By Andrew Henley
Reed Pigman established American Flyers in 1939 in Ft. Worth Texas as both an airline and flight training facility. During the World War II era, American Flyers was contracted by both the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy to be one of the few non-combatant flight schools to train military pilots in primary training to support the United States war effort. This helped the company become a VA-approved vocational flight school and, to this day, is one of the few current VA-approved schools. Additionally, the American Flyers airline became one of the first carriers to fly university athletic teams to their conference games and, in 1964, the airline was contracted by the Beatles to fly them on their first U.S. tour. In the early 70s, Mr. Pigman sold the airline portion of American Flyers once he realized that the number of quality pilots and flight instructors was lacking. In 1980, the flight school merged with Aviation Training Enterprises (ATE). ATE kept the American Flyers name, along with its’ traditions, and enabled us to expand all over the United States. This merger allowed us to shift our focus entirely to flight training and education— the legacy that is being celebrated today.
We may no longer be flying rock bands or sports teams around, but we believe we have accomplished something better. Since our founding, we have trained more instrument pilots and CFIs than any other company in the world. We are specialists focused on teaching. We do not do anything that diverts our attention away from it. Every element of our training program is unlike any other company. We have mastered the art of standardization, meaning that all our teaching methods, curricula, and tools are standardized in a cohesive way. This allows our students to know how each lesson is related to the previous one, and what is to be expected each day. This standardization fosters a practical learning environment that is easy to replicate when teaching others. Furthermore, we write all our own flight training manuals, and we are one of the few flight schools to teach ground education.
One of the main cornerstones of American Flyers is that training can be customized to fit each individual students’ needs, which is unique in the industry. To guarantee that we can meet specific scheduling needs, we offer everything from one-on-one training, career training, to 15-day or 30-day flight instructor programs. American Flyers creates tailored programs for every customer’s needs. We have proven that our students are our top priority, and it is our mission to provide them with the highest quality training and education, which simply does not come from cookie-cutter programs or lessons. At American Flyers, students are not viewed as a number but are each valued individually. Additionally, we have a dedicated customer service team to help students throughout their flight training program.
Adding to our distinct training program is the use of simulators for flight training. American Flyers has been a leader in aviation advancement in the entirety of our 83 Years, and we were the first flight school to use simulators in training. In fact, we worked with Frasca International to help build the first simulator, making them a key player in flight simulation. Their use of simulators is a central component in successful general flying skills and for practicing maneuvers. This is an element that many flight schools do not offer, further differentiating American Flyers from the competition.
Today, we have six training facilities across Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, and Florida with our headquarters in Addison, TX. We may seem like a large organization, however, our aviation education is based entirely on personalized service. When working with American Flyers, one knows he or she can expect personal, quality instruction that is tailored to his or her needs.
American Flyers has a fleet of over 55 aircraft and 25 simulators, accompanied by over 200 highly trained and devoted employees. For the past 30 years, we have proudly done our own maintenance, thanks to our experienced in-house maintenance staff that is committed to keeping our aircraft in the air and not on the ground. Our in-house aircraft maintenance allows us to have less downtime than typical flight schools that outsource their maintenance, enabling us to spend more time doing what we love: teaching and flying.
There is not an airline in the United States, or around the world, that does not have pilots that American Flyers has trained. The past 83 years have flown by, and we have loved being able to serve the aviation world the American Flyers way. We look forward to seeing and experiencing what the future holds and only hope to see American Flyers’ family continue to grow.