What are the DCA realities?

PhotoPilot

New Member
Good afternoon, all!

I am seriously looking at flight schools and have committed to finding a way to fly professionally. I have spoken with Delta Connection Academy and am wondering if any of you can throw some light on a few of their promises for me.

First, what did you think of the instruction quality? Have the cost and time estimates been close to to what is promised? How often do people leave and what are their reasons for doing so?

Second, what is the wait for the Standz classes right now? For those of you who are instructors, how many students do you have? How many hours do DCA instructors get in the air each month?

Next, and this is the biggie, I have found other schools with instruction that is on par with Delta Connection Academy's and that cost less. The big attraction to Delta is that they are run by Delta Connection airlines. The guaranteed interview doesn't mean squat unless people get HIRED as a result of that interview. I know what the recruiters told me, but what is the real state of hiring? Are DCA's instructors actually getting hired by Delta affilitates at 1200 to 1500 hours? Is paying the extra $20,000 for a chance to be in the right seat of an RJ at 1200 worth it? How many instructors have recently been hired by Comair or other Delta regionals? I was told by the recruiter that the 2 years spent learning and teaching at Delta Connection Academy is a "2 year long job interview" and that, if a pilot made it through that time period successfully and was good at what he or she did, there is about an 80% chance of being hired by a Delta Regional. How realistic is that? I'm afraid to take anything as truth; so many of the academies seem like they will say anything to get my money!

Thanks to all and good luck in the world of professional flying!
 

flyboy04

Well-Known Member
Out of all things you are told by the dca marketing people the things to be aware of are time and money. For most everyone its going to cost more than the quoted price, secondly is how long they say it will take you, there are so many factors that determine how long it will take that its hard to have and accurate estimate. Weather cancellations happen very often, ecspecially if your trying to get a VFR cross country done, and other than that its hard to get to dca's standards in the time they give you, so your most likely going to be doing some lessons over and over again. The training here is great, everyone is friendly and its a great place to be if you love to fly, because its something youll be doing 2 a day for 5-7 days a week. As far as the hiring goes, it looks like if you stick it out as a flight instructor your chances are awesome to get on with a regional. I here all the time about people starting classes in cincinatti for Comair. But its only the people that make it to the end, out of the people that started with me, several have left, youve just got to remember why your here and your goals and stick it out through the good times and the bad.
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
There MUST be some other folks out there with opinions that they want to share . . .

Time is getting short for me and I need to make a definitive decision. Anyone else want to share their experiences?
 

VampyreGTX

New Member
Right now, from friends that are still at DCA, I'm hearing the wait is about 5-6 months from finishing CFII to standz class. Also, most new instructors are being sent to New Bedford and in the future, probably to the new Denver facility. However, I'd agree on the extra time than they quote. I'd say 12 months to complete training is average. Also, plan about 10K more than they quote you to be more accurate, if not MORE. The level of instruction is great and you will learn a lot, especially if you apply yourself. I disagree that it is impossible to meet their standards. I had no unsatisfactory lessons until about 3/4 of the way through instrument and that was on the lesson where the WHOLE flight is partial panel and you shoot an ILS, NDB and VOR approach. I also never busted a checkride, except for my Commercial FAA ride which I screwed up the 180* power off accuracy landing. Other than that, I never had an issue performing to their level. That was just me and I know it will depend on individuals and on the instructors you get as well.

I just have to say, if you have the money to spend, go with DCA.
 

Red_Baron

New Member
Well I started getting info on 14 different schools and I have picked DCA. I feel that being owned by Delta helps greatly. I spoke to my admisions guy on July 17 and he said the airlines were there two days prior and they hired 8 out of the 10 people that applied. That is the most realistic numbers that I have heard.

Yes it is a few more sheckles to go there but I think it is worth it. My other choice was F.S. I looked at it like this...the training is just about the same anywhere...yes there will be a few differences but in this day age, I feel that it is important to go with a school that has contacts.
Delta is it!

I am flying down to visit DCA in August and if all goes well I will be attending there in October 2003!

I am looking forward to it!!!
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Yes it is a few more sheckles to go there but I think it is worth it. My other choice was F.S. I looked at it like this...the training is just about the same anywhere...yes there will be a few differences but in this day age, I feel that it is important to go with a school that has contacts. Delta is it!

[/ QUOTE ]

Just because Delta owns Delta Connection Academy, doesn't mean you have a contact with Delta. Don't let the name of the school influence your decision. Also, the admissions guy is going to tell you anything to try and lure you to their school.
 

VampyreGTX

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

Just because Delta owns Delta Connection Academy, doesn't mean you have a contact with Delta. Don't let the name of the school influence your decision. Also, the admissions guy is going to tell you anything to try and lure you to their school.

[/ QUOTE ]

You don't have a direct 'contact' with Delta but you develop PLENTY of networking contacts in the airline industry. I already know 6 comair F/O's and 2 Capts and 3 CHQ F/O's all of which i met through DCA (in the 8 months I was there.) You can develop contacts anywhere, but it's just easier at DCA. As for him saying 8 of the last 10 where hired, that's actually an accurate number, 3 of them were Instructors I've flown with. As for the airlines being there.... I never knew the airlines came to the academy... unless it's something new, I'm not sure about that one....
 

foztofly

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Just because Delta owns Delta Connection Academy, doesn't mean you have a contact with Delta.

[/ QUOTE ]
I would disagree. Every instructor I have met since I have been at DCA (a year) has interviewed with a Delta Connection airline. Actually, let me clarify that, every instructor that has wanted to interview with Comair or Chautaqua has been provided with that interview upon reaching their requirements (1000TT, 800 dual given and 100 multi). I understand this interview won't guarantee you a job, but it sure helps your chances ( I would guess-timate that between 80% to 90% do get hired by Comair). Not too bad especially considering we are talking about instructors with relatively low time. Note: not every student wants to instruct at DCA, nor does everyone that interviews for a position as instructor get hired, I am solely refering to those that are instructors.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
You can develop contacts anywhere

[/ QUOTE ]

That was exactly my point. You may think it is easier there when someone else thinks it is easier somewhere else.

[ QUOTE ]
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Just because Delta owns Delta Connection Academy, doesn't mean you have a contact with Delta.


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I would disagree. Every instructor I have met since I have been at DCA (a year) has interviewed with a Delta Connection airline. Actually, let me clarify that, every instructor that has wanted to interview with Comair or Chautaqua has been provided with that interview upon reaching their requirements (1000TT, 800 dual given and 100 multi).

[/ QUOTE ]

When I wrote Delta, I meant Delta, not its connection carriers. Last time I heard, Comair was snubbing furloughed Delta Mainline pilots. That is going to come back and bite them in the butt later.
 

CNU_QB

New Member
I just toured on the 16th of this month and will be starting in Sept. I sat in a office and looked at the hires from comair from 2001-first half of 03. The average hire had about 3,000-4,000 hours. What was in bold was the comair students that got hired having barely 1,000 hours. It was amazing seeing guys with all the way up to 10,000 hours getting hired with guys from DCA that had 1,090. Alot of people bash DCA and what not, but its on paper that the majority of the instructors are getting hired with 1,000 TT and everyone else has anywhere from 3,000-11,000TT. You cant refute documentation. I also believe that the new Jet-Bridge program (getting about 25 hours in a CRJ sim) will only make your application more attractive. Im sure some of you don't agree but thats just my input.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I just toured on the 16th of this month and will be starting in Sept. I sat in a office and looked at the hires from comair from 2001-first half of 03. The average hire had about 3,000-4,000 hours. What was in bold was the comair students that got hired having barely 1,000 hours. It was amazing seeing guys with all the way up to 10,000 hours getting hired with guys from DCA that had 1,090. Alot of people bash DCA and what not, but its on paper that the majority of the instructors are getting hired with 1,000 TT and everyone else has anywhere from 3,000-11,000TT. You cant refute documentation. I also believe that the new Jet-Bridge program (getting about 25 hours in a CRJ sim) will only make your application more attractive. Im sure some of you don't agree but thats just my input.

[/ QUOTE ]

You are entitled to your opinion. But let me ask you and whoever else this, if the school didn't hire any grads, would ther even be a school? Would they be able to charge their price if nobody got hired?
 

CNU_QB

New Member
Well bro, you make it sound like they are going to hire as few as possiable to be able to say "ya we can get you in with the regionals" just to get your money. But they really are hiring the vast majority of their CFI's. DCA is a very contraversial topic, but I believe if all the people that talk bad about it saw the statistics and all that then they would understand. And seeing diff airlines keep ordering CRJ's it just keeps looking better. I see how people doubt it though, because I was one of them at first....but the stats dont lie
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Of course I doubt it. I doubt any school that promises interviews, jobs, missions to the moon, etc.

I know DCA hires some of their grads, but like you said, they also hired pilots with many different backgrounds. I just want to let you know there are cheaper ways to get into a cockpit.
 

ananoman

New Member
One of the things that you should consider is that it is going to take you about a year to finish training. After that you will have to spend another year as an instructor, minimum. Alot can change in 2 years. Right now DCA is listing 6 airlines in their ad. Of those ASA is not hiring, ACA and Chautauqua have furloughed pilots. I have no idea what SkyWest is doing. Comair will not be hiring forever, no matter what marketing tells you.

I am not telling you not to go to DCA, you will get a decent education there. But do not be suprised if you are not sitting in a new hire class 2 years from now.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
When I wrote Delta, I meant Delta, not its connection carries. Last time I heard, Comair was snubbing furloughed Delta Mainline pilots. That is going to come back and bite them in the butt later.

[/ QUOTE ]

I generally try to steer clear of the political sides of the airline biz, but from what I hear on the line, this is a true statement.
 

moppetrey

New Member
Delta Connection slash Comair or whatever slick marketing move yall make, is a decent school. The idea that Delta is training its pilots over Sanford is silly. If you buy into it, Delta Connection, FlightSafety gets just as much hired from ASA, ACA, and Chattaqua when they are hiring. We have even gotten people through Comair. While, I admire the slick move, students eager to train at Comair should take note.

1) Go and take a look at their airplanes if they will let you
2) See their hanger if they will let you
3) The absolute hire thing, guess what they can't promise you that
The placement rate is based on going from 0-through MEI and instructing your 800 hours.
4) Sanford is a hole, the tour takes you on the outside of the town.
5) They have a 6 month waiting list too

That being said, Comair is a decent school. You arent going to get ripped off, my only intention is to show that Comair (ahem Delta Connection) is not the saving grace in Pilot Training. DCA has to deal with the realities of the aviation economy. It sucks. ACA and ASA aren't hiring and Chattaqua is hiring just a little bit. So before DCA is heralded as the last bastian of true flight training right into the right seat of a 777, think about the realities.
 

yankee_one

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

1) Go and take a look at their airplanes if they will let you.
2) See their hanger if they will let you
3) The absolute hire thing, guess what they can't promise you that
The placement rate is based on going from 0-through MEI and instructing your 800 hours.
4) Sanford is a hole, the tour takes you on the outside of the town.
5) They have a 6 month waiting list too



[/ QUOTE ]
1) Every tour is taken out to look at the aircraft. When I give the tours I allow the people on the tour to pick out which ones they want to look at so that I am not steering them towards anything.At FSI I was finally allowed to look at one aircraft after being persistant about seeing one. They were nothing to write home about.

2)I offer every student time to go to the hanger. Something Flight Safety udderly refused."due to insurance regulations." I could only peer in from over a do not cross line. makes you wonder what they were trying to hide.

3)No one has ever said "Absolute hire" 85% get hired on as flight instructors, and 98% of the flight instructors get hired.

4)Sanford isn't the best city, Vero isnt that grand either, and the tour does not take you out of the town.

5)The wait list is at 4 months, not bad considering a student that just came to me from Flight Safety told me the wait there was 2 1/2 years. Then what do you go back to? 2-3 years of instructing??
 

aviator

New Member
FSI will let anyone who tours look inside every airplane on the ramp if you desire. As far as "peering across" that line in the maintaince hanger. How far away from the airplanes were you behind that line? 3 feet is my guess. Makes sense that they don't want random people climbing under a 3000 lb airplane that is up on jacks.

Nothing against DCA I'm sure they have a fine program. However, ACA, ASA, and Chautauqua all have pilots on furlough. If Comair stops hiring what good is the interview?
 

H46Bubba

Well-Known Member
Hey the airline industry sucks! It's not new news to any of us who have been trying to get to the lines. You have to take it with a grain of salt and move on. You can get there by many routes, FBO, Academies, or military. DCA is right now the best avenue out there. Comair is hiring, and CHQ is hiring DCA grads with lower total time than if you were joe schmoe off the street with 2,500 TT. I'm in no way saying that you can't get hired off the street with less than the inflated mins. I know personally that it happens. SkyWest has been really good about hiring people with <2,000 TT. DCA is a business, a school that is offering a product. They have to market what they offer. But you can't look at all that paperwork and not look at the fine print. DCA can't hire everyone as an instructor. There are attrites due to lack of funds, not wanting to instruct, or for not passing the curriculum. You also have to pass standz class as well. Don't go into it dreaming. Know the reallity of the whole situation. Have back-up plans incase you aren't hired on as an instructor or have to leave due to money issues or whatever arrises. Think about all this before you go. It's a very big decision to make and even more so if you are married and have kids! I've been looking at DCA for the past three years as well as the other schools. I've done the tours and so on. Know that I'm getting out of the Navy, I know that my decision to go to DCA is the best and I've thought it over a good long time. I have back-up plans, have thought out everyting, and read all the fine print. My wife was included in all this and she is onboard 100%. I've done the work/FBO route and it sucked. DCA works for me by being structured and I can just go and concentrate on flying and not have to wory about work or being called away for over sith months straight. I'm going to work my butt off, study and make that chance to be an instructor. Then if hired, I'm going to give 110% to get that MEI and get that 800 hrs instructed, so that I can get that interview.
 
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