The Big Picture (A Tale of Two Programs)


Resident Knucklehead
Greetings, aviators!

Okay, so here I am looking at my options for flight training, and I've narrowed it down to a couple that I'd like to go look at. I'm having trouble putting something into perspective between two of them, though.

Basically, I'm looking at Pan Am and ATP. Now, there's quite a disconnect as I can see between the two. Now let me preface this by saying that I already have my Private and about 115 hours total time in the books.

Now, Pan AM offers the Career Pilot program. This program will take me 38 weeks (considering my PPL will allow me to skip the Private portion but not the cross country portion), and will cost approximately $47,200. But it might cost $50,000. or $42,000. At the end, I'll have almost 400 hours, 180 of which are multi, and the chance to be an instructor at the school...

ATP offers a career program too. Their program will take 12 weeks, will cost $35,500 (includes the examiner fees), no more, no less. At the end of this program, I'll have about 320 hours, 140 of which will be multi (I don't think counting 50 hours of an FTD as multi is legit, correct me if I'm wrong), and the chance to be an instructor at the school...

At the end of either program, I have an MEII and alot of job prospects, but no job. Granted the only guarentees in this life are death and taxes, so don't think this is a "who's gonna GUARENTEE me a job" post. I'm not that naive, but I'm trying to figure out why in the world, given the choice, I would go to Pan Am, spend twice as long and $10K more money to hit the same target?

Please don't take this post as a "Pan Am sucks" rant.. That's not it at all.. I imagine there's got to be some added value here.. I just ain't seein' it!

Well, there are always CFI positions, you won't be guarenteed one, but if you do very well in either program I'm sure you can find one.

I'm planning going with ATP my self because of the affordability and praise I've heard, I can't really tell you much about ATP or PanAm though because I have not attended either.

You can use certain certificated sims toward requirements for ratings, but I wouldn't count on bringing the hours to a job
I'm not bashing Pan Am, so don't anybody freak out. However, I'm curious about the 180 hours of multi time you are referring to. I left Pan Am in December and last I knew, if you went through the entire program you end up with around 100 hours in the twins. Furthermore, I thought ATP did ALL their training in the twins, so it would seem to me that you would get more twin time at ATP then at Pan Am. Also, if you go to ATP and get hired as an instructor there it means a buttload of twin time for ya. I know an instructor that taught there and he has around 800 hours in twins out of a total of around 1100 hours....pretty stout log book compared to alot of us. Beyond that aspect all I will say is that I attended Pan Am for my IR and I visited ATP before I started training....needless to say I was not impressed with either of them. Good luck with your decision and your training though.
Are those two programs including the CFI ratings? Seems kinda expensive... I go to FSI and my quote was around $36k through CIME (I came in w/ about 90 hrs. and my private). You don't get the multi time that you will with ATPs, but personally there's no way I could have absorbed much of anything in the 3 months that they do their program in.

I think that you're also on the edge where you could probably do the program part 61 and that might save you a couple bucks too. But I'm not exactly sure how that works.

Let me just say, "I feel your pain." I was in the same boat last fall trying to decide. I almost went to ATA. Yipes. Like you I started my quest at PanAm, but I also looked at ATPs, AriBen, ATA, FlightSafety, and Comair. If you haven't already done so, you should take a few days to come down and drive around Florida (or wherever you're thinking of going) to check out the operations and get your palms greased. Beyond that, don't be afraid to approach students on your own and talk to them about the school. That can be a pretty good indication when the marketing person isn't hovering behind you. And don't forget to take good notes!

I think that you're also on the edge where you could probably do the program part 61 and that might save you a couple bucks too. But I'm not exactly sure how that works.

[/ QUOTE ]

I can tell you how it works, because I did my instrument, and commercial multi part 61 at FSI. Basically, Part 141 is way less hassle. Not because you don't have to take a DE ride, those are no big deal, but because you have to take an FSI checkride, THEN get scheduled for your DE ride. In both my cases, there was over 7 days in between my FSI ride and my DE ride. When it was all said and done, it took almost the same number of hrs. as the 141 prog. would have. PM me if you have any questions, but I'd say go 141.
Thanks for all the great posts! This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping to illicit.

About FSI. I found their programs a little difficult to understand, frankly. Also, given that I obviously won't be working while in school, but my bills won't stop comming in, I was looking for something that I could knock out pretty quick. My wife can work and keep the boat afloat, so to speak, but her income alone won't support us indefinately, even with the cutbacks on expenses I would make to come down there (the car payments and insurance, existing bills, etc...).

I seem to have run into another snag, however, that could shut this whole deal down for me. About 4 years ago, my ex-wife, whom I left the house to, decided to skip town without letting me know. First hint I got was from the mortgage company wondering why they haven't been paid in 6 months. That led to a bankruptcy so I could get the house sold. From what I can gather, Neither Sallie nor Key will touch me with a ten foot pole. It's not that I have bad credit before or after it (that was the point of the BK), it's that I have very little active credit after it. Hard to convince anyone to lend you money unless they see that you've borrowed money and returned it to someone else on time. Sort of a Moebius Loop! Can't get it unless you have it, don't have it cuz I can't get it! Sheesh!

Come to think of it, that was probably better served on a new topic, but none the less, a supplemental part time job and the FBO route might be what I'll be looking at in the near term. It's not really a bad idea, all things being equal. I'm a member of a flying club in Oshkosh. $20 a month and the Piper Archer rents for $50 an hour wet. I'd hate for it to take more time then I anticipated, but there IS something to be said for being able to keep my existing job (and solidify the connections here) while training and not end up at the end with a huge debt load.

But I still want to go!