Why I left Westwind for Pan Am

foxbat

New Member
I was a Westwind student who is now quite happy to be at Pan Am. I would like to let prospective students know why I made the decision to switch to Pan Am.

Westwind has a real problem that has been created by the Right Seat Direct program. The people who complete the program are guaranteed jobs even if they are really not qualified to be instructors. I asked my instructor at Westwind what was involved in getting a CFI position after he completed the Right Seat Direct program and he said all he did was spend an hour with Jim Pittman going over company policies. He said he never even had to go up with a check airman to see if he was proficient before he was hired.

I had a few bad experiences that would not have been acceptable even at a local FBO. One time in the run up area the engine would quit when the throttle was brought back to idle. My instructor told me that since we had not flown lately (due to Westwind maintenance, I will get to that later) we should continue. I did not feel safe flying but felt pressured to do so, and we continued the flight. I made a bad decision I know, and I will never repeat that mistake. I should have stood up to him and said no this is not safe. My point is the CFI should have known better and not pressured his student to fly in a potentially unsafe airplane.

Westwind pays only lip service to standards. You can fly with 5 different people and be told to do the same maneuver in 5 completely different ways. The way I was taught by my instructor was completely contradicted by the check airman. I must say however that the check airman in question here was an excellent pilot and instructor and I have tremendous respect for his ability. Had every instructor been of his quality the school would be great, but thanks to the complete lack of standards there are few like him.

The school ends up costing more then Pan Am. You rarely get to fly, especially if you need a Cessna RG or Seminole. They have two few of these aircraft and half of them are usually down for service. There are many 6 or 7 day gaps in my logbook, days we could not fly because a plane was not available or down for maintenance. By the time you get back in a plane you have lost proficiency and you end up spending half of your time getting back to where you were on the previous flight.

As crazy as it may sound the biggest problem is not the lack of standards or incompetent instruction, it is maintenance. Half of the planes have burned out landing lights. They will not repair or fix many problems until the plane goes in for a 100-hour or an oil change. This means that a plane with a burned out light may go 40 plus hours before being fixed. At Pan Am this problem is fixed within an hour and the plane is back in service. This may not seem like such a problem until you realise that Tom Funk, a designated examiner, told our Commercial ground school class he would not fly a plane with a burned out landing light unless it had a resetable circuit breaker which the RG does not have. Under this logic you would never get off the ground at Westwind. They will not even fix a stall warning horn until the plane goes in for an oil change or 100 hour. You can throw FAR 91.205 out the window if you plan on flying at Westwind for very long.

If you want to be an airline pilot go to Pan Am, the cost ends up being about the same but Pan Am will get you there faster and make you a better pilot. Westwind is missing so many things Pan Am has. Pan Am has an in house recruiter who actively calls airlines to place Pan Am CFI’s.

The whole point is to be in the best possible position to get to an airline. Which school will get you there faster and leave you better prepared to deal with the interview process, initial airline training, and the flying you will do over the course of your career. If you want to know which school is better ask each how many of their instructors have moved on to airline jobs over the last year. Ask each school how many of the people that they send to airline jobs end up washing out. If you ask those questions you will make the same decision I did and go to Pan Am International Flight Academy.

GO PAN AM!!!!!!!!!!
 

arizonaflyer

New Member
most of the time i like to keep my mouth shut.. nothing good to say don't say a word i was always told.. but, if maintenance is compromising the safety of students and folks on the ground who may get in the way of a nasty wreck, a call to the FAA to check in on that place seems like a good idea. especially from a former or current student who knows what the current problems are.
although i do not know for sure, i'm sure there is a phone number or address that can take care of surefire safety issues.
 

Snow

'Not a new member'
yeah they crash 'landed' one of their Simnoles about a year ago when the gear failed to go down. There's even a picture of it on their webpage lol
 

250blue

New Member
I couldn't disagree more with this thread. I am a student at Westwind and one of my good friends who attends Pan Am failed his stagecheck because his instructor had taught him two manuevers that the check airman found to be non-standard procedure. His two extra flights ended up costing him $400. I do not understand why you would need to go up and get "checked out" before instructing when you have just received a thorough stagecheck by a check airman before taking your FAA ride for the CFI and then passed the ride with an examiner. This makes no sense, if you have the ticket and were trained at Westwind then you are qualified to instruct, that is what a CFI rating means. As for the RG's, I have only had 3 flights cancelled due to maintenance inspections but have never gone more than two days without flying. If you have any vision, then you book every single day and it is very easy to fly those on the weekends. Westwind has been a great experience for me and I am on budget. My friend at Pan Am is way over budget and has failed FAA rides. Your training depends on you and the type of person you are. I know that Westwind gets students from Pan Am all the time, it just depends on the atmosphere and honesty you desire. My best advice is to visit all the schools, that is what I did and I am very happy with my decision. Good luck to everyone!!
 

Mavmb

Well-Known Member
This is what you can expect at an academy where you put all your money up front. The problem is that when the academy has your money, they really don't care what happens to you anymore. And why should they? They already have your money. When I fly over Deer Valley airport, I just look down and see the greedy axis of evil.

Well good luck to the orginal poster here. Out of the frying pan and into the fire!
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
An "axis of evil" in North Phoenix? Sheesh, I'd better pick up a flack jacket in case G-Dubb misinterprets your post and launches an attack.
 

E7B

New Member
I would like to point out that of the over 300 fellow pilots at Westwind and Pan Am combined, only 45% of us are pure evil. The other 55% are only slightly evil, so don’t lump us all into one generalization like that.

But Mike, please do keep trash talking flight academies, it makes you look good.
 

Wolverine

New Member
>> I do not understand why you would need to go up and get "checked out" before instructing when you have just received a thorough stagecheck by a check airman before taking your FAA ride for the CFI and then passed the ride with an examiner. <<

Checkouts are required to teach under part 141. We need an initial checkout in each plane we'll be teaching in and an annual checkout in at least one of the planes.

It's also the last chance before we start instructing for the assistants to make sure we are teaching our procedures correctly and uniformly.
 

CLR4ILS

Well-Known Member
Foxbat, Sorry to hear your experience at Westwind was as bad as mine. I shared my experience that was identical to yours on this forum several months ago. Everything you talked about is true from the maintenance to the standards. I sat down with Jim Pitman on several ocassions and asked him why three different instructors were teaching the same maneuver three different ways. His response was "there really is no correct way to do these maneuvers". It is unfortunate they will let anyone be a Chief CFI these days. I too had several gaps in my training there thanks to their maintenance and scheduling. I had somewhere around 12-14 cancelations in the RG. I shared my concern several times with the owner Jerry Dilk and Jim Pitman. When I told Jim Pitman I was fed up with the problems because the extra reveiw flights were costing me too much money he told me to "tread lightly". He told me not to talk about the problems with the other students. After I told him how unprofessional the school was he then told me I should go back to Flight Safety. I told him I had already made the arrangments to go back. The point here is that Westwind does not want to except the responsibility for their maintenance problems and lack of standards. They would rather make excuses, promise you a refund that you will never see, or if you confront them hard enough as i did, tell you to go back to the best school in the states (FSI) rather than treat you like a customer and take care of the problem. Jerry Dilk has been promising me a refund for over a year for all of the extra reveiw flights due to their maintenance problems. Every time I call him or send him a certified letter he says he will take care of it. I NEVER hear from him again. For all of you other students at Westwind that have had several review flights due to maintenance or scheduling I want you to know that is a "breech of contract" on Westwinds part. If the school qoutes you a price and it costs more because of their negligence you are entitled to a refund. If they do not give you one, get an attorney... ILS
 

Av8rPHX

New Member
ok, first off I am probably opening myself to flame bait... but.. breach not breech, arrangements not arrangments, quotes not qoutes. Sorry, but misspelling really detracts from your argument. Anyways,I am not affiliated with any flight schools, but keep in mind that they are all for profit companies. There is bound to be red tape in *any* company, even your beloved FlightSafety.
/rant
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
He's a pilot, not a typist, and your sentence structure wouldn't exactly please an english teacher either. Back off.
 

yankee_one

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
ok, first off I am probably opening myself to flame bait... but.. breach not breech, arrangements not arrangments, quotes not qoutes. Sorry, but misspelling really detracts from your argument. Anyways,I am not affiliated with any flight schools, but keep in mind that they are all for profit companies. There is bound to be red tape in *any* company, even your beloved FlightSafety.
/rant

[/ QUOTE ]

I made some corrections for you as well.

Okay, first off, I am probably opening myself to flame bait, but it's breach not breech, arrangements not arrangments, and quotes not qoutes. Sorry, but misspelling really detracts from your argument. Anyway,(anyways is not a word)I am not affiliated with any flight schools, but keep in mind that they are all for profit companies. There is bound to be red tape in any company, even your beloved FlightSafety.


I'm sure I missed a few other mistakes. Feel free to correct me!


Hey Doug?? Any chance of getting a spellchecker on here so we won't offend anyone else?
 

franknes

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
He's a pilot, not a typist, and your sentence structure wouldn't exactly please an english teacher either. Back off.

[/ QUOTE ]

That's no excuse. As a pilot one should have an even greater education. Another reason to finish college before entering into a flying career.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
Are you •ting me? You guys are hilarious. You're picking apart someone for a few typographical errors. Education level has little to do with how well you can type. I can see spelling errors being bad on a resume, but this is a freakin' message board. I'm pretty sure CLR knows how to spell (whether he knows it or not, we've met a couple times around FSI), and I can assure you he's not an idiot.

You guys gonna tell me I'm a worthless piece of crap instructor because I said "gonna" instead of "going to" and "freakin'" instead of...something else? Get a life.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
I'll be the first to admit I have no [social] life. I'm a little busy being (and trying to be) fairly successful (uh oh, did I spell that right??) with my life, and at what I do. I'm not going to apologize for that.

But how does mistyping something on a forum make one "unprofessional"? I'm not following. Must be I'm uneducated. How exactly do you define "educated" anyway? It's really a subjective term.

And who are you to call someone you've never met unprofessional, simply because they mistyped something? Must be nice to be perfect. You are perfect, right? I mean, you've never mistyped anything? You spell every single word right? You're probably the most professional person on the planet then, right? You said in another post that you run a business...care to share what kind? Microsoft? I doubt it. Lemonade Stand? Probably. I'm as much for professionalism as anyone, but misspelling something makes one uneducated and unprofessoinal? Bull$hit. You're barking up the wrong tree pal, take a hike.
 

davidhigbie

Well-Known Member
Frankness- you really need a hobby besides pointing out other people's errors...does it make you feel good or strong or something??? Come on....lighten up and take your thumb out of you know what. Ya never met the guy! (yes, I said ya). Guess I'm not a professional either....
 

yankee_one

New Member
Well it's funny.. I took a look at some of Mr. Perfects other posts on here and I'm sorry to report, he is not perfect. On atleast two other posts I was able to find errors.

Issues, party of one, your table is ready.
 
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