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flight training schools (USA)

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Hiya guys,Living in England I have no idea about US flying schools. I have always wanted to be an airline pilot and I did plan to start training in a few months. Now I have decided to go to university many more doors have been (will be!) opened for me, one of them is possibly moving to the US (actually a very strong chance). My question is this,what are the main flight training schools in the USA, are their any particualar ones that airlines look out for? Could you post links possibly? In England a few airlines offerd part or full sponsership, somthing which has now died out, were there any or are their any sponsorship schemes open in the US? How do the majority of people in the US that like me don't have pots of money, train to become pilots, is it through the military?If somone could give me a few pointers to get started on some research that would be great!RicEDIT: I am looking at comair, anyone know anything about them?

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Ric:Comair is good because they guarantee you an "interview" with a Comair after you graduate. Comair is a very respected school and upwards of 96 percent of graduates actually do get on with an airline. But realize that these stats reference pre 9/11 and if you ask now the figure is something like 20% or lower.Rightt now, you will get an interview but you won't get a job because of the current state of the US economy. Costs are about $55,000 ab initio program, and about $750 per month for rent. Food, etc will be extra but expect another $10,000 for the duration of the course for incidentals and such.Another school to look at is Pan Am Aviation Academy. The actually GUARANTEE you a JOB after you get enough hours to go to an airline and they deal with about 7 carriers including Comair (go figure). They also have a CRJ simulator and you will fly it as part of your course. They also will refund your CRJ (CRM) fee if you are not hired within 6 months of eligibility. They have been refunding EVERYONES fee because only five people have been hired all year. (about 30 graduate from each class). Also $55,000 from zero time to a few hundred hours. They recommend you take an $80,000 loan so that you have $25,000 to live on for 44 weeks since they do not allow you to work. This works out in your favor because this pays your rent of $750 per month and gives you spending money (you won't be spending weekends in the Bahamas, BUT, at least you won't starve.Now, if you are stinking rich and you don't need to take out a loan I say GO FOR IT! :-lolHowever, here is the really bad news.Continental - Doesn't expect to hire another pilot until 2004, has pilots on furloghContinental Express - Must rehire their furloghed pilots first and don't expect to hire again until 2004United - :-lol - They plan to lay off 12% (8,000) more employees and are on the verge of bancruptcy so don't count on them.Delta / Comair - Delta is NOT hiring. Comair has about 10 slots open a year.Northwest - Not hiring and no plans to hire until furloghed pilots are rehired.USAirways - Still in bad shape and not hiring either.Southwest - IS HIRING, but the waiting list is LOOOOOONG and it is very competitive with so many pilots out of work. But at least they ARE hiring.American - Not hiring now and have frozen new hires indefinitely since openings are being filled by American Eagle.Don't let me discourage you from following your dream because that is what life is all about. HOWEVER, expect to remain a flight instructor ($700 - $1000 per month) for the next two years after you graduate. Analyst's say that the airlines (regional and majors) should begin to recover and begin hiring meaningfully by then.Also beware that getting sponsorship by the flight school is VERY hard right now because of 9/11 so, you will have to put in your application and wait for a while.All-in-all, if you start soon, at least you will be poised to take advantage of upturned hiring trends when the backlog of more experienced people all get hired from the academies. Expect that you should be on board with an airline in 2005 or 2006 and then you are off to the races!!!How do I know all this you may ask? I have a friend who is a recruiter at Comair (his daughter is friends with my ex-wife who is a Flight Attendant for Continental). At Pan Am Academy, I know a few people in recruiting and visited the Academy which is in Port Sait Lucie, Fl about two months ago. So, you'll just have to trust me on this one :-)Regards,Mike T.

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Grab a copy of the FLYING magazine. A number of major flyings schools advertise there on a constant basis.Michael J.

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I don't know the exact situation in the states, but its bad in Canada as well. I have 2 flying jobs, one instructing, and one as a Navajo Co-Pilot when the weather goes IFR. There is NO movement at all up here. Places that used to hire every 3 months have't hired in a year and a half now. The minimum required hours for a postition have doubled, even tripled for some operators.. Why? Because there are now guys with thousands of hours who are applying for the same position as a guy with 500 hours applys for. Who would the operator rather have.. a 250 - 500 hour newbie, or a 2000 hour pilot with 1000 multi and hundreds of actual IMC that needs minimal training. The answer isn't too difficult. For example the place I co-pilot at, one of my Captains is an ex TWA 717 Co-pilot prior to 911.. how do I with 520 hours compete with that!! Another example, WestJet's MINIMUM requirements are 5000 hours... your Co-Pilot time only counts as half. Latest I heard was they are looking for more like 7000-9000 hours.I know this post sounds pretty harsh and negative, but I am in the industry and tell it as it is. I've learned from instructing, be honest with your students. Alot of flight schools like to push the pilot shortage issue to the limits and make alot of promises. I tell them straight up what to be prepared for if they ask. (Prepare to flip burgers with your $30,000 flying investment for a while) On the contrary though, if it is your dream and ambition to fly and you have the funding to do it, then by all means, follow your dreams. I went to University, got a Comp Sci degree, worked it for 5 years. During the 4th year I absolutely hated it and decided there was no way I was going to sit in front of a computer for another 30 years (unless its to play flightsim) So here I am now making $40,000 dollars less a year, but I'm happier flying and thats what matters. Its actually nice to wake up and want to goto work!!Chris

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Hi Ric,Check out Mazzei Flying Service at http://www.flymfs.comThey have good international programs and the price is right. I went there for my Multi, Inst and Comm and was completely satisfied. It took exactly 2 months to get all that done. I also got plenty of actual IMC during my training (always foggy in Fresno during the winter!). Good luck!-Damian

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Ric,I'm currently training at comair and I love it. Feel free to email me with any questions, maybe I can hook you up with the guys in the J-1 department (I believe that's the visa you'd be looking for).Oops, forgot my email: pzsoulman@aol.comCheers,Petehttp://members.aol.com/pzsoulman/myhomepage/logo.gifAthlonXP2000,AbitKX7-333(latest4in1),512MB/2700SDRAM,WinXP,DirectX8.1,Geforce3TI200(128MB)(Det.30.82),SBlive(WDM5.1.2601.0)

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That's a pretty bleak picture, though not as bleak as I'd expected.One plus though, someone starting his studies now on a 1 year program will be just about ready for the market in 2004 when you expect things to start looking up again (at the earliest). While only a minor positive item, it might be worth considering (but even then, I expect that US based airlines will prefer US citizens if only because they're cheaper for them and I doubt that schools liaised to US airlines have much contacts to provide students with jobs overseas).Any idea how the market for corporate and cargo pilots is doing? That might be a good place to build up hours now that the airlines aren't hiring.

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Hey Hifi! I live in Fresno!I was over at Mazzie the other day in fact.I'm considering Pan Am and West Wind right now. Gonna fly out to Arizona the middle of next month to check out both schools :)Shane

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Hi Ric, I am also in England looking to go to the US for flight training. There are some very good deals out there if you look around. The biggest schools are not necessarily the best, it depends on how much you want to spend, and what you want to do after your training. There can be a BIG difference in price between schools, which in the end offer you the same thing. By the time you have instructed for a year - 2 years, you should be in a good position to join the regionals (providing you have the minimums & are able to work in the US)... If you want to return to the UK you will have to satisfy the JAR's for converting your licences, or you can do the JAA licence (but only a few selection of schools do this).Minimums for the regionals vary:ASA's - 1800TT and 350ME. ACA's - 1500TT and 250ME and can go down to 1000TT and 375 multi if you have an aviation degree. Comair is 1200 Total Flight Hours - 200 Multi-Engine Hours Mesa is 1000TT and 100ME SkyWest is 1000TT and 100ME, 100 hours instrument time Island Air is 1500TT and 500ME although we hire with lessGreat Lakes - Have a minimum of 500 hours Total time, 250 PIC , 50 hours of Multi, 10 hours of instrument (actual), and have flown at least 50 hours in the last 90 daysAir Wisconsin Airlines Corperation(AWAC) - 1500 hours total flight time 500 hours multi-engine, ATP written by date of hireGreat Lakes and AWAC ARE hiring at the moment, which is a good indication of how strong their growth and stability is.A very good site that offers alot of info is http://www.flightinfo.com. Good luck.JB.

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Ric,I strongly suggest you keep an eye on some of the magazines available here in the UK, such as Flyer, Pilot, Today's Pilot etc. Occasionally articles appear about training in the US. Things have changed big-time since last September. Are you looking at an FAA licence or JAA licence?Secondly, sponsorship or part-sponsorship is rare or non-existant in the US. Mainline carriers, such as American, United etc, get 99.9% of their pilots from the military or regional operators. Thirdly as a non-US citizen, getting a flying job in the regionals or mainline carriers, is virtually impossible. It has been done, but not by many.A work colleague of mine, pilot on the 146, moved to the US due to her boyfriend's job. She couldn't get a flying job, as none of the airlines were able to sponsor her for a work permit. Basically she had to be offered a job, before a work permit would be issued. I understand that work permits are only issued if there is not a US citizen available/qualified to do the same job, which is what the rest of the world does anyway.To be honest you'd have a better chance of getting a flying job in the UK when compared with the US. Darren

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Here in the U.S. most pilots hired now are not ex-military. The airlines used to hire a ton of ex-military pilots but the military pilot pool is quickly drying up!Shane

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Hiya guys,Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify, I am looking into training in America as a US citizen, I would be getting FAA licences. This is because I am thinking of emigrating like the rest of my family, so would be a US citizen. I was looking at Westwinds scheme, Right Seat Direct, it looks really slick and just over half the cost of Commair. Why the huge range in costs??? It certainly is good to hear that most airlines higher civilian pilots instead of ex-military. Anyway thanks for all your replies, anyone know about westwind?Cheersric

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I can help with West Wind. I am actually going to visit the school early November.West Wind's "Right Seat Direct" program is actually a very good way to build up those hours that you will so richly need and desire when applying to a regional or any other flying job for that matter. The program comes in 2 phases. Phase 1 is where you will actually earn all of your certificates up to CFII. Phase 2 is where the student actually becomes an Instructor. Becoming an Instructor is GARUNTEED if you pass Phase 1. If you pass phase 1 you WILL be a flight instructor at West Wind.West Wind also spends time training CRM while in the APP (Airline Preperation Phase - Pahse 1).Most od the students wanting to earn thier Multi-engine Instructor rating wait to do so after being an Instructor for 90 days. The reason is that if you wait till after you become an instructor for 90 days there is a 10% decrease in cost of the aircraft rental for the training and a 40-50% decrease in cost for the training of the certificate.I am in the process of trying to decide between West Wind and Pan Am. I have spoke to both schools and they seem like good programs, although, the overall of the feel of each is quite different after talking to them.Hope this helps a little. If you have more questions post back here :)Shane

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Arklight, where in Fresno are you? My brother is training there right now for his PPL. I'm in Clovis, about 5-10 minutes away from KFAT... maybe we can get together sometime.

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KLM is looking for pilots.. believe it or not!Reason is that they rise the pension age with 2 years, so the will have a shortfall soon, and therfore taking new pilots.Johan[A HREF=http://www.phoenix-simulation.co.uk]Phoenix Simulation Software[/A][a HREF=htp://www.people.zeelandnet.nl/johd]Unofficial PSS Website[/a]

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