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Setting the Highest Standard in Flight Training

Experience in Flying, Teaching and Customer Service

All ground and flight training is provided by a highly-experienced instructor

With over 55 years and 10,500+ flight hours of pilot experience Steve Shaner has flown many aircraft ranging from Piper cubs to Citation Jets. He has flown all over the country and in all types of weather. Steve passes along this experience to each student and teaches a lot of helpful techniques to make flying easier, safer and more fun. As a professional pilot and flight instructor, Steve has an excellent safety record.

Steve has been teaching for over 49 years and was a former FAA-Designated Pilot Examiner for over 32 years. As an examiner for the Atlanta area, Steve has given hundreds of students from other schools their final oral and flight tests for the issuance of their pilot certificates.
From this experience, he could see which pilot tasks students were prone to failing and passing and why.

Steve has also experienced real-life flight emergencies and handled them satisfactorily. Steve has taught hundreds of students for Private Pilot, Instrument Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Multiengine Pilot, Aerobatics, Tail wheel Aircraft, Wheelchair Pilot, Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Instructor, Multiengine Flight Instructor, Airline Transport Pilot and Citation Jet Type Rating. At American Air, you are getting a great teacher, not just an experienced pilot. Steve applies all of the fundamentals of teaching and learning with his students. It is easy to get a flight instructor certificate without being a good teacher. Many flight instructors don’t understand the difference between teaching and telling. Steve has an excellent safety and student pass record. When you finish the extensive training that Steve will give you, you will in effect, be “an experienced pilot”.

Personalized training

Your instructor – Steve Shaner, works with just a few students at any given time. This assures plenty of convenient schedule availability for each student to train regularly. Each student has ample opportunity to ask a lot of questions during their training. Every person is unique in the way he or she learns. Each person has different weaknesses, strengths, goals and abilities and can come from different backgrounds and cultures. At American Air, all of this is taken into account in the way Steve will approach your training. Steve is a very patient and caring instructor and he will enjoy working with you to help you achieve your goals and assure that you get the maximum enjoyment from this exciting endeavor. Steve has trained children and adults of ages ranging from 14 to 75 years. He has trained both men and women. Steve has also trained wheelchair pilots, people afraid of heights and people prone to motion sickness. Steve will teach you at a comfortable pace that matches your abilities.

Use of Atlanta-based, legitimate FAA Pilot Examiners – excellent student performance on thorough check ride tests

American Air only sends its students to legitimate FAA Pilot Examiners for their check ride tests – right here at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Most of our students are tested by Dan Emin. Dan is a professional, fair, friendly, thorough and safety-oriented examiner. Dan is based at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and has good schedule availability. When you pass the check ride with Dan, you know you were properly tested in all the required areas and you earned your pilot certificate. When it comes to your safety and the safety of your passengers, you want to know for sure that your pilot certificate was obtained legitimately. American Air has an excellent check ride pass record. Most AAFT students don’t just pass the test, they do outstanding on it.

Students who train at a school that uses out of state “Santa Claus” examiners will be told they must rent the airplane and fly to another state, take the test and fly back. This makes for a long, fatiguing day plus a higher aircraft rental cost. Students in this situation should question why they should pay for aircraft rental to fly out of state to take their check ride when there is an FAA Pilot Examiner available right here at DeKalb-Peachtree airport who gives good, fair tests. Why would you have to fly to another location outside of Atlanta in order to be able to ”pass” your test? In recent years, a few of these “Santa Claus” examiners have been caught by the FAA. The FAA took away their examiner authority. The FAA then required some of the students who had previously been tested and “passed” by these examiners to take another check ride with an FAA inspector. The results of these re-tests were not good. Unfortunately, some of these examiners who haven’t been caught are being used by some of the schools in the Atlanta area. After you complete your training at American Air, your FAA check ride will be far less challenging than the standards we train and test you to for graduation.

Comprehensive check ride preparation

All of the courses at American Air are designed to train and test you to a level well above that which is tested on the FAA check ride. This is the level we believe is necessary to make you a truly safe and confident pilot. Even though we aren’t just training you for a test, we recognize that some people have difficulty taking tests. The psychological atmosphere of the FAA check ride can seem intimidating and can distract you during the test.

This can cause you to make mistakes that you normally don’t make during flights with your instructor. We have a comprehensive test preparation process that is unique to our school. This process yields excellent results for our students. As a former FAA Pilot Examiner for over 32 years, Steve Shaner ensures that each student he trains is thoroughly prepared for the final test. After you complete your course of training at American Air, you will be given a “mock” check ride by Steve to see how you perform under the evaluation spotlight. This intensive exercise is designed to shake out any weaknesses that may surface during the distraction and stress of a check ride. Any weaknesses that are identified get further training attention.

The next step is for you to take a “mock” check ride with the actual examiner who will give you the official test.

This will allow you the opportunity to meet your examiner, answer questions and fly with him before taking the real test. The atmosphere and process of the check ride will then feel very familiar to you.

At the end of the practice check ride, the Examiner will give you detailed feedback on any further practice he may think is necessary. Whatever subject or skill appears as your weakest, we will work on improving it until it is your strongest.

That way you won’t feel weak in any area. After training on any new weaknesses identified, you will then take the actual check ride. You will not be asked the same questions or fly to the same areas as the practice check ride, but you will still feel more relaxed and confident going into the test. You can’t be any better prepared for a test than that!

A spacious, comfortable and quiet facility – fully equipped to provide an excellent learning environment
American Air has been consistently improving the training environment at our facility since 1986. Our offices and classrooms are located in the south wing of the airport administration building. At American Air, you will have full access to comfortable, private study areas, lesson briefing rooms and a well-equipped classroom.

Our ground school classroom is designed for effective presentations using the latest audio/visual equipment. In our classroom, you will enjoy the comfort of padded, adjustable chairs and experience state-of-the-art learning through the use of numerous training aids.

You will also have access to the latest and most complete weather information using our computerized aviation weather briefing office with complete trip planning resources, and a flat-screen live weather radar display. Our simulator is located in a private, quiet room and is equipped with a very comfortable, fully adjustable aircraft captain’s chair. The short walkway to our aircraft ramp is conveniently located just outside of our offices. Our aircraft are located in the center of the airport, providing quick and easy access to all runways. The Downwind restaurant is located just above our offices on the second floor. The Downwind has an outdoor deck overlooking the airport and serves great food. This is an excellent place to unwind after your flight lesson!

The business owner is on the premises every business day


Steve Shaner is the instructor and owner of American Air. When he’s not up flying with a student, Steve is available on site at the school. You may see him out on the ramp, cleaning a windshield on one of our rental aircraft for a student or closely checking the mechanical condition of each airplane in our fleet. Steve checks our fleet of aircraft each business day to make sure your airplane is ready and safe for your next flight. Steve is available to answer any questions you have about flight training at our school. He is also available to hear and act on any feedback you have concerning our operations. This kind of personal attention from a business owner is rare in the flight training industry.

Longevity and experience in the industry

Steve Shaner, the owner of American Air, was the flight school manager for Epps Flight School from 1978 through 1984 and has been flying out of DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK) since 1971. Epps flight school was started here at KPDK in the late 1960s. It was by far the oldest flight school on the field. Steve founded American Air Flight Training here in 1986. In 1999, American Air Flight Training acquired Epps Flight School (founded in 1966), making American Air the oldest flight school at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. American Air has been professionally serving our customers at our present location for over 38 years. Even though some flight schools have come and gone during this time, American Air continues to be a stable flight training establishment, still setting the highest standard in flight training.

Schedule dependability

At American Air, Steve Shaner, your flight instructor is very punctual and shows up on time for your lessons. Steve knows you time is valuable and you don’t want to waste it waiting for your instructor. Steve consistently honors his schedule commitments. He will not cancel a lesson to go on a jet charter flight or take some other flight opportunity. Flight training is our only priority on the schedule. Some students at other schools go through 2 or 3 instructors during just their Private Pilot course. Steve has made flight instructing at American Air his life-long career and he will stay with you through all of your flight courses.

Honesty and integrity – good business ethics

Our business approach to providing training information at American Air is to be brutally honest with our customers. When we give estimates on time and cost for our programs, we don’t sugarcoat it. We want you to be able to make a truly well informed decision on flight training.
American Air consistently practices the “above and beyond” approach to customer service. The customer care provided by American Air is often above and beyond what some of our competitors are willing to provide.

You will need to conduct some patient research to make key decisions on whether to start flight training, what airport to fly out of, which school to train at, which type of airplane to fly and when to start. Nationwide, approximately 80% of the people who start a Private pilot course drop out and never finish. At American Air, over 95% of our new students stay in their training and do finish with excellent results. We attribute this to the honesty in which we explain the time and financial commitment required to do it right. If you commit to starting the course with a full understanding of the true cost, time and challenges, you will most likely stay with it and succeed in reaching your goals.

Our ethics are to not single out any particular school and label that school as standard or substandard. We want to bring out in the open, all of the business practices, good and bad, that we have observed in the flight training industry, to help you choose a flight school that is best suited to your needs. Hopefully, this will help you determine the right questions to ask. Your safety and getting the best value for your investment are our top priorities.

Leadership in the Industry

As we advertise new and improved features, we soon see some of the other schools in the area making changes to try to imitate what we have to offer. At American Air, we are constantly working hard to improve how we serve you. We listen to our customers, the FAA and other aviation professionals. American Air is an active member in several important professional aviation organizations. We keep up with the latest safety procedures, technology and educational tools. We are always inventing new ways to make your flight training safer, easier and more enjoyable.