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Why people go to ERAU or UND?

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Well-known member
Nov 19, 2002
This is not a flame bait.. I am just trtying to understand why people would go to a very expensive university, get under a lot of debt and then end up CFI'ing no matter what..

I am a flight school owner and recently I had a conversation with a guy who was going to ERAU. I told him that it will cost him many more $$$$ to get his license.. He said he liked the structured environment of a university. When I told him that our program is not too bad and it will cost him half the money if he came to us, he just basically shrugged it off.

Is it the image, or just the promisses of guranteed interviews at the low times ?
What is it that makes you go to these schools?

Cuz, they're the "Best of the best of the best", and they know that they will get job offers from every major airline the day that they graduate! Don't you know that? ;)
My skydiving buddy's two kids went to UND and graduated. Neither of them have flown a plane since.

Which is kind of sad, considering their airline captain Grandpa paid the bill while flying past 60 as an FE at United.
erau was a way for me to get it all done (flying and 4 yr degree) wrapped in one package in a min amount of time (3 yrs). plus VA benefits and stud loans were easy to come by. took 10 yrs to pay off loans but still would do over again. no regrets about erau. it worked out just fine.:)
FN FAL said:
My skydiving buddy's two kids went to UND and graduated. Neither of them have flown a plane since.

Which is kind of sad, considering their airline captain Grandpa paid the bill while flying past 60 as an FE at United.

That is sad. I can't stand it when people squander their secondary edcuation (especially at an expensive school). They don't realize a lot of people don't get those opportunities.

As to the original poster, ERAU and UND have "the image". I used to want to goto a school like ERAU until I realized I can get the same education cheaper and closer to home.
I would bet it's the image. When you ask non-aviation people to name you a school with a good aviation program, the first thing that's going to come up is ERAU. People tend to associate name recognition with quality and so when making their college decision choose ERAU. (The fact that it's in Daytona probably also helps their decision too). That said, I can't figure out why on earth you would want to spend four years in GFK. I'll admit they have a flashy looking program, but I've been there twice, once in the dead of winter and once in may (it snowed in may) and am glad I didn't end up living there.

As much as I've bitched about where I'm going to school right now (And I'm still paying less as an out of state aviation major than I would if i had gone to Riddle), I'm going to graduate with more hours than a UND or ERAU guy, and I will have given a couple hundred hours of instruction (having been paid to do so) and have flown a turbine aircraft (at no expense to me). Was my general education any better than those schools? Maybe, but I'd venture it's probably pretty close either way. Did I get my money's worth? I'll argue yes.
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Pugh said:
That is sad. I can't stand it when people squander their secondary edcuation (especially at an expensive school). They don't realize a lot of people don't get those opportunities.
If they had to work for it, I don't think they would have let it fall by the wayside.
WOW! Talk about ill informed. I graduated from UND with a B.S. in Engineering and a minor in "Professional Flight", along with my other degree I paid about 36K total for 6 years of school, all my license through CFI/CFII/MEI and 200 hours of flight time. I did it all with grants, scholarships, loans and working my arse off. I got to fly almost brand spanking new warriors, arrows, seminoles, barons and if I had stayed long enough a cheyenne. I went on to instruct for 2.5 years/1000 hours. Not a lot for 2.5 years but I did get hired at my first regional with 1200TT/300ME.

Was it because I went to UND, yup, is that a bad thing, nope. Did the training at UND make me a "better" pilot than a part 61 fella, no, but it did teach in a structured, disciplined way that it is what these airlines like. CRM training, transport category aircraft systems classes, aerodynamics classes etc. I would say I and most of my classmates, KNEW more about regs, aerodynamics, systems and crew concepts coming out of UND than someone coming out of a part 61 school. That isn't meant as a flame and I don't hold myself above anyone just simple numbers. I not only spent ground time with my CFI I spent hours a week in a classroom setting with retired USAir, NWA, and other mainline captains and retired military pilots teaching IFR rules, advanced aerodynamics, etc. I simply had a larger pool of knowledge to drink from and drank heavily I did.

UND did have internship programs with ACA (Indy Air) for a while and a lot of guys took advantage of it and did very well there. Places like Mesaba, Piedmont, Horizon used to hire at lower times than normal but lately the mins have been fairly standard with Eagle and Piedmont coming down to 500 or 600 TT with a couple hundred Multi.

Does UND have its flaws, sure it does. There are "management" type Lead instructors who don't understand the first thing about flying an airplane but those are few and far between. Some of the policies where born out of one or two students stupidity, things like that. All in all though the place is a great place to learn how to fly, extreme emphasis on safety, checklist usage, CRM concept, basic flying skills along with using the latest and greatest that GA technology has to offer. There are, the last time I was there, 8 single engine simulators (almost brand new) 4 120 degree Vis multiengine sims (seminole setup) and a lvl 6 CRJ sim. All are used in the curriculum and all are used very well. The CRJ sim is a new course and is mandatory (I dont agree with that one, but it is a business, gotta pay the bills) and is taught by guys/gals that have flown in the 121 world.

Now does all the fluff make UND any better than going to some 61 outfit and getting your ratings, absolutely not. It's all in what you want to get out of your training. Plus it is easier to get the money to finance your training through a university system than it is part 61. I probably paid 18 to 19K for all my flight training including ground time and sim time, sure thats a higher than I would pay on the street but I could have never made or loaned the money to earn all my ratings in 2 years. Plus after that I earned a job instructing at UND that paid 20 bucks an hour. Not shopping on Rodeo drive with that, but at least I made enough to pay rent and my loans and still have enough left over to have a beer now and then.

People whine and moan about GFK and the winters, well it keeps the wimps out and at least you can leave your doors unlocked in ND without fear of getting ripped off. And a little snow shoveling and wing sweeping never hurt anyone

Now as far as the guys who complain about the high costs, they are the ones who don't study, don't come prepared, and have to incomplete or do review lesson after review lesson. 10 hours of review lessons in a seminole is almost 2K. Those same people have done that through every flight course and with 5 flight courses (not including aerobatics, floatplane, tailwheel, etc) that adds up over time.

If you are the type that just wants to get by meeting ONLY the PTS mins, UND isnt the place for you, but if you want to actually learn how to FLY the airplane and operate in the enviroment check it out, and for those wimps that cant handle the cold we have satellite operations in Hawaii, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Why not?

I go because all my interests revolve around aviation.

I fly off campus, and am majoring in Safety Science, and might get another BS in Meteorology.

When I graduate..I hope to have had a good time, and have a couple different career paths to look forward too.

Its expensive, no doubt...but so are plenty of other universities.

So thats my reasoning.

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