Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TransPac Aviation Academy

Drawing from its Pan Am training heritage, TransPac positions itself for the future

transpac academyTradition goes a long way in aviation. A rich history aloft is respected and admired, whether it applies to pilots, aircraft or—in the world of ab initio training—flight academies. With its legacy steeped in the fabled lore of one of the greatest airlines in history, Pan Am International Flight Academy is long on tradition and legacy.
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transpac aviation academyStudents looking to apply to TransPac can expect to train for about one year before graduating with all the ratings necessary to qualify for a first officer position with a regional carrier. Arnarson calls this “a realistic time frame.” He suggests students be cautious with programs that set unreasonably low training time frames. “Don’t train just to pass the checkride,” he advises. Most graduates will then stay on with TransPac as flight instructors to build the time required to make them more attractive to the airlines.

TransPac trains its students in a Piper fleet, using 44 Piper Archers for the basic ratings and multi-engine Seminoles for the advanced training. Th­­e academy has several flight-training devices (FTDs) and offers courses in aircrew management, flight management system (FMS) operations and CRJ-200 systems training. TransPac has hiring relationships with several U.S. carriers, including SkyWest, Comair, Republic and ExpressJet, and numerous international airlines. While training costs can vary, complete ab initio training from zero experience to graduation will cost approximately $70,000.

An important facet of any training academy is student life. Because TransPac actively trains international pilots, the cultural diversity is unique. At any given time, some 450 students are training at TransPac from all corners of the world. The wide range of backgrounds imbues students with an appreciation and understanding of international culture, a trait that serves future pilots well in our increasingly globalized world.

With its desert location, diverse cultural offerings and rich training heritage, TransPac seems poised for continued success in the training field. With its legendary history, TransPac can also afford to be particular about who it trains. Arnarson, who’s also an experienced airline pilot, reminds me of this legacy when he ends our conversation by saying, “We’re very picky. We look for top-quality people.” For more information, visit or call (866) 857-2371.

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