Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP path

Hi I was just wondering about the fast track path at ATP. I have looked at it a lot on their website, and I couldn’t help but notice how much quicker you go through all you need to for the airlines. Than other flight schools. I was wondering if it is a really fast pace path that is hard to keep up with. Is it a lot of ground school too. Does going to ATP make you a lot more valuable to the airlines than other flight schools. Any input would be appreciated

Connor

Hi Connor,

I entered ATP’s program with Credit Private, so I cannot provide the first few months of instruction that would be received. What I can tell you is from the gecko entering, I was already receiving my Instrument instruction doing both simulator and flight sessions. I entered prior with all my written knowledge tests complete (which helped extremely and is recommended). The pace of the program is fast, but it’s a proven fast paced program. I’m currently on day 218, soon to be done with the program, started July 06, 2020. You are to be flexible at all times, ATP does not like students working during the Fast-Track program because of this. We are training to be airline pilots (greater majority), you as a student will have a schedule that changes daily and sometimes hourly depending on what phase or training you’re in and purpose of lesson.

This may sound corny, but think of it as this…what you put into something is what you will receive, right? Can the program be hard to keep up with, absolutely - if you don’t study and practice when you’re not in the training center. If you go out to eat dinner everyday with your friends for hours upon hours which that time could be used studying, absolutely.

As per your other questions regarding ATP more valuable, I’ll leave it to our mentors and other graduates that are currently in the airlines and private/corporate level to answer that.

Brady

Thank you, now it is making more sense

Connor

Connor,

ATP’s website is loaded with a ton of information from the amount of graduates hired in the airlines to the fleet size. This forum is also loaded with tons of information and experiences from previous students and current students. I see you have some read time, have you search through the FAQs at all?

As always, please ask any questions, our mentors/admins that we have through ATP are great.

Brady

Connor,

ATPs program was created by airline pilots to train airline pilots. Yes the pace is fast and its is challenging to keep up but that’s intentional. Newhire airline training is often referred to as drinking from a fire hose. The idea of the Fast Track is to prepare you for the pace of airline training. When hiring is booming no airline really cared where you did you training but a few years back ATP pioneered airline relationships and ATP students were hired with reduced minimums (when it was legal to do so) because the airlines knew they could keep up with the pace. You don’t simply want to get hired you want to successfully get through airline training.

I honestly believe had I not done my training with ATP they’re a good chance I would have washed out.

Adam

Connor,
ATP’s fast pace program has two major goals: to get you your certs/hours quickly and to prepare you for the career ahead. You could certainly go to a slower paced program but every day you take getting your certs and building hours is another day another candidate is getting ahead of you seniority wise. I know right now that seems silly because no one is hiring, but the people who continue to train and build hours during this time are catching up to those sitting. I advise using this time wisely.
As for preparing you for the career ahead, I can vouch for that. I graduated from the program. The demands I faced as a student prepared me for the challenges I would face as an instructor. Then when I got hired on, the demands I’d faced at ATP well prepared me for the “fire hose” of flight safety (a company used for type ratings outside of the airlines). We had 17 days from day 1 to checkride. It was my first jet, my ATP and first Part 135 ride. It was a huge challenge but I didn’t struggle nearly as much as my other classmates having come through the ATP program.

-Hannah

Thank you. One more question. Is it more selective to get hired at a family owned airline like Sierra west than a big regional.

Connor

Connor,

Considering that Sierra West only has three bases and eleven aircraft, probably? It’s hard for me to say for certain since I know so little about Sierra West, but as with any company it depends on how many vacancies are available and how many applications they receive. If you’re considering Sierra West, I would suggest reaching out to them to ask what sort of qualifications a typical new hire has.

Tory

Thanks for the feedback

Connor

Hey guys. I just had a quick question, I was wondering if ATP gave you that much better chance to get hired because my local community college has a career pilot pathway in an associates, they go through all the license and ratings. So I was just wondering if ATP made that much difference in getting hired, than going to do all the stuff at a “no name” you could say.

Connor

Connor,

Before the pandemic the Regionals were hiring everyone with a pulse and 1500hrs. Obviously things have slowed so things like where you trained hold more weight. To be completely honest I believe once things recover where you trained will again become less important in the hiring process. What is and has always been important is the type of training you receive. You see getting hired is great but it doesn’t mean much of you don’t survive newhire training. Long before there was any shortage and the 1500hr rule successful ATP grads received preferential hiring and reduced hours because the airlines knew ATP grads were capable of getting through the rigors of newhire training.

So to answer your question, no, I don’t believe ATP will help tremendously in the hiring process. But, it will most definitely help you be successful and that can mean the difference between you actually being an airline pilot or just a guy with a story how you almost were.

Adam

Connor,

I am going to slightly disagree with Adam here. It is very much true that the ratings are the same, regardless of which flight school one gets them with. The difference comes in that ATP holds their students and instructors to very high standards, airline standards. The airlines know this and seek out ATP applicants. At both of my airline interviews, to include when I was hired at Continental, I was asked about my experiences at ATP. ATP also includes the ATP-CTP course in the training program, which to my knowledge no other flight school does. Having this course complete will put you at a huge advantage when compared to others that do not.

Chris

Ok thanks, now I understand. I just have one more question. I just wanted to know from pilots like you guys that know a lot about how the airline system works. Is becoming a pilot a reachable goal like any other profession. Or is it really just limited to the best of the best to get hired by an airline. I guess what I am trying to say is, before I spend tens of thousands of dollars and try hard to get hired and fail. Is becoming an airline pilot an achievable goal and more than likely a profession where I could get hired at least by some kind of airline. I just want a little security before I start all the training and spend a lot of money which is hard to find in the airline industry, but I just would like a little input from the people who know. Thanks in advance.

Connor

Connor,

I sir am living proof that you don’t need to be the “best of the best” to be successful in this career. You do need to have some level of intelligence and some coordination but it really isn’t rocket science or brain surgery. What it does take is a considerable amount of hard work and effort.

If however you have your doubts (which is understandable) I recommend you take a ride over to your local flight school and take a lesson or 5. See what it’s really about and how well you progress and whether or not things make sense to you. Maybe even solo. While there’s no question ATP is the way to go, it does require a huge commitment and you want to go into it feeling confident.

If it gives you any comfort I actually got my Class A CDL w/tanker years ago. Flying is definitely easier than "jackin’ and “chasin”!

Adam

1 Like

Connor,
It’s not really about intelligence (obviously you cant be dumb, but average intelligence is assumed). It’s more about work ethic. Aviation isn’t an industry with a ton of difficult subject material like say learning to become a doctor, but it can be overwhelming the amount of knowledge and skill you must pick up to be safe. That’s why I say it’s more about how hard you’re willing to work, how much time you’re willing to put in to it and how dedicated a studier will you be. That will determine your success.

-Hannah

Thank you. I know the airline industry is unpredictable at any time, but say if I did do all the practice and stuff. And spent a lot of money to get to where I am. I know there are people who never made it to the airline. I really wanted to know if that is by choice, or if you are a go getter and do all the stuff. Are you more than likely to succeed and get hired. I just really want to know if you do everything you need to and spend all the money, more than likely will you have a good chance of getting hired. I know it relies on the economy but I just want to know that if you do everything and study and you go to an interview are you more than likely to get hired at least somewhere. I thank all of you for your time to answer my questions.

Connor

Connor,

You’re obviously concerned about making the investment and having a positive outcome which again is understandable. With that in mind I have to be completely honest here. As you know there are no guarantees for anything in this life and aviation is certainly no different. As we’ve said if you’re average intelligence and coordination you “should” be fine. That said the fact is not everyone can or should be a pilot. Other than through a few posts on this forum we obviously have no idea of who you are or what you’re capable of. During my time flying and instructing I’ve encountered people from all across the spectrum. I’ve met some really sharp people who for some reason just never seemed to catch on and others I’ve met at the airlines who I’m amazed don’t forget to breath. You could be a rockstar but you might not be. Bust a few checkrides and your future gets a little less clear. Say something stupid during your interview and your done with that airline.

I’m not trying to dissuade you and I do believe if you’re willing to put in the work and effort again you “should” be fine, but I’m also not going to paint you a false picture.

Again you don’t mention any flight experience and I would seriously consider getting a few hours before you dive in with both feet.

Adam

Connor,

Most pilots who work hard and do well will succeed in this industry. That being said, there are no guarantees in this, or any other industry. If you study hard, do well, have a degree, and are easy to get along with, you should do fine.

I would strongly recommend taking a few flight lessons to see how you truly feel about the job.

Chris

Thanks. I have some flights planned in the next couple of weeks. I will be getting a log book too. I went on a check ride last year and absolutely loved it and flying. All of you have been very helpful. I have started to notice that a lot of pilots sons become pilots too. And you can see connections and things like that. There has never been an airline pilot in my family. To be quite honest I think they would run from planes, but I am the exact opposite. My question is, is it hard to become an airline pilot without many connections. Is it still something that anybody can do. Or is it mainly only for families with a long aviation background. Thanks

Connor

Connor,

While many pilots are legacies the vast majority are not. It’s about the individual, not their pedigree.

Adam