A few questions about training at ATP

  • I have logged about 35 hours of dual instruction. Soloed a Warrior and a C172 and was getting ready to get my solo pattern and cross country work out of the way when my family grew. Now that I’m back seriously considering an airline pilot career, I have a question for the ATP CFIs out there—should I go to an accelerated finish-up program to get current and get my PPL and build the minimum hours to join ATP out of pocket, or should I just come in as a zero hour pilot to ATP?

  • I have flown both the C172 and the Piper Cherokee/Warrior. I like the Warrior’s flight characteristics much better. If I plan to attend at DAB, Can I choose which aircraft I train in?

  • I was talking to one of my pilot mentors who’s stressed the importance of going with the school that offers the most ample opportunities to build time through instruction. I’ve checked around a few different outfits, and smaller schools are hesitant to give “guaranteed” numbers. Is this something that I can find out about ATP to map out my most likely timeframe for getting the magic 1,500?

  • Are there non-Part 121 operators that may hire a fresh Commercial ME pilot as a co-pilot? I’ve heard that some smaller operators carry on-demand cargo/mail which could be a decent time building option instead of instructing e.g. Cape Air.

Sorry about a wall of text…it’s a huge leap for me, as I will be leaving an established 10+ year airport planning career and I keep having these $100k questions pop up…

Good questions Sergey so let’s answer some:

  1. Your call but I’d go straight to ATP. The reason ATP is so popular and well respected is they’ve created a proven method of instruction modelled after actual airline training programs. It works incredibly well. The lessons we learn earliest stick with us the longest (The Law of Primacy). The sooner you beginning training with ATP, working as a “crew” the sooner you’ll develop good habits that will stay with you through out your training and your flying career.

  2. I prefer Pipers as well, always have. I’m not sure which aircraft they have at the DAB location but you’ll train in whichever aircraft they have there. Not something I’d be overly concerned about. If you were buying an aircraft for yourself to fly for a few years ok but this is training and the aircraft is a tool. Simple as that. Not to mention you may not love every airplane you find yourself in once you get to the airlines but you’ll have to fly it until you can bid out sooooo.

  3. ATP has been in business for over 40 yrs and has 42 locations and they aren’t going to guarantee hours either. No one will, how can they? If you have students great but if you don’t, you don’t. That said ATP does quote an average of 70hrs a month and most instructors build their 1500hrs in approx. 2yrs.

  4. There are some but most still won’t grab you fresh out of school. If you look around (Cape Air, Empire, Mokulele, etc) require 500hrs or more. Keep in mind a lot of pilots don’t really like the idea of instructing so those jobs are often tough to get. Also keep in mind flight instructing is a great way to not only build time but improve as a pilot. There’s nothing like sitting next to some newbie who’s seemingly trying to do everything in their power to kill you to help hone your skills :slight_smile:

Hope that helps some?


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Thank you, Adam! Very helpful indeed!

  • What does the student schedule look on evenings and weekends?
  • Do instructors get a little bit of breathing room to do extra work and still keep building time?

The reason I’m asking is because I can do a lot of what I do right now from home office and was wondering if I can squeeze in some billable work while going through training or while instructing…


In such an accelerated program, every free minute needs to be devoted to flying, classroom, or studying. Working while in the program is a really bad idea and is a very good way to jeopardize your career through potentially failing checkrides.

Same thing as an instructor, it is not just easy street and is very much a full time job. You need to be fully available to your students whilst also preparing for your airline interviews.



One more thing, and we might have addressed it before, but once you are hired at an airline, the beard will have to go, so just be prepared for that.


Thank you for your response!

As far as the beard, while it’s attached to me, I’m not attached to it… :grin:
It will go before I start the program—gotta look and act the part.

That is a very good attitude to have :slight_smile:

Unless you come to Hawaiian, we’re beard friendly :slight_smile:


I’ll ask Dan Lyons for a recommendation, but you guys are a long commute from Orlando. :joy::joy::joy: