Choosing an ATP location

Hi there!

I’m a prospective student doing my research into flight schools, and ATP is looking better all the time to me. I’m a bit of a unique case, as I’m currently living outside the US (American citizen, though), and have been a university teacher for almost 10 years. Flying has always been a dream of mine, and it seems like I might be able to follow that dream after my current contract is up in mid-2022, so I’m starting to do some due dilligence.

Because I’m living abroad, when I do return to the States, I’ll basically be able to choose where I want to live, and so I wanted some input from you fine folks about how to go about choosing which ATP location could be right for me. Are there any factors other than personal preference to consider when picking? Flying weather? Instructor to student ratio? There’s not really any info on the ATP page about the different locations to go by. I’ve heard that Arizona and Florida are popular choices, but even within those two there are so many locations.

I guess I do have another unrelated question as well: how early would you move to your desired training location in order to get all the pre-work done? That is, go in for your introductory flight, study and complete the written exams, take your FAA medical, etc. Since I’m not in the US, I can’t exactly pop in to an ATP location for a tour/discovery flight, so I’m relying on your help!



ATP strives to deliver the same quality level of training and resources throughout all their locations. Aircraft, instructor/student ratio etc are all consistent throughout. Any of the reasons you mention are as good as any to choose a location. Whether it’s weather, convenience or simply “I always thought it would be cool to live in…” you can be confident you’ll receive the same excellent training and all the resources you need to be successful.

As for the how soon to get out that’s entirely up to you. You can obtain you FAA medical anywhere in the US (and even some countries abroad which is something you might want to look into FAA-Designee Management System). All the written tests can be studied for at home and taken at any training center (possibly overseas? Login - PSI - True Talent Enterprise). The only real issue I see is the intro flight (should you want to). Not sure if you visit the US but perhaps you could schedule something over a vacation or other visit.



Hello and welcome to the forums. ATP works diligently to standardize the student experience at all of their locations, so you really should have a very similar experience from one location to the next. I trained at a smaller location, Manassas, and felt that I had a great experience. I personally would not spend too much time on this, every location has its own weather challenges, but over the course of nine months it all evens out. Just pick a location that is convenient for you and go from there.

As for when to move not town, I would say a month or two should be fine. You can of course schedule the medical exam before you leave for the states and the intro flight only takes a day. If you are financing your training, that can sometimes take a few weeks to get approved, although generally it is faster. The writtens usually take a week or two to study for each. If you can get them done before the program, the is great, but I would not delay a start date for it as the program is actually designed for students to take the writtens during the program. You can of course start studying for the private written now.

Please continue to ask us questions as you think of them.


Chris and Adam,

Thanks for your answers. This forum really makes the research process easier. I do have a follow up question. Is the introductory flight after getting the loan and going through the application and enrollment process, or do you do it before? Can it be done at any location, not just the one I intend to attend?



If you apply for the loan and are approved, the introductory flight is free: Flight Training Loans / ATP Flight School After the intro flight would come the enrollment process. Class dates are limited, so do allow some time to schedule a class date.

The intro flight can be done at any location and does not need to be the location you need up training at.


When you hear “preferred locations” most of the time they are referring to good flying weather and getting through the program quickly… aka Florida and Phoenix. Those are bigger atp locations because many students think that. However, they do a great job at creating the same exceptional experience wherever you go. If you have family near a location, that could be helpful for you to save some money living with them. If you always wanted to live somewhere and there’s an atp location there, that could be your deciding factor. If you want a big location with tons of students, go to the Florida and Phoenix locations. If you want a small location so you get to know all the students and instructors more personally, seek out the newer and smaller town locations. Admissions can help point out those. It’s all about your personal preference, no such thing as better locations. Just which one is best for you!
Before you start you need to do a tour and intro flight. That can be done in a single day if you want to visit your location before moving. Other than that, you’ll need at least a month to study for your first written exam and take it before beginning training.



It should be pointed out that there is no requirement for an introductory flight, nor is there a requirement to have the writtens done prior to the program. So really, you could move back to the states and start the program pretty quickly thereafter.



Welcome to the Forum!

As the others have said, we do our best to standardize training throughout all 59 locations. We strive to keep a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio at all training centers, so the only major difference that you will see is the weather.

Keep in mind that the introductory flight is an optional event where you are able to see the facility and meet some of our students and instructors. It is not a required step to enrollment before reserving a class date with ATP.

If you’d like, you can approach scheduling the introductory flight one of two ways:

  1. Call to schedule and pay the $195. If you decide to use our financing option with Sallie Mae and are approved, we will refund the $195 back to you.

  2. Wait until you’re approved for financing and call to set up your free introductory flight.

The introductory flight can be done at any location, regardless of where you decide to attend.

Hope this helps!