ATP Commute (drive)

Quick question for all that have done this/may have insight: What is a recommended distance to live from an ATP facility during ones training?

Context: I currently live 45 minutes from one of the locations, and am trying to ascertain whether it is worth the effort to move the family to an unfamiliar location to cut this time down a bit. For me there is something to be said for completing this intensive course while mitigating family impact, at least at this stage. We are preparing for the reality that this location may not be available after graduation for instruction.

How far did you live from the training center? Was 45 minutes a “doable” commute? What would be the max commute that would still not impact success in the training?

Thanks all who weigh in!



I think you’ll be fine with a 45min drive. When we start talking 1.5+hrs then I get concerned by 45 isn’t bad. That’s light traffic in NY :slight_smile:


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I commuted from south Colorado Springs to the Denver (Centennial) location. It was almost exactly an hour in normal traffic. Overall, it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, there were many times I enjoyed the commute - as it gave me some quiet time to myself to reflect and decompress.

I drove an hour each way…wasn’t a big deal at all. In fact, it gave me time to reflect on things and enjoy my coffee.

There will be some long days and the drive home will be a pain. On the average, however, 45 mins won’t be a big deal at all. Listen to some books on tape or even Martha/John King.


I currently commute each day between 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on Dallas traffic. It’s not a problem. It does help that I have a fuel efficient car, though. I definitely wouldn’t move a family to be closer to a training location when we are only talking 45 minutes.


I would not worry about a 45 minute drive. That seems rather reasonable to me.


I am an hour and a half from my closest ATP. I am thinking of doing this trip every day in order to attend, I hope it isn’t a terrible experience. To make things a little more bearable, I am thinking about getting my private done at my local small airport, in order to turn the ATP program into 6 months, instead of 9. Do you guys think that is reasonable? I have a reliable fuel efficient car too, so that isn’t my concern, it’s mainly the time that will be taken away from being able to study every night.


There are students who have successfully dealt with a 1.5hr commute. Obviously it’s not ideal but it’s doable. Frankly I’d suck it up for the 3 mos and do the whole program with ATP. It’s always better to start off on the right foot but your call.



Thanks so much for your input, and it honestly makes me feel so much better. I’ve taken my intro flight, and I’ve spoken with ATP admissions over the phone, both the admissions person and the CFI told me that they advised against that much of a commute. I would much rather do the entire 9 months with ATP, I had just been thinking of any way to make it work.


I just went that route you are talking and I regret it. I started on this forum a few years ago around the time “Peter” and Sergey did and they are both completed the program or wrapping it up. Due to the weather in the Mid-Atlantic over the last year, the school dropping to 1 C172 and our main A&P leaving it took just over a year to complete my PPL.

Was it cheaper? Yes, am I just now enrolling in ATP well behind others? Absolutely.

I was in a spot where I couldn’t attend ATP last year due to financial reasons but now have lost a year on the back end (hoopefully) flying with a major making $250-$300K at the end of my career.

If you can do it financially I would suggest just dealing with the extra 3 months instead of Part Time instructors, part time scheduling and going possibly a year getting your PPL.

Just figured I’d share my experience for your thoughts.

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I am currently making a 45-50 minute commute one way to my ATP location. It sucks, but it’s not worth moving over. Plus it can give time to think about things or even study via listening to audio recordings. For me, it doesn’t have much of an impact on family life, but that will vary from person to person. I just wouldn’t go much beyond 1 hour of commute one way as that takes a huge toll. I used to commute 1 hour and 50 minutes one way for a few months to my old job, it is an absolute terrible thing to do.

Roger that, thanks Adam!

And thanks all for the feedback! Seems this is not an abnormal amount of time to commit/have to travel for training, I appreciate everyone’s input!

Good time friends…

I do have friend who is working for American eagle now 2/5 year before when he still was student I remember he was exactly driving 70 miles round trip which is 140 miles.

I personally have the nearest one to me is like 1 hour away

Good afternoon Tom, how is everything coming along?

Hi Erik,

Things are running like a well oiled machine. I just finished SE Crew today and am starting SE Commercial. I’m about a month or so ahead so I have a buffer for bad weather or something that may pop up.

I dont know if you started ATP yet but to update your original question of this thread I drive 45mins to 1.5hrs each way and it really isn’t that bad and just becomes routine. I use it as a debrief of the day and flights or planning the rest of the week.

Adam is 1.5 the hard limit you might put on ATP commute? I’m in a bit of an ATP blackhole, living in upstate NY and 90 minutes-2 hours, each way, from four different locations. Morristown would be the closest, slightly. I’m considering one or two other locations that would be a full on move, now having the rent expense but would allow me to be 10-15 minutes from the ATP spot.


Even 1.5 is pushing. You are going to have some seriously long days. Some will start really early and others will end late. I understand the desire to save some money if you can but if you can swing the expense it’s really worth staying close.


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1.5 is too far unfortunately. I did 45 mins and it times it was very difficult. Having the last flight of the day backed up to the first flight of the morning, or an early check ride or even a last minute scheduled flight because the weather cleared is all things that happen throughout the program. That long of a drive takes away from your time to rest. Rest is the only way you’ll recover and be ready to absorb all the knowledge and skills needed in such an accelerated program. I recommend you explore the other locations with housing nearby.


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I have a student right now that commutes a decent bit, probably exceeding 1.5 HR each way depending on traffic and time of day. I feel that the quality of life alone is not tangible and healthy, I do my best to ensure that the student can eat, sleep and rest prior to their upcoming flight(s), but like Adam said - “you are going to have some seriously long days” throughout your program. If you can find a place to relocate at an affordable rate, I would suggest that move forward. Like Hannah said, you will need time to rest, but also factor in your Guided Independent Studies when you’re not at the training center.


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