Buying extra flight time


I have been very interested in ATP for sometime now and I am looking to start my 9-month program this coming summer. However, I’ve heard something from a past student that raised a concern for me and I would like some clarification.

I understand ATP is a special program that caters to a certain type of person. I consider myself to be a hard worker and a quick learner which is why the fast-paced program appeals to me. However, I’ve recently heard from a past student that it’s nearly impossible to complete the program without buying extra time. According to her, the allotted hours for certain parts of the program are simply not enough to be proficient enough for a check-ride, and over 90% of the other students she interacted with were forced to purchase extra time. This is a huge concern for me because the other biggest appeal for ATP is the financing and I did not plan on having spare money to put into the program. Not to mention if I’m reading correctly, the loan through Sallie Mae will require me to put money into it as soon as I start (at least $25 but I wanted to pay the interest instead). So my question is: how realistic is it that, if I work hard and am a proficient pilot, I will complete the program with the allotted hours and financing?

I love the opportunity ATP is providing, but if I have to take out a 80k loan AND spend another 1-2k buying extra hours because I wasn’t allotted enough time to train then I’m not sure if ATP will work for me.

Thanks in advance for providing your insight!


I understand your concern. However, when a student blames the design of the program to justify a failed check ride, I question their judgement. Don’t get me wrong, check ride failures do happen, but who is to blame? The student has to take responsibility for that one. The information about the program is out there. No one is trying to trick you. The resources to help prepare students for success are out there. The most successful students are the ones that take initiative to ensure their own success.

I also want to point out that ATP has been in business for over 30 years. They are always looking for ways to improve the program. In fact, the program was just recently changed. They have removed the private multi check ride which gives students one less check ride to possibly bust and more time to prepare for their commercial multi check ride. Also, 11 hours have been added to the MEI training.

I would also suggest checking out the student experiences section of the forum. Those posts are unedited. Hopefully they give you another perspective.

Loan payments are deferred for 9 months. So, make payments on the interest if you can, but payments to the principal aren’t required until 9 months after you start.


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I didn’t purchase any extra time and don’t know anybody that did. ATP tries very hard to deliver the program exactly as described and really does not want to task students with additional financial burdens. That being said, I am sure there have been some students that were not fully prepared and elected to buy extra time. I would think that this is by far the minority though.

I would also point out that you should have enough of a financial backup that you could survive a $2k additional cost. It might not end up being ATP that causes that money to be spent, it could be car trouble, a health concern, etc.


Thank you guys for the responses! It puts more into perspective and has cleared up my concerns. And I understand the need for the extra finances. I do in fact have some money stored away for emergencies. From what I was told it seemed like more often than not the extra hours were being purchased, which is where my concern came from but you have put it into perspective for me so thank you.

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Glad to help. Let us know what other questions you may have.



I don’t know any pilots who had to shell out $1 extra but I have heard it happens but I promise you it’s nowhere near the 90% your friend quoted. Listen don’t believe us, go into this section and ask ANY of the current of former students yourself. I don’t want to be harsh and busts do happen BUT it’s ALOT easier to point fingers outward than to yourself. I tell you one better, tell them at your airline interview the reason you busted was because of ATPs training program and see how that goes. The fault lies not in our stars…