Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP Questions for potential student

I am looking into enrolling into ATP. I am currently in the military and I will transitioning out shortly. I was wondering if anyone had and good/bad experiences from ATP. I have read a lot of mixed reviews and just wanted some clarification. I apologize in advance if some of these questions are not factual as I don’t have any experience and I am going of what I had read online.

  1. I read that ATP does not give you the full 1500 hours required for employment
  2. Several individuals stated that ATP is poorly run and the instructors don’t care about students
  3. What other schools could be a good option?

Any other advice is appreciated, thank you in advance.

Daniel,

Let’s get to your questions, then I have a few thoughts on this.

  1. ATP gets you about 250 hours and the licenses to earn the rest via flight instructing (guaranteed position with ATP) or various other forms of flying. To my knowledge there is not a program out there that has 1,500 hours of flight time as that would cost several hundred thousand dollars. Every program around involves flight instructing or some other form of flying to build flight time towards the 1,500 hours.

  2. I would strongly disagree with this. ATP was founded by airline pilots and is still run by them. The flight school trains pilots just like the airlines do and is very efficient in doing so. There is not a lot of hand holding at ATP, but there isn’t at the airlines either. You will be expected to study hard, know the material and have a good work ethic. To succeed in a highly condensed program like ATP’s you really have to be willing to work hard. As for the instructors, there are always some bad apples in any bunch, but the company tries very hard to eliminate them as soon as any issues arise. I have found that the vast majority of the instructors I have spoken with are incredibly concerned with their student’s success and really want to do a good job, I know that I certainly did.

  3. There are literally hundreds of flight schools in the US. I recommend printing out this list: https://airlinepilot.life/t/questions-for-any-prospective-flight-school/ and asking those questions to any school that you talk to.

I would strongly encourage you to check out the “Student Experiences” section of this website. We do not edit that section at all and while the vast majority of the posts are compliments, there are a few complaints there. I would ask you to read further though and see how by bringing a complaint to my attention, I was able to engage ATP management and have it resolved very quickly, every time. So many people simply complain and never bring the issue to management, when that is exactly what they should be doing.

I also find that the vast majority of complaints from people online are from those who did not work hard and then of course did poorly in the program. It is so easy to go complain on the internet, it is a lot harder to look inside and see what really happened. Hopefully some current students will chime in on this thread.

Chris

A little input on your second question. My experience with the instructors in Tampa as well as the ones I have met at other locations has been nothing but good. While yes they are there to build time, there is one big coming factor - they all love flying. My instructor told me even though the long days can be tough, he still gets to fly for his job, and it makes it worth it. If instructors don’t care about their students that can start to reflect in how their students are performing and that will not go unnoticed, and it will be addressed. Also while everyone is a student they will pick up on the good and bad characteristics of instructors and you start to get an idea of what YOU can do once you become an instructor to make the experience better for your students. Overall, everyone is working towards a common goal and wants to help everyone else get there too.

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