Spoke to the Co-owner (Jerry Dilk) on the phone today


'Not a new member'
Well I called Westwind today, the admissions person was on another call so they put me onto the owner! I have to say I was impressed at their website and school newsletter. I have heard people were impressed with Jerry's honesty from other posts on here and I say that I was quite impressed too! :D

The owner at Westwind told me they and Pan Am used to have the same prices but it seems they had to jack the prices up to cover the costs of all their new Seminoles and CRJ sims. He basically said the multi route program was a money earner for Pan Am, he said you'll get about 100hrs multi time instructing with Westwind anyhow and if you need more you can always hire a twin with the money you save there.
He said ACE program wasn't really necessary, you aren't going to be flying jets when you get to a regional at the beginning anyhow. They run a simular kind of program only its in a B1900 sim and is done by actual regional airline instructors. Supposed to be just like the annual check ride the regional pilots do.

He told me that only about 50% finish the program, most dropping out after a few weeks, he told me if they drop out after a week or two often they get a complete refund!
I was impressed to say the least. He said he's had Pan Am students come to him in tears because they charge the $2000 fee AND keep your money for 60 days, so you cannot start training again until 2 months after you quit Pan Am! he said If someone didn't want to stay he didn't see any point in trying to twist their arm to stay.

He said how at Westwind they all know that the students are the customers and without them, no one gets paid. That and not many flight schools have the owner's office at the school and a open door to who ever wants to have a chat.

He also said that you are guaranteed a position as a flight instructor working there providing you start with a private licence or less. He said it's quite possible to get 100hrs of instructing time per month as an instructor, you basically work as much or little as you choose (limited to 8hrs a day of course) Another plus is that the school also takes in 'custom students' that is anyone not in the career pilot program. He said there's about 200 career students and 120 custom students there right now, so there's no lack of students to teach. He said after the 20 month program you should have 1200hr TT and 100hrs multi, more than enough to start applying to the airlines. He also said that 100% of the flight instructors there goto the airlines! (providing they don't take a job as a Alaskan float plane pilot or something :) Plus it's not a matter of, you must take any job that comes your way but rather work as a CFI until you land the job you want, wether it be cargo or passenger or whatever.

Well there you go, that pretty much sums up the 30min or so conversation I had with Jerry Dilk over the phone.

I was so impressed in fact, that I'm sending my application tomorrow! I was hooked on Pan Am before but I figure the extra that Pan Am offers isn't worth the extra money or administrative problems!

So if everything goes to plan I should be starting at Westwind on October 6th 2003! :grin:
Hey Snow, good on ya! I guess I PM'ed you before you posted this. I think it is a good decision. THanks for the feedback on the owner, he sounds great. Good luck, keep posting.
Snow, when will you be starting? I am supposed to start there next month. I liked the fact you don't have to sign a contract, but I don't see a lot of posts about the school on here.
When am I starting? I suguest you read my last post a little more carefully :p (October 2003) I don't think there are many posts on the school because this forum is new, it's only been here on Jetcareers since June this year, so that's 5 months. I actually hadn't heard about them until someone mintioned they were next to Pan Am AZ and since they're across the street from each other I thought I'd check them out, and I'm glad I did. You can never do too much research. Here's a bonus, the application fee at Westwind is $25, at Pan Am it's $500! I almost need to take out a loan just to apply for Pan Am! :grin:
Well I have about 180hrs logged 747 passenger time, does that count? :p I have flown a Piper Cherokee for a grand total of 2hrs with a avation intro course I did back when I was in high school, I also did some work exprence at a flight school, stuff like cleaning aircraft windows and binding aircraft manuals. But I did get to go on a pipeline inspection flying at 500f in a C150, and I got to ride in the C172 that does the traffic reports for the radio station in the morning. Other than that and maybe countless hours aboard passenger airliners and playing flight simulator, no.

I considered getting my PPL seperatly but I figured I'd rather do it all at one place so I don't have to unlearn anything I may have picked up differently somewhere else. Plus I don't know what's involved in transfering licenses between countries.

If your question is, is flying for me? Well the idea of being an airline pilot has always been in the back of my mind, but I only gave it serious considertation recently. I found myself not doing fantasticly at college and I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated, the idea of a deck job was hardly exciting, I was looking into joining the armed forces for a while. (No couldn't go the pilot route that way because of less than perfect eyesight) Anyhow, I said to myself.. "well I'm more interested in playing flight simulator than studying, why don't I look into being an airline pilot?" And the more I looked into it, the more fantastic it sounded and I wondered why I didn't do it before! I won't go over all the fantastic things of being an airline pilot, you can read that elsewhere but since making the dicision to be a pilot I have become more focued and my grades have improved. Not knowing what I wanted to do before I have done what other people think I should do in the way of study at college, and while I found it somewhat enjoyable, it's not what I really love. Once you find your passion in life, the hard work looks so much smaller! I love going to the airport, I've spent countless hours watching baggage carriers, tugs, food and fuel tucks run about the airport doing their thing, it's fascinating. I think watching planes getting de-iced in Denver at night was quite amazing, looked like somthing out of a sci-fi movie!

Anyhow that's enough blabing from me, and if you've made it this far congratulations! :grin:
Whew !!! I made it to the end of your last post....LOL. Congrats and good on ya for your decision. Although I don't know too much about Westwind, you made a good choice by not going to Pan Am. BTW....are you familiar with a small town in Brisbane named Sandgate? Just curious, I used to date an Aussie from there.
Well my reasons for choosing Pan Am b4 was that I wanted a school with the best aircraft and facilites, but really it doesn't matter if your flying in a 2002 model plane or a 1979 plane really, as long as they're maintained well. (Westwind does have a few 2001 models incidently) So the few things that Westwind doesn't have, I will happly except for bonus of paying $20k odd less! The importiant thing is I belive they have good training, and well maintained aircraft.. oh and not to mention friendly admin!

Yeah I know where Sandgate is, I've driven over the Sandgate bridge, I used to live up there ages ago, like 1988-90

Hey here's a cool website www.squawkvfr.com
from there you can listen to the towers of various airport towers around Pheonix inc Deer Valley where Pan Am and Westwind are located. It sounds like a pretty busy airport at times, they were clearing people to land and then giving someone else clearance to take off on the same runway! The Pan Am guys are easy to pick using the Pan Am callsign. Anyhow, worth a listen!

Snow, you are in for a big surprise. Jerry Dilk owes me alot of money. Let me start by giving you my background. I completed the CIME (commercial instrument multi-engine) program at Flight Safety about a year ago. My wife was offered a 25k signing bonus to except a position with Intel. As much as I did not want to leave FSA, we needed the cash. When I got to Phoenix I checked out Pan-Am and Westwind. I found that Pan-Am only cares about your money, not training good pilots. Westwind made all kinds of promises and they looked better than Pan-AM. I enrolled in the CFI program and during my initial CFI I had around 14 cancelations due to maintenance and scheduling problems. I went sometimes as long as 3 weeks without flying because of their lame maintenance. I don't know how much you know about aviation training but if your not flying regularly you will not be proficient for the check ride. It took them 4 weeks to get my progress check done just to sign me off for the check ride. Their 172RG's and seminoles are JUNK. My friend Warren is getting ready to leave Westwind because he has had 57 cancelations in four ratings. These cancelations COST YOU MONEY. I was told that I would finish all 3 CFI ratings for $10,000. The CFI cost me $8,400 with all of the extra flights to get proficient for the ride. This is and has been an on going problem that Jerry not only knows about but gets talked to about by students everyday. They do not have a sylabus, SOP, or checklist for the aircraft that are worth a damn. In 1994, 1997, 1999, and 2000 they had lawsuits against them. Some of the earlier lawsuits could have been when the other owner was around. Now because Jerry keeps dodging my phone calls, they have another. I am one of MANY that are pursuing legal action against them right now. I know of at least 12 people right now. Westwind has a reputation in the Phoenix area for purposely failing peoples progress checks to get them to spend more money. I think it is that plus their instruction sucks. My wife took a leave from Intel last month so I could return to Flight Safety. I have been here for 2 1/2 weeks and my CFII is almost done. Flight Safety gets you finished on time and within budget (if you study like you are supposed to). For the record I finished the CIME program at FSA the first time I was here (which includes doing your instrument in the seminole) a month and a half early and $3800 UNDER budget. Good luck

You will not get any multi time as an instructor at Westwind.
FSA students finish their multi private at the minimum of 15 hours. Westwind students finish at around 25 (average)
*ugh* I'm glad you posted CLR4ILS, but what you've said isn't really what I wanted to hear :(

So is Flightsafety the only academy type place that is any good? cause it seems like they're all bad. Hum, although ATP seems ok, but you need your private before you attend.

I want to get my ratings quickly and full time but all this talk about the academys being bad has kinda got me down. Does it really matter where you learn to fly? If the academies are so bad maybe I should just go the FBO route, but what's to say their planes will be any better than Westwind?

*sigh* I don't know what to do now... when did you goto the school? cause I heard they used to be bad under the old management, I would hope they're better now.

I do know that I have already got my loan and applied to westwind, but at worst I think I'm only out of pocket $25, so no biggie.

Well isn't Flightsafty mega expensive? and how's the schduling with them? can you give me a run down on it?

Really confused now.. I wouldn't have thought learning to fly would be this troublesome. :(
Yes there is a wait to get your first student at FSA but it goes like this. Right now the wait is 5 months. When you complete your initial CFI then you interview. Once you pass the interview you are put on the list and you continue to work on your II and MEI FOR FREE. that's right for free. By the time you finish the II/MEI you have maybe 2 1/2 months to wait in which they give you free frasca time to keep you current. By the time she went through the program enrollment will be up and it won't even be a problem. As an instructor at FSA you get a ton a multi time. ATP instructors also get a lot of multi time. I have never been to ATP (as a student) so I only know what I have heard from other people about the quality of their instruction. I will not comment on that because I have not attended. I am a straight shooter. I will only speak of what I know and I will be 100% honest about what I say. Snow, if you are planning to start a career in aviation I think you should tour them all. I would also ask on the forums advice on what questions to ask about the programs when you go visit the school. That is the best way. Then you can make an educated decision. CLR4ILS
If you pass the interview for CFI today the wait is about 5 months for your first student. When did he interview? It used to only take about 9 months to complete your instructing contract. I am not sure how long right now. Is he on the list to be called back? If he has been on the list he should have been back a long time ago. Maybe he needs to call marketing and see whats up.
I spoke with marketing today and they said the wait is 5 months out for first student. There are a lot of things happening (in the works)at FSA. The enrollment should be up in January and I know of several 135 ops that are coming down to take the instructors. Things will pick around the first of the year. Tell Matt to keep in touch with FSA.
Well ILS it seem to me the only beef you have with the school is that you couldn't fly for 3wks because of maintance problems, I find this a little hard to belive given the 40+ aircraft they have there. And most importiantly, when did you attend the school? if it was more than 3 or 4 years ago it was probably under the old management. Another student that went there said the training and maintance were great and even comments made by non Westwind people on airnav.com about the facilites and aircraft were positive.

So it seems to me either you had an extraordanary problem or it's your words against many others

Also I had a look at flightsafey, $45k to just get to multi comerical?! I almost fell off my chair. :shocked:

And no offence ILS, but I agree that the fact you recently came on here and started paying out Westwind is a little odd, I don't see you posting much in any of the other forums :p

You sure you don't work for Pan Am or somthing? :grin:
*****Not getting involved in the content of this forum as I have no knowledge as to the quality of the training at Westwind*****

I know ILS personally, and he is not a Pan Am guy. He is a FSI grad and is just checked back in here to finish his II/MEI.

*Resume debate*

Snow, first of all I just found this website. Second I was trying to help you. I just left Westwind 3 1/2 weeks ago. The aircraft in question are All of the 172RG's and ALL of the Seminoles. I have a feeling you are going to learn the hard way. Maintenance on ALL of these aircraft is a problem. You will have to fly the RG's for your Commercial and your CFI and the seminole for your multi private. They only have 4 RG's and 3 seminoles. The rest of the 40 aircraft are made up of a bunch of old 152's, old 172's and some newer 172's. All together they have maybe 10-15 descent aircraft. Let me tell you again, students at Westwind rarely finish on time or within budget. My friend is still there finishing up his multi. He has had 57 cancelations in 9 months. He was ready for his checkride at 15 hours a few weeks ago. THEY FAILED to get him scheduled for his progress check (like they did with me and everyone else) and now he has had to fly another 8 hours to stay proficient and he still hasn't been signed up for his checkride as of yesterday. He will end up finishing his multi private at around 25-30 hours just like everyone else there. Jerry (the co-owner) has promised him 4 free hours for the delays. Do the math: (15 hours over x $275.00 an hour = $4125.00). This is what he will spend EXTRA to complete that rating. Do you want his # so he can tell you why he is leaving Westwind after this rating to come to FSA? You mentioned you almost fell out of your chair when you looked at FSA's prices. The difference is that FSA is UP FRONT with their prices. FSA's CIME program is 109 lessons start to finish including progress checks and check rides. As long as you study and do not yellow sheet (have to do lesson over) you will finish on time and on budget when you complete lesson 109. Not to mention getting the best training in the industry while having a name on your resume that means something. We are not the only people this is or has happened too at Westwind. I have a list of about 13 people that are joining me in getting their money back. The list keeps getting longer and my phone keeps ringing when people there learn that I have retained an attorney to take care of it. You do what you have to do. I wish someone would have told me this stuff when I was starting out. Don't get me wrong there are other good schools out there besides FSA. I would recommend Riddle or maybe ATP. I can only speak from experience on Westwind. My own instructor there said he didn't blame me for leaving and even said he would go to FSA if he didn't have 1800+ hours. If you go there email me when you make it to MEI and let me know what it cost you, how long it took you, and how many multi hours you are not getting as an MEI. Good Luck

P.S. If you want phone numbers of students currently there email me.
By the way Flight Safety has over 100 aircraft including 20 brand new 2001 seminoles. Kind of makes 40 not sound so great huh?