning towards ATA.


If you haven't checked out FSI, you owe it to yourself to go for a tour. Even Panampilot would agree with fact, he did.

Good Luck with whatever you choose,

I looked into FSI but I just didn't want to be down in Florida. It's the whole humidity and bug thing. Not to say the heat in Phoenix is any better. I have a friend who is now going to Tab Express International. He paid a huge chunk of money for 80 turbine time in a King Air and they promised him a job with no CFI required. He is now done and they have nothing for him. He has 400TT and 80 turbine and nobody will bat an eye at him. He says in order to be competitive he needs 1000TT. I would be weary of a place like ATA that promises a job with that low of hours. Who knows though?
I never did a tour of FSI, but i did get their literature. There are so expensive. Butits casuse of the multi time your getting i guess. But the i hear that there is a year long wait for the stans class. I met a guy on the comair tour from fsi, he was switching to comair for his cfi because he cant get into the cfi class at fsi. And i know i am a long ways off from getting my cfi, but i am sure there is a lot of back logged people and its gonna take some time at FSi before eveything starts flowing as it should there.

And you can get your CFI, MEI, and CFII at ATA too for an additional charge. I think they quoted me it was 7800 for all three. Its a flat rate. But i was talking to a student thtere and he told me taht after airstage II you can get an CFI and CFII at no additional charge if you choose to, but you will have to pay for MEI. So i can always choose that and i think it will still come out cheaper than what the other schools are quoting as their cost, that the "average" student will pay for tuition.

Is there anyone on the board that has finished Pan am, can you tell us, if you dont mind me asking, how much all the training cost after everything was said and done?


You have been given some really bad gouge. First, there is no waiting to get your CFI at FSI. There is a pool for those who are hired and awaiting stan. That really isn't that big a can go instruct elsewhere and come back when they call you. It isn't that long of a wait and they are working hard to eliminate it all together. Oh yeah, and if you get hired here, your CFII and MEI are reimbursed. Plus above average pay and benefits.

I don't think FSI is more expensive than Pan Am.....It probably isn't that much more than ATA, if at all. However, you get *much* better training here. FSI's rep is untouchable. Go ask any pro pilot what they think of FSI. Put it this way...the US Government sends their NOAA pilots to train here. These are future Hurricane Hunters...they could train anywhere, they go to FSI.

Just do yourself a favor and tour the place....I know I'm pushing it hard, but I really believe in this place. Just check it out....take the tour, ask a lot of questions, ask stour students won't need to be sold on FSI...this school sells itself. This is your basic training for the rest of your career...don't skimp.

Hey chunk,
Which school do you go to? FSI or Pan am? I know that FSI has a great reputation. I really dont have a reason why I havent toured them. and for sure i cant afford a flight out there anytime soon.

I heard about the year long wait from a FSI student. I think it was more like 10 months. I might have a exagerated a bit by saying a year. I thought FSI was quoted at like 63K.

Do you have a AIM screenname or anything? Cuz if you did could u give it to me?