What pilots have to say.
My first post to this forum. I do NOT own an airplane. I didn’t receive a discount for writing this post. I’m not an employee, business partner or investor. I’m writing this as a recommendation to help others.


ATP, F/E, A&P, B-727, B-737, B-747-4, B-757, B-767, DC-8. Flown the Piper twins including Aerostars and Chieftains, Cessna singles, Super D, Citabria, Maule M-7 235, Extra, Pitts S-2C, T-6, P-51, G-II, G-IV and others. All this and 25 cents might get me a cup of coffee, big deal. I’m NOT impressing anyone and don’t expect to considering the qualifications of those on this forum. My background means nothing when I climb into a C-340 for the first time. That’s why I went to TRAINING first. Years spent researching Cessna twins, never flown one, ever. Didn’t know a thing about the airplane. The spread sheet said the C-340 was the airplane to buy. Rather than buy the airplane, thought it best to get TRAINING in the airplane FIRST. Made the decision to visit Rick McGuire at AST in Burnet Texas and get the ground school, simulator and time in the airplane needed, BEFORE buying the airplane. The short story is this; AST has to be the finest group of instructors I’ve met in over 30 years in this industry. It’s not worth questioning or considering another group of instructors in my opinion. Best to give AST a call, set your schedule, attend their training and be overly impressed with the greeting, training, recommendations, one on one help, support and guidance they will provide you. Can’t express how impressed I was with the instruction received from Rick and his impressive staff of Instructors.


I thought I knew a lot about oil pressure and temperature… I knew much about alternators and the definition of Volts and Amps only to find out I knew nothing. I knew it all concerning turbo chargers and waste gates until I sat through Rick’s ground school. I had the electrical system wrong. Thought I knew about tires, brakes, fuel valves and prop governors – I knew nothing. I received Rick’s hand out after Day 1 in class. Returned to hotel, read through it and had to ask myself if I knew much of anything concerning piston twins. An absolute eye opener.

This isn’t your usual classroom teaching

This is real world experience being taught to you – one on one. This is personal instruction. Rick sits with you as he explains the airplane and its system. Take notes, asks questions. Rick’s knowledge base is simply amazing. I’m convinced the man has forgotten more about airplanes than I’ve learned in 30 years. Superb instructor.

The simulator training is simply outstanding

It would take pages to write all I’ve been shown and learned. Remember all you were taught concerning that engine failure? What Rick and his instructors teach you is not what you think it will be. The techniques and procedures are simply eye opening. Did you know your Twin Cessna has an emergency brake? Have you lost an engine at 200 feet and tried to land on the remaining runway – I did and it was NOT what I expected. How about an emergency descent? Engine failures in IMC, at high altitude airports or when birds strike the windshield? How about a takeoff in Aspen or a drift down single engine? I worked with Chuck and Jim in the simulator and what they taught me is a ‘must have’ for every Twin Cessna pilot.

The airplane

Everyday after ground school and simulator I flew the 340 with Rick McGuire. Rick flew with me every day, for three days. There is no way I can thank Rick enough for all he taught me. Rick’s attitude, presentation and explanations are perfect. His command of the airplane as the Instructor is exceptional. Rick briefed me on the flight, we flew the flight, we accomplished exactly what Rick wanted to cover while I flew the airplane and had fun. Rick is the Instructor you want to fly with. Can’t over emphasize how much you’ll learn flying with rick.


Please, call AST and schedule your Twin Cessna training. Find out for yourself how exceptional Rick and his Instructors are first hand. Guarantee you will not be disappointed. If you have any questions about my time at AST please email me and I’ll reply as soon as possible. Respectfully, Jim

My recent 2-day Recurrent Training at AST was, unquestionably, the most profitable training time I’ve ever spent in my 45 years of flying. My plan will be to engage the training at Aircraft Simulator Training regularly – as long as I am continuing to fly a complex twin. There was a surprising amount of “new” and specific information I received on my 421C. It was obviously based on their extensive rare and excellent personal knowledge of the airplane. The entire simulator time was spent on the productive repetition of multiple critical phases of flight. There was no time wasted on common activities that had been successfully learned to my satisfaction in the earlier years of my flying. Through the simulator time, I was exposed to some previously untaught, logical, dynamic techniques. Once I can break some of the old habits and integrate some better new ones into my response mechanism, I am totally confident that my flights will be very much improved from a safety and emergency survivability standpoint. There were several questions that came to me as I flew home and as I thought through all I wanted to learn more and more thoroughly. I emailed them the next day and, by the next day… or sooner… had several responses to my questions. They also went above and beyond by their follow-through in contacting experts they know regarding questions out of their area of expertise (i.e. some new Garmin Avionics questions). I cannot recommend AST highly enough but I will be encouraging any pilot I associate with to give them a try.


Note: This was one of the most beautiful 421C aircraft that we have been involved with. We kept it in our hanger and drooled over the outside and inside of the airplane. As instructors we had a great time working with the pilot.

I just finished a 3 day initial training program for the C414. All I can say is this is the type of simulator based training I have been looking for over the past several years. It is simply invaluable training. Great systems knowledge and practical maintenance advice. But the highlight is the simulator training. Simply stated, you are exposed to emergency situations you simply can not accomplish in the aircraft. The training is tailored to your experience and background and you get to really become proficient at handling engine failures. I flew in the military and I currently fly with a major airlines. This training is in that league. I definitely will go back. As a final bonus, it is a far better value than offered by the big firms. Train with these guys; you will not be disappointed.

I just finished up the two day course offered by AST and I have to say it was the best simulator training I’ve ever had. First of all, the equipment was the best I have trained on, it’s a new, full motion sim that’s clean, comfortable and more realistic than the others I’ve used and I’ve been to the big schools, the small schools and everything in between. The big plus really is Rick McGuire with not just the ability to teach, but his unique and varied aviation experiences that gives him so many different points of views that he conveys to his students so effectively to help keep us all out of trouble. Those different points of views I’m talking about are from private, corporate, charter and some airline pilot experiences. Also from the maintenance perspectives of an A & P, IA, aviation attorney and most importantly, from a consumer of maintenance services as the current owner of FOUR airplanes! Rick does possess the gift of teaching and I found myself enjoying the experience and dare I say it, having fun learning once again! I was learning so many helpful things that I had never heard before even having been a pilot for 25 years. Whether you’re a low time pilot or an airline captain you will benefit from your AST training as this is so much more the the typical show up and “check the box” experience. Rick, Staci, Trisha and the entire staff are so professional and helpful that I am already looking forward to going back to AST in six months to learn more and experience some more of that Central Texas hospitality.

Just wrapped up a 3 day initial for the 310.

I learned more than I thought I needed to know. They definitely cater to you, it’s not a canned course. There isn’t a syllabus, per se. They just talk to you, and fly with you. They can tell what you need.

I’m pretty sure they were both expecting a pretty difficult student when I walked in the door. I might be the first guy to do so with absolutely zero multi time in my logbook. I mean zero. I’ve ridden in a twin exactly twice. 😯

They were patient, and let me make mistakes, and then showed me why I made them. By the end of the third day (today!) I feel extremely confident I can handle any emergency my new plane can throw at me.

Thanks Rick & Mike! I’ll be back soon!

Outstanding! I needed a straight forward review of systems operations and emergency procedures that focused on a few individual requests while providing an abundance of hands on practical training (sim time). Mike and the AST team provided that and more. The one on one instruction tailored to my individual requests, combined with a full systems review that highly focused on simulator time, allowed for direct application and fortified the procedures and concepts that were taught. Only one thing to say – If you want years of operational experience and knowledge backed up with an abundance of hands on sim time! ——- GO NOW!

Well worth your time, expense, and livelihood!

Thanks to the AST team…well done

Rob VanHoy
Cessna 340/B52/C130

Thanks to those who have previously posted reviews about Rick McGuire and AST in Burnet, Texas. As I frequently visit the Texas Hill Country, I read those favorable reviews with interest and elected to schedule my recurrent training this year with Rick at AST. I’m glad I did. It was the best two days of training I have received in 40+ years of flying; and after owning a C340A for 18 years and attending annual recurrent simulator training over 15 times at 3 other facilities across the country. Rick and Mike are both excellent instructors. I was very pleased with the motion simulator. I intend to return to AST for all of my future recurrent training.

Tim Frets
N674PC 1978 C340A RAM IV

I just returned from 2-day recurrent training with Rick and Mike at AST. I agree 100% with what has been said about the training. My first time in a simulator and it was humbling to learn what I didn’t really know about engine out performance and procedures. When I left AST
yesterday I was confident I could handle an engine out. If there are certain situations or airports you want to explore Rick will help teach you how to handle the plane in those situations. If you are a little rusty hand flying approaches, they will get you tuned up and have you flying single engine approaches with confidence. As Rick likes to say he will help eliminate the pucker factor. I am already looking forward to next year. I learned a lot and I highly recommend AST.

1982 Cessna 421C
2007 Cessna T206H

I just got back from C340 recurrent training at AST with Rick McGuire and I have to agree wholeheartedly with the comments everyone has made. Rick reads these comments and I think he is a little embarrassed with all the accolades that he receives but they are well deserved. It was clear to me that he isn’t doing this for money but rather he thoroughly enjoys making people better pilots. Here is what Rick brings to the table:

  1. Very current Twin Cessna Pilot– he truly loves flying, flies a lot, and always has since he was a kid
  2. Twin Cessna owner (has a 340 and 421) Knows both the pride and pain of owning these birds
  3. Aircraft Mechanic– has deep understanding of how all the systems work (I think I lost every argument)
  4. Attorney–Clearly not intimidated by the FAA or ATC and has a healthy perspective of how they should work for you
  5. Has a first class Twin Cessna Full Motion Simulator–He has invested a lot in this with plans to make it even better
  6. Instructor–Its hard to say enough about this. We have all worked hard to be the pilots we are and are proud of our accomplishments. But when we go for training we are vulnerable because our weak points become obvious. Any instructor can make you feel stupid or incompetent by making you repeat the same thing over as you attempt to get it right. A great instructor like Rick will have insight on why you are failing and offer suggestions to help you improve–and you do! Very patient too–in order to improve you must have a certain amount of latitude to deviate (off course, off glideslope, off speed, etc) or you’ll never learn. He has a sense of humor too–somehow he suckered me into believing I should bust the minimum on an approach and continue on down to the runway when I could never see it. I ‘m glad I could provide the entertainment.

Rick claims to be married to a woman named Staci whom I didn’t get to meet. She set up this class at the very last minute, made sure I had a hotel, lent me a Jeep, made sure we didn’t forget to eat lunch, made Rick to respond to my emails, and called to remind me (very tactfully) to close my flight plan. I think she is actually in charge.

Anyway, this was a great experience for me. I am sorry I ducked recurrent training in the past.

Just got back from initial training for the 340A with Rick McGuire at AST in Burnett as well. I agree with literally all the comments I read here. This is a first class operation. The sim is top notch – no squawks, literally everything works like it should in a real airplane and the X-Plane core flies exceptionally well. While I don’t have SimCom or RTC experience, I have flown the full motion RedBird quite a bit and found it incredibly frustrating having to work around the limitations of the RedBird simulation. So I really wanted to find the best sim out there. This unit is that sim, I’m sure of it. It just goes and you’re not spending a bunch of time trying to get “used to the sim”. It’s a very solid platform, so you can be assured your time won’t be spent working on glitches. Rick also has a nice G1000 simulator (non motion) which I found extremely helpful to put time in behind the glass if you’re transitioning into that from steam.

As has been said before, the class is taught by Rick personally and honestly that was the deciding factor. Rick is very much like all of us. He’s a business owner, an attorney, and has a 340 and a 421. He has flown many hours cross country for business and pleasure and dealt with all the same maintenance issues we all face. His experience is relatable to the mission of flying friends or family but his airline experience would resonate with corporate pilots as well. As an A&P he has an up close and personal take on the mechanics. He can really take a deep dive when you want to know the details behind something. When I looked around I did not find that same experience in any other program.

In addition to providing what I would consider your core curricula, Rick provides a wealth of collateral knowledge. You’ll talk about insurance, spares, ramp hacks, etc., just like you would with a pilot buddy.

I can’t wait to build some time in the 340 and get back there for a recurrent.

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