TransPac Aviation Academy Reviews | Glassdoor

TransPac Aviation Academy Reviews

Updated May 25, 2017
39 reviews

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Capt. Curtis Brunjes
13 Ratings

39 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Ownership and Leadership"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    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. Helpful (4)

    "Disaster waiting to happen"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Read the reviews ....."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

    Pros

    For real nothing... really bad experience but i was't there for long

    Cons

    Very low time building comparing to my expectations .45/month with a medicore pay...a lot of instructors have to work a second job on the side...mandatory 50h a week...you have to be there....that's why the salary
    All the positive reviews are from the management...please don't trust them...please ask current Cfi working there.....


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  5. "Busy Busy Busy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  6. Helpful (3)

    "An Enjoyable and Professional Work Environment with Driven Students"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "CFI"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Former Employee - CFII in Deer Valley, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    Weather is good almost year around to fly. Good connection with Skywest Airlines. most other CFI's are good people and will help you because management will not.

    Cons

    The CFI's are extremely undervalued and treated like garbage. Upper management is horrible with little to no communication to the CFI's. Manager Case will never tell you to cancel a lesson and only cares about how many lesson you complete. Safety is a joke will be pressured into signing off solo students that are not ready as well as sending them to a checkride that they will mostly likely fail (PPL). I have seen more accidents and incidents happen here in my first 6 months than I have since my 5 years in aviation. Scheduling is the biggest disappointment at Transpac. They are so inconsistent and suck at their job. Its is company policy to only have a 10hr duty day and to fly 8hrs in a 24hr period and scheduling will break this rule almost on a weekly basis. CEO has no idea how to run an aviation business. Don't get you CFII here you will fail the checkride!

    Advice to Management

    Get a new CEO and management. Treat CFI's better they are the ones providing the service and are putting their lives and ratings at risk everyday.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "CFI"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great Students who work very hard
    Great environment and colleagues
    Benefits
    Salary

    Cons

    Low Hours 30-40/month is more common... On the rare occasion, 50-60 hours/month
    Scheduling needs to be improved.
    Website is not accurate nor an accurate representation.
    Advertises A/C... Most aircraft have A/C, unfortunately, MEL'd inoperative.
    Advertises they will pay for CFII add on. Forgot to mention the 0-10% pass rate.

    Advice to Management

    Build communication between CFIs and Scheduling in order to improve student progress and overall satisfaction of CFIs.

    CFII pass rate needs to be improved if it will continue to be a required add on.

    There seems to be a consistent shortage of aircrafts causing delays and cancellations of lessons, yet more than enough CFIs and students. Seems like the necessary next step is to buy more aircraft or hire additional maintenance personnel to increase the mx rollover and therefore, more are available on the line.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Beware of management"

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

    Pros

    You can fly a lot without having to do that much ground with your students. You can work as much as you want

    Cons

    CFI's are pressured to fly even if they do not feel it is safe to do so. New owners are changing things around, so far I have spoken to many and agree they are not happy with the changes. A lot of people were let go so the extra work was distributed among all other this across the board. This as a CFI is no good as you will have 6 or more students assigned to you not being able to focus and provide quality instructing as you have a hard time keeping track of all and also because your students will fly randomly and frequently with other cfi's (who do not care about your students). Compensation is below industry standards. 50 Hour work weeks come out to about $10 per hour for a proffessional pilot flying with Chinese students who speak very little english.

    Advice to Management

    Do not run a flight school as if it was Walmart or another archery supply chain. Compensation needs to be increased and team leads need to stop pressuring CFI's to fly in unsafe conditions. By the way Curtis is no longer the CEO, they now have a guy who knows NOTHING about aviation.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Flight Instructor"

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

    Pros

    A good place to start out in the aviation industry. As an instructor for the past year, I have learned a tremendous amount, averaged 70-100 hours a month (working 6 days about half the time), and experienced the gratitude of numerous individuals that I've helped to grow as aviators.

    Cons

    The pay is not optimal. Getting paid at our normal rate for a 6 day (which adds up to a 66 hour work week) is better than nothing, but still far from appealing. The company has just come under new ownership from an investment company named Diversus, which claims to change some of the performance incentives, but these plans have not come to fruition yet.

    Advice to Management

    I enjoy the management I work with and think most of them have good advice to give out to new instructors. The changes that really need to be made at this company are primarily in the pay and benefits department.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Certified Flight Instructor in Deer Valley, AZ
    Current Employee - Certified Flight Instructor in Deer Valley, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Gain flight hours quickly (about 60 hours a month in PPL, 110-120 in Instrument and 80 in Commercial Multi)
    -Salaried position ($28k if you have CFI/CFII and $31K if you have your MEI) which means that you still get a paycheck during monsoon season.
    -The $5K bonus plus free CFII is pretty nice
    -Work weeks consist of 11 hour duty days (11 hours off), 5 days in a row. Guaranteed 2 days off. You are able to work a 6th day and get paid for it.
    -Pretty good safety culture (improved from previous years)
    -Scheduling department, which means you just get to show up to work and do your job
    -Decent room for growth (opportunities to get FAA Stage Check qualified and management positions constantly opening up)
    -Great maintenance department and a fleet entirely made up of Piper aircraft means planes aren't down for long
    -A/C in most aircraft (THANK GOD)
    -TIS installed on all aircraft. Great considering Phoenix is one of the busiest flight training airspace in the country. TIS has saved my life many times, alerting me to traffic that I wouldn't have been able to spot unless I knew where to look
    -Fly all year 'round
    -TransPac structured like an airline with Standard Operation Procedures
    -Airlines are very interested in TransPac instructors. SkyWest, ExpressJet, Envoy, Compass and TransStates come and talk to every new hire class. SkyWest comes by often and uses the campus to conduct employment interviews
    -Kim Gale is a great career resource

    Cons

    -$28K a year isn't very much considering how much work you will be doing. Luckily cost of living in Deer Valley is low.
    - Archer interiors are nasty, but TPA is starting to refurbish/purchase brand new Archers
    -Revolving door of flight instructors, most senior flight instructors leave as soon as they get enough experience to be effective teachers. No mentorship programs means that wet CFIs never learn from experienced instructors and it effects the student check ride pass rates
    -It takes a lot of patience to teach foreigners (Chinese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Koreans) how to fly. The language barrier by itself is hard to overcome, the cultural difference makes it feel impossible. Luckily the students are extremely hard workers and if you coach them correctly, they will turn into fantastic pilots (I love my guys)
    -Phoenix is stupid hot

    Advice to Management

    -You need experienced flight instructors. A retention bonus would help. Paying more than the regionals might discourage people from leaving
    -You need MEIs. $3K a year extra is barely anything. At this point it's not even worth it to have your MEI because we aren't making much more considering how much more it cost to get it. That plus the fact that each student needs 25 hours of simulator time and only 25 hours of flight time means that having an MEI means we will be stuck at TransPac longer (major reduction in flight time while in commercial).
    -Consider starting some sort of mentorship program. I believe it will help the check ride pass rate. Flight techniques that work for Asians are hard to figure out alone


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