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American Flyers CFI Academy Review - Addison

Discussion in 'Flight Academies and Fixed Base Operators (FBO)' started by kryan11, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. kryan11

    kryan11 Well-Known Member

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    I just finished my CFI at American Flyers in Addison, Texas and I just wanted to give a review for anyone who might be thinking of going there.

    First off, I am happy overall with my experience there, and knowing what I know now would definitely do it again. The staff at American Flyers has a genuine concern with helping you succeed as a CFI. They were all very friendly and always helpful. The instructors there were great. They had a wealth of knowledge to draw from, and never presented bad information. I was impressed with this. American Flyers has around a 75% pass rate for the CFI-Initial, and so far my class has exceeded that.

    Now, for the critical part of the review. This is supposed to be a 2 week class for the CFI initial. Mine ended up being 6 weeks due to the weather, and everyone in my class getting sick with a nasty cold for a week. Being a 2 week class, it is absolutely imperative that you have commercial knowledge, and can perform commercial maneuvers. There were people in my class who hadn't flown in 9 years trying to become a CFI. They didn't know basic things like true airspeed, pressure altitude etc. They are still struggling, and after 6 weeks, still not even close to being ready for their checkride. You can not come into a 2 week CFI program like this. It will not work. You're simply going to slow the whole academy down and bring down your classmates with you. There is a shortage of airplanes, CFIs, and time. If you're going to need 5-6 flights to get ready, and have everything explained to you, you're going to bog down the whole system, and other people aren't going to get to fly because of it.

    As far as the shortage of airplanes and instructors. We had 13 people in our academy. The class after us had 15 people. There are only (3) 172RGs. There are only (3) 2 year flight instructors who can sign you off. If everything works perfect, this realistically shouldn't be problem. But when students struggle, it's IFR weather for a week, the class and instructors get sick, and airplanes break. It slows it all down and this is why it took me 6 weeks to complete. Even after 6 weeks, only 5 people have taken their checkrides, 4 people passed. 3 more should be taking their checkrides this week, and I am not sure what will happen to the other 5. They are far behind due to a lack of knowledge and experience coming in to the class.

    Overall I would say if you just finished up with your commercial and want to be an instructor, this is a great program for you. If you're willing to stay their everyday, study, and prove to them you're ready to get this done, they'll help you move right along. Be persistent with getting flights and getting your sign off. There's so many people that don't do that, and are just along for the ride, and they didn't get very far

    This is not a course that someone is going to hold your hand through. They will teach you the basics of instructing. It's up to you to put in the work. What is nice though, is you meet like minded people to study with. I made a pretty good group of friends to practice teaching with, and go over everything. This is why I joined the class, to have this experience. I learn better working through things with other people. I made some great friends while I was there, and due to all of our work ethics, we all did well.

    One last thing, it was extremely easy to get a checkride lined up here. I know this isn't the case at all locations, and why I chose Addison. I submitted my information to the FAA, and after 3 days they told me to go with a DPE. I scheduled my checkride with the DPE the following week. I had friends that heard back from the FAA the same day, and were scheduled with a DPE 3 days later. This is extremely nice and I was impressed with the availability of examiners.

    Good luck to anyone who decides to go, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
     
    Cloud Surfer, AA34 and Roger Roger like this.
  2. ahw01

    ahw01 Well-Known Member

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    I'd second this from my experience at PMP in 2014. I didn't do the academy but spent a lot of time with them. For the price you pay you get a lot of access to free things - group learning for the ground, free sims, and agreed - if you're proficient, the flying will only take up 10% of the time. Stick with them, they'll give you signoffs at least - some guys went back to other FSDOs/DPE to do the addon after their initial. They are hiring too.
     
  3. Cloud Surfer

    Cloud Surfer Slinger of the Gear

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    I will third that! I did my CFI ratings at American Flyers in Pompano Beach, FL, back in 2013. Best $6500 that I have ever spent on advancing my career.
     
    Adler likes this.
  4. ChicagoPilot

    ChicagoPilot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing this! I plan on attending their August class in Addison, Tx. Will post my feedback!
     
  5. MambaFlyer

    MambaFlyer Well-Known Member

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    Just my $0.02 but you may want to consider other options. The program at KADS these days is nothing like what OP experienced. The long time lead academy instructor left and went to US Sport (also at KADS) to run their academy. They are also way short on 2 yr instructors so spins and sign offs are taking longer to get done. I'd seriously consider US Sport instead, or if you like Flyers then maybe their Pompano location.
     
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  6. kryan11

    kryan11 Well-Known Member

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    That's too bad, I loved it there. Hopefully they get some 2 yr instructors in there. It's kind of messed up, that US Sport copied what they were doing and took all their instructors.

    One place I would also recommend is CFI Bootcamp. I've worked with a few of these guys and they are very thorough and have some really good programs.
     
  7. ChicagoPilot

    ChicagoPilot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update. I actually started looking into two others that really have my attention. Will most likely go that route but we'll see.

    Thanks
     
  8. AA34

    AA34 Well-Known Member

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    Care to share where? I will be looking soon as well and am curious.
     
  9. ChicagoPilot

    ChicagoPilot Well-Known Member

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    Livingston Aviation in Iowa and Double Eagle Aviation in Tucson, AZ. Haven't committed to either yet as I am waiting to hear back on a few questions from Double Eagle. Hoping to have something scheduled by the end of the week.

    These two are more expensive than the others but Double Eagle is one on one and Livingston is usually one on one, maybe 2 students at a time so that's preferred in my opinion!
     
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  10. ahw01

    ahw01 Well-Known Member

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    I remember speaking to both in IA and AZ when making my decision. As I remember it, IA suggested I didn't need a visa, though came out the cheapest $10k (no idea how long it takes the Fsdo to schedule rides up there though).

    In AZ, they didn't offer the MEI at the time though the CFI/CFII program looked good. Middle option on price $12k though DPEs travelling down from Phx charge extra (eg $1200 initial) I don't know how many local DPEs they have.

    Flyers were more expensive $14k as I did self paced vs the academy but worked with me to get CFI CFII MEI done in 30 days straight at PMP. The advantage of the academy is it is a steal at that price and you learn a lot from your classmates.

    Hope that helps,

    Alex.
     
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  11. ChicagoPilot

    ChicagoPilot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Alex. Livingston has a DPE on staff so from what I hear, as long as he isn't flying elsewhere, it's easy to get a ride scheduled.

    Sent a few more questions to Double Eagle so pending on what they say, I'll most likely make a decision by Friday.

    Thanks again for the feedback! 14K for all your ratings in 30 days isn't too bad. What sort of prep did you do before heading there? A friend sent me what I believe is ATP's lesson plans. I was just going to go through all of them and reference all the necessary FAA docs so that I can find my way around them easier.
     
  12. ahw01

    ahw01 Well-Known Member

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    Well some would say 14k is pretty steep, the hourly rates flyers use are high which is why the academy is such great value.

    It took me 300 hours of time, only 30 of which were flying hours. If you are proficient in comm maneuvers and willing to put in the LARGE ground study you could hit the 10k mark easily.

    Alex.
     
  13. ahw01

    ahw01 Well-Known Member

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    As for prep, I got lesson plans similar to you (you must make them your own though!) and did the free flyers online practice tests.

    Once I got there I knocked the writtens out in the first couple of days. If you have your AGI/IGI it helps, though FOI in groundschool is still a toughie.

    Alex.
     

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