How long is the wait to instruct at Pan Am FPR.

cfi25

New Member
I finished my MEI over 6 months ago and completed Pan Am's Indoc class, but still no joy on when I might expect to get called back. Along with several other of my good friends in identical situations, we are college graduates who gave up careers to come to Pan Am. As soon as we finished the program, the school showed that they could care less what we did.

I did the ACE program close to a year ago. I enjoyed it and learned alot, but for over 7000 dollars I have nothing to show for it. Not even a log book entry. The school did not offer us recurrent training in the sim.

I borrowed 80,000 from Key Bank, and with loan payments of over 600/month for 20 years, I sit here and watch my flying skills get rusty and my debt grow. I cannot afford to fly. One administrator from Pan Am's FPR campus suggested bagging groceries at Publix. Was this a joke? What happened to 13 months to an airline career, farther, faster and for sure? Pan Am also currently employs CFIs who did not do their program, and some who only did small portions (ie ACE).

Yes, I am completely happy with the pilot I became. I AM DISGUSTED that I paid such a premium to attend Pan Am for their career counseling services. I was told if obtained a flight instruction job elsewhere, it would be a conflict of interests and make me ineligible for hire at Pan AM as a CFI. What do they expect me to do in the meantime...and the wait will only grow longer for those who finished after me.
 

cfi25

New Member
Well, there were initial verbal guarantees that were obviously different than the contractual guarantees. I visited the school before I left my previous career, and I was told that if you were good enough to get through Pan Am's program, you would be hired on as an instructor. They said that so far, that hadn't turned anyone down who was a product of their system. I was told that by the time I would start at Pan Am, all of the CFIs would be salaried and receive full benefits and log over 100 hours a month.

It was based on these verbal promises that I turned my back on my old career and enrolled. I also visited about 6 other schools before I started at Pan Am.

When I arrived and signed the contract, I had already left my old job, and incurred close to a thousand dollars in moving expenses. While there was no guarantee of a job offer to work for Pan Am in the contract, I was confident I would be good enough to get hired when I finished the program. I rationalized that they couldn't put in a job guarantee because there are just some people you wouldn't want to instruct at your school.

The thing that bugs me is that Pan Am marketing continues to tell perspective students that the wait to CFI is only a couple months. Myself and close to a dozen others know this is a blatant lie.

What we think would be fair is if Pan Am allowed its graduates to instruct at the Academy until they reached the originally stated minimums of 800 total and 200 multi, and then replace those instructors with newer graduates. It is difficult to acquire an instructing job with the little total time you have after finishing Pan Ams program (about 350 total, 120 multi, 0 dual given). We all made the same financial comittment as those who came before us, but yet the rich get richer and poor remain poor (in terms of flight hours, that is).

If you look at the percentage of Pan Am students who graduated the academy in the past half year that have been hired by Pan Am, it is surely below 10 percent.

Pan Am boasts of several recent hires.

I challenge them to name more than two instructors who have done ALL of their training at Pan Am Fort Pierce and been hired by an airline. (Names please, not numbers).
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
My sympathies to those who cannot find work right now, especially those who spent 7000 dollars on the so called "ace program." Being in Phoenix and close to the DVT airport, everyday I hear stories like this from Pan Am graduates. Of course, E7B, PanAmpilot, and others from the Pan Am marketing department will tell you these types of things never happen.
 

E7B

New Member
Mav, can other people see these “friends” that you’re talking to? Being in Phoenix and close to the DVT airport, but still making things up as you go. Why don’t you stop by sometime and talk to someone here and find out what’s really going on. I have no idea what the CFI wait time is at FPR. But I know for a fact all of the recent Pan Am trained CFI’s at DVT have been hired with an average wait time of a month or two.
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
Maybe they don't want their names put out there. For example, I've asked for your name and the names of the other Pan Amers several times before and you guys choose to remain anonymous for whatever reason.
 

cfi25

New Member
I have a very simple question that all those considering Pan Am should ask the marketing department. When did the most recently hired CFI at Fort Pierce complete his MEI and go through new CFI indoctrination. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is either December 2002 or January 2003. I am not certain if it was December or January, but it was definitely one of the two.

What does this tell us? It tells us that anyone who became a CFI after January has not been hired. That's at least 5 months of CFIs who bet their lifes on Pan Am that have yet to have Pan Am fullfill their end of the comittment. What are they all doing now...watching their flight skills fade and their debts grow larger as the people at Pan Am pad their pockets by requiring everyone to do the ACE program.

What is the point of this ACE program? ACE is completed after Commercial Multi. It generally takes about three months to complete your CFI, CFII, MEI. Add to this the wait time to CFI - at least 6 months, but most assuredly longer for those coming through now. Add to this the time to instruct up to 800 total and 200 multi.

You're looking at interviewing for an airline two years after completing the ACE program, best case scenario. How much of your sim time, that wasn't loggable by the way, will you remember??

Pan Am inexplicably moved the ACE program up to an earlier point in their program. When I interviewed it was advertised that the ACE program would be completed after you instructed at the academy for several months and met the airline minimums of 800 total and 200 multi. Pan Am cannot justify why it makes its students take the ACE program before they begin their initial CFI training, but I can.

The operating cost of the CRJ simulator is much less to Pan Am than the operating cost of flying an airplane. Now, I understand that the inital cost to purchase the CRJ sim cost much more than an airplane. But now that it's here, Pan Am needs students to get in that sim to make money. The profit margin on airplane time is much less. Every hour that an airplane is flown, money goes towards fuel, maintenance, and insurance. With the sim, there is a minimal operating cost due to electricity. Therefore, it behooves Pan Am to make sure it gets its students in the CRJ simulator because it makes more profit per hour. Well, most students at Pan AM go over the hour amount Pan Am predicts for their training. Many students were running out of money before doing ACE, or simply leaving after they got their CFI.

HAH - Pan AM recognized this.

They figured if they made their students do ACE first, they would make more profit. In addition, students would find ways to come up with the extra money to work towards their CFIs, because that is what they need to build time. Without obtaining a CFI, the rest of the training is pretty much all for naught, unless you are lucky and obtain a banner towing job,etc.

I found that Pan Ams administrators could care less about the students once they were there. Many changes were made on campus that put more money in Pan AMs pockets with total disregard to their students' education.

How can Pan Am not realize that the best marketing would be happy graduates. In fact, dozen of students leave Pan Am for other schools all the time, and marketing suffers because when perspective students talk to current students, they find out just how dissatisfied everyone is.

There is no way this school will succeed with so many unhappy customers. At not just unhappy customers, but customers who now have a hatred towards the school because they feel Pan Am has ruined their lives financially, without coming through on what it promised.
 

TheFlyingTurkey

Fetus Worshiper
CFI25,
If you have been reading the post's here for any amount of time, you know that I am a student at FPR and that I am done with CFII, and start MEI next week. There is a indoc. class July 7th, and the next one is August 11 (the one I will be in). I was talking with a few current CFI's about how long the wait will be, and depending who you talked to, it was between 2 and 4 months. I spoke to 3 different administrator's to get an "official" estemate, so I can plan on what to do for the next 2-4 months. It was said that the Chinese will be here in July, and that the # of Chinese arriving would clear the waiting list. So that would include you too. I am surprised you didn't know about this. Also the August class is at 16, and September is filling up. So I was told that as long as the Chinese show up, the wait from the time you finish indoc. to your first student, is 30 days. If it is not true, we will find out in a week or two, and you can bet I will let you know what happens.

The Turk.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
ACE program....just the kind of thing I was alluding to on another post. Programs like these that are offered to the new CFI are pretty much a waste of money. Those learned skills won't be used anytime soon, and plus, when you get on with an airline, THEY will train you THEIR way, regardless of your previous experience. So another waste of money. Time for the CFI would be better spent keeping up on the 172/Seminole systems knowlege, versus wasting time learning the CRJ, which they won't see for quite a while (ab initio possibly excluded). Hell, why not start studying the 777 now, why set your sights only to the RJ? Of course, I'm being facetious, but you know where I'm going.

When I gradded Riddle PRC, they had this King Air C90 program where you get 10 hours in a C90 and a high altitude endorsement for an insane amount of money (Doug remembers). And what's the new CFI going to use this training for, and what good is it going to do for them in this stage of their career? Answer: Not a damn thing other than get them into more debt than they already are. Most airlines could probably give a damn that you did or didn't go through an ACE program 2-3 years ago (prior to getting to the commuter application point); you'll train their way and go through the same schools as the other hires. As for ACE-type programs giving some sort of edge in training; CRM isn't rocket science, and doesn't take a couple thousand dollars to learn; airline is already spending their $$$ on you and you'll get the training in their paced program.

So, IMO, academys are just like the FBOs; they're a business, and they're out to make their $$$.

Like I said before, my first day at Riddle, the indoc coordinator's first words were "Did you know a United 747-400 Capt makes over $300K per year? Would you like to know how we can help you get there?"

hehehe
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
I've been saying the same thing for a long time about the ace program but no one listened to me. Instead, Dr. benny, E7B and everyone said I'd never get a job for bashing Pan Am.
Well maybe they will give you a little more respect than they have me.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I've been saying the same thing for a long time about the ace program but no one listened to me. Instead, Dr. benny, E7B and everyone said I'd never get a job for bashing Pan Am.
Well maybe they will give you a little more respect than they have me.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not taking a stab only at PanAm, but at all these academies and FBOs that advertise in this particular way, my own alma mater included. Very few of any of thee places talk about how difficult a climb, time and money-wise, the aviation ladder really is. They talk about how to train to the CFI level, then expose the studs to the grand life of the airlines, but somewhat gloss over the in-between. For most on this board, we already know about that part, but for the person off the street that's making a life-long career decision with some money thay've saved up (or loan taken out) and doesn't know any better............
 

dakovich

Well-Known Member
Turk, i'm still really impressed with how well you did in the program. with that kind of performance i hope they treat you well and sqeeze you in as an instructor.

as for the chinese, it just seems funny to me how they keep passing on info. to students and potential instructors about when they'll arrive. i heard the exact same things almost a year ago. i'm in no way saying it is or isn't true that these chinese students actually exist, its just the propoganda about it makes me laugh. why they even mention anything to any of you guys about them without any hard facts is kind of a prick tease, ya know. have they given any literature to you guys? any of the chinese carriers names? any of the exact training requirements they'll be needing? any group meetings been held to discuss this with the current students and CFI's at all? any basic WHO, WHY, WHAT, HOW answers about our foreign friends? i only bring it up because this supposed contract with them in all reality means the difference between Panam grads getting hired and Panam grads, well, not getting hired.


as for waiting time to instruct...when it came time for myself to weigh the options 9 months ago just after finishing comm. multi i became very, very skeptical. it was either stay, pay for the ACE and finish my CFI ratings with a hope to instruct (i really wanted to CFI there), or i could come home and finish my CFI training and instruct in the great white north. truthfully the numbers were against continuing on at Panam, but i wanted to anyway...but then came a phone call from home that i wouldn't wish on anyone and that really sealed the deal on my leaving Panam. in retrospect i guess things happen for a reason, and i'm really happy to be home. i also recently finished my CFI rating up here and have a good line on some work. unfortunately i believe that if i had stayed at panam i would still be waiting for students, have spent about $15,000 more on instruction alone, and incured the finacial loss of living expenses for the time between finishing instructor training and getting students. and thats not bashing panam or its training, because i think i recieved some great instruction, its just saying that Panam is no different than anybody else in this business and everyone is feeling the pinch. theres no great haven(sp? hey-ven) of flight training out there, students are a little scarce, CFI jobs are even harder to find, and things are just generally down at this moment in time. not much you can do but acknowledge it, and weed out the b.s. you hear that says otherwise. keep trudging along i guess
 

cfi25

New Member
Turk and Dakovich,

I can't believ Pan Am is still saying its only going to be a few months wait to CFI. Honestly, look at the newest CFI on staff and check out when he went through Indoc. I believe it was December, although maybe you have someone now from January. That means that everyone who has finished since then has not yet been hired - myself included. We were told, as I'm sure you remember hearing, that there was a 30 day wait after Indoc to get students. That was nonsense - it was just their way of buying time. I would have much rather heard the truth - that it would be one year - at least then I could plan accordingly. And the gaul of the administration to say that if we took CFI jobs elsewhere we wouldn't be eligible to work at Pan AM. Then to hear our airline placement people say they couldn't give a good recommendation if we didn't instruct at Pan Am. I don't know how JD and Co. can look themselves in the mirror and not realize that they are ruining people's dreams so they can make a few more bucks.

Turk, you can't honestly say you know anyone who got their CFI in January or later thats been hired by Pan Am. That's 6 months of waiting so far.

Give me a break about the Chinese coming!! I have been hearing that for about a year. They hired the Physics/English professor over 8 months ago and everyone got all excited.

I was as pro-Pan Am as you could get. I went through the program fast -stayed out of the politics and had no problems. The day I finished was the day I realized I had been screwed. Turk, you'll get your MEI and then wait the month they tell you to wait. And then wait some more until you want to complain to somebody. Then you'll realize there's no one that cares, no one to complain to, and no legal recourse.

It's a simple steady-state mathematical problem: you need to have just as many CFIs going to the airlines as you have CFIs finishing Pan Am's program. An influx of students (ie the Chinese) might solve the problem in the short-term by creating a demand for X more instructors, but that will only graze the top of the waiting list, and then the problem continues. The only answer is to have current instructors move on.

That can happen in only one of two ways. 1. They get hired by the airlines. 2. Pan Am asks them to leave after they have so many hours and lets the new guys take their place.

Don't fool yourself by thinking high enrollment for a month or two is a panacea. And how many times have we heard that there would be 20 new students only to find a handful actually show up.
 

dakovich

Well-Known Member
i hope they hire turk, if they don't it'll be another marketing nightmare here on JC for Panam. turk tore up the program and seems to put his faith in PA...kind of "spokesman" you don't want to upset if you're smart.

...turk, i don't mean anything by the spokesman thing beyond the fact that you've seemed to have a positive experience so far and it has probably reflected well for PA...
 

TheFlyingTurkey

Fetus Worshiper
I know I seem very positive about the Chinese coming, and the high enrollment for the fall, and maybe I am so positive because I know I am going to need these new students if I want a job at Pan Am. I have to stay positive, for my own sake. I really hope it is all true, and we all want the industry to start picking up again. Maybe Mesaba looking for 20 resumes is a sign of good things to come. But then again, ACA just furloughed more pilots, and the rest took a pay cut. I am getting nervous. Even if I do get hired at Pan Am, the instructor student ratio is down to 2 to 1, which means less pay. Can I survive on under $1000 a month? I will probably have to work a part time job also, if Pan Am lets me.
Time will tell. If the Chinese aren't here by the end of July, I can plan on that 6 month wait too.

The Turk.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I know I seem very positive about the Chinese coming, and the high enrollment for the fall, and maybe I am so positive because I know I am going to need these new students if I want a job at Pan Am. I have to stay positive, for my own sake. I really hope it is all true, and we all want the industry to start picking up again. Maybe Mesaba looking for 20 resumes is a sign of good things to come. But then again, ACA just furloughed more pilots, and the rest took a pay cut. I am getting nervous. Even if I do get hired at Pan Am, the instructor student ratio is down to 2 to 1, which means less pay. Can I survive on under $1000 a month? I will probably have to work a part time job also, if Pan Am lets me.
Time will tell. If the Chinese aren't here by the end of July, I can plan on that 6 month wait too.

The Turk.


[/ QUOTE ]

Nothing wrong with trying to keep a positive outlook. Seems you're doing a good job of it while still remaining realistic; something one definately needs to be in this industry.

I just worry about those that put all their eggs in the proverbial basket with one company, and eat up all the hype...only to be shocked if they end up disappointed.
 
Top