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American Flyers

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Well-known member
Dec 7, 2001
I'm interested in anyones experiences with American Flyers, either as a student or CFI.

Thank you, Happy Holidays
well be a little more specific on what you want to know. i been instructing their for about 1 and a half years.
I'm looking for a place where I can earn my CFI/CFII/MEI and then instruct.

Would you recommend the place? Which location are you at? Do instructors move from one location to another? What sort of condition are the aircraft in?
I went there in 97. I think AF has a good CFI program, except from what I've seen, you have to be really current and have your stuff together in order to complete the course for the price they advertise. Prices on aircraft at AF are just downright ridiculous. You can rent twins for price they charge for a solo in C-172.

My impression about CFI's there, and this was 4 years ago is that many would build total time there, and go somewhere else to build multi time like fly 135 freight etc. Also, back then they were charging $45/hr for a CFI while paying a CFI $6/hr.

I'd try freelancing at flying clubs. A few buddies of mine built up their multi time there, and took a big pay cut by going to the regionals.

Good luck!

I was an instructor at American Flyers - DPA for a little over two years. I just left this past October, so this info should be fairly current. IMHO, I think the American Flyers CFI/II prep is among the best i've seen. But like the previous poster said, you MUST be instrument and commercial profficient in order to finish in the time and money alloted. It is absolutely possible to get signed off in the 30 days they advertise (not bad for the price they charge). It might take you another week to actually take the ride because DE's are very busy and backed up. So plan accordingly if you are taking off work. The students that seem to do fine are the ones that just recently finished their instrument and commercial ratings. The ones that drown are the ones that haven't flow in several months or even years, or it has been a while since they have recieved their inst. and comm. tickets, or who aren't dedicated students. Not to say that you can't do it if you got your comm. a few years ago, just study up and fly maneuvers and approaches before you start the Academy. Be aware that you will be exected to do A LOT of studying on your own and be prepared to show up at 8am and stay until at least 5-6pm for most days M-F. The group concept works very well, and you are encouraged to use each other as much as possible. I personally know each of the instructors that teach the CFI/II Academy at DPA, and they are very good at their job and will get you done. Keep in mind, this is by far the most challenging certificate you will ever get, so do not expect any handouts. All in all I think they have a very good program. There is alot of self study, only about 10 hrs a/c, long days, and it is very intense. On the other hand you get excellent instruction and all the free sim time in a Frasca 141 you can cram in. Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game". IF you have any problems I would recommend talking to the Chief Pilot first and see if there is anything she can do to help.

I really wouldn't recommend AF to get your ME or MEI. They do offer it but it is VERY expensive and there are only like two schools, out of 16, that have twins. Flyers really caters towards the business person that can afford the higher prices. If price is your number one concern, look somewhere else for your PVT, INST, or COMM licenses and ratings. The Instructor Academy is one of their only reasonably priced programs.

I think American Flyers is a good place to instruct at. Like all companies, their are some complaints. But as long as you can deal with a little BS and some politics, you should be alright. When I left DPA it was just starting to get better. It is a good place to build total time in various types of aircraft. I got my high performance and high altitude signoffs for free from them. Their planes aren't the best out there but they are better than alot of the other smaller schools i've seen. Plus they just bought 10 brand new Skyhawks. Additionally, lots of customers use their own planes. Most of the ones I flew were nice complex and high performance singles such as a Saratoga, Commander 115TC, and Bonanza. Pay is pretty good, considering you are an instructor. As a full timer, $2000-2200/mo during the summer and $1500-1700/mo take home during the winter wasn't uncommon. Flyers tries to hire most of its employees straight out of the Academy. Wear a tie and act professional. At DPA, they start looking for prospective instructors on the first day of the Academy! If they don't have a spot for you at the school you attended, they will try to see if there is another school that needs instructors. Once you are hired at a school, they don't ship you off to another school unless you agree. There is however the opportunity to sub at other schools while you are there. I spent two weeks subbing in New Jersey... ALL expenses paid! There is also the opportunity to go on true XC flights for aircraft reposition flights. I've been from Chicago to San Diego, Ft. Worth, Atlanta, and KC. Again ALL expenses paid. Makes for a nice company paid vacation! Benifits aren't the best, but at least they have some. They pay for part of your personal health insurance, offer a 401k, and a weeks paid vacation all after a year of full time employment. Flyers is a good place to build total time, but don't expect much multi time unless you have your MEI and are at one of those two schools with the twins. Another good thing about Flyers is that you don't have to worry about finding your own students like you would as a freelance instructor.

All this was based on my experience while at American Flyers - DPA. Other instructors may have had different experiences at different schools. Be sure to look into ALL options for training before commiting yourself to any one school or FBO. I'm sure there are lots of other good schools or FBOs that other users can tell you about.

I know this was long, but I hoped I answered some of your questions. If you have any more questions about American Flyers or the one at DPA specifically, PM me (or antney, he was also an instructor at DPA Flyers that would be willing to help. might have a different perspective) and i'll do my best to answer your questions. Oh and in case your wondering, I got most of my ratings at a University (can you guess which one?), not American Flyers.

Good luck!
well ILLINI is right i do have a different perspective on american flyers. i think all their programs are priced ridiculouslly. you really have to be nuts to pay it. but on the other hand you get what you pay. the instruction is great. youll most likely get done at the times in the program if with the right instructor, like ILLINI was one of the best!!!!!! do i think they charge to much? YES, but i do think the eduactaion you get, you cant get anywhere else, atleast for the most part. i do beleive there are good instructors or better ionstructors than american flyers but i do think you get what you pay for. about the CFI program i beleive this is the best program out there for your CFI, CFII. you can get it done in the required time, but you have to be very profecient like statde above. ILLINI is right you will get great instruction in the CFI program, they use their senior instructors for the CFI program. not all of them are the 195 instructors, but dont worry about that.
i got caught off in my last post, the only thing im going to add is about worjing at american flyers. youll come to learn real quick that your not respected by some of the management, i qoute some, i can name one person in particular but that wont be fair. remember one thing that your there to build time, while giving the best instruction you can. its a great place to build total time quick, but multi time is another story. you pretty much have to purchase that on your own. the only way you can build total time quick at flyers is that you have to have a in on the schedule, or you might be in thetrainer or doing ground school all day, but thats for another day, i know one instructor that started in june with about 200 total time, he has about 800 now, so hes racking it up pretty nice. the one good thing about flyers is that the pay is descent. yuo can live off of what they pay, but the more time you work the bigger the pay check. i can write about this company for days. things are improving there vrey nicely, but dont let that fool you. if you have any questions PM me or ILLINI or any other flyer instructor that post. all in all i wont regret working there, i think i made the best choice posiible. i work at the chicago office. some aircraft are very nice, but some are very old, but like ILLINI said you can fly some students plane that are very very nice. well good luck, and dont even think of getting your multi at flyers, youl lhave to take out a mortage to do it, hahaha.
Re: AF

ILLINI said:
Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game"[/QUOTE

That's just it!! I am the customer. I have no interest in "playing any games".
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R-E-S-P-E-C-T - What that means to me

Apologies to Aretha, but the truth of the matter is flight school managers do not treat line instructors with respect. I worked in five different situations and experienced several degrees of disrespect. The general mind-set is one of a plantation mentality.

In one well-known school, I was lied to several times about pay. Pay is sacred to most people, especially pilots. :rolleyes: In the same school, students were yanked from me without notice. In another situation, I was training two foreign students for their instrument ratings. They ran to the bosses and whined that they wouldn't pass their flight tests. I was shown the door after the conehead ex-military bosses accused me of not acknowledging a problem. Well, ladies and gents, there was no problem. The truth is we hadn't finished their course yet and, yes, at that point in time they wouldn't have passed their tests. The ex-AF bosses were unfamiliar generally with civilian flight training and with small aircraft specifically.

Not all places treat instructors poorly, e.g., ATC Arizona and IFTA. I have a friend(s) who worked at both and liked them. Unfortunately, it's something you put up with. Not that I cared to, especially. Just try to work as much as you can. It really is good prep for BS you will encounter on the way up.

Toss another .02 in the can for me.
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Re: Re: AF

Jetdemon said:
ILLINI said:
Yes, the school managers would make excellent careers as used car salesmen, but don't let them get in the way of the reason you are there. Be nice to them and "play the game"[/QUOTE

That's just it!! I am the customer. I have no interest in "playing any games".

Jetdemon, the quote you posted of mine was in reference to getting a job as an instructor at American Flyers after completing their Instructor Academy. You're right, you are the customer. Up until the point when you hand in your resume. Unfortunately, one of the determining factors of weather or not you are hired as an instructor, is how you played your cards when you were the customer. "Playing the game" doesn't mean letting anyone walk all over you, just watch what you say and when you say it. SOMETIMES it's just best to keep your thoughts to yourself, bite the bullet and deal with it. There are several posts on this board (and the old one) that clearly prove that this is a game you must learn to play, not only with this or any other flight school, but within the industry.

Anyway, you don't have to agree. That's just my opinion.

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