Started my instrument training July 7th, 2020. July 6th was my first day at the Trenton, NJ (TTN) location, entered the program with my credited private. I came in prepared, did almost every knowledge test ahead of the start date program, only one left is the FOI (Fundamentals of Instruction). On the 6th of July, I did a TOLs (takeoff/landings) review with an instructor (mine was out with a student), 13 landings that day - shew…blood, sweat, tears. From there it was right to the start of instrument, I’ve had mostly 3 flights and 3 simulator sessions weekly. Thankfully because I came into the program with my knowledge tests mostly completed, it has allowed me to focus more on the reading up material and elevate videos which ATP has put forth to students to take advantage of!
Just slightly over a month, I’ve acquired 36.7 flight hours, ahead of what the program has been outlined. My instrument time has varied between actual and simulated, actual is pretty interesting getting the opportunity to see the differences between cloud build-up and what can be produced. One of my biggest challenges [I have bolded this because I recognize this was a fluke and I needed to step my game up] coming into the instrument phase is staying ahead of the plane. I’ve improved greatly on staying ahead and always talking to myself (it feels) of what is next to do. I have a scheduled checkride for the middle of September, almost 2 months a week after start date, but was told to anticipate that sooner rather than exact date. I’ve also been fortunate to meet one of the possible DPEs since he does come to the airport here and there for other students checkrides.
Overall, my experience with ATP has been wonderful. One dreadful thing that can occur (it has to other students at my location) is flights getting pushed back due to things we cannot control, like a plane’s 100-hr or NAV/COM issue, weather, TFRs. You have to be flexible, understanding, and agile when things don’t go exactly as planned. LiveATC is a big help to anyone looking to listen into local airports DEP/APP procedures, I’m mushed between NY and PHL Class B so I can easily expect PHL APP on arrival, so listening allows me to better “plan” a potential approach. It also allows me to get an understanding of the controllers in the local area and become familiar with them…granted no two days are similar, it has its perks.
@Adam, got my Chick-fil-A fix on my 300nm PIC XC into Youngstown, OH the other day. Loved that flight. The nearest CFA is 30 minutes away here at TTN.