Buying extra flight time at ATP

I’ve been reading a lot of reviews from ATP grads that say ATP doesn’t give you enough flight time to complete certain requirements. These reviews all have said they had to pay thousands of extra dollars to complete the program. I’d like to know roughly how many extra hours and how much extra money I’ll need to complete my training at ATP? I’m still on board with ATP just want to not be blindsided.

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I personally do not know anybody that has had to purchase extra flight time. I do not have statistics on the number of people that do purchase more time, but I do know it is very low.

I suppose that you could always budget a few thousand just in case, if you needed more than that there would be more serious issues that needed to be addressed.




While it’s a valid concern, you will not be blindsided. I, like Chris, dont know a single pilot who’s had to pay $1 extra (myself included). The fact is the THOUSANDS of pilots who have successfully completed all their training well within the allotted time don’t go online and complain. They’re all too busy instructing or flying for airlines. The truth is it’s easier to blame ATP then to admit perhaps they should have worked a little harder or maybe they’re not as AWESOME as they think. Work hard and you’ll be fine.




It can happen for many different reasons, but it’s, I dare say never, but very often not ATP’s fault. I had to buy extra time during the Instrument phase. My study habits were lacking. I put too much faith in my instructor and not enough in myself. I should have taken initiative on day one. Because I didn’t, I ended up having to purchase additional flight time. It was my knowledge that needed polishing, but I had to stay proficient in the plane.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. It inspired me to write about it.



Wow! What a great question by @Dparks. :+1: And, great answers by Chris :+1:, Adam :+1: and @Tory!:+1:

Thank you to each of you for making it clear on the expectations of how many actually purchase extra flight time and why. It makes sense to me and putting it all together, it is very black and white. With that said, I now know that when I begin my ATP program :nerd_face:, I can expect it to be intense and I know I need to be twice as intense :muscle::muscle: about it if I want to see the results I expect and avoid penalizing myself with having to purchase extra flight time. :money_with_wings:

Yes! Thank you again!!!


Sounds good. And thanks Tory, that’s a good article.

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In my training there were overages of the flight lesson, let me explain.: take offs and landing oractice lesson 1 was designed for 2 hrs flight time. Because of busy airspace in DAB, we went over the lesson plan almost a .3. If you add every lesson you go over it can add up very quickly. Anything that is cross country can be deducted at 2x1 time from your crew. Anything extra like retaking a failed check ride gets dedicted from your account.
Maybe towards the end of the program, once you’ve done all your CFI hours for your Multi engine initial and still need a flight or two, than yes you will have to purchase extra flight time. Is it worth it? Yes! But like it was mwntioned before, the circumstances vary with each one.
Take it with a grain of salt all internet reviews. Same like Facebook, not everything in there is true …

I personally didn’t need any extra Flight time, yet I did budget $2,000 of my loan just in case, at the end I just got the extra loan money as a check.

ATP will do whatever they can to not charge you, but they can only pull so many hours from other parts of the program. The only time I have really seen people having to purchase extra time is after being unsatisfactory on a checkride and having to do retraining flights. Again, if they can pull from other part so of the program they will. As a CFI, while we never want to overfly students, it’s our #1 priority to make sure you are 100% prepared for your checkride and if their is doubt then more training may be required. The hours ATP allots for each part of the program works for MOST people, and when I say most, I mean the vast majority. Study hard, actually come prepared to each and every lesson, and you will get through the program just fine.

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Don, this has been very relevant to me and I can share my experience. First, there is no way of telling how many extra hours you might need. Most people don’t need any extra hours, if they study hard and take an active role in their training, as Tory said.

I flew extra hours, and had to pay upwards of $2,000 for the extra time. For a while I didn’t realize what was happening, so I was blind-sided by the bill. Here is what I learned:

  1. Keep track of how many hours are allotted for each lesson and each phase of training, and communicate with your instructor to keep as close as possible to this number. If there are 10 flights in a particular phase of training and you finish each flight just 6 minutes late (.1 hours), that’s 1 hour of overtime, for which you have to pay $225 (if you’re flying a Cessna).

  2. There are certain points throughout the program when another instructor takes you flying for an “eval” ride–before your first solo cross country, for example. Take these very seriously and be ready for them. Say the instructor thinks you need more training, and you go out on one additional CC training flight of 2.5 hours, and then take another eval flight of 1.5 hours… that’s $900 right there.

  3. It has been said that when you fly extra hours, ATP can credit you back those hours by taking them out of your “crew” phase. This may have been true in the past, but since ATP restructured the program a couple months ago, this is no longer the case. For students who enter the program with 0 hours of flight time, there is no “wiggle-room” in the schedule to take out of crew. You need all of that crew time in order to satisfy FAR requirements. So basically, if you fly an hour extra, whether by accident or because you required extra training, you’re going to pay for that hour, at a rate of $225/hr in the Cessna and something like $450/hr in the Seminole.

  4. Also keep in mind that there is not a system in place to let students know when they have over-flown the syllabus. It was only after I received a large bill from ATP that I went digging through my logbook, questioning my instructors and combing through the syllabus, to figure out just how many hours I had overflown, when and how.

I believe ATP’s policies are fair, they have worked through this with me, and even with the extra bill ATP gives you the best bang for your buck. Bottom line, is stay on top of your training.

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I appreciate you coming on and sharing. Good info and I wasn’t aware of a “policy change” (but I will inquire).

I do have to ask about the evals? Did you really not take these seriously? Just a heads up, when you get to the airlines before your checkrides your instructors will ALWAYS tell you relax, this is no big deal. That’s simply to try and help you relax but they’re ALWAYS a big deal.


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thanks Joseph. I will definitely keep track of my time.

The program change is this: you no longer have the option of “40 ME Fast Track” or “100 ME,” and instead the program is called “ACPP 50 ME Fast Track.” The Private Multi Instrument checkride has been eliminated and instead, the next checkride after crew is Commercial Multi, followed by Commercial Single. This means a student can’t log PIC time during their multi-engine training (because when they are working on their commercial license in the Seminole, they won’t be yet rated for multi-engine aircraft). Bottom line is, if you follow the new program exactly, including 35 hours of crew, you will have just enough PIC time by your com multi checkride to meet FAR requirements, and no more.

As for the evals: I certainly went into my checkrides with “fear and trembling,” knowing that all of my training led up to that event and that a busted check ride is a blot on my resume which will have to be explained later. But at my ATP location I did less formal “evals” with an instructor other than my primary instructor. I would have had more fear and trembling entering these if I had known the monetary consequences of being less than proficient here.

Hindsight is 20/20… I know better now how to stay ahead of my training, but at the time, everything was new to me and I was just sort of being swept along.