I live in PA. Weather here changes quickly. With being a full time student, I don’t foresee any home time. Moving away for that time period, how did you decide which school was best for you? Cost and housing seems to be the same regardless of where you train. Did anyone find that the weather was an issue where you trained?
Shawn, training curriculum is standardized across all locations, so it really comes down to weather and personal preference. Florida is a good and busy location to train in, but summertime and early fall can get sketchy with afternoon thunderstorms and even some slightly stronger winds (see “Hurricane Dorian”). This summer has been particularly weird: we were getting thunderstorms as early as 10 am some days but those usually moved through quick. Arizona is nice and sunny, but gets a tiny bit warm in the summer time. Other locations have their own pluses and minuses. From weather to airspace specifics… The only tip that may help you is choosing a location that has a CFI school there. It may make it a bit easier not having to adapt to a new airport and airspace while doing some of the most complex training that you will undertake.
I simply picked the location that was most convenient for me, which was about four hours away from where I lived. I suggest you do the same, just pick one that is convenient.
From what I understand, your in school basically 7 days a week available 24/7. Is this correct? If it is correct, what was convenient for you staying closer to home if your at the school full time?
That’s the point of picking a location that is convenient. Like Chris I chose the location that was closest to home. The training is done is phases and while you do need to be flexible, it’s definitely not 24/7. You may find yourself ahead, maybe there’s a holiday coming up etc. If getting home requires a 6hr plane ride and some planning it’s probably not going to happen. If however you take your PPL checkride on a Fri, both you and your instructor have been busting your butts, you’re ahead of schedule and could both use the weekend off. Sure you can jump in your car and make sure the family hasn’t moved away and the house hasn’t burnt down.
While the training is intense and they don’t want you booking a week long vacation to Fiji in the middle, it’s not prison either.
Because while availability is expected 24/7, the reality is that there will be a few periods where you have a few days off at a time and are able to sneak home. I also had to go home a few times for a broken tooth, broken car, things like that.
It is very rare that the pilot mentors provide inaccurate information here, but I must correct this misinformation. You are NOT expected to be available 24/7. ATP makes the safety-focused decision to fly in the best conditions—which means daytime for pilots with as little experience as most of us have—so the only night flying completed at ATP is the bare minimum required for the licenses sought.
Page ten in the Student/Instructor handbook: “Students must be available for training at least five full days each week (determined by ATP). ATP strives to provide two days off each
calendar week. Because schedules are built to maximize student return on investment and keep students on schedule with projected completion dates, weekend flying may be required.”
In my experience, there are very few training centers delivering the consistent, five-days-or-more-per-week scheduling as advertised. Some instructors expect their students to fly on the weekends, but many do not. Many students don’t go to the training center unless they have a training event scheduled, often because the facilities are inadequate to provide space for all of us to study while waiting for something to happen. Having said that, the most successful students are the ones who study all day, everyday, usually studying at the training center.
You are correct. We point out that availability needs to be 24/7 because there will be times when there are night flights or cross country flights that involve overnights, traveling for check rides, CFI school, etc.
Student from Mach 2017- March 2018
I was at TTN and had friends at MMU and ISP. The North East can have pretty slow winters because of the freezing levels being too low grounding planes. Also every instructor has different personal minimums on what type of weather to fly in (some instructors liked going up with 20kt+ winds with skilled students, others wouldn’t go out over 15kts).
Weather reports are alittle more accurate in the NE and instructors at TTN would coordinate with students to stay home on really bad days or come in for ground training; plan on flying any good day.
I had friends 2hrs into PA commute 3-4days per week, another that was 4hrs got an apartment and would go home when he had 2days or more off.
Being close to airports advantage is you have more open availability and if someone cancels you can take their flight session. I finished in 12 months, the commuters finished in 14-16 months.
Note - TTN was last run by a lead instructor. with high turnover of instructors; atmosphere and training environment changes a little every 6months or so. Some things might be different there now compared to when I was there.