What is so bad about DCA?

daddysquared

New Member
Now, before all the Non DCA folks get too excited, I would like some honest opinions from those who have attented the DCA only. Every route to the airlines has its negatives. I know all of the positives about DCA, but what, (besides cost if you consider it a negative) are the negatives. I am going to attend either Pan Am or DCA (and I am putting this same topic on the table on the Pan Am board) and would like the student/instructor perspective on the negatives only. Thanks, Gents. Keep it real.
 
I went to the school back when it was called Comair, and the only real downside is that it is expensive. I got my Private, Instrument, Commercial, and Multi-Commercial tickets there. The in depth and highly focused type of training really did pay off when I went to my airline.
 

Tazman282

New Member
I never attended comair/dca but when doing research on the school I found information stating that if you fail a CFI stage check or checkride you are pretty much not considered for the instructing job. Not saying that you would but people have bad days and I don't like how they would base it on that. But I guess they have to weed out perspective instructors somehow.

Then I also heard if you fail the CFII you don't get the interview with the airline. Not totally sure on either of those statements but through reading other posts this is what others that attended were saying.

Antoher thing that I didn't like about the program is lets say you do make it all the way through the program but don't get hired to an airline, then that is it. You are out with no job looking for another instructing job. They do keep some instructors but most are not kept to keep the flow going. So granted you will have a good amount of hours but you will have also spent a lot of money getting them.
 

172_Captain

New Member
"What is so bad about DCA? "


Don't get me started about Comair Academy! I can already feel my bloodpressure rising.
I
 

PWMURPHY

Well-Known Member
Just a little factual information that I thought I would supply regarding these comments.

DCA hires 85% of its CFI graduates who apply. This percentage has held steady for at least 3 years. The hiring board looks at that overall training record and no single unsatisfactory event would prevent someone from being hired. Failing all checkrides or Stage Checks would create a difficulty, however.

Our instructors are interviewed and given conditional job offers after the CFI and before the CFII. Failing the CFII checkride or taking an extraordinary amount of calendar time to complete it (beyond 60 days) results in an additional decision whether the conditional offer is appropriate. More that 90% of those CFIs with a conditional offer who have failed their CFII checkride, however, still are offered an instructor position.

Instructors who complete the program are guaranteed one interview with an airline, typically a Delta Connection carrier. However, many who are unsuccessful at the initial interview (and there are very few of those) and who had excellent histories with the Academy are found second interviews with another airline.

You are right to mention that the system is geared towards one completing 1000 flight hours and moving to an airline. However, someone who wants to make a commitment (at least 1 year) is often welcome to stay on and fill a managment position. I have 4 either available now or soon to be available.

Patrick Murphy
Director of Training
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
So, just being on the curious end of the spectrum...

- What's a conditional job offer?

- What's wrong with taking over 60 days for a CFII checkride?

- does DCA find the 2nd interview or is it up to the student to get the next interviews on their own? When does the affiliation with DCA finish - after the student has found a job or after the 1st opportunity to score an airline job?

- by "airline" (for the guaranteed interview - is that in writting?) - do you mean Skywest & Comair or just Comair or what airlines are included? just seems a big vague...

Thanks!
 

zsolez

New Member
You must love these people.

"Not completely sure..."

then

"I never attended Comair/DCA but..."

right... that is what I thought reading your post.

Failing your CFI by itself will not disqualify anyone. Failing CFII surely won't have any effect on getting the interview or not. BTW why on Earth would someone fail a CFII? Supposedly one of the easiest rides next to MEI. Weather you get your interview or not depends on one thing only. Do you have your 800 dual and the multi hours given as a CFII or not. Then of course explaining failed check rides is a topic on every interview, Comair or elsewhere.

I have no experience that I would call "bad" or horror story so far. Sure here and there I see things that I don't like, but there is a reason why a <200TT student (like me) is not the one who is running the place. All the negatives have already been mentioned before on this and on several other forums. You get those things at just about every academy. Do a search and read before someone will finally wipe this subsection out anyways LOL.
 

chrisdahut1

Well-Known Member
I work in the Broward base. I've been there the entire time of it's operation (worked for 2 years in dispatch before instructing) since Comair/DCA started there in 1999. To date, not one person at the base has failed the CFII checkride. Hope this alleviates some nervousness!
 

Wannabe2

New Member
Kristie,

I would never put words in Mr. Murphy's mouth, but I will put in my two cents on some of your questions.

1. the conditional job offer is that you have a job once you do three things, complete your CFII, do it within 60 days, and successfuly complete standz class

2. 60 days seems more than reasonable for CFII, it is one of the easiest ratings, and most get through it in less than 30 days. I struggled with a few things, and still got it in 35. If you are this far along and can't/don't want to spend the effort to get CFII done in 60 days, you probably don't want the job very badly.

3. I dont think DCA is under any obligation to find that second interview for you, but the contacts you make at school certainly help. Remeber though, that the first guaranteed interview is one more than any other school is offering right now.

4. The interview guarantee is in writing i think. Not positive about that and I am currently abroad (one of the nice things about standz wait is some time to travel) so I can't double check. Not sure which airlines are included besides Comair, but I think Chataqua is in the mix, along with SkyWest and some others.

I am not an apologist for DCA, and I can certainly find things that I didn't agree with or didn't like, but for the most part DCA has treated me fairly and as I have stated here a few times before, it isn't for everyone, but am very happy with my decision to attend.
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Remeber though, that the first guaranteed interview is one more than any other school is offering right now.

[/ QUOTE ]

There are plenty of other schools out there that are offering interviews after completion of their program. DCA does not have a monopoly in that area.

Ray
 

Wannabe2

New Member
Very sorry, my bad. With whom? What kind of numbers are they hiring? From what i know Comair is still hiring 5-10 per month. Is it PFT, or an actuall interview? Really not being a smart a$$, honestly wondering....
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
To name a few that I've talked to...RAA, Mesa's MAPD & PACE programs.

I know PAIFA, ERAU and FSI also have people that help with job placement.

I don't know about numbers...sorry.

And as far as your question "Is it PFT or an actual interview" I don't catch your drift. I highly doubt any of those places are offering free interviews or help to someone off the street. You usually have to PF some T before they'll hook ya up with the right people.

And I don't know if any of these places will GUARANTEE you an interview and have it in writing etc. etc. etc. I just know that they offer job placement services. Some of them get you an interview, other probably just put you in touch with the right people. In the end it's pretty much all the same. The whole GUARANTEE thing is much more of a marketing ploy than anything else, which is fine, I have no problem with that so long as it's not misleading. My point is that DCA is not the only outfit out there getting people jobs.
 

Wannabe2

New Member
raysalmon,

not to belabor the point, but i think you just made mine for me, unless i missunderstood what you said:

"And I don't know if any of these places will GUARANTEE you an interview and have it in writing etc. etc. etc. I just know that they offer job placement services."

The point I was making is that DCA is the only one to GUARANTEE the interview....

Anyhow, good to know other places are offering job placement assistance.

Also, the PFT I was referring to was something like the program I heard about at TAB Express, where you pay 'em $20K or so and they guarantee you an FO job. That is the type of thing that just isn't possible to guarantee safely...
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
Like has been mentioned i other threads, I take the GUARANTEE with a grain of salt. I'm sure DCA does get you an interview...and they may be the only ones that guarantee it....and that is excellent that they have those connections and can do that for their graduates... I am not knocking DCA...I like the place. I am just pointing out ...mainly for the benefit of those out there who are still looking for a flight school.... that other schools can and do help you find jobs.

Thanks for clarifying your idea of PFT.....that is along the same lines as I think of it....more a PFJ thing. I believe that TAB and Gulfstream are the only ones out there that are doin the PFJ thing. The rest of them get you an interview if you complete their program.

Ray
 

172_Captain

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

1. the conditional job offer is that you have a job once you do three things, complete your CFII, do it within 60 days, and successfuly complete standz class


[/ QUOTE ]

Elaborate on the "standz" procedure.
(1) Does the student have to pay for that?
(2) Does it involve actual aeronautical knowledge or is it mostly DCA policies and procedures?
(3) Is there a pass/fail checkride after standz class?
(4) If yes, why is the checkride "after" rather than "before" the standz class?
 

Wannabe2

New Member
Elaborate on the "standz" procedure.
(1) Does the student have to pay for that?
(2) Does it involve actual aeronautical knowledge or is it mostly DCA policies and procedures?
(3) Is there a pass/fail checkride after standz class?
(4) If yes, why is the checkride "after" rather than "before" the standz class?

1. No.

2. Both.

3. Yes, pass it or go home.

4. Just like a checkride for a rating, I would certainly rather take the checkride after I reviewed the material in standz class, instead of before. I will also spend a bit of my own money renting a plane a few times to get back into the swing of things.

Hopefully that answers the Q's, but if not, let me know...
 
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