Real Answers from Real Pilots

Few More Questions

I’m so sorry for asking so many questions but I just have a few more questions before pulling the trigger. I have decided that I will attend ATP for the fact that ATP has probably produced more pilots than any other pilot school around. I have narrowed down my choices to the RDU and CLT location. I chose these locations for the fact that I can live at home while training. Does anyone have any experience or may have trained there by chance? Also, after completing the program, if you don’t have any busted checkrides and you were a good student, what are the chances of ATP bringing you back as an instructor? Then, for the flow through programs, how does that work? Do they select you, or do you choose which airline flow program you want to do? Lastly, what was the most difficult part of the program? I am very eager to get started as soon as my government contract is up overseas. Sorry about the questions, hope it wasn’t too long.

Jonte,

No need to apologize, answering questions is why we’re here and that’s a pretty good reason (think I gave you that one? :wink: )

  1. As far as location this question comes up often. Hopefully some people with experience at the specific locations you mention will chime in but regardless it’s really which works best for you. Whether you go to NY, CA or anywhere in between ATP delivers the same level of quality instruction and equipment. If you plan to live at home I’d chose the location closest simply for convenience.

  2. Do well in the program and your chances of getting an instructor position with ATP are excellent.

  3. That’s entirely up to you. Once you start your training you can take a look at the different cadet and flow programs available and decide which you like. You can apply to one or all (but can only choose one). The programs vary and can change so it’s really not something you need to worry about for a while. Further once you’re actually in the program you’ll have the opportunity to speak with instructors who have made their decisions for more insight.

  4. “Most difficult” can vary by individual. Some find the initial Private stage the most challenging as everything is new. Many find the Instrument skills to be particularly difficult. For me it was the initial CFI. This is your flight instructor rating and one the FAA takes very seriously as you’re now responsible for training others. Because of this pretty much EVERYTHING you’ve learned up to that point is fair game. The good news is the entire time you’ve been training not like a weekend warrior but daily like the airlines and the military do so you’ll be well prepared.

Hope that helps?

Adam

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Hey Adam, thanks for the response. This actually helps a lot, and yes you did tell me that on my last post hahaha. I also did more research on Blue Line and came across some nasty reviews about their owner which really deterred me from wanting to go there as well. Their numbers also weren’t impressive when I gave them a call, about how many students became pilots for the airlines.

Jonte’,

  1. I finished up at the CLT location in February and I have nothing but positive things to say for it. One huge positive is that it is a maintenance location for ATP, so there is rarely, if ever, a lack of aircraft. I never had any issues with scheduling due to maintenance. I think for a long period of time almost everyone at our location was ahead in their program. In addition, the instructors I had were fantastic. I flew with around 7-8 instructors for various stages of the program, and they were all great. Many of them are still there. I also think that Concord is a great airport to train out of because you get a good mix of different airspaces, but it is also a fairly simple to navigate and a good environment to learn as a new student. As for the RDU location, I flew there a couple of times during crew. It is definitely a smaller location with less planes and students, but it is a significantly bigger airport. Since it is a class C airport, you might find some minor delays arriving or departing during your training, but it is nothing to be concerned about. I think many would say you benefit from training out of a busier airport. I’m sure you would have just as good of experience at either of the locations, the program is set up for you to be successful anywhere in the country. I’d also agree with Adam that you should probably choose the location that is closest to your house. Perhaps someone from the RDU location can give you some feedback about their experiences.

  2. I finished in February ahead of schedule and with no check ride failures, and I was recently offered a future position as a CFI. In terms of how long it will take before starting, I still don’t know, but by the time you complete the program I’m sure the wait won’t be as long. Since they got rid of the guaranteed instructor position I believe they have only been offering CFI positions to students who did well in the program. Best advice I can give you is to do your best with everyone you fly with, show your willingness to learn, and by the end of the program, your instructors will be willing to put in a good word for you to be hired. If you are successful, you are very likely to be offered a job.

  3. I can’t speak on Cadet programs, unfortunately many have been on pause since I started flight training

  4. The most difficult part of the program I would say is dependent on what kind of person you are. As Adam mentioned everyone finds difficulty in various stages. The people that I have met who were successful in the program had a clear passion for aviation and a strong willingness to learn. The CFI stage was probably the most difficult for me. Transitioning from being a student to being an instructor was pretty difficult, since I’m a pretty independent person. I will say that I think some students struggle with the knowledge portion of flying. Everyone at ATP spends the same amount of time in the plane as each other, but what you decide is how much work you’re going to put in outside of the training center studying for checkrides. If you’re willing to study beyond the minimum amount to pass a checkride, you’ll find that you will be successful. Get the knowledge tests done early, study weeks in advance of checkrides, and don’t be afraid to ask instructors or other students for help!

Let me know if you have an questions about the CLT location or the program in general,

Good luck!

Roscoe

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Jonte,
Glad to hear you’ve decided to go the path of ATP. I don’t think you’ll regret it. As for location, you can’t go wrong with either CLT or RDU. I was both a student and instructor at CLT. Roscoe did a great job shedding light in the student experience there so I’ll focus on the instructor side.
CLT is one of the bigger locations in the country. Typically ranging from 20-40 students, about 12 instructors and 8-12 airplanes. Being a maintenance facility means planes don’t stay down long. It also provides a unique insight being able to go see planes with the cowlings off learning systems. It’s a towered airport in class D airspace tucked under CLT intl’ class B. The tower is very welcoming & accommodating to atp students and provides a safe environment for solos. Yet being tucked under the bravo, we have a great opportunity to “get in the mix” if we want to. We have three sims, two single engine and a frasca for multi engine. Not all locations have multi engine specific sims so that’s a big plus. The multi stage is only 8 hours so utilizing the frasca is a game changer. As Roscoe mentioned, CLT has a great team of instructors that fly as much as possible. In turn, for the year I was there we had 100% of students on pace and ahead of pace. On average our students were a month or more ahead of schedule. As for getting a CFI position afterwards, it’s all about your record as a student and timing. I wouldn’t worry about it too much now. A lot can change in 9 months. Hopefully by then the cadet programs will be active again and Indoc dates will be shortly after program completion. For your own knowledge though, you chose the cadet program you want to go with. You can apply to all of them and interview and decide after who you want to go with. Then you can either opt in to tuition reimbursement or not. If you do, you will be committing yourself to that airline so chose wisely. If you change your mind, there are financial penalties.

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Jonte’,

Never be sorry for asking questions. This is a huge decision for you and we are here to help with that. As was mentioned, CLT is a larger location than RDU, but I would not let that be a deciding factor. The student to instructor and student to aircraft ratios should be about the same at each location, so the experience is very similar, regardless of location size. I went to a rather small location and really enjoyed it. I would simply pick the location that is most convenient and not think twice about it.

Treat the program like a nine month interview. Show up early everyday, dress nicely, be polite and do a good job. If you do those things, you should be well positioned for a job with ATP.

As for the flow throughs, you will need to apply for them individually.

I found the instrument phase to be the most difficult, particularly partial panel holding. It was not insurmountable, but it was certainly challenging.

Let us know when you have officially signed up and please keep asking your questions!

Chris

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Jonte’,

Just to add, I actually think that because the difficulty of the program varies between person to person, the best thing you can do is be a good student. Here’s a helpful guide: What does an ATP student need to do to be successful?

Tory

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Thank you everyone, who has taken the time out to answer my questions. Your responses were very helpful!

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