Pan Am or Regional Airline Academy

hallr1

New Member
I am trying to decide on a flight school so that I can attend this fall. I had made up my mind to go to Pan Am but have just heard about Regional. Does anyone know how the two of them compare? I know Regional is smaller. I have my Private checkride on Saturday and plan to pass it! Then I will be ready to continue training somewhere in Florida. Any comments will be appreciated.
 

pink

New Member
don't know about regional. I do know that guys who qualify get hired from pan am. this is a great quality school and if you totally immerse yourself you will get a great education and get done very quickly. you will more than likely not get through in 10 months but, lets look at the the scope of you're aviation career (30-40 years long hopefully) and how important it is that you build a stong foundation to build all your future knowledge from. I think it is great that you got your private and realize that you are ready to immerse yourself in aviation and get serious about it. I haven't gone to any of the other schools so i can't speak for them but i can speak for pan am.

you will learn a great deal about aviation here. the expectations are high. the school will require you to know much more than the scope of the ratings you are getting. you will learn a ton about everything. They are creating aviation professionals not just pilots. Remember, pan am considers the airlines customers as well as the students. They are providing highly MOTIVATED and qualified people to the airlines. Their reputation depends on it. in the beginning (private, instrument) it may seem excessive but as you come along you see why they push you so hard and expect so much and boy you will stand with your head up knowing that you know what makes planes fly and the aviation system work.

if you come here, plan on studying hard and learning a lot. don't plan on it being easy(emotionally, physically and mentally). This is a life decision, if you are willing to fully commit your self, you will be successful at pan am and they will place you at an airline.

the only other thing i can say is be honest with yourself. this stuff is really hard. really be sure that you can handle it.

hope that helps
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
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don't plan on it being easy(emotionally, physically and mentally). This is a life decision, if you are willing to fully commit your self, you will be successful at pan am and they will place you at an airline.

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No offense, but why do all these "big" academies try to "prepare" you for flight training with them? They make it sound like it's a prison term. Flying, should first and foremost, be fun.

They certainly don't prepare students for the reality of the business - which is getting a job is just flat out hard.

Don't let anyone try and tell you that some academy is better than some FBO. In the end the quality of your education/training comes down to you.

I've been part 61 for most of my training and I'll argue I'm just as good as anyone from Pan-Am (at my level). I'm not bashing anyone (and I'm certainly not bragging) here it's just we all take the same checkrides.

I just can't fathom plunking down $50k to fly around in Cherokees with a couple of hours in a Seminole.

Just my stupid opinion.
 

panampilot

New Member
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I just can't fathom plunking down $50k to fly around in Cherokees with a couple of hours in a Seminole.


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The one good thing I can say about that is my couple of hours in a Seminole has turned into over 400. You can't get that kind of multi time at any old FBO (or none that I know of).

I know you're going to say well take that extra cash you would have saved by going to the FBO and just buy multi time. That works, but I know for a fact that most airlines look highly upon not only multi time but dual given in a multi. I have over 300 dual given in the Seminole and I am pretty happy about that.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
I think airlines would rather see PIC multi that wasn't all dual given. Dual given is good, but I know how instructors get. Once the student has gotten used to the plane they just sit there.

I am sure airlines prefer multi time that is flown in all kinds of bad weather. Part 135 work is great too, just takes a little time to get the 1200 hours to be able to work there.
 

panampilot

New Member
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I think airlines would rather see PIC multi that wasn't all dual given. Dual given is good, but I know how instructors get. Once the student has gotten used to the plane they just sit there.

I am sure airlines prefer multi time that is flown in all kinds of bad weather. Part 135 work is great too, just takes a little time to get the 1200 hours to be able to work there.

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I agree that the airlines want to see different kinds of flying but like you said in order to get those 135 jobs it helps to have a ton of multi.

To answer the question about what airlines, Chautauqua and Mesaba have been the most recent airlines interested in our graduates. In fact I'm sure most of the flight schools have been sending pilots there.
 

Tired

New Member
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I am sure airlines prefer multi time that is flown in all kinds of bad weather. Part 135 work is great too, just takes a little time to get the 1200 hours to be able to work there.

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Yeah, or you could get 400 hours as a cfi, skip 135, and go directly to the airlines if the airlines are your ultimate goal.

Quite a few of the CFIs hired from PanAm had less then 1200 when the got hired.
 

pink

New Member
none taken. The kind of fun you have, in my experience, at pan am is that of achieving your potential and being a sharp pilot. yes, it is fun in the sense of achievement and the confidence you get in pushing your limits. This isn't a fun hobby type atmosphere, it is a place where driven people who are serious about being a professional pilot go. i do think that getting the taste for flying at your local fbo where it is about fun is a great way to go and that academies aren't for everyone, but there are a lot of people here who got ratings at fbo's and loved it, but usually comment that the scope of what they learned was more limited toward general aviation than the training they recieved here. pan am is more professional/airline oriented. flying jets with 50 passengers is serious business and the airlines are expecting a lot out of you. there is a reason why pan am expects you to know in detail the laws pertaining to child seats. it isn't the child seat that is important, it is the attitude that someone has who has taken the time to study to that depth that is going to make them successful at the airlines.
there have been a lot of grads moving on to the airlines recently and they always come back and say that the training wasn't that huge of a shock because of the grueling training they got at pan am. the airlines are serious business and i have never heard anyone characterize the ground schools at the airlines as fun. i think the fun begins once you get to the right seat of an rj.
don't get me wrong, people here are fun, but the training is very serious and the expectations are high. But that level of training is recognized by the airlines resulting in hired grads with 1100 hours total time!
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
panampilot - not slamming you here - Or, you could take that 50k and buy your own aircraft, or go partners on something like an Apache, and do something similar to what I've done. I've got only 325TT but 285 of it is Multi and 274 is Multi-PIC and 130+/- is Multi-PIC-XC (and not just 100 mile trips ... I'm talking regular 700+ nm trips and even a 2,600 nm mile trip).

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pan am is more professional/airline oriented. flying jets with 50 passengers is serious business and the airlines are expecting a lot out of you.

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Phooey. I completely agree that flying 50 passengers around is serious business but it's just as serious as flying one passenger around.

But the "seriousness" of anyone's training comes down to the individual. If someone slacks off and does just enough work to get through Pan-Am does the fact that he or she graduated from Pan-Am automatically make them better than the guy at the FBO who reads everybook he can find, every magazine article, studies non-stop and generally busts his butt to ace every thing that comes his way? I think not.

And that's my point - as in anything in life - what we get from our training is a ratio of what we put into it. Regardless of where we do the training.

The fact of the matter is by the time any of us are ready to be hired at an airline A) we'll have far more experience than can be emparted by any school B) the airline we get hired with will train us the way they want it done.

In the end all they care about is can you pass their tests and meet their insurance carrier's minimum requirements. Honestly, they could give 4 cents for all the "CRM" you learned in a Cherokee or a 172 because invariably they way they want things done will be completely different from what you learned. Yes the basic concepts carry over but I can learn that by going out and buying $100 worth of books and practicing it with my CFI and safety pilot(s).

I'm not bashing Pan-Am, here. I agree that it has it's positives and if you want to just dig and and get immersed in it then the academy route is probably the right way to go. But I just see a lot of people "burn-out" at the acadamies and they've only got 300 hours or so - hence the "preparing" statement in my first post.

There's a reason why airlines want 1,000-1,2000 hours under your belt before they pull the "drinking from the fire hose style training" trick on you. At that level you can handle it a little easier. To do it to people who haven't even set foot in a GA aircraft is a little excessive - only, in my opinon.

I'm not trying to bash anyone or put down any given school. It's just there are always fouteen ways to accomplish the same goal.

Again just my stupid two cents.
 

dakovich

Well-Known Member
partner up, or buy your own plane!!! take some time and check out the various plane magazines and also look at the AOPA website, its got tons of info.
 

Billybob

New Member
hallr1 - I went to both Pan Am and RAA. I did very well at Pan Am (finished at the top of every class and never failed a stage check) but there's a good reason that I switched to Regional. I can't say enough good things about regional, but I wouldn't say the same thing about Pan Am. And no, Pan Am graduates are not favored out in the job market no more than any other pilot - it's that type of BS rhetoric that makes me sick. I have a lot of friends there and you'll have some good instructors if you go, but remember to choose a school that you feel comfortable with and beware of things that sound too good to be true.
 

E7B

New Member
Hallr1, the best advice would be to tour the potential schools, and get as much information as you can that way. Talking to the students and cfi’s currently there might give you a better perspective on how things are. Pan Am might be perfect for you, somewhere else might be, it all depends on what your goals are. Do you want to end up at the airlines? How quickly? How much do you want or not want to spend? Look at the school’s placement history of cfi’s to the airlines, if that’s where you want to end up.

On these forums, everyone at Regional will tell you to go there, everyone at FSI will tell you that’s the place to be. New student picking out a school and we all love you. Some of us want to love you so much we’ll go to great lengths to put down the other schools. One of the most important assets in a pilot career is a good attitude which seems to be in deficit in most of the bashers. Makes it tough to make a decision if all your research is coming from a public web forum. Some good advice, some bad advice and some questions with more than one right answer.

I have to disagree with pilot602’s opinion on airlines hiring cfi’s. The airline training is extremely expensive, they do not want to pay the money to train someone and have them wash out. Some of the Pan Am syllabi have had input from the regional airlines they partner with to “the way they want it done” so as to ensure they don’t pay to have someone wash out. I do agree with him there are “14” ways to accomplish the same goal and it’s ultimately up to the student to be the best pilot they can be. Good luck to you with your decision.
 

hallr1

New Member
Thanks for the advice. I plan to visit Regional, FSI and Pan Am soon and get all the information I can. Got my PPL today!!! I'm ready to go!
 

Billybob

New Member
E7B - Actually, having met up with some of the people who are Pan Am dissidents, I can't say that any of them seem to be the "poor attitude" type - me included. Just because we don't like dishonesty and have seen the difference between what is promised and what is delivered at Pan Am doesn't mean there is an attitude problem. It simply means that some people like to get what they pay for and what is promised, and others like to take it in the backside and smile - that being your definition of a good attitude. Personally, I don't swing that way. But of course you and all of your airline experience can prove me wrong I'm sure...
 

Billybob

New Member
Oops forgot something. The new pilot (congratulations!) simply asked a question about two specific schools. I gave him my experiences at both - for whatever it's worth. However, had he mentioned other schools, I would have said this as well: I've heard great things about FSI from alot of students. I also talked to a lot of Aviator students (advertised as Ari-Ben) and almost went there had I not run into my friend from RAA. I've also heard great things about UND from an airline recruiter as well as some salty old pilots. Personally, I'm not in the business of recruiting as E7B seems to be - I just call 'em as I see 'em. And seeing how I'm not subject to a waiting list or lack of students, I ain't too concerned about who goes to what school unless they ask (which they did). What I'm saying is that there are a lot of good choices out there that don't have the large number of 'sour' students. I know, E7B, we only left because we had bad attitudes and couldn't hack it at such a "tough" campus. But the way we see it is that we were promised a product by slithering recruiters that could not be delivered - and nobody wants to see anyone else get duped just because they share the same zeal and drive for a pilot career that we have. And Pink, I do hate to dissapoint you, but ground schools based on the Gleim books and rote memorization of general aviation aircraft do not make you a better pilot - let alone more desirable to the airlines. Even if Pan Am's curriculum was that tough, there is still no magic formula for making anyone off the street into a high grade pilot - that's up to the individual.
 

E7B

New Member
My apologies Billybob, I should have said “most of the bashers excluding Billybob, who of course has a great attitude”. I’m happy to hear you don’t take it in the backside with a smile, not that there’s anything wrong with that (Seinfeld). I would like to hear more about these broken promises that were made to you. After all, you finished in the top of every class and never failed a stage check, sounds like you received good training. Would you care to elaborate on the “broken promise” issue? We all know there are plenty of Pan Am grads who are now airline pilots, so that can’t be what you’re talking about… Also, sounds like you are happy at Regional, I’m glad for you.

As a side note, at the time I was actually a little disappointed the ground schools didn’t focus that much on the FAA written’s, and emphasized more the specific flying environments. All that extra studying, looking back it worked out well though.
 

Billybob

New Member
Hmm. we must have went through different ground schools. Let's see about promises / recruiting "tidbits". Number one has to do with the quality of training. What was promised was "the best training you can get anywhere". What was delivered: average at best. Don't get me wrong, because there were some above average instructors, but the place wasn't 100% full of 'shining star' instuctors as promised. To be honest, the FBO where I got my initial training rates just as high. What was promised: a strong airline based education. What was delivered: a nice FAA based training syllabus with hardly a hint of airline. For example, the multi-private course consisted of rote memorization of seminole systems with no mention of hydraulic dynamics, electrical principles, nor mention of any of the advanced systems / appliances that may be seen in the real world. In other words, there very little "hows" or "whys" which aid in troubleshooting as well as advanced system transition.

What else was promised: that the school cared about the careers of its students, yet it would not allow weekend flying in King Airs or teaching at other schools while waiting for a position at Pan Am. Both of these are issues that carried no liability for the school. If it was an insurance issue, it surely could have been worked out since there isn't a school in the country that seems to have a problem with it. And number one: all of our partner airlines love us and think we are the greatest school ever. Funny thing is, I ran into an HR person from your airline "partners" who painted a different picture. I'll spare you the details but it wasn't the rosy picture painted by the recruiters.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I felt the school was average at best, yet it claimed to have a magic formula for creating shiny new out-of-the-box airline pilots. And I think what I disliked most was the fact that the school tried to treat it's customers like employees. "Don't question anything even though you just gave us a check for $50,000" seemed to be the mode of operation.

And now Mr. E7B, let's talk about attitude - because it is something I take personally. I've worked some tough jobs and I've never had a job where I've complained - ever. When I was working 40 hour shifts (yes, that's 40 hours - a whole week - in a row) on a fire on some mountainside in the middle of nowhere and my food supply never showed up I never complained - and that was a normal occurrence. When I had to jump into a fire, work it for 3 days and pack out 110 pounds of gear for six miles I never complained. When I went to work for a major metropolitan fire department and got to do exciting things like having cancer patients puke gastrointestinal blood all over me in the middle of a rescucitation I never complained. You see, I believe in delivering what is promised in a job, but obviously you share a different point of view in your work "ethic".
Most importanlty, Pan Am wasn't my job as it is yours, it was a service that I PURCHASED and I don't feel that I made a good purchase. It sort of like ordering a new Mercedes and having a Ford Truck show up. The Ford will get you by just as well, but why the hell did you pay for a Mercedes?!

Oh well, while we're at it, why did all of the people I talked to on my way out say that I was doing the right thing? Why did I sit around a table of ten people - all with excellent work and personal histories - the night before I left and not a single one of them was happy with the school? The only reason any of them said they were staying is because they had already invested in ACE - otherwise they would be going elsewhere.

But that's just my experience. I know that recruiters and marketing people don't understand that embellishment is still deception - especially when talking about such large sums. But, I've wasted enough time with this and I have an attitude to hone. Good luck with your school, and please, if you have any further advice about how we can all improve our obviously flawed psyches, do let us know. It's always a pleasure to get sage advice from someone who has never been there or done that.
 
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