The Good and Bad!

Alaska

New Member
Just a few things to think about when looking into DCA.
Just like everything in life DCA has its good and bad. What works for some may not be the way to go for others but this is my honest opinion of DCA.

DCA has a lot to offer and a lot to work on. If you are looking to get to the airline fast and with a 25% chance at having a job in two and a half year this may be the place for you. I say 25% because that is about the % of students who enter the program and get hired as CFIs at DCA. If you get hired as a CFI you have a GREAT chance above 90% that you will be in the right seat in about 16-18 months.

Cost, plan to spend 60-70k or about 10-20% above what they say. This is not a pro or con just a fact of life. Don't expect to be a super pilot and save a lot of money. Do your best and plan for the worst.

The training is great, good instuctors, old but safe planes, the buildings are in need of help but buildings don't make pilots. Sanford is nothing special but there are other areas close by that are nice.

Time, while in ground school "the first month of each section" plan to spend 10-12 hrs a day just to keep up. After ground school is over plan on about 8-10 hrs a day. You have two days off a week from flying "based on your instructor". If your days off are Mon-Friday you will still have to come in for ground school. Many people need their days of to catch up on videos, backseating, homework, and studying for FAA tests, checkrides, and groundwork. In short DCA is much more than a full time job. If you have a family take this into account. Remember this is why the program can be done in under a year.

Customer service needs a major overhaul. I am sure you have heard the statement. Stay a number, or stay under the radar there is some trueth to this but most of all many students fill that DCA just does not care about them as a person or customer. It can be frustrating to spent 60k and be treated like an employee and not a customer.

Overall, DCA does get thier CFIs jobs. In this economy jobs are hard to come by. The training is solid but the road along the way is paved with its own problems. To all those who are looking into DCA and other academies good luck. DCA may or may not be the place for you.
 

flyboy04

Well-Known Member
I agree with pretty much everything you just said, except he 25%, are you saying that only 25% who interview gets hired, or only 25% who starts finishes the program through CFI?
From what i have seen here is that not many people make it to the interview, they get tired, arent happy, cant take, run out of money, etc, so that would make since, but most of the goups that i have see interview most if not all were hired as instructors.
 

Alaska

New Member
Of those that start the program about 25% finish, of that 25% who finish I would say that about 80-90% get hired as CFIs, of the CFIs it looks like the vast majority of them over 90% are being hired at Comair or another airline.
DCA is like the good looking girl in high school, she knows that she is good looking and treats all the guys like dirt because she can. The guys keep coming back because she is hot. DCA is getting its CFIs jobs so the students put up with a lot of trash in hope of reaching their dreams to be pilots. Is this right? You decide for yourself.
 

zsolez

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
DCA is getting its CFIs jobs so the students put up with a lot of trash in hope of reaching their dreams to be pilots. Is this right? You decide for yourself.

[/ QUOTE ]

It is wrong. But since when was the world of aviation a perfect one? It is all about sacrifices and tons of dirt. Putting up with crap is wrong, but as I see it, it is just another item on the list.

There are several routes that can lead to the right seat but not a single one of them is free of some sort of BS or crap. Ask the military guys how much crap they had to deal with, ask the charter guys how they like their jobs, ask the freight guys how it is to live at night, and ask any CFIIs at any major flight academy about the pay...

If you are trying to find the "perfect way" than let us know when you've figured it out. We simply do not have the luxury to ask for things because at the moment we are on the wrong side of the supply/demand curve.
 

chrisdahut1

Well-Known Member
Never. Always been this way, always will be. There has NEVER been a pilot shortage (well, maybe with exception of some time in the 60's), and there probably never will be one.
 

chunk75

Well-Known Member
Amen to that. The myth of the "pilot shortage" will never die as long as Kit Darby's $$-makin' machine breathes!
 

A320_DUDE

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Amen to that. The myth of the "pilot shortage" will never die as long as Kit Darby's $$-makin' machine breathes!

[/ QUOTE ]

Maybe when Mr Darby gets furloughed,then he'll see that there is no pilot shortage
 

blee256

Well-Known Member
Hey Alaska,
I think thats the way with every school. Not just DCA. To us students its a school. To the president if DCA its a business. Its unfortunate, but dont think its just isolated to DCA. And your not contracted to stay, you can leave when you want right? but if you do, you lose the connection to the airlines. Its just the opportunity costs we choose to accept, or not. good luck with everything.

-Brian
 

zsolez

New Member
OK Lets rephrase it before more bullets start to fly. My bad.

We never are going to be on the "right side" of the curve.

Actually the "supply/demand curve" example was quite inappropriate anyways as we were not talking about salaries and benefits and such… I probably should've just said: As long the demand for pilots is so low, and the supply of them is that high.

Yeah airline jobs are always going to be competitive. But two-three years ago some institutions had to compete harder, and promising THE interview was not SUCH a strong factor especially for CAA back then when Comair was before the strike. I am sure the average 1000 TT guy’s 1st choice was not the “pre-strike” Comair for a regional. Now this has changed quite a bit. No wonder every major academy has already incorporated, or is trying to incorporate something similar to DCA's.

Naturally right now people are willing to do more and more... I guess that was the whole point of the closing comment of the original poster who opened the thread.
 

zsolez

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Its unfortunate, but dont think its just isolated to DCA. And your not contracted to stay, you can leave when you want right? but if you do, you lose the connection to the airlines.-Brian

[/ QUOTE ]

I was not going to say this... but that is exactly what I hear from people training in other schools... I won't mention any names but the situation is quite crappy right now for al of us... we are all in the same boat... common knowledge.
 

172_Captain

New Member
Customer service needs a major overhaul. I am sure you have heard the statement. Stay a number, or stay under the radar there is some trueth to this but most of all many students fill that DCA just does not care about them as a person or customer. It can be frustrating to spent 60k and be treated like an employee and not a customer.


On this subject I will quote Mr Murphy on my first day at CAA May of 2001, indoctrine.
"Everyday at Comair Academy is a job interview"
What I heard is keep a low profile, don't make waves, kiss ass if you want to make it to the airlines. Thats what I did for as long as I could. I was always under the impression that CAA was doing me a favor, I never felt like a customer. When I mentioned leaving CAA, Ron whooped out the papers and said sign here. When I was in customer service and I saw pontential customers leaving, for whatever reason, I made EVERY effort to retain them with everything within my powers. It's been said that customers are like buses, if you miss one there will be another along shortly, CAA has proven that theory.
And, I will also add that on the same day I disenrolled at CAA I requested to cancel a flight because I was not IMSAFE, the instrument group leader, Denise, made the flight cancellation contingent on my disenrollment. She had my instructor follow me to the Student Services office with flight cancellation form in hand so he could verify that I was disenrolling before she signed the flight cancellation.
 
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