Finishing On Time

I am currently enrolled and my timeline(at least what is now published has been pushed back by two months). I understand the necessity of it, and hope I can still complete it as originally scheduled with some good planning and more flexibility(perhaps flying weekends as well) I put a significant amount of time and effort in to ensuring I was financially prepared for the allotted time (with a little buffer) but a two month extension could be exceptionally difficult to accommodate. Unfortunately our lives outside flying won’t be postponed due to this, my bills will still come. All any of us can do now is adapt as well as we can. I’m going to try to see that it has a potential upside with a bit more time to study. I’m not sure what the requirements are to become a DPE but it could be potentially more lucrative than a lot of airline jobs currently. Good luck everyone.

I had planned/budgeted for 6 months with no income, which I was okay, I just redid my budget for 8 months with no income and came in very tight, may have to try and spend less on food and random stuff, but should be okay. I singed up 2 weeks ago and then was slapped with the 2 month delay and it makes things much harder money wise but at this point I’m just rolling with the punches!

Hey Robert, thanks for the “in progress” update.

Just curious if ATP gave you guys already in the program any heads up on the change? Also, have you personally experienced any long delays getting checkrides? Assuming you’re far enough along to have had a few.

Thanks for your input!

Hey James, actually no I received no formal indication of a program change until yesterday. I have noticed multiple people who have been experiencing delays in the past several weeks. I’ve only been here for three weeks so far so I have not taken a Checkride just yet. I see this affecting people who are taking a re-test due to a discontinuance or a failed check ride the most, the stress of having a checkride is enough, now imagine having to wait two or three weeks, potentially having time sensitive flights expiring and having not practiced in several weeks besides a simulator. Now who’s responsibility does it become to remain current? It’s a lack of DPE’s so ATP is not at fault, but why should the cost fall on us the student, who planned for a certain price of this “fast track” program? It’s not an ideal situation, and I’m going to do what I can to make sure I pass my checkrides first try most of all, and focus on the things I can control.


As ATP stated (and I believe it):

ATP will make every possible effort to accommodate the original timeline planned by students when they scheduled

This is a new change in response to the current FAA DPE situation. I agree it’s not ATP’s fault BUT it’s also not the students. ATP has always made a point of doing the right thing by their students and I have no reason to believe this will be no different.


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Thanks Robert, and agreed it’s not ATP’s fault, so maybe (especially in areas where delays are happening) it’s a good idea to spread the training timeline a little bit so that the students can stay current in the actual planes without having to only use the sim.

Hey guys I sent ATP an email over the weekend and they just got back to me. From what I was told the Extension is based on nation wide averages and your time will vary greatly based on the location you are at. I was told the biggest delays happen at 2 points of training. The solo phase of the PPL due to weather, and the CFI checkride due to lack of Check Airmen. I was also told that during this delay in the CFI checkride you are in ATP paid housing and you will not be paying for it at that point. If you are delayed earlier in the program you may then be paying for a few extra weeks. Basically I was told to still push to finish on time and being in Tampa that should not be a problem, but still to be prepared to have to pay for extra housing if it comes to that.

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I started today in McKinney, Texas, and I was basically told the same info. My instructor is very positive and up-beat about it. I never thought being unemployed would be fun, but I’m loving it so far!! :smile:


Let me know how your first few days go!!

Nice, congrats


Keep us posted!


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Hi everyone! I’d like to revisit this topic and hear from any current students and recent grads of the ACPP. I’m slated to start in April 2024 and really need to pin down my budget for the duration of the program, specifically in regard to living expenses.

Current ATP marketing claims 7 months from start to finish. Dear current students and recent grads: is this still a realistic timeline or are you experiencing delays? If so, for how long and for what reasons? I’m hearing there is still a DPE shortage and earlier posts from 2017 in this thread indicate ATP had extended the timeframe to 9 months for this reason at that time. Is the current DPE shortage affecting any of you?

I’d appreciate any feedback/advice on how long the program may realistically take to complete. If I need to budget for several more months of California rate living expenses (eeek!) it would be very helpful to have an idea of how many more months to factor in. Thanks!


I’m sure a current student will chime in, but their results today could be different from yours. You are correct, in 2017 ATP extended the timeline, it has since improved, so ATP brought it back down to 7mos (btw at one point years ago it was 5mos). ATP quotes the 7mos, not for marketing but because it’s realistic. That said it most definitely is not guaranteed. Things happen (weather, DPE, availability, illnes, etc etc etc) and while I understand you really want to know for certain, that’s just not possible and that frankly is the nature of aviation.

Best I can tell you is plan for the worst and hopefully it’ll be much better.



When I went through in 2017 it switched to the 9month program. At the Trenton location it averaged 12 months for most of the students while I was there.

I was hanging out with some CFIs in Tampa today who went through ATP and they were in the 7 month program. It took them 8 and 10 months. For them, 1/2 the delay was waiting for a DPE during CFI school. During that time you live stay in the dorms and study waiting multiple weeks until you get a checkride date. This has been an on/off issue since I went there in 2018.

My advise has always been to budget 2 or 3 months extra, and if there is a backup at CFI school for DPEs, offer to go with a DPE somewhere else.

Best of luck,
Chris F


I would budget for the months of program target plus one or two, depending on your comfortability. Sometimes things come up, maybe self-performance, DPE shortage, or weather, that impacts your timeline. I would say in the perfect world you would finish early or right on time (7 months), but there is obviously external factors that impact program timelines. When I attended, I factored the living expense amount that Sallie Mae allowed into my budget and used my into program savings as an emergency fund if something happened.

The other suggest is maybe visiting your desired training center and asking around that location specifically. Current students there could give you an idea on their timelines and instructors what they’re seeing for students graduating the program.


Thanks for your feedback, Adam! Planning for the worst seems par for the course in this industry for sure.


Thanks, Chris! I appreciate your insight into the current situation and confirmation that 7 months is still the baseline. I figured an additional 2-3 months cushion might be the case. Fingers crossed it’s no more than that when my time comes around!


Hi Brady! Great suggestion to hear from folks at my training center on how things are going for them. Thanks for the feedback!



Most the delays we are hearing from current students right now is either plane or DPE availability. Par for the course when literally overnight thousands of people decided they wanted to become airline pilots. However, ATP has many more planes on order and set for delivery by the time you start. If it were me, I’d plan for 7 months then maybe an extra 3-4 months just so I don’t have to stress. The best case scenario, you finish on time and carry that extra savings over. Worst case scenario you need the money for delays and it’s there.


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I’m scheduled to start in July so I completely understand your concerns! Personally, I reached out through the contacts in my student dashboard to the training support manager to get an additional tour scheduled at my training center. I then used the time to meet with a number of instructors at the location and got the scoop on delays, aircraft availability, DPEs, etc. I even asked for phone numbers so I could continue to reach out if I had additional questions or concerns.

Actually, after reading this post and others about delays, I reached out the other day to one of the instructors and she gave me current information specific to my training center in Tucson. She explained that all their private students had run into delays but that ATP had worked with the DPE to get more time for their location so availability in that aspect has improved and is continuing to improve. She mentioned that commercial students were able to immediately get check rides after their endorsements. She also explained that with her instrument students, she was able to get them ahead of schedule by about 20 days and when it came to their check rides, there was about a 20 day delay but because they were so far ahead of schedule, they really ended up being on-time with where they were supposed to be in the program.

I would recommend you reach out through your training support manager and see if you can get some contacts at your local training center to get information specific to your location.

Good luck!