TransPac Aviation Academy Reviews | Glassdoor

TransPac Aviation Academy Reviews

Updated May 3, 2018
44 reviews

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Joel Davidson
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44 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Ownership and Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Management in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Management in Phoenix, AZ

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time

    Pros

    Caring, dedicated, hardworking employees. Enormous untapped potential. During my tenure, I can attest to the fact the TransPac is filled with great people who are yearning to grow and improve the company. Operations is dedicated to safety. Systems are very sophisticated for a relatively small company and, as a flight training provider, TransPac stands out as having unmatched potential to leverage capabilities and grow.
    While I was employed in management, Operations was moving in the direction of industry best practices for safety and training effectiveness as well as embracing the career path pilot training paradigm that can enable growth and a significant role in developing the next generation of professional aviators.

    Cons

    Clarification needed:
    TransPac was sold on July 29th, 2016 to a new firm.
    CEO Captain Curtis Brunjes was terminated on September 3rd, 2016.
    Steve Kliff assumed the CEO role after the termination of Curtis Brunjes. Mr. Kliff is a Consumer Products Operating Partner for Diversis Capital and remains CEO as this review is written.
    This review refers to the period of time under prior ownership and leadership. No opinion on current ownership and leadership.

    Advice to Management

    None


  2. "Dispatcher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time

    Pros

    Competitive pay for industry, set schedule, PTO earned as you go

    Cons

    Easy to get burned out, No support from management if you're not a pilot, Not a whole lot of area to grow

  3. "Check Airmen"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Check Airmen in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Check Airmen in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at TransPac Aviation Academy part-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great transition from instruction to airline by utilizing standardization and current technologies like electronic flight bags etc.

    Cons

    Older aircraft and simulators sometimes hurts training timelines.

    Advice to Management

    Do not purchase new redbird simulators, they are worse than the old true flight simulators.


  4. Helpful (7)

    "You have to know what you're signing up for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - CFI/CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Current Employee - CFI/CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    It's a flight instructing job. It seems most people reviewing here didn't know what they were signing up for. I enjoy teaching, but came here to build my hours more quickly and it's definitely getting me closer to my goal. In PPL like fewest I flew in a month was 50 hours and that when all my students were soloing. The most in PPL I flew was 90. I consistently fly over 100 hours per month teaching instrument.

    It's nice to have a scheduling department. I just check my schedule and come to work and do what it says. The students have ground school and are generally hard workers so at times little brief time is required before flight - they come prepared. You won't get this at a smaller part 61 school. The salary is bad, but somewhat comparable to similar schools in the Valley. The benefits are actually pretty good (Health, Dental, Vision, 401(k) match, etc). Remember you don't come here to get rich, you come to teach and build hours.

    Weather in the Valley is good - it's rare to have a flight cancel for weather with the exception of monsoon season.

    I've seen bad remarkers regarding the maintenance here. I think it's amazing compared to other schools I've either worked at or been a student at. If you squawk a plane, it's down. Most of the time the mechanics come out and fix it right then if it's something minor. If ever I have a concern with something with my preflight, I call and they come right out and address the concern. I've never been tempted to fly something I didn't feel was safe nor have I had any mechanical issues on flights with over 500 hours flown here.

    If this is your first flying job, don't expect it to be glamorous. It's not. But the flying you'll do here will make you a better pilot if you choose to take your job seriously.

    Partnership with SkyWest is very nice. Extra money for CFIs who go there from TransPac.

    Cons

    There's WAY too much pressure to satisfy all missions. They're under immense pressure from the airlines to get these guys finished with their training quicker, and that pressure is simply pushed down to the CFIs on the line. This is an awful and potentially dangerous way to run a flight school. If a student is not ready for a solo, he shouldn't solo. If he's not ready for a checkride, he shouldn't be given a sign off. Luckily all my guys have excelled and I haven't had this dilemma but I know many guys who have.

    They incentivize completed missions by promising 200 dollars to all employees at the end of the month if we hit a goal. Again, stupid and dangerous. They're trying to incentivize pass rates by giving us overtime pay ONLY if they rolling 30 day pass rate is above 60 percent for first time check ride attempts. This means you don't even know if you'll get paid for it until you're already working.

    I hate to say it, but quite a few CFIs here are utterly worthless. Your students will fly with these people and they won't care about their performance because they have nothing to lose. I get that there is a shortage of instructors - but it's a bit draining to surround yourself with other instructors who either have no clue how to teach, or don't care to be a good teacher for these guys. On the flip side, I've met really awesome people at TransPac who will undoubtedly become lifelong friends.

    They treat everyone the same, no matter how hard you work.

    Scheduling is nice, but makes mistakes. A school with 500 students, it's going to happen. Managers are usually pretty good at addressing the issues though.

    Flying in the Valley can be stressful. Thousands of pilots per year are trained here an the airspace is busy. ATC is awesome dealing with it but you gotta be on your game. You'll be flying at night during instrument until 0400. No relaxing while you're up there trying to stay attentive to teaching, managing fuel, and not busting bravo.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your CFIs better, we're keeping this boat afloat. Incentivize overtime if you want these students finished quicker. Reward us for stage check and check ride passes, not for completed missions - I can't believe this even needs to be said.

    If there is a theme with certain students failing check rides or stage checks, then retrain the CFI along with the student. There is a reason our pass rate is tough to sustain and it's not because the students don't try hard enough.

    Have more meetings to keep up in the loop. Listen to us when we have ideas. We're tired to being dragged along while upper management continues to experiment.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Wrong CEO listed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Hard to find any right now. Really sad actually. Dispatchers and some staff there are trying with what they have.

    Cons

    They still have the old CEO listed. They need to put the current one on here! At least when Brunjes was there it started to turn around. Now it's a disaster.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management act like they have experience. It's a joke. Look what you have done to the place.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Hostile and Thankless"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Current Employee - CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time

    Pros

    Getting paid regardless of flight time is good when it's not leveraged against you.
    The benefits are pretty good, next to local flight schools.
    Even though most of the students' English is terrible, it can be a rewarding experience working with them and seeing them progress.
    Compared to other flight schools, the turnover rate here is ridiculously high, which means you may get into upper management if you can stomach staying long enough.

    Cons

    Much of your experience depends on which "team" you are put on and if you have your CFII. CFIIs can fly with many other students while their own students are trapped for months in limbo waiting for stageflights and checkrides to be scheduled.
    Because students are passed around to other instructors who feel no responsibility to provide better service, it leaves the student underperforming before solos and checkrides.
    There is no such thing as communication between departments and the instructors.
    They advertise they will pay for your CFII within six weeks which is not true for any CFI that I know. After 8 month they are still stuck in PPL.
    They also advertise referral bonuses which many don't actually receive.
    All aircraft have A/C but only a few aircraft are actually functioning and it's the middle of Phoenix summer. Rather than having their maintenance department fix them they handed out cool bandanas for instructors instead.
    Management is incredibly hostile towards instructors. Because students are on contracts with airlines that pay for schooling, PPL CFIs are explicitly told not to give them "unsat" to repeat training or even cancel a flight halfway through due to weather or safety concerns. With 10 hour duty days you better believe these things will happen. You are told that "safety takes a back seat to nothing" when in reality if you cancel a flight for that reason you will be reprimanded. Being written up or temporarily suspended is a frequent occurrence for instructors.
    Overall, you have no control over scheduling, or the training progression for your students, and you will be forced to endorse them whether they are ready or not. And when they fail you will be required to answer what you did wrong.

    Advice to Management

    Management is changing the name of the company soon to save their reputation. I wish them luck with that.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "If zero was a rating that's what it would get"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Certified Flight Instructor in Deer Valley, AZ
    Former Employee - Certified Flight Instructor in Deer Valley, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Happened to meet some nice people there. Students try their very best given the circumstances.

    Cons

    Where do i begin? First and foremost, the positive reviews that have been posted on this website, are nothing short of a marketing scheme, to drum up a more positive image of the company. The fact of the matter is that upper level management is absolutely clueless! The school is known throughout the Valley to all DPE's as substandard, to such a degree that the FAA and FSDO keeps a very watchful eye over them. The company is more or less a factory. It's all about missions completed, rather than the success of the student. CFI's are forced by management to sign off students, in the full knowledge that they are more than likely to fail. Resources are tight, we were often sent emails explaining how lessons with students we cancelled due to higher importance flights. The resources that are available are shocking. Maintenance is terrible, squawking planes happens so frequently, that we rarely have available aircraft. Maintenance either doesn't care or does not have the budget available to handle issues, that 'minor squawks' are brushed underneath the carpet. CFI's are not allowed to schedule themselves, getting their schedule the night before, which is not helpful! The bonuses are held to contract, which is fine but when doing CFII or MEI you are expected to work 10-12 hour days and then study on top of that and then pass within a 2 week period, be prepared to fail because unless you are superhuman, you won't have the energy to continue after 3 days.

    BTW everybody, soon and I'm not sure when the company will be rebranding themselves to hide its less than pretty past! Not sure of the name but the flight school will be at Deer Valley still so just make sure you know what to look out for.

    Advice to Management

    Clear out CEO.... Buy new airplanes....Clear out upper level management and most middle management......Change syllabus....Do not force CFI to sign off students who are not ready......Overhaul maintenance....higher better CFI's...... DON'T THINK REBRANDING THE COMPANY IS GOING TO CHANGE THE INEVITABLE

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Disaster waiting to happen"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Flight Instructor in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Flight Instructor in Phoenix, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Phoenix is a nice location.

    Cons

    90% of the people I encountered at Transpac seemed unusually incompetent. Management has very little insight into aviation and pushes instructors to fatigue levels without even knowing it. There is no attention to quality, everything is a numbers game.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Busy Busy Busy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Line CFI in Deer Valley, AZ
    Former Employee - Line CFI in Deer Valley, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of students. Plenty of opportunities in entry level management positions. Lots of Instructors with PPL only ratings means a lot more students to fly with for CFII's and MEI's. The people complaining about not enough flight hours on this sight probably only had a CFI cert and couldn't fly most of the missions available. I averaged about 60-70 per month.

    Cons

    Sometimes a high ratio of students to Instructors means you fly with lots of students you may not know. Resources (airplanes are frequently low during the day leading to delays ramping out. Usually cannot extend making every flight feel rushed.

    Advice to Management

    Find more Instructors


  10. Helpful (6)

    "An Enjoyable and Professional Work Environment with Driven Students"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Flight Instructor in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Flight Instructor in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at TransPac Aviation Academy full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Being a Flight Instructor to primarily Chinese Students at TransPac Aviation Academy was a great experience because of how driven they were. It is common to begin teaching 4 students, fresh from the beginning of their Private Pilot phase, and take them to the end of their Commercial training. It is impossible not to create a bond with the students you have. They became like family to me. Despite how close of a friendship we had it never interfered with the professionalism we had during training. I admired how driven they were to stay focused and study. If you gave them something to study, they were happy to learn all that they could about that subject.

    The Phoenix airspace is initially a challenging airspace to fly in. But it shapes some of the best pilots. I would not have been able to build my diverse flying skills in complex terminal airspace anywhere else (Deer Valley also being the busiest general aviation airport in the world).

    Throughout my Instrument and Commercial Flight Instructor phase with my students, I was able to earn over 100 flight hours, on average, a month...only flying 5 days a week!

    I have just finished my instructing days at TransPac and was successful with helping my students get through all of their checkrides, Even with the most challenging students you may get, TransPac's system for pilot development helps ensure that almost every student gets through training...there are a lot of diverse resources used to help ensure this (Extra flights, SIMS, Orals, Observations, etc.)

    On a different note, TransPac was very accommodating with any time off I needed. I was able to not only use vacation time / sick time but was able to do any "day-swaps". There really wasn't a barrier between the time off I needed and the time off they were able to give me (just don't abuse this benefit).

    TransPac also now gives you an extra $200 a month if the company reaches their goal number of successfully completed missions for the month.

    TransPac also has a great reputation with the regional airlines. Regional recruiters come onto campus every single month presenting and recruiting instructors to join. SkyWest Airlines has the closest connection with TransPac (they are also "partners" now) and really tries to recruit all of TransPac's instructors. Interviews for SkyWest are also done in house, at TransPac!

    Overall a good experience...with lasting friendships. I can't wait to visit my Students someday in China.

    Cons

    The Private Pilot stage of Flight Instructing I received low hours, about 50 hours a month. This was only for a handful of months though.

    Advice to Management

    Need to focus a lot harder on Flight Instructor Recruitment...recruiting higher quality instructors. This should be a FULL TIME job for somebody. There are a few instructors that became employed with TransPac that really shouldn't be there for various reasons...

    "Better" people means a healthier work environment.

    Also, more consistent scheduling would be nicer. Employees always comment on this.


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