I'm currently a freshman at SUNY Farmingdale.. excuse me.. we are now known as Farmingdale State University. From day one I have heard horror story after horror story of people not flying, bad mechanical practices, and a number had switched out of ProPilot and have started flying elsewhere. A little bit of info on my behalf.. entered as a Private Pilot (I'm 18 btw) and was given the 7 "life experiance" credits... which I payed 20 bucks each for... from the surly non-pilot Agricultural Major Aviation Deparment Chairman Bellard... then I was told that I would have to go through a checkride to finalize those credits with the Chief Pilot. It's now the end of October and that checkride has turned into a 6 hour Private Pilot proficiency... I'm still not done. I have been cancelled on numerous times due to lack of planes and have not been reimbursed or given a replacement plane for the day(However we were charged $75 if we cancelled any less than 24 hours in advance). The FlightCenter (as it's called) had in the beginning of the month 2 of 5 Cessna 172N's working and 1 of 9 Katana-A1's working. The Director of Flight Ops and the Department Chair were sent out on their cans by Provost Pelligrini and an ex-Airline Captain with over 8,000 hours with experiance in everything from a Piper Cub to a 747 has been promoted from Professor to Director of Flight Ops. Things are on the upswing, however. Don't get discouraged. The Director of Flight Ops has implemented a bidding system, where the instructors will bid for flight times, then the students, and the students will bid for simulator time on the instructor's days off. He wants this run like an airline and is determined to do it. Every plane is being overhauled and the political bull@*#$ is over and the mechanics are going back to work hard overhauling every engine. By next fall you'll definitly see a change here at Farmingdale State. You mayu still here horror stories, and I may still change over to Administration just so I can begin to fly.. but the changes are on the way. Trust me.
Just wanted to post a follow up to my last post. The Flight Center has turned a complete "360" in my opinion (you'll see what I say 360 later). All 3 C172's and 2 152's are operating. I'd say roughly 5 of the 9 Katana's are up and being used. The mechanics have completely rebuilt a 152 that was nothing but a fuselage and landing gear when I arrived Fall 2002 back into a use-able plane. I've also been told by the Assistant Chief Pilot that a complex and multi are on the way for Fall/Spring 2003/4. And I tend to trust him more than anyone down at the Flight Line. As I said I ended up taking what became a 12 hour proficiency for them to accept my PPL, but since then I have already earned my Instrument Rating and next Fall will begin training on the commercial. However, you have to have the money, the ability, and especially the desire to fly 4 to 5 times a week if you want to accomplish anything at SUNY. Now the bad news... Make yourself known, don't cause a severe commotion, but enough that they know your serious and won't let them push you around. Otherwise, you will still filter through the cracks, fly once a week, and not achieve anything. Political bullsh*t is back however, especially regarding dispatch. The head dispatcher plays favorites, removes students from aircraft without warning, and even ended up getting a CFI fired because he questioned her procedures. I know this started off like things have improved. They have. In some ways. In others, they are the same old thing. So come visit, and decide for yourself. If you can put aside the BS and follow your desire to fly, SUNY is an affordable way to go.
Just wanted to share the news... I was down at the flight line Saturday... and it's been announced we've bought 14 new aircraft! All Piper, 11 Warriors, 2 Arrows and a Seminole!! This is great news for the program, if it should finally come to light, as it seems to be really taking off! (pun intended). But, like I said before.. I'll believe things when I see things.
how are things going there at Farmingdale? Have most of the problems you've been experiencing been solved or is it the same old situation? Are the new plane orders actually coming through? How do students there pay for their flight training by the way? Any luck with student loans covering flight costs? How are you advancing with your training? I'd be interested to know as I'm thinking about applying for the program. Thanks for the info!
Are you a student at Farmingdale? How much do the planes cost per hour there (with and without an instructor, as well)? How many aviation students are there in the program? Are students still having problems getting air time? What is the minimum stretch of time that it takes for a student to go from zero certificates/ratings to CFI at Farmingdale? I realize the last question may be a little bit difficult to answer as there are probably numerous variable factors, but an estimate would be nice. Thanks for your help!
I have to totally disagree with you. My son is a junior and is almost complete with his Instrument rating. He already had his Private Pilot when he came in as a freshman. This means that it has taken hin 2+ years to get his instrument. We're quite frustrated with the incompetent management of the flight line. No planes, cancelled flights. Even now, we were reassured it would get better. It has not. He has to wait 3+ weeks to take his end of course flight due to lack of plane availability.
When we speak to the staff at the flight line...we get no answers (IF you get a call back!)
It has to get SIGNIFICANTLY better by the end of this semester or he'll be transferring.
I'd have to disagree with PilotMom. I am a sophmore (19 years old) at SUNY and was able to complete my Instrument Rating within my Freshman year (I entered with a Private License and 60 hours total. I now have 156 hours, an instrument rating, and almost half way through my Commercial). Granted it took flying 3 or 4 times a week, but believe me, it IS possible! Dedication is the key. Last June I would drive over an hour and half for one flight just to finish off my Instrument as students weren't allowed to use the dorms after finals in May. Flying on the side is important too, as it builds experiance and self reliance, as SUNY does not allow rental of aircraft for time building. I know plenty of students who fly once every week or every other week, and then wonder why they never progress. PilotMom, I'm sure your son isn't one of them, but most of the complaints from SUNY are from these people. There is of course the poltical BS that goes on at SUNY, but ignoring it and demanding to be heard is the only way to get things done. I know of seniors who do not evenhave their private certificate yet, and that is a sad disgrace to the school. However, like Baronman said, the Pipers (A Seminole, two Arrows and a Warrior) are sitting on the ramp awaiting the rest of the new fleet, and for 4 weeks have yet to be touched by a student. Why? Noone knows... only two or three CFI's are checked out in them and nobody has gotten the FAA to give them the FAR 141 checkout... so we are all awaiting that. I hear more good things in store for the program, such as Corporate pilot internships, turboprop aircraft etc... but I've been given the run around before, and will believe it when it is sitting on the ramp. But I do see a HUGE change from when I first enrolled last Fall.
Hey everyone! I haven't posted here in a LONG while. I recently sent out some college applications (I'm a senior in HS, 17 yrs, Private Pilot ASEL), and I had really been considering FSU. I've heard a ton of negative comments on it, and I am not sure whether I should go for FSU or Dowling. College of Aeronautics I heard contracts their flight training to an FBO at Farmingdale (Republic Airport - where I fly out of now). I considered FSU because it is a public school and a hell of a lot cheaper to get the ratings than at a college like...say, Dowling ($27000/year plus flight expenses). Any opinions? I'm really hoping that I hear some GOOD news about Farmingdale State University before I graduate this June. Thanks a lot!
Perhaps the WORST college avaition program in the country, went there for 2 years before i found escape(Farmingjail). I would reccommend looking at state schools with avaition programs. They cost less than the ERAU and the UND, i currently attend Bridgewater State College in MA, no complaints, Delta connection academy does the training. Dont attnd SUNY, especially if you'll be dorming there
I never thought I'd say this, but I have to defend Farmingdale. Sure, I've had my share of problems, but where won't you? There are alot of slackers at Farmingdale. If I offend anyone, I'm sorry, but it's true. Many think "oh cool, being a pilot sounds fun" and then don't study, sleep through flight lessons or classes, put no effort or planning into their flight, and then get upset when they are juniors and have yet to earn their Private Certificate. And yes, I do remember two years ago when we only had two planes operating and many people were screwed over, but now we have over 14 brand spankin' new Pipers, and there should be no excuse. Do not let them push you around, and certainly don't let them stick you with the one or two CFI's that cheat their students just so they build time. It's YOUR career, so YOU take control of it. It's time people stop blaming the school and start doing some work for themselves.
The department and overall program has major flaws. The degree itself is hardly an Aviation degree, with fewer than eight important aviation classes. They mix Aviation Administration students in with many of the Aviation Pro-pilots. Students struggle to balance the required flying with the coursework of other general educational departments who are less understanding of pro-pilot's unique situation. The aviation program itself faults are numerous. A required $7500 is mandatory balance in personal accounts to maintain flight training, at which point, you are at the mercy of your instructor and department, some instances I have heard some students completing their Private Pilot License in over 130 hours, when the national average is around 73 hours. At $165 dollars an hour, that is a huge difference. Very few faculty members (professors, NOT instructors) have actual experience in the field itself (with the exception of two). The chief pilot knows little about running a proper 141 school and the FAA has even stepped in to investigate some of his actions. What is good about the flight line is the aircraft fleet and maintenance. The Piper Warriors, Arrows (and Seminole*.) are very well maintained and properly handled. There are no full-time MEIs- and insurance policy limits hired CFIs from flying the Seminole. However, Farmingdale, unlike competitors ER/UND choose to buy out their aircraft as opposed to leasing them, so in the long run students who choose the school in the future, will be stuck with an aging fleet. Their failure to attract new student has resulted in a decline in the program. This year they started with 12 Private students, three have already declined to continue training. Grant money intended for simulators "mysteriously has disappeared" and with the cost of the flight training itself, it is much more reasonable and logical to choose to train at a local FBO and pay as you go. Go to an alternative school for a means of a bachelor's degree. Very important for which you may actually use if you were to ever loose your FAA medical. The major airlines do NOT care what kind of degree you have, just as long as you do have a four-year degree. A person of comparable flight experience, with an aviation degree MAY have a slight advantage with an interview for regional airlines. I only write this as a deterrent to people who think about attending Farmingdale for this program, the majority of students are in this predicament, so do understand this is from personal experience. Think about going elsewhere.
*The Seminole rarely flies. Many students choose not to do their multi-engine rating at Farmingdale, they go elsewhere to places like Mid Island or Action Multi in Groton, CT.
I could not agree more with the last post. SUNY Farmingdale sucks. Recently many CFI's left and there was no replacement system in place, so no one was allowed to do any flying during the winter break from what I understand. I withdrew from aviation program and left the school after 1 semester, (as soon as humanly possible).