ATP Portland, OR

Hi all,

I’m new to the group here, looking into making a career change and becoming a pilot. It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a kid but I always was pulled in other directions. Now that I’m facing turning 40 soon, I figure it’s now or never. My biggest question is that I’m fairly established here in the Portland area and don’t want to have to move (will if I have to). Kids in good schools, family close by, etc. So I’m wondering if any went through ATP in Portland and if so, were all portions of the program done there or did you have to leave to go elsewhere at all and for how long? My goal as of now is to go through the program here in PDX and work my way up to hopefully start working for a regional out of PDX. Not sure how promising that is or if it is even possible but I’m curious to know if anyone has experience through Portland’s ATP program. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.



You can train wherever you like and ATP makes sure you’ll get the same quality of instruction regardless. The problem may come after you’re done training and it’s time to build time for the Regionals. While ATP guarantees you an instructor position, they cannot guarantee you a location. With that in mind you could of course look for other opportunities in your area to instruct or build time.



Thanks for the info. I’ve just heard that you might have to go to a different ATP location for portions of the training due to instructor shortages or other issues at the original location. There are a few flight schools out of Portland and if I can’t get an instructor position with ATP I’ll try other local ones first before taking a slot with ATP elsewhere (or is it more of a “take it or leave it”?). I’m curious to know the route that others have taken. And more, those who have done it with young families.


Just remember that the guaranteed instructor position only last two weeks. so you will have to decide fairly quickly. I also plan to attend the Portland location next year around this time, I am also 40. I have three kids and a wife, but they are 100% on board with me doing this, that is a big help btw. Once I’m done with the nine month training I am willing to just go wherever I need to to instruct for the 12 to 18 months, hopefully it’s in Washington or Portland Oregon. There will be a period during crew work that you may have to go to different locations for a week or two weeks at a time. I’m not 100% on that but that is what I have heard. Good luck to you and maybe I will be training with you:)



The Crew Cross Country phase could be up to 2 weeks away from base.

CFI school could be up to 4 weeks away from base.

Check rides might be taken away from base but that’s not the norm. All depends on DPE availability at that time.

Being based in SEA, I’ve met and flown with a lot of pilots that have trained in the PNW. I’ve heard of students taking up to a year to finish the program mostly due to weather.



Welcome to the forums. The others have explained the time away from home while going through the program, but I want to give you a few more things to think about.

  1. What if you do not get hired by an airline in the PDX area or even the SEA area? Hopefully that will not be the case, but you do have to consider that possibility.

  2. Airline pilots by definition travel the world and go to far away places, that takes time and involves multi-day trips. I just finished six days on the road, my next trip is four days. Now I do not mind this, but if you are the type that will, this might not be for you.

  3. I am pretty sure there are no major airlines with bases in PDX. While it sounds great to say that you will just stay at a regional, once you see the quality of life and income level that your friends at the majors have, you will probably want to move on yourself.

I am in no way trying to dissuade you from this career, but you need to be realistic in that you might not be able to stay in PDX and that you will be spending significant time away from home each month.


Tory & Chris,

Thank you for your insight. I’ve only been looking for a short time so I’m really just getting the ball rolling. As I stated previously, I would love to stay in the Portland area. If that is not an option then I am open to moving, I just don’t want to uproot my family from where we’re at and the good situation that we are in. That being said I know that if we need to move my family will be on board, just figured if I can stay here near family and the life we’ve created, it would be fantastic. Again, I’m open to change though.

This really got started with my father-in-law. He is Buddy Buddy with the station manager for Ameriflight in Portland. During lunch one day he mentioned that if my father-in-law knew anyone who was considering being a pilot he would be willing to hire them straight out of school as long as they would stay for two to three years. Now I know that this might not exactly work out like that, but I have been infatuated with aircraft in flight from a very young age and would love to get into the industry. Because of that I feel like this was an open door waiting for me to walk through. And really my only and last opportunity to become a pilot if I really want it. That being said, I know that at this stage in my life it’s hard when it’s not just yourself you have to consider. I’m trying to be realistic and understand as much as I can before getting too excited about it.

For those of you who have families, I take it they are all on board with your career choice and if you had kids after becoming a pilot, I’m sure it’s just routine for them. For me this would be a complete career change, having worked in business and with Nike for a number of years, and being home for bedtime and meals and soccer games and. Anyone have any experience when becoming a pilot after settling down with the family?

I’m currently attending ATP at Portland. I’ve had a great experience so far. Very few people finish the program on time at our location due to weather. As you know our winter has been pretty nasty for weather which I’ve heard is standard.

Time away: I was away from my wife and 3 kids for almost 2 weeks for Crew (which was the most fun flying I’ve ever had) I was sent to Mesa for crew flying. Quite a few students stayed in Hillsboro for crew however and where home every other day or so but that’s completely dependent on whether there are other students going into Crew training the same time as you. I’m currently at CFI school in Denver and it will be 3.5 weeks away as long as I get my checkride done on time (weather permitting, it’s been a blizzard the last few days).

Just want to reiterate that this program is intense. It can be difficult to do with a family, as you’ll need to seclude yourself away to study a lot! It’s very important that you get that time to study.


Ehhhh, you might want to do some research before committing to three years at Ameriflight. There are reasons that the station manager is so desperate to hire people. Most pilots find that the regional airlines are their preferred path and are a quicker route to the major airlines. I am not knocking Ameriflight, just saying to not already have your mind set on them.


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I’m not committing to anything. I haven’t even spoken to him about it yet, just was passed the word by my father in law. Just considering it as an option. It’s all up in the air (no pun intended) and I have nothing else to base it on, other than the experience of others, which is why I’m asking lots of questions. :+1:

Thanks for the info. Good to hear from someone in the thick of it. I’m still in the discovery process and it’s good to hear about other’s experiences so I can make the correct decision for me and my family.


Sounds like you’re all set! Why are you waiting until next year? I’m thinking if starting ASAP so that I can make the most of the nice weather in Portland come spring and summer! But again, still needing to get more info before I pull the trigger. It’s a big choice.



I wish I could start now but with my current job and financial situation I need a year.:frowning: good luck to you!