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American Flyers Group-Centered Learning Academies

 

American Flyers’ academies are based upon group-centered learning. Each course is made up of a group of students that all have one major thing in common: their love for flying. Students are often taught together in the classroom, providing them with the opportunity of studying together and helping each other learn. The purpose of the academy is to educate through camaraderie and the unique experiences of each student. American Flyers currently has three academy programs: our CFI-A (15 day), a CFI-A & CFI-I (30 day), and the American Flyers Airline Academy (which can take up to 10 months). These natural progressions and group dynamics are what make the academy-concept course effective, efficient, and fun for the class.

CFI-A and the CFI-A/I Academies
Our Certified Flight Instructor academies prepare you for your CFI-A or CFI-A and CFI-I check rides. Everyone who enrolls in one of these programs is already a certified commercial pilot with an instrument rating, a valid medical certificate and CFI-A, CFI-I and FOI writtens passed.

Aside from the standardized curriculum in which each lesson builds on the previous, the team environment is an often overlooked valuable element of training. Putting all of these pilots together brings about one tremendous benefit—the varying levels of student experience that go into the CFI academies. The person a week off their check ride, while lacking the know-how and practice of the more seasoned pilot, needs help with real-life examples.

The seasoned pilot might not have some of the fresh regulatory knowledge that the brand new pilot has because their last check ride was in ‘84, so they need a reminder. The military pilot can talk about RVR and TACAN and other terms that 100% GA pilots just gloss over. The benefits and trade-offs go on and on. The academy is a team that works together and draws on everyone’s strengths for the benefit of the group.

American Flyers Airline Academy
Our academy takes future pilots from square one and allows them to earn their professional pilot credentials. In this course, you will gain the skills to pass your Private, Instrument, Commercial, Multiengine, CFI-A and CFI-I. From start to finish, you gain the critical knowledge necessary for a successful career as a professional pilot.

Although this academy is mostly comprised of aviation newbies, the same student fellowship exists; our airline academy still benefits from the mosaic of life-experience and time-tested certainties. We train students of all ages and various levels of experience looking, which gives way to having one group that is very comfortable with standardized, multiple-guess, written tests and another group that is more comfortable practical evaluations. Once again, each group can help the other when it comes to overcoming that part of the training that is more difficult to them.

While academy classmates may not initially have previous aviation experience to lend to the group, their other knowledge certainly plays a big part. It’s also important to remember that very quickly into their journey, they will no longer be newbies.

All of American Flyers’ academies are time-tested, tried and strategically planned to prepare you to be a well-equipped pilot.

1-on-1 Custom Programs
If you are looking to get your CFI-I or CFI-A and have specific scheduling needs or want a focused 1-on-1 experience for any type of training, American Flyers can customize a program just for you.

For more information on any of the American Flyers Academies,
visit americanflyers.com/cfi or americanflyers.com/afaa.

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Determining Airworthiness for Pilots

 

By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot

Airworthy… We hear the term every day in aviation, but what does it really mean to pilots? Who is responsible for determining if an aircraft is airworthy? How do we determine if an aircraft is airworthy? An aircraft that is “flyable” is not necessarily “airworthy” and whether you are an owner, renter, or student working on your next rating, you might be surprised where the responsibility falls for determining the airworthiness of the aircraft you operate.

Many pilots expect that airworthiness is one of those things that only mechanics deal with and is ultimately the mechanic’s responsibility, but the FAA is very clear about where the responsibility falls for determining an aircraft’s airworthiness before flight and if you’re the pilot in command, it is up to you!

14 CFR 91.7 makes it very clear that only airworthy aircraft can be operated in the statement, “No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.” The regulation then spells out who must make this determination by stating, “The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining whether that aircraft is in condition for safe flight, the pilot in command shall discontinue the flight when unairworthy mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur.”

The FAA also states that for an aircraft to be airworthy, it must conform to its type certificate, including any alterations and airworthiness directives, and must be in condition for safe operation. It is important to note that the responsibility for determining airworthiness does not stop here. 14 CFR 91.407 places additional responsibility on the owner/operator by stating, “No person may operate an aircraft that has undergone maintenance, preventative maintenance, rebuilding, or alteration unless: (1) It has been approved for return to service by a person authorized under 43.7 of this chapter; and (2) The maintenance record entry required by 43.9 or 43.11, as applicable, of this chapter, has been made.”

Part 91 is an “operational-based” section, unlike Part 43, which is a “maintenance-based” section. The difference between these parts is important to understand because they explain the responsibilities of both the pilot and mechanic as related to airworthiness. If a mechanic performed an unairworthy repair on an aircraft and signed it off as required by 43.9, and the aircraft never flew, an FAA inspector can write a violation against him for the bad repair. In order for a pilot to get a violation written against them for not complying with a part 91 rule, the aircraft would have to be flown for the violation to happen.

While the mechanic is responsible for making sure that the work they perform is correct and within the requirements for the work that they are performing, you as the pilot of that aircraft are the one that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all of the required maintenance on the aircraft has been addressed properly before flight. Many owners and operators are taking a serious gamble by not checking for proper log entries before flying an aircraft. This oversight can have serious consequences that can quickly result in multiple violations and safety consequences.

Most pilots understand the importance of a walk around pre-flight inspection of the airplane to check for any obvious mechanical problems, it is not the only factor in determining airworthiness. If you are planning to operate any aircraft, remember to review the logbooks before the flight and anytime the aircraft is returned from maintenance. You need to ensure that the proper inspections, repairs, and airworthiness directives are completed.

So how does the owner/operator determine if the aircraft that they are operating is airworthy? There’s more to it than you’d expect, so I’ll break it down into three sections; documents, inspections, and equipment.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:
Airworthiness certificate: This document is the FAA’s official authorization allowing for the operation of type certificated aircraft. A standard airworthiness certificate remains valid as long as the aircraft meets its approved type design, is in a condition for safe operation and maintenance, preventative maintenance, and alterations are performed in accordance with 14 CFR parts 21, 43, and 91. This document is transferable to the next owner.

Registration: An aircraft may not be operated unless it is properly registered and the registration certificate is on board the aircraft while it is being operated. The specific wording of the applicable regulation, FAR 91.203, provides that “no person may operate a civil aircraft unless it has within it … an effective U.S. registration certificate issued to its owner.” This document must be renewed with the FAA every 3 years.

Radio Certificate: Required only for international flights.

Operators Manual: It is a book containing the information required to safely operate the aircraft. A typical operators manual will contain operating limitations, normal/abnormal/emergency operating procedures, performance data and loading information. The requirement to have this document onboard is based on the aircraft age.

Weight and Balance: Contains loading and center of gravity information specific to your aircraft and takes into account any equipment additions/subtractions and modifications that might affect flight performance.

REQUIRED INSPECTIONS:
Airworthiness Directives (AD’s): Notification to owners and operators of certified aircraft that a known safety deficiency with a particular model of aircraft, engine, avionics or other system exists and must be corrected.

VOR Check: Due every 30 days if the aircraft is to be operated IFR.

100hr: Required for aircraft that are used “for hire.”

Altimeter / Static test and certification 91.411: Required every 24 calendar months for aircraft operated under IFR.

Transponder test and certification 91.413: Required for any aircraft operating with a transponder.

ELT Inspection 91.207: Required tests for emergency locator transmitters every 12 calendar months.

Annual / Progressive inspection: At the owner’s discretion, one of these inspections is required for all aircraft.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT:
There are three things to consider regarding required equipment installed in an aircraft:

  1.  Is the equipment operational that is required per the type of flight that
    you are doing? (day, night, VFR, IFR) 91.205?
  2. Is the equipment listed as required per the manufacturer’s equipment list
    operational?
  3. Is the equipment required per all applicable airworthiness directives
    operational?

Note: 91.213 lists the steps needed for operating an aircraft with
inoperative equipment.

The FAA website FAA.GOV is a valuable (and free) tool for researching airworthiness directives, regulations, and other information that can help you understand the responsibilities associated with determining the airworthiness of your aircraft. Having a mechanic familiar with the specific details of your aircraft to guide you through the requirements of its airworthiness is a great way to learn. The holidays are here, is your mechanic on your list?

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Finish What You Started!

 

By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot

There are 609,000 pilots in the United States. Of those, roughly 80% are “general aviation” pilots. The population of the United States is 327,000,000. When you do the math, you see that pilot’s makeup .19% of the U.S. Population. This means that pilots are part of a special and unique group of people. Unfortunately, these numbers are decreasing at a time when the demand for pilots is increasing.

We hear from many people every month who have started their training, but for one reason or another, were unable to finish. The reasons include everything from a lack of finances, lack of time, children, work, life, education, medical issues, etc. You get the point.

There are many other factors as to why so many people don’t finish their pilot education. These include poor instruction, being scared, poor equipment, etc. Unlike the first set of reasons mentioned, these reasons are usually ones that are not discussed and are tucked away somewhere in the subconscious, never to be seen or heard from again.

Most general aviation pilots will express their love of flying in terms of passion and excitement. If you speak with most Professional Pilots, they will have a hard time delineating where their hobby ends and their career begins.

If you started but did not finish, the good news is that it is easier now, more than ever, to finish up and earn your certificate or rating. Here is a roadmap to your success.

Step 1: Compile all of your documents. This includes your student pilot certificate, medical certificate, logbook and written test results if applicable.

Step 2: Find a reputable school with a strong background and success record in finish-up programs.

Step 3: Have your instructor(s) determine where your current level of proficiency is for the ground and flight. This now becomes the baseline to finish your certificate or rating.

Step 4: If you haven’t taken your written test, enroll in a class to complete your written test. Avoid the temptation to sign up for a service that encourages you to memorize the answers. This not only increases your anxiety, but makes it harder to correlate the information. Learning the information correctly the first time drastically increases your comfort and confidence.

Step 5: When do you want to finish? You need a goal to pace your training. Your instructor should be able to estimate the amount of ground, simulator and flight hours needed to complete your training. Back into a completion date and then add a week or two.

Step 6: Stick to your plan.

In some ways, the finish-up programs are a little more challenging for both the instructor and student. This is because of the break in continuity in the training flow. It is easy for an inexperienced instructor to overlook weak knowledge areas because related tasks may have been accomplished in the past. An effective and experienced finish-up instructor will constantly evaluate specific and related knowledge and skills regularly to ensure a well-rounded education. If a student takes shortcuts or memorizes answers without a thorough understanding, they are shortchanging their education. They will soon realize that they will need to learn the information one way or another, so it is easier and more efficient to learn it correctly the first time.

We have found over the last 80 years that incorporating these concepts increases success rates, motivation, excitement and reduces the stress of training for the student.

Remember the recipe for a successful finish-up course is to focus, commit and find the right school. Doing so will soon earn you the title of “Pilot.”

Welcome to the club!

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Flying in Winter

 

By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot

Winter is here and with it comes significant variation in the weather. It is important to note that when we discuss “winter weather” we are not just speaking about it being cold outside. Winter weather encompasses many different topics. For this article, we are going to focus on temperature.

Rather than looking at temperature as just how cold it is outside, we need to consider the current temperature, as well as the temperature range that comes before and after the current weather. Is it getting warmer or colder along our route of flight? Do we have standard or close to standard temperature at our altitudes, or do we have an inversion? If it rains or if there is moisture in the air, what conditions can we expect? Most importantly, what effect will the temperature have on my airplane and me?

How do we know if it is getting warmer or colder along our route of flight?

As with any flight, you should begin with a standard weather briefing from Flight Service. Yes, call Flight Service for your weather briefing. When you speak with a briefer, they will not only review your route of flight and the weather with you, but they will also discuss and provide you with some education based on their background and experience. This information is at times more important than the briefing and, most importantly, you will miss out on their knowledge if you try to self-brief the weather. Using Post-it notes or writing the enroute temperatures directly on your chart could be an easy way to compare what is forecasted versus actual. Once enroute, you should remain in contact with flight service for weather and temperature updates along your route of flight.

How do we determine standard temperature along our route of flight?

Standard temperature is defined as 15°C (59°F) at sea level. Standard temperature decreases by 2°C for every 1,000 feet of altitude. Based on the weather briefing you receive, you should calculate what your standard temperature should be at key points in your flight. Then, compare your estimate to actual. This will enable you to identify significant changes in the weather before they become a surprise. You should also use this time to determine if there are any temperature inversions along your route. Yes, sometimes we do have to climb to get to warmer temperatures.

What is the effect of temperature when there is moisture in the air?

There are several effects. The most simple and easiest to understand is that water freezes at 32°F regardless of whether it is in or on your aircraft. While it may seem obvious, it is still important to discuss the effects of air moisture as they pertain to temperature. Having a clear understanding of this interaction will enable you to determine things such as icing susceptibility, hail, freezing rain, visibility and runway conditions at airports along your route and at your destination. Once you have gone through this process, the ideal next step would be to develop contingency plans to deal with each situation.

If the air moisture remains constant and the temperature drops, the relative humidity will increase. Likewise, if the moisture remains constant and the temperature increases, your relative humidity will decrease. Why is all of this important? When air rises, it cools. At some altitude the air temperature will equal the dew point, which means that the air will be fully saturated. If the air mass continues to rise, condensation will occur. This is accompanied by a release of
latent heat into the rising air, which results in slower cooling as the air mass continues to rise. This phenomenon is what is represented in the adiabatic lapse rate.

When we consider the stability of an air mass, we need to take into consideration the current temperature and the temperature of the air surrounding the area. If the temperature at our current position is cooler than that of the surrounding air mass, then the air is more dense and will sink. This means that we will have stable air resulting in a smooth ride for our flight. Conversely, if the temperature at our current position is warmer than that of the surrounding air mass, the air is less dense and will rise. As we know from our student pilot days, rising air is unstable air. We will have better visibility but a much bumpier ride. It is imperative that when flying with outside air temperatures lower than 32°F, you understand the moisture level of the air that you are in as well as the air above and below your position.

What effect will temperature have on my airplane?

Oil – If we look at the Cessna 172R POH, it tells us that if we operate in temperatures below 12°C (10°F), we need to use 30 or 20W-30 oil. However, the POH also tells us that we can use 15W-50 or 20W-50 for all temperatures. Contrary to popular belief, the “W” does not stand for weight, the “W” stands for “winter.” This means that the oil has a specific maximum flow or viscosity at low temperatures. In other words, the lower the “W” number, the better performance we will get out of the oil in cold temperatures and when starting the engine in colder temperatures.

Fuel – 100LL or Avgas will freeze at -58°C (-72°F). While the majority of light GA aircraft and pilots will not fly in these conditions, some will fly an aircraft that uses 100LL and has a pressurization system. In this case, you should be aware of this. The concern is not necessarily the condition of fuel in your tanks, but the fuel in your fuel lines. You may be asking why we are discussing freezing fuel if we are not going to be flying anywhere near these conditions. It is because there are many aircrafts in use today with diesel engines. These aircrafts use jet fuel that can begin to freeze at -43°C (-45°F). Regardless of which type of aircraft you fly, you want to ensure that any and all water has been removed from the fuel tanks during your preflight inspection. Remember, it is highly unlikely that your fuel will freeze, but if there is water in your fuel, it could begin to freeze at 0°C (32°F).

Engine – Many aircrafts will have specific instructions on starting an aircraft during low temperatures. The POH for the Cessna 172R, as an example, states that if temperatures are below -6°C (20°F), it is recommended that an external engine preheater and external power source are used. This is done to reduce wear on the electrical system and to ensure that any congealed oil in the oil cooler will thaw prior to engine start. Many aircrafts like the Cessna 172R have available winterization kits. You should find out if the aircraft that you are flying has a winterization kit installed to help you understand what the effects of that kit are on your engine. If you do have a winterization kit installed on your aircraft, you also need to understand the limitations. An example would be taking off in the Northeast when it is 5°F with a winterization kit installed. Your destination is Florida where it is 80°F. The limitation on the winterization kit says that it should not be used at temperatures over 20°F. Do you remove it before your flight? Do you remove it enroute? You can speak with your mechanic to make the proper decision.

If you are flying an aircraft that has a carburetor, you will need to be alert to the susceptibility of carburetor ice. This goes hand in hand with the earlier discussion in this column on the moisture content of the air that you are flying through.

Electrical Wires and Plastic Connectors – Cold weather can also affect your electrical wires and plastic connectors. When preflighting an aircraft in extremely cold conditions, you should make sure to not flex or move any wires or connectors. Extremely cold temperatures can make these brittle and weak to the point where they can easily break.

What effect will temperature have on me?

The last major consideration is the effect of temperature on you and your passengers. Are you prepared to deal with a scenario in which your cabin heater stops working? It may be a good idea to have a spare sweater or two on board for each person, especially if there is a good distance between airports. Does the heater in your aircraft use fuel and a combustion chamber? If so, do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your aircraft? What actions will you take if you detect carbon monoxide in your cabin? When body temperature falls below 97.7°F, we run the risk of entering the early stages of hypothermia. The first sign that hypothermia is setting in is that we begin to shiver. Your heart rate and blood pressure will begin to rise. If ignored, your mental judgment and decision-making ability will become affected. You will then enter the moderate stages of hypothermia when the shaking becomes more violent and your motor skills start to slow down. This is when fingernails and lips begin to turn blue (do not mix this up with carbon monoxide poisoning). If your body temperature falls below 86°F, you risk falling into the severe stages of hypothermia where you could become incapacitated and even at risk for death. If you are aware of the signs and you take the appropriate steps necessary to prepare contingency plans, you will be fine.

Some of the best flying in the world is during the wintertime. From bare trees to snow-covered mountains, the views are endless and intoxicating. When fully prepared, winter flying is quite safe and pleasurable for both pilot and passengers. However, flying in very cold weather becomes dangerous when you are not aware of your surroundings (meteorologically and geographically) and you do not have ample contingency plans established.

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The Excitement of Night Flying

 

By Steven Daun, National Chief Pilot

The majority of a pilot’s flight training is during daytime in VFR conditions. Instructors do this for several obvious reasons, which we aren’t going to discuss in this article. For most students, the excitement comes when they are getting close to doing their night flights and night cross country flights. Most of these students aren’t disappointed.

Night flying adds a whole new dimension to our flying experience. It’s cooler, smoother and usually, we see less traffic and congestion. The radios are calm and mostly quiet and on clear nights, you can see what appears to be whole galaxies above you and seas of lights below.

Seeing the lighting outlines of small towns and large cities from the air is a unique and special experience. It seems that just about every light that you see from the air twinkles like a star. If you aren’t careful, it can capture all of your attention and hypnotize you. The beauty is second to none.

So why then do so few pilots fly at night? Most are concerned about the lack of clear visual cues on the ground, while others are concerned about having an emergency at night. We hear these concerns from students quite often. The fact is that with a normal degree of planning and some situational awareness, night flying is quite safe. So, how do we achieve “safe” night flights?

We can achieve “safe” night flights by:

  1. Making sure that your night takeoff and landing requirements are met.
  2. Finalizing a thorough flight plan complete with landmarks, references and available airports.
  3. Conducting a thorough preflight of your aircraft and equipment. This not only includes checking the aircraft lights, but checking for a flashlight with backup batteries (your phone does not count). Since Mr. Murphy loves airplanes, do you have a backup flashlight?
  4. Filing and opening a flight plan.
  5. Requesting flight following.
  6. Briefing your passengers on what they will experience and that they should not turn on any bright lights or take any pictures using a flash.

Many pilots find that they can minimize their “night flight” anxiety by either working with an instructor on night flying skills, and or earning their instrument rating. Others need to regain their currency. Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you include takeoff and landings to both controlled and uncontrolled airports. If it has been a while since you have flown at night, you may want to have an instructor with you to practice flying over dark areas and lakes. Regaining your nighttime sight picture and reducing disorientation effects is very important. Identifying the correct airport and runway at night is another challenge that pilots face. You may want to ask your instructor to review nighttime emergency procedures, as well.

Don’t forget that the best time to work on earning your instrument rating or regaining your IFR skills is at night. It’s quiet, and you can usually get as many approaches as you want.

As we move into the winter months, we will begin to see clear night skies, cool temperatures, and unlimited visibility. Why not get your night currency now so you can take advantage of it when the opportunity presents itself?

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Flying With Your Significant Other

 

Flying is a lifestyle, it’s a mindset. It’s not just your exciting hobby, it’s an exciting hobby that can be enjoyed together with a significant other and can be used to go to fun places.

So many years ago, my dad bought all of us kids a snowmobile… and true to his style, he didn’t tell mom. I was surprised at how calm she was; she simply informed him that the next thing he would buy would go in the living room, next to the TV, and it would be for people to sit on. Imagine her shock when she came home one day and there was a WaveRunner Jetski in the living room, next to the couch, with the three kids sitting on it. Needless to say, my mom did not appreciate the humor in this.

The moral of this story is that it often helps you enjoy your hobbies if you involve your spouse, or significant other, in them; that way, it’s not a fight, or a disagreement—or an argument about jetski scuff marks in the foyer—but something that is mutually enjoyed by the both of you. It doesn’t mean your significant other has to love your hobby, just that it is a decision and process that he or she feels involved in.

So, how do you incorporate your S.O. in aviation? Just like planning a cross-country flight, it requires forethought, planning and careful execution. It starts with you and how you approach aviation… remember that this person has ridden in a car with you, so ask yourself what they think you are like behind the controls of a plane. That might affect your technique in this area! Set the stage so that the experience will be as appealing as possible to your S.O. Do they like to golf or dive or ski? Are they a fan of a day at the spa? Do they like seeing national monuments? Whatever their interests are, incorporate them into the first flight you plan with them. Give them a
list of a few locations that have a personal attraction for this first time up—maybe no more than an hour away if possible—and have them choose where you’re going. Right off the bat, it’s something that they will enjoy, at least once they get there. So, next comes the journey.

Most of the activities mentioned above are daytime-specific, so in all likelihood, you’ll be flying there during daylight hours. This makes sense, as the ability to see outside the aircraft will make this initial flight most comfortable; planning for a return trip at night time might be a fun experience, as the evening light shows off the surrounding areas are pretty neat to look at. Again, it’s up to you and what you think your S. O. is going to appreciate, or what you think his or her limit is going to be. Back to planning, talk to them about everything you do when you’re choosing routes and altitudes; this is the time to show off and impress them with you knowledge and offset their “behind-the-wheel” experiences with you! Don’t try to be an astronaut! Lines of magnetic variation, compass, installation errors… don’t get too crazy. Keep your jargon simple to keep them involved and interested and definitely don’t scare them by talking about not flying through a military operations area where live firing exercises are commencing. Again, there has to be planning for this. The plan should be fun, easy and encourage a healthy sense of adventure. Make sure you continue all of these practices throughout the flight as well. While you’re not going to let them fly, your S.O. could work the radios, under your tutelage. They can follow along on maps or they can just look outside and say, “Oh my gosh, this is awesome!” Keep everything safe, keep everything fun and, most importantly, keep them involved.

Having someone enjoy your aviation hobby with you is going to make it even more enjoyable for you, which is true of anything, right? (Two’s a crowd, three’s a company, two heads are better than one, bring a friend, one is the loneliest number…what is the sound of one hand clapping? Pick the cliche!) Especially in aviation, where moments of beauty and peace awaits when cruising about it all at 5,000 feet. Just having someone with you to experience the sensation and beauty of flying makes it better. Not only does it enhance your aviation experience, but it enhances your relationship, as there is now just one more thing you and your S.O. can enjoy together. The more you do together, the happier you will be. Flying: it’s not just an education, not just an experience, it’s a relationship builder and fixer. 

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American Flyers Airline Academy

 

Over our 80-year history, we have become known as the ‘Finish-Up Experts’. That’s not a surprise to us, as we have always, and will always continue to cater to the individual looking to complete their private, commercial or instructor license and/or instrument rating. What is a surprise is that not everyone knows about our American Flyers Airline Academy, which has been around for over 50-years.

American Flyers, known as A.T.E. at the time, got its start by creating a program for airline pilots that utilized simulators to enhance their proficiency. Since that time, we have developed and built the finest airline training program the industry has to offer. The proof is in our history. Over the past 50 years, we have partnered with airlines all over the world – Copa Aeroflot, British Airways, American Airlines and American Trans Air (to name a few), to create well prepared and professional pilots. In fact, at Aero Mexico, almost 33% of their pilots are American Flyers’ graduates.

You might be asking, how is American Flyers Airline Academy different from any other flight school? I’ll answer that in the form of a story. I was meeting a student and his family about his potential enrollment into our Airline Academy. At the end of our conversation, his father looked over and asked, ‘how much money does it take to become a commercial pilot?’ One of the managers at the school looked at the father and replied, ‘you’re not paying American Flyers to turn your son into a commercial pilot, you’re paying us to turn your son into a professional pilot’.

Our manager was right. Our program is designed to prepare anyone for a career as a professional pilot. From the minute you begin your training you are told, ‘this is your first day working as a professional pilot’. It’s not about how long your training takes or the cost of the program, it’s the quality of the instructors, the structure of the program, the experience of the school and staff and the standards you are taught and expected to maintain.

From day one, you are wearing a pilot’s uniform, expected to show up on time, clean-shaven and are treated just like an airline pilot. Our goal is to ensure that you understand what to expect when you reach the airlines. Instructors at the airlines will often tell me about pilot interviewees that arrive late, without a suit, not clean shaven and it’s obvious that they have not studied. They end up passing on the candidate and lamenting on the fact that they wish all candidates were American Flyers’ graduates.

American Flyers’ graduates have a wonderful reputation with the airlines. In fact, one of our regional airline partners recently said that over the past 3 years, 100% of American Flyers applicants have been hired and successfully completed their new-hire training. That’s something that doesn’t surprise me. We emphasize professionalism from day one and our training is the best in the industry.

There are a lot of things I love about my job, but what I love most is walking through an airport and seeing former students working as airline pilots. Remember the story about the student and the father I mentioned earlier? Well, about 2 years ago I ran into the student while walking through O’Hare Airport. He stopped me and said, ‘Andrew, I owe a lot to American Flyers. Out of 7 new hires, I was the only one that made it through training. Thanks to American Flyers, I have my dream job.’

There are a lot of airline training programs out there, don’t choose the cheapest or the quickest, choose the one that best prepares you for a successful career in aviation.

Andrew F. Henley
American Flyers

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