Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP: is this a good plan?

Hi, I’m new to this site but so far it’s been my favorite for researching. I’m 20 years old and have zero time. although I don’t have any college, I do have 2 years full-time work experience and this is a career I want to take.

  Here's the plan so far:

1.take an introductory flight through ATP.
2. finish all of the written tests before ATP.
3. do college online during ATP (2yrs)
4. finish the program, flight instruct, get into the regionals, and then finish college in regionals (2yrs)

Sallie Mae is looking like the only option for getting a loan, but I can always refinance the loan after I get tuition reimbursement from regionals correct?

If anyone has any other suggestions i’m very open-minded to that.

Thank you everyone, Eric

Eric,

Overall sounds like a good plan. 3. says “do college online during ATP” so I assume you’re talking about doing the Self-paced Program which is fine. Personally I think if you’re going to take the time I’d probably go to a traditional Community College (very reasonable and better learning environment) but that’s your call. You also could possibly refinance after you’re done provided you have the credit to do so.

Nice job on the research.

Adam

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Adam,

I was actually thinking of doing the normal ATP fast-track and work on college when I have some free-time. I understand there’s not going to be much free time with all the studying and check rides but getting all the written tests done before-hand should help with that. I know its probably not the smartest choice to jump straight into the program with no college, but at the same time I think it will all work out and I’ll be okay in the long run. Thanks for the reply it really means a lot.

Eric,

This is America and you can do as you like but I would HIGHLY discourage you from attempting both. The ATP program is highly accelerated and most find it very challenging. Fail a few checkrides and you but only risk completing the program but you could jeopardize your entire career. Same goes for college. To be successful you want to do well in both.

Again it’s your call but the risks far outweigh the benefits.

Adam

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That makes sense. I think I’ll just get 2 years of college knocked out first. That gives me time to save some money, and at least have an associates when I enter the program. Thank you.

Eric,
Your plan looks great except for number 3 that Adam pointed out. Those who are successful with the fast track have experienced the rigors of a college work load. High school alone isn’t quite enough to prepare you. I also recommend completing at least your associates before starting ATP. Then you have the option to finish your bachelors online during flight instructing or the regionals.

-Hannah

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That’s exactly what my new plan is! I’m glad I got the answers I needed from you and @Adam thanks for the response.

Eric,

I like the plan, with the exception of getting a degree while you are at ATP. Being an ATP student is a full time job, as is being an ATP instructor. You will need all of your time for studying, or working with your students. I think you will have time to work on your degree while at the regionals, so I would focus your efforts there. One thing at a time.

Chris

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Yeah. I’m glad you guys told me that before I made an impulsive decision. Thank you.

Any time. Let us know how else we can help you.

Chris

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Hi, I also have some questions regarding this topic. About 3 years back, I was thinking about being an airline pilot but then I had no college degrees. But now I am back with 2 Associate degrees in Math and Mechanical Engineering. I am about 1.5 years away from getting my B.S in Mechanical Engineering, but I am just burnt out and I felt like I’ve always wanted to become a pilot since the teens.

So right now I am basically, willing to fulfill my dream by taking out a huge loan for 90k. I am very motivated and dedicated to reaching/getting my commercial pilot dream (Otherwise I wouldn’t be taking out almost 90k). I am also planning to finish my B.S in Mechanical Engineering in the future part-time, perhaps taking 1-2 classes each semester (All upper-division courses now). I consider myself a very smart and fast learner. I have background knowledge of physics and advance mathematics.
Right now I am concerned about getting approved for the loan. I don’t have much saved up and I don’t think I can find a co-signer.

I am also looking for a program that I can get into that’s sponsor by the airline or something.

In the meantime I just got a new PC and got MSFS 2020 and learning the basics about A320 and aviation overall. I am about 20 hours into the Sim and I can already do some basic Taxi, take off, and Land. Mostly IRF/RNAV and ILS. Currently I am practicing touch down with minimum FPM.

I know it’s only a SIM and it’s far different from the real life mechanics. =)

Thank you

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Sky,

I’m sorry. I read your post but didn’t see any questions?

As for MSFS, let me put it this way, if you were going to war and your platoon told you “don’t worry, we all kick but in Call of Duty” would that give you the warm fuzzies? The fact that you with zero flight time are flying an A320 vs a C172 clearly demonstrates how far from reality and more of just a video game it is.

Adam

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Sky,

If you need help getting approved from the loan then I would suggest talking to ATP’s finance department. They may be able to help.

Tory

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Sky,

Financing is often the largest obstacle for most people. I suggest speaking with Kirk in ATP Admin as he is the expert on all such things.

Have you taken an introductory flight yet? It is one thing to think that you want to be a pilot, it is quite another to actually fly an airplane. I suggest signing up for one, you can do this at any local flight school or at any ATP location.

I understand your desire to play with Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you have to understand that it is only a game, it is not an actual teaching tool and in fact, could be teaching you some really bad habits. I have flown the A320 for our years now and I can assure you that it is nothing like what is on Flight Simulator. If you want to use Flight Simulator, just know that it is a computer game. I would suggest you spend the time taking a ground school class or reading into to aviation books instead.

Chris

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