History of American Flyers
American Flyers has been training pilots since 1939 and has earned a worldwide reputation of being the premier school for flight training education. Established in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1939 by Mr. Reed Pigman, American Flyers was an airline and flight training facility. During WWII, American Flyers was one of a few civilian flight schools chosen to train military pilots in primary training. The American Flyers Airline was one of the first carriers to fly university athletic teams to conference games. In 1964, the airline flew the Beatles on their first US tour. Mr. Pigman was a close associate of Mr. Tom Braniff of Braniff Airlines and Mr. C.R. Smith of American Airlines. The airline portion of the business was sold in the early 1970’s leaving flight education, which still exists today.
In 1947, I.H. Montgomery founded Aviation Training Enterprises (A.T.E) at Midway Airport in Illinois. A.T.E. became well known as the leader in Instrument training for civilian pilots within the United States. A.T.E. developed many of the techniques for teaching civilian pilots the art of Instrument Flying, much of which is still in use today. A.T.E. was also the first civilian flight training school to utilize full flight simulators for both general and commercial aviation education.
In 1980, American Flyers merged with A.T.E. and the combined company continued to operate as American Flyers. Highly respected for our expertise in IFR instruction and holding true to our tradition of supporting pilots throughout their careers, American Flyers provides renewal certification to nearly 50% of all Flight Instructors today.
Presently, American Flyers operates six training facilities in across Arizona, New Jersey, Florida and Texas. A fleet of over 40 aircraft, 25 simulators along with 175 dedicated employees assist with the education and support of over 2,500 students each year. In addition to onsite education, American Flyers is the leader of flight education, offering initial and recurrency training courses to business people, professionals and career-oriented students via our locations and online. Today, American Flyers is headquartered in Addison, TX and continues to be proud of our service to aviation. We look forward to the years to come.
American Flyers Flight School & Airline Timeline
- Established in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1939 by Mr. Reed Pigman, American Flyers was an airline and flight training facility. Reed Pigman was an early pioneer of civil aviation and was involved in the early development of radio navigation systems such as the VOR system in the 1930s.
- During WW-II, American Flyers was contracted by both, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy to train military pilots in support of the United States war effort.
- In 1947, I.H. Montgomery started Aviation Training Enterprises at Midway Airport in Illinois. A.T.E. became well known as the leader in Instrument training for civilian pilots within the United States. A.T.E. developed many of the techniques for teaching civilian pilots the art of Instrument Flying, much of which is still in use today. A.T.E. was also the first civilian flight training school to utilize full flight simulators for both general and commercial aviation education.
- In 1949 Reed Pigman created a charter airline with surplus WW2 C-47’s (DC-3’s). These remained in service until the mid 1960’s primarily as crew shuttles by early 1960’s.
- In 1960, American Flyers Airline purchased four Lockheed Constellations from Delta Airlines, two L-049 models and two L-149 models, with the L-149’s having increased range and fuel capacity. These “Connies” permitted long range charters.
- At this time two brand new Lockheed L-188 “Electra’s” were purchased greatly enhancing services.
- In 1964 “The Beatles” contracted American Flyers to fly them on their first tour in the United States. From August 19 to September 20 and 25 cities. They were forbidden from landing at Chicago O’Hare and Boston Logan Airports due to the mass hysteria of the fans and landing at smaller airports in the area. On August 18th, Reed Pigman picked the Beatles up in his personal plane and flew them to his personal ranch in the Ozarks of Missouri to decompress for two days of R & R.
- Also in 1964, the airline added several Lockheed L-1049 “Super Constellations”, giving them greater International service options.
- In 1966 American Flyers Airline added four more Lockheed Electra’s and began receiving contracts from the United States Air Force “Military Airlift Command” to transport troops.
- In May, 1971 the airline became “Universal Airline” and in 1972 was absorbed by “Saturn Airways.”
- In 1980, American Flyers’ flight school merged with Aviation Training Enterprises (ATE) who kept the American Flyers name and great traditions of excellence in flight training, expanding all over the United States. There are likely no airlines in the United States, or the world for that matter, that do not have pilots that have been trained by American Flyers.