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COMAIR Academy

PilotOnTheRise

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Can someone give me some information on COMAIR Flight Academy. I am interested possibly in going there, but would like to know what type of program they have. Also, what are their prices like. If you go in with a private, how much will the program cost. Any info. would be appreciated. :D
 

chawbein

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I just got their brochure, from 0 to CFI will cost you $45k. You might as well buy your own airplane and go to the local FBO.... The biggest draw is that they have a bridge program that will help you get a job at Comair, or so I hear. go to www.comairacademy.com and sign up for the brochure.
 

Hovernut

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I went through their program after I got my PPL on my own. I though it was a quality program and I feel I got my money's worth. The prices have risen somewhat since I went through, but if the trend of the entry-level job market raising its time requirements continues, it may be worth it to have the opportunity to fly for Comair when you get done with the program.

It cost me around $34k to go from Instrument to MEI (under 1999 contract prices). Pretty much on-schedule and 10-12% over budget...typical to lean. I've seen people spend much more, but if you study/work hard, you should succeed!

We just finished outfitting the classrooms with computerized training aids, and are in the process of modernizing the fleet. There have been quite a few improvements since I've been there. You can save money by finding a roomate and renting on your own instead of using student housing.

It certainly worked for me. I'm 37 years old and am changing careers. They were true to their word. I worked hard and excelled through the program, got the CFI job, got the guaranteed Comair interview, and was hired for a CRJ F/O position in May...just waiting a class date, now. I have a lot of friends who did the same and are waiting class, or are flying the CRJ right now. I have a few other friends who left the Academy to flight instruct elsewhere and are finding it hard to get a job right now, but we never knew what would it would be like post 9/11.

Do your own investigating. CAA will fly you down here to check out the school. Do your research and ask questions. Check all available opportunities. CAA certainly is a viable route to the airlines. Any more questions, feel free to IM me.

Happy Hunting!
 

fletch717

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I went to the academy may97 to apr98, I was 33 and already had a PPL. I got all the rest of my ratings there, it was a quality program not just an instructor mill. I instructed in another city for 13 months and got hired by US Airways Express,Comair was pay for training at the time. Then hired by Airtran 20 months later. The only negative thing was the way comair treats its instructors, thats why I chose to instruct elsewhere. In hindsight it was the best descision.
 
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Fly-By-Cable

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$45k thrue CFI, that sounds too much. I don't know a lot about Comair Academy, but there are less costly ways to get flight training. Mine cost me about 15K thrue MEII at a local FBO which had a 141 school affiliated with community college, because of that 40% of required flying cost was subsidised by state (PA).
I took my first airplane ride 6 years ago and now well into my second year with AirTran. I had some good luck, but it just shows that you don't have to pay a lot of money or go to fancy school to get ahead in this tricky industry.
Good luck!
 

PilotOnTheRise

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I agree ... I can get my ratings with my instructer now for under $20K ... I am just curious about COMAIR and some of these other flight schools. I kindive wonder if the training that you get from these schools is any better than from FBO's ... I kindive think all you get are the names from some of these places, not all, however.
 

bobbysamd

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FBO v. Academy Training

I think that a lot depends on the school. At places like Comair, you get an introduction to line procedures. I understand that students are indoctrinated in Comair procedures from the first day of training. Even if you never go to work there, you'll be ahead of the crowd because you will have at least heard of callouts and the like.

Academy training, by definition, tends to be standardized. That's a plus in a lot of ways because it is, well, school. Standardized training imposes a certain discipline that beneficial to the learning process and for your flying. We were very standardized at FlightSafety, and it was improved upon by our Chief Pilot, who adapted many of our Alitalia procedures to the regular course.

At ERAU we were supposed to be standardized. We had procedures that were supposed to be executed a standard way and standardized flows. However, so many instructors were taught so many different ways and taught their students so many different ways that it was tough to evaluate students during stage checks.

Just a little something to consider when selecting a program.
 
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fletch717

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I agree with bobby on the standardization, at comair the checklist and procedures are designed for an airline pilot, they work hard on standardization. I trained at three different FBO's before and nothing came close to the quality of comair. I'm not slamming FBO's, I went to work for one. But every instructor knows we all have different styles and bad habbits. Comair and Flight Safety are two of the best at airline training. I did not mention the college programs based on the original post.

Fletch
 

EMcx2

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If you really want to find out what the place is like, go there and talk to the students.

You will find out that Hovernut tells a very ... optimistic story because he is part of the small minority who is realizing the dream the admissions people are selling. The vast majority of students are very unhappy about life at Comair. They will tell you that the average student is spending 50..60.. even 70 thousand dollars to get all their ratings. Ask them to tell you about the beat-to-hell Cessnas that you pay those ridiculous prices to fly. Ask them about Comairs C-172 RGs, how many gear problems they have had, how many have gone down in fields this year. Ask them about the ridiculous scheduling; you don't know your schedule for tomorrow until 5 p.m. the night before. Ask them how often they actually have fun when they fly.

Then they will tell you the things that really bother them... The fact that after all the hard work, all the money, only a small percentage will be offered a chance even at a CFI job. Then you have to get through the CFI "Stands" class before you can begin working 10 -12 hours a day for a whopping 50 or 60 dollars. Ask the instructors what percentage of his/her original indoctrination class made it to an instructing job. Then after all that, if you get through your instructing contract, you still only have a marginal chance getting hired to fly for the airline. Notice that Comair’s advertisements no longer have any percentages of the number of students hired by the airline. The airline is being much more selective about the academy graduates it hires. Hell, who knows whether the airline will be hiring at all in 6 months or a year.
 

flyboy

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As usual, bobby hits it on the head. It's not about how cheap you can get your ratings, it's about the type of training you get. Procedures, procedures, procedures. Someone above mentioned something about "you can buy your own airplane for that kind of money." Ok, now what are you going to do about actually learning to fly it? There is no substitute for good training. I don't necesarily believe you have to pay $45k for training nor am I an advocate for comair, but ou should try to make your training as formal as possible. There are some FBOs out there that can give you that kind of training. But more often than not, it's too informal and only teaches to pass the checkride. I know this b/c I did my private at an FBO and the rest of my ratings at a formal flight school. It taught me discipline and kept me well tested at each phase of my training.

Bottom line, research these flight schools before you give them the next 30 years of your paycheck. Find a place that will give you a structured, formal learning environment.
 

Hovernut

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More Detail

Well, I didn't say life was a bowl of cherries there either, did I? Anything worth having is worth working hard for. Did I enjoy giving up a $26/hr job to get $10/hr hobbs/groundwork only? Not particularly. Do you get paid better at FBOs? Usually twice what I make now, but a good friend of mine who went through most of the program, but bailed at CFI is finding it hard to get multi hours and an airline job the same time I got hired by Comair.

Scheduling is a pain, but since you're there full-time 141, expect to put in the hours. Now that the schedule is available via email, it makes planning a smigen easier. I don't think that'll get any better and I don't know if ERAU or FSI has any better system. I think the college programs do, though.

There haven't been any RG gear problems for over a year and a half since the mods were installed. We did have a couple a/c make safe flyoutable off field landings due to catastrophic failures of the engines....can't help it when a case comes apart! As I mentioned earlier, with fleet improvements, the RGs are being replaced with Arrows.

No fun flying there? Maybe sometimes...stage checks...FAA exams, but I made sure all my students' flights were fun...heck that's why we like this profession so much, isn't it? Just like anywhere else, it's what you make of it and how cool your instructor is. You can fire your instructor here just as easily as anywhere else. I know, I've been fired a couple times...I expect high standards from my students and they hear from me when I see 'em slacking! We strive to produce quality pilots/instructors...sometimes the boad of education hurts.

Staying Power: Yes, quite a few of my original Instrument classmates aren't instructing here today. Several "saw" greener pastures elsewhere, but ended up b1tching and moaning about the same things at "the other school." Some didn't have the skills and blew all their money early on. Some were there because ma & pa wanted them to and they just burned through family money. Those that really had the desire, the smarts, and staying power made it through the ringer and instructed.

Yes, I've seen a few not get hired by CAA or Comair, and have been dismayed, but for the most part, those that really want to make it....do.

Disclaimer: I'm a current CFI at large at CAA waiting for a CRJ ground school class date with the airline and found the program to be successful for ME. I encourage all applicants to take the tour, do the research and interviews and make that all important decision on your own. The program is challenging, a pain in the a$$ sometimes, very educational, and yes, fun, too. I've seen everybody from band teachers, cops, lawyers, H.S. graduates, Army helo pilots, and yes, the occasional Navy Nuke make it through this program.

Whatever your choice is, I wish you well in your endeavors!
 

bobbysamd

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Realism in flight schools

Most of my "career" was in 141 flight schools. ERAU-Prescott and FlightSafety-Vero, and a few months at Mesa. I interviewed at Comair eleven years ago, apparently before it stopped hiring instructors from the outside. The 152s were tired, even back then. I believe the place had operated for years as Airline Aviation Academy and Comair purchased the place, lock, stock and barrel.

I did not get a good impression of Comair when I interviewed, but, again, that was 1991. The Chief Instructor is now the Chief Instructor at FSI. I can tell you that I could take EMcx2's post almost verbatim and substitute FSI or Riddle and it would read the same. You're a student and you're treated well enough. Get a job at your school (and stop paying in money) and you and the rest are treated as so many flunkies.

One incident when I was an FSI instructor sticks out. I had been working there about three weeks and was assigned a student who came there to train under Part 61. He had his Private and was going to go into Seminoles. So, I put in for a Seminole for him and took my days off. I called in for my schedule and was told this activity had not been scheduled. So, I scheduled it myself and called the student, who told me I was no longer his instructor. I asked one of the Assistant Chief Pilots what gives. He said that because I was "new" to FSI that he unilaterally reassigned this student because I might not be able to "handle" him! This particular Assistant Chief Pilot had conducted much of my interview and was familiar with my background of being an experienced instructor with a good record of handling students. I asked him why he didn't call me at home; he said he didn't want to bother me. Given the circumstances, I felt this was very inconsiderate. I recall that this was my only activity of the day. I could not schedule other activities, so I lost income and came in for nothing.

All 141 schools put instructors through some kind of standardization and 141 check ride. The standardizaton is really to your benefit, even if you were a student there. I had great standardization at ERAU. I benefited greatly from it. My stan identified many weak points I had in my background, which was Part 61 training by instructors who owned their own airplanes. I came up to speed quickly, but put in a ton of time studying to acquire the book learning that my colleagues and students had. I wish now that I had that kind of standardized training when I was learning how to fly. Perhaps that's another reason why I come out so strongly in favor of 141 schools.

Much of the process is a test of your ability to endure. You learn much more at a school than how to fly and teach.
 
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Hovernut

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Amen! Well stated, Bobby. Pretty much ditto all that at CAA. Once people choose a program, they should stick to it and ride it out for all it's worth, providing it's quality training. You're much more likely to be picked up at a flight school if you can show consistency and sticktoitiveness. Learning how to work well with others in a structured environment is paramount, too.

Another advantage 141 schools have is the networking you can get done there. Also, training aids and mx tours are invaluable, too.
 

Pirep1

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In regards to Hovernut's posts and not being loquacious: Here Here!, Ditto!, What He Said!...
My experiences have come very close to his experiences (except the coveted next job in the CL-65). The experience is what you make of it. Also want to note that I came in under what Comair quoted as a price. Short comings in the training are usually self-induced (this is what makes the training go up in price). Can't say enough about doing whatever it takes to succeed. Making excuses is a common denominator when it costs a lot of money to mess up. Save the excuses and use that energy to get ahead in whatever aspect of training you are in. Your wallet and stress level will thank you.
 

bigsky

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Going way back to the cfi laws of learning(I admit I dont remember) but one was something to do with the first thing we learn is what we remember- so basically try to avoid bad habits ect...

My point being is I have found this to be true -definitely not all the time- but people from a structured background like comair or military tend to be more standardized than someone from Bills flying club. ( bottom line is instruction is one on one so if you have a great teacher anything goes) However having the instituition in place and all of the resources is a benefit.
Furthermore if I were doing an interview I would probably be leaning towards the canidate who went to a known school- Thats what you always hear from recruiters about military- they are a known product vs in the 91 world where there are so many variations
 
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