Why to leave DCA

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
Training at DCA is excellent, but is the atmosphere really worth it? I trained from 0 hours to my CFI at DCA cutting my losses. I realize that few DCA members read Jet Careers but if you do, make a clean break! Now, before anyone calls me a hater, see if you can refute what I've seen.

On the plus - training is high quality, the students are generally a fun bunch and the majority of the instructors are top notch.

But.....out of the nine flight instructors I had, only one was truely happy working for DCA. He and PlaneDiveGuy are two of the three instructors that I knew that actually liked working for DCA. So, I ask Ron Lewis why so many instructors seems unhappy. He says its an attitude problem with the instructors. Nice, huh?

Asked about the current promotions (5k back when you complete your ratings, free CFII if you sign up now), Ron Lewis replied that getting a rating at DCA was like buying a new car from a dealer. Sometimes the rebates and incentives are better than other times. DCA = Car Dealer? Anyone else see a problem with running a flight school like a Car Dealership?

For one rating, I waited over eight weeks to receive my temporary certificate for that rating. When I asked Ron Lewis, I was told that a new department with several extra staff members was created to aleviate that problem. Well, that's great, I said, when were they hired? Three months ago he tells me. Hmm, more useless overhead, increase in rates.

So, I started looking at the DCA management. Where did these people come from? Ron Lewis - DCA Dropout. Susan - airline washout. Several group leaders and most of the recruiting staff - airline washouts. This assessment was vital in my decision to leave. DCA is topheavy with managers that have little clue as to how to actually lead.

So, I wondered how many other academies suffer from similar problems...seems PanAm does but FSA and ER don't.

Anyway, just my 2 cents...that ballooned to 80k.

BTW, finished my CFII and MEI at All ATPs in 5 days for less than half the cost of doing CFII at DCA. Not that I would recommend All ATPs to many people because the training quality is terrible but it was fast, cheap and cost exactly what I was quoted.

Regards!
Marc
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
"Not that I would recommend All ATPs to many people because the training quality is terrible"

What was terrible about it. No 8 week ground school? Was your instructor lacking in some way?

Sometimes I wonder if your average DCA guy thinks anything less than wearing a uniform through an 8 week ground school equals a lack in quality.

Just for the record. I did all my ratings under part 61 without ANY formal ground school, wearing no uniform, and somehow, mananged to make it to a major airline.

Get your friggen ratings and walk out the door and start using them.....that's where the real education comes in.
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
"Not that I would recommend All ATPs to many people because the training quality is terrible"

What was terrible about it. No 8 week ground school? Was your instructor lacking in some way?


[/ QUOTE ]

Sorry, I am basing my judgement on the three instructors I met...not really fair to the rest of ATP. All three got their CFI through ATP and I was supprised that I knew Seminole systems better than they did among several other things. I know at the CFII and MEI level there isn't much to teach, but they seriously didn't do anything but sit in the right seat. Sorry if that reflects unfairly on ATP in general.

You should be careful about generalizing...the whole 'you DCA guys' thing.
I finished my ratings January 8th and now have, on my own, picked up three private pilot students. Not only part 61, but freelance with no help from any FBO or school. To the best of my abilities, I will try to give them an education better than they would find at any Academy. I also have no intention of ever recommending any route but part 61 from now on.

Regards!
Marc
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Is PlaneDiveGuy and airline washout too?


[/ QUOTE ]

Believe it or not, PlaneDiveGuy is one of the really good parts of DCA! He's very intelligent, an excellent instructor and in general a really funny guy. Still not sure why he left the Bikini Atoll for DCA though.
 

H46Bubba

Well-Known Member
When he was my ground school instructor for instrument, we all had disturbing visions of Fabio in a speedo out on some tropical island.
Just kidding Fabio!
You're right. Fabio might be the biggest DCA supporter, but he's a really great guy and a knowledgable instructor. Even though he's not my instructor he's always able to answer any question if I have any
 

SmitteyB

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
.....Unaware of traffic pattern maximum bank restrictions (30-degrees

[/ QUOTE ]

My apologies, Smitty. While responding to your post, I accidently edited it and couldn't recover most of what you wrote about the MEIs at ATP and how they had to be taught and what they didn't know.

I'll try to recover it.

MikeD
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Unaware of traffic pattern maximum bank restrictions (30-degrees)....etc.

[/ QUOTE ]

There isn't a bank restriction in the pattern. It is just suggested to have the bank 30 degrees or less.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
"I was supprised that I knew Seminole systems better than they did among several other things."

And why did you know that? Because you worked harder and studied more. Makes no difference what school you go to, success is more about your individual hard work and motivation. That's my point.
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
"I was supprised that I knew Seminole systems better than they did among several other things."

And why did you know that? Because you worked harder and studied more. Makes no difference what school you go to, success is more about your individual hard work and motivation. That's my point.

[/ QUOTE ]

Ya gotta read all of the post!!!
Like I said, not sure I'd recommend anything other than part 61 to most people. However, I do expect instructors to be good pilots and I almost always learn something useful why I fly with good pilots. This just wasn't the case at ATP so I wouldn't recommend them.

Sometimes I think you just like to antagonize people....kind of like my wife.
Oops...did I say that out loud....
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Uhhh....what?

I read all the post. I only commented on a small part of it. Then there was some thread creep. It happens...

Feel free to ignore my posts if you don't like what I say or the way I say it....
 

Joepilot

New Member
gtpilot
I see you suffered a similar fate. I did my CFII and MEI through ATP and I agree it was cheaper but the instructor was the pits. Never in my life have I seen someone who lives and dies by the Garmin 430. The kid couldn't navigate in VFR conditions using a sectional. Granted I knew the area like the back of my hand. He will be in for a rude awakening in the airlines. I don't think they have Garmin 430's in RJ's.
 

Wannabe2

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Now, before anyone calls me a hater, see if you can refute what I've seen.

Several group leaders and most of the recruiting staff - airline washouts.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not sure about the recruiting staff, but "several" of the group leaders? Of all the "training" groups (private, instrument, commercial, international, CFI/CFII and multi) at DCA I know only one of the managers, and zero of the leaders that have ever even interviewed with an airline. I don't know his story exactly, but I know he chose to come to DCA in a management role because his priority is his wife and little girl. He is also a very motivated, dedicated, excellent instructor that bends over backwards for his leaders, instructors and students. I know most of the leaders/mangers very well and you really need to get your facts straight before you spread around misinformation about me (instrument group leader along with Fabio) and my coworkers.
 

gtpilot

Well-Known Member
Ok, last post and I'll leave DCA alone. I mean no disrespect to the instructors at DCA. The majority are hard working and great people. I'm sure you probably are and, as I have said, I have nothing but respect for Fabio.

When I left in November, there were three group leaders who washed out. I spoke with each one individually as to why and got no good reasons as to why they didn't complete their training. At the time I wrote the above note, I also had in mind a couple of really bad long term managers who probably aren't washouts but shouldn't be group leaders or managers, including Carlos, Paul, and Lee Webb. The last two in particular seem to go out of their way to be unpleasant to students.

Again, no disrespect meant toward you or the vast majority of instructors.

BTW, as a side note, in my class, 10 of us started with 0 hours. One left immediately, two left after commercial, two of us left after CFI, three were not hired (no explaination) and two were hired and have yet to start.
 

planediveguy

New Member
Hi Mikey!

You wish! I am just a "Group Leader", which is a low management position to help new instructors and Instrument students... Hopefully I will be "released" for my airline interview this Summer...

So the answer is NO, I,m not an "Airline Washout"

Have fun...
 

AmericanPilot

New Member
Read my post under Took The Tour. I put my WHOLE story about what happend to me at DCA, if thats not incentive enough to leave, then what else is?
 
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