Real Answers from Real Pilots

Commuting as an ATP instructor?

Alright, I know this may sound like a crazy idea, but I just want to gauge feasibility. So I currently live within 10 minutes of GSP (Greenville, SC). I love it here and would like to live here as long as possible. I am looking to start ATP at either LZU or JVY with my PPL. Then, ideally get accepted into the Envoy Cadet Instructor Program (after building up to 500 hours) and continue to instruct at ATP to build hours.

If I am lucky enough to get accepted into the program, I would be able to take advantage of American Airlines’ travel privileges. So here is my crazy question…

  1. Would I be able to switch from instructing at either LZU/JVY to RDU?
  2. What does a typical ATP instructors weekly work schedule look like?
  3. Would it be feasible to use my AA Flight Privileges to commute from GSP to RDU and back every day M-F?

I looked at flights and I could arrive at RDU as early as 9am M-F, and return to GSP by 11pm (leaving RDu at 8pm) Also, I have friends that live in RDU so if weather looked bad, I could stay there in order to avoid missing work.

I know this would be tough on me, but it would be nice to have weekends in Greenville and days where weather is too bad to fly I could possibly be able to just stay in Greenville. Also, I wouldn’t want my students to suffer from me being unavailable for them.

Another version of this could be living in Raleigh M-F and flying to Greenville for the weekends.

What are your thoughts? Adam, I’m ready for you to rip this idea apart, so don’t hold back.


Nahhhh, not going to rip you apart but I would like you to think about something. You’re planning on starting your training with ATP, dedicating 9mos of your life and going on the hook for $75k+. You show up day one, all excited and ready to embark on this adventure and your instructor tells YOU “hey, welcome to ATP! Btw I commute so we won’t be able to start any days before 9 so if the weather’s crappy later we’ll lose a few days or if you just want to get an early start that’s not happening, and as for the night and cross country I’ll probably have to hand you off to another instructor because I have a plane to catch every night oh and btw if we get behind or you have a checkride on a Monday you can forget about catching up or doing any extra right before because I don’t do weekends but that’s cool right? I mean I know you spent a ton of money but I’m just here to build time so it’s really about what’s convenient for ME”. That would be cool right?




That would be totally cool with me! JUST KIDDING Obviously I would want to put my students’ needs ahead of mine, because I would want to return the great instruction I receive at ATP to my future students. I had not yet considered everything that really goes into instructing (because I’m not even close to being one yet). So even with living in Raleigh full-time M-F, and staying extra weekends to help students with their needs really would not be feasible because it risks their time and is not worth mine to do that.

This was really more of a hypothetical question, but just wanted to gauge if there was any chance of this being possible. Clearly the answer is No.


This is absolutely unfeasable on so many different ends. You need to think about what is more important to you, being a pilot or living in GSP.



This doesn’t sound like a crazy idea, it is a crazy idea…

As an instructor for ATP, you are free to live wherever you’d like and make your own schedule, but this idea of commuting daily sounds unrealistic and exhausting. There are too many variables at play that are outside of your control. ATP needs instructors that they can rely on. Show up late one too many times or not at all and ATP will no longer need your services.

  1. Maybe? Depends on ATP’s needs.

  2. Depends on your style. M-F, 8-5 is the minimum. Some start at sunrise. Some fly til sunset (excluding required night flights). The right mentality is do whatever you have to do to keep your students on schedule. Weekends are not guaranteed. They are there to be used to make up lessons or get students ready for check rides.

  3. No.


Hence my hypothetical answer :wink:


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I drove from GSP to LZU every day that I was required to be there and continued to do so after graduating and becoming an Instructor there. It was a lot but I made it happen!

Doh! I just realized this was a very old thread! :man_shrugging: