A Few Questions about ATP & Becoming a Pilot

Hi guys, I had a few questions regarding ATP and becoming a pilot. I’d be very glad if you could help me through. Thanking you in advance!

Firstly, I have read the other post regarding 100 hr ME vs 40 hr ME at ATP. If I am absolutely certain that I would instruct at ATP as a CFI before accumulating 1500 hrs AND I am targeting one of the regional airlines that ATP has partnered with and has tuition reimbursement program, would it really matter at all if I had a 100 hr ME or a 40 hr ME?

Secondly, is my pathway to a regional airline guaranteed like my job as a CFI would be? Do all students who interview with a regional airline between 300-500 hours, get a conditional job offer? If not, at such a relatively early stage of flight hour building, what qualifications do these regional airlines look at to distinguish among applicants? Also, can I instruct at ATP even beyond my 1500 hours of flight time instead of joining a regional?

Thirdly, it would take me at least a couple of years before I can save enough money and join ATP. I was thinking of getting my PPL in the meantime from a part 61 school. If I do so, and then enroll in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot program, will I be at ANY disadvantage (in terms of tuition reimbursement, CFI job guarantee or chances of acceptance by a regional airline when they interview me at 300-500 hours) WHATSOEVER? What’s your thought on my plan? Since I cannot start my classes at ATP at this moment, investing 10-12K over two years and spending around 50K instead of 70K upfront would impose much less financial burden on me.

Lastly, do you know the price changes of the ATP’s fast tracked program over the past 3/4 years? If yes, could you please share: For instance the current prices of the fast tracked program are $69995, $79995, $53995 and $63995. If I could have the corresponding figures from the past few years, I could project how much I might have to pay ATP after 2 years (in whichever of the 4 program I go for) since I guess (but hope not!) the price will increase in the future.


Lots of questions so let’s get you some answers.

  1. You say you read other posts regarding the 40 vs 100hrs program. If that’s true then you should know the answer. The answer is no it would not matter in the least. As previously stated MANY times the 100hr is ONLY for students who do not plan to instruct for ATP as ME time is difficult to find elsewhere. The reason I point out the fact you should have the answer IF you read the other posts is because frankly the ATP program requires a great amount of self-study and if you simply gloss over the information you will have problems.

  2. NOTHING in aviation is guaranteed. Right now the Regionals are aggressively hiring like never before but still there are no guarantees. First and most important you need to be successful in your training and have no more than 2 checkride busts for the guaranteed CFI position. You make no mention of having any flight experience and the reality is not everyone is successful at flying. It requires a ceratin amount of intelligence and coordination. Not saying you don’t have that but until you actually start training it’s just speculation. Beyond that some people don’t interview well. Some have blemishes on their record (arrests, DUI’s, bad history of employment). Finally you’re talking about starting 2 years from now which puts you at a Regional in 4 yrs, ALOT can happen and change in 4 yrs.

  3. The only time I recommend getting your PPL separately is if you have any doubts about flying as a career or your ability to be a pilot. If that’s not the case you will inevitably spend a considerable amount of extra time and money training in your spare time. There’s a reason why the airlines, the military and ATP train daily. Flight training is a process that depends on continuity. I recently met a young man who’s spent $25k in flight lessons and still hasn’t earned his PPL. Ultimately the choice is yours and no it won’t effect any of the other programs. Keep in mind you’ll need 80hrs TT to start ATP with credit for your PPL.

  4. I actually don’t have that info handy. I can tell you the program just went up $2,000 a few months ago but overall ATP does an excellent job of maintaining and containing it’s program cost. Thing is aviation isn’t cheap. Fuel prices rise, airport fees, maintain aircraft etc. I can’t imagine the price going up dramatically in the next 2yrs BUT I can promise you it won’t go down.


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Hey Adam,

Thanks for the detailed reply. I just hope things don’t change a lot between now and 4 years. Fingers crossed.