Thoughts On ASA?


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Just curious what people think about the ASA program. If you had the opportunity would you do it, or wait and instruct for 2 years? Appreciate any thoughts good or bad. I know that people do not like "pay to play" style, but this program seems to be a little different in that they hire you first and it is yours to lose. Doesn't seem practical that after about 2 months of getting an instrument ticket, someone could get hired by a regional.
I had the same questions as you did. The program does kind of seem like "pay for training". Most folks in the industry seem to be against that. But what the hell is CIME? That sure seems like pay for training as well. The fast track program only requires us to pay for the FSI training, not the ASA (CRJ) training. That is how it differs from other systems. Given the current economic situation, the fast track seems like a very attractive option. $26,000 may seem like a large chunk of change, but you need to think of it as a cost/benifet analysis.
You are going to spend about 8-9 grand on your initial CFI and Single engine add. After that you are going to sit on your ass for a long time because there are not enough instructor slots for everyone. When you finally do become an instructor you have to go through a Standardization class that teaches you to spit out generic FSI answers ( that unfortunately several of the CFI's have trouble explaining). When you begin giving lessons to students you will be making an industry leading $14/hr. Even with all of this, instructing would not be that bad of an option if it were only for 8-9 months. With the waiting lists an enrollment at record lows you can plan on being in Zero Beach for 19-24 months after CIME. Sorry to be so negative, but hopefully the economy will change and all of this go back to way it used to be. So we have spent an additional $9000 and were paid $14 per hour for two yrs.
Ok now compare the above to the fast track program.
You finish your CIME, interview with ASA and start the program within 9 months of arriving in Zero Beach. You dish out 26 grand and complete the 10 week program. The ASA fast track trains you for glass cockpit CRJ operations so you will be in the Jet. After your Training at vero, you go to Atlanta for company and jet specific ground school and simulator training. After 1 1/2 months of IOE line flying with a check captain, you will getting paid about 20/hr and garuanteed 70-85 hrs a month. Along with this you will have a senority number hudreds of spots ahead of anyone who vied for an instructor slot. And best of all, you will be in Vero Beach for a minimal amount of time. You new arrivals and future students will see what I mean in due time(unless youre married or 50+ yrs old).
While the ASA program is not for everyone, I believe it is a great option with the market the way it is. All training and check rides are at the ATP level. Unless you are ready to bust your ass studying don't bother to apply. Most folks (Including myself) would also benifet from time as an instructor. I just don't think that the benifets offset the headaches.
Best of luck to everyone. My application is going in.
Time to apply for that loan!!
I forgot to mention that, the only enthusiastic/good CFI groundschool intstructor is leaving next month.

I feel ya dude, but I do not like the fact that all of the eggs are in one basket (ASA). I could take that 26,000 dollars and go buy 500-600 hours of multi-time. This means I would only have to instruct for about 400 hours before I meet the magic numbers. And, I could apply to more than one regional airline. Obviously, this is based on when the airlines will be hiring.

I am playing devils advocate because I want to make the right decision. I just think that it is a big risk when you are talking that kind of money. Please reply, this is all good info and the more opinions the better.

I am ready to interview (ASA), but like I said, I could buy mucho multi-time and interview at more than one place. Later.
Don't get me started on the ASA vs. CFI thing. ASA is a good program, and I know it works cause I have had friends do it who fly jets now. Adn there are probably people out there who should do it. But, being a CFI is not a monster waste of years, it is not a "headache", and most CFIs at FSI are not generic answer givers who don't give a hoot (if anyone has one, then they should switch). Being a CFI, if you have the right attitide, care, and work hard at it, has more benefits then anyone except a CFI could imagine. And personally, I don't care about where I live (Zero Beach), that I fly cherokees and seminoles for a living, because the benefits are so great and will change the person and pilot you are. Its unbelieveable what I have learned since I started here. And all my co-workers agree. Just remember when you make these decisions, and again I am not dissing the ASA program cause I believe it serves its purpose, but "if it looks to good to be true, it probably is" and "there is no subsititute for an education, and once you have it, no one can take it away" (being a CFI is an education). If anyone thinks being in a jet with 300 hrs constitutes an easy road ahead, then you are wrong. The easiest way to see it is you put down 26,000, and you get NOTHING, no rating, no licence, no nothing in return. Nothing to fall back on, no other option. There is no easy road, and this is no exception. My biggest worry is that a bunch of people come into this career now thinking its going to be easy.....
Moreover...I think it's kinda funny how people want to just jump into an RJ like it's coming to them!! And forget about a turboprop, that's like walking into the electronics section at Circuit City and asking for Beta-Max...I look at how Doug progressed through his career and it's completely logical, he started out flight instructing, then got some time in doing corporate, next he was flying a beech 1900D without autopilot in the north country, THEN he got the shot to be a Flight Engineer on a 727 (COOL!). Now he's a FO on the MD-90/88. To me it looks like he kept moving forward, not to say that he wouldn't have taken a bigger jump if he had the chance but I hope people don't forget that there's something to be learned in every job, be it a CFI, A&P mechanic or a baggage handler. Please don't get sucked into the "Glory" of being an RJ FO. Thank you and goodnight hehe...
I hope i did not give the wrong idea

I did not want to make it sound like being a CFI is a waste of time. I don't believe that at all. I just feel that given the current economic situation{ A few of the Majors are still furloughing},
that a system like ASA fast-track is a good way to go for the right person. And also , i did not want to make it sound like all FSI instructors, are stupid or anything. Far from it. I was just saying that I ( and several of my fellow students have noticed) the standardization process at FSI seems to cause some instructors to teach things one way even if the student and instructor know there is a better more effecient way of doing it. I have had several instuctors tell me that instructing is totally worth it and it will make you a better pilot. I believe that 100%. But, knowing myself, I believe that the ASA program is the best move at this time. I may still instruct ,I don't know?

Yes, AL got tired of the" nagging" from the 4 stripers at the flight-line. When asked where he was going, the response was basically.... Anywhere but here.
That is too bad he was a very good teacher.

I am curious what you instructors feel are the most beneficial things you learn as a flight instructor. Obviously watching over a rookie pilot while he is trying crosswind landings is good for developing situational awareness. It would just seem to me that my flying skills would greatly diminish sitting hands off right seat all the time.
I agree with TG123 and Baronman....I am leaning towards the instructor track. There are no shortcuts....If furloughs come, I don't wanna be a pilot with too few hours to get a job and no way (CFI ticket) of building a heck of a lot more debt. Some of the guys in my comm. ground school couldn't wait to Direct Track it. It doesn't seem like the smartest move to me. It is tempting, though! Great company to work for! I will definately do the instructor track if available. I wonder if the marketing department will be putting out info or briefing sheets....

Don't forget Chunk, if Delta regionals are furloughing then we are all in a world of trouble. they have so many Planes on order that it would take quite a drastic event to cause furloughs. And if you have been working for ASA already you will get recalled before they begin hiring up instructors.
I figure if I get furloughed I'll just get my CFI then.
I agree with your thoughts on the cost. 26 g's is gonna hurt.
Those are the breaks!
I don't know if FSI will start the intern/instuctor track for some time. With 4-6 people per month going through there may not be enough draw from ASA to justify FSI investing in the instructors. They do seem to think that early next yr hiring could speed up at ASA. Keep our fingers crossed.

By the way chunk, you and kwilkes should be doing the Zlin pretty soon. If you haven't already, god is it fun. I wish I could go back and do it again. Oh ya if you are still on step two, you should plan a CC over to clearwater/st Pete. It is a nice airport. class bravo airspace above.The kicker is that Hooter's keeps their lear 35 at Jet Executive aviation and I was lucky enough to catch one of the owners there. He showed me some pretty interesting pics from different flights.
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
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it would take quite a drastic event to cause furloughs

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A drastic event like?? A war with Iraq?
Furloughs always come....this industry is (you'll hear this enough to make you puke) cyclical. The smart pilot accepts this fact and has backups....also the reason you shouldn't burn bridges.

Industry news sources have been talking about Delta's possible restructuring for the past few weeks....a possible "Delta lite"....change means risk. Risk means possible furloughs. Hell, Delta mainline is planning more furloughs 9/1 (sorry to hear that guys....).

ASA is a good company to work for, well managed, good financials, but they are not immune to wars, oil prices, terrorism, etc.

Being cynical sometimes saves your bacon.

I spoke to a MD88/90 Captain for Delta, he has been with them for 16 years. He said the ASA program sounds like there is no downside to it, other than the money. HE said you get a earlier seniority number, will be building great time, etc.. I actually was shocked that he thought the program sounded good.

He also said that people do not look down upon the pay for play training. He got hired at 24 by Delta and used to get sh** for being a kid. That all changed when he became Captain.

I did ask, can a 200 hour pilot handle the CRJ? He was honest and did not know because he is not too familiar with it. He is going to ask a co-pilot that commutes on an CRJ and get back to me. It is amazing in talking to this Captain about engine out procedures, it sounds like he is flying the seminole---dead foot, dead engine--just like our checklists!

I also asked about putting all of our eggs in one basket (ASA). He said that should not be a factor in the decision because Delta owns ASA and will be here for a long time. It is not like some of the other commuters that have contracts with major airlines.

I was honestly shocked by the responses. I thought for sure he would have said Hell No, that is a waste of time and pay for play does not look good.

Anyway, that some food for thought for people out there like myself that are unsure which route to go.

PS--sorry if it does not flow well, I just woke up
that response from the md88/90 cpt you talked to has been identical to the one I have received from 5 different pilots for Major airlines I have spoken to. One of the pilots I trust very much. He is my uncle, a capt on the 67/57 at delta. He says that the absolute, most important thing in my flying career, is getting my foot in the door and getting that senority #.
Honestly, the only folks who have discouraged me have been fellow students or instructors.
The only downside is the 26 thousand dollars you spend without getting any ratings. A job is a pretty good outcome though. And remember ASA is still technically footing the bill for their training. We are paying for the FSI side of it.
Don't get too defensive...Look, I'll tell you straight out what I saw last September. I knew some guys who had just started the ASA program at the beginning of the month (having just finished their CIME) and guess what, they were out alot of $ with not much to show for it. In addition, even PRE 9/11 there was a nice backlog, for instance a check airmen I knew had taught in the ASA program and then waited about a year for a class. He just kept instructing......It's great that guys like your uncle think the program is great, but have they seen how it operates first hand like many of us have? Do they understand the potential pitfalls? BUT, I do know that many guys at FSI throw money around like it's yesterday's chineese food and I'm sure for them a $26,000 risk is well worth the shot at a .......REGIONAL JET...Whooooooo hooo!
Does anybody know whether or not one could increase his or her loan amount from Key Bank? e.g. take out $60k and then wait to see if the ASA program is worth paying for (for each particular person's needs) and then take out an additional $20k?


I would imagine that if, you already have an existing loan with keybank and requesting a new should not be a problem, all this does is increase your monthly payments. Dave call them up at this number: 1(800) 539-5363 Bet 8 Am and 5 Pm EST.


At first I was not sure, where you ware going with all this, but the truth is you are hungry to get to that right seat, hey man I can understand that, personally I'm going the long road and earning my CFI certs, build up my hours, paying my dues and take from there. All I can say is, good luck and when you get in, please keep all of us posted on your progress. The direct track program has it's pros and cons, a while back a former JC member "On-Top" way before sept. 11, went through and was frequently posting on his development and did well. I'm not sure but I think his post are still here, it's just a question of investing some time and giong back a bit. Either way, man "Vaya con Dios" and see you in the skies. /ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif

Best Regards,
i don't want to get in a whole thing about this baronman, but I believe that the last sept. class has now gone through at ASA and the october students are now finishing up ASA if it applies to them. (They will be the first ones going through the class, as they have already been called back by wakefield and jay Elder.) So they probably do and will have something to show for their 26,000. Whooo Hooo! I will be taking out a loan to pay for the ASA program, so I hope you are not insinuating that I am throwing around money like chinese food.
By the way, if I did not care about getting a great job, such as ASA/CRJ I probably would have saved a •load of money and went to some crappy little FBO. We all come to FSI to get great training and a great job right?

I am not trying to take shortcuts, I am simply not interested in the instructor route. I have been very turned off by the instruction process at FSI.

Best of luck to you.