Going in with a PPL in AZ

Hey everyone,

I am currently pursuing my PPL at a school in the DC area part time. My plan is to continue to work my day job (government, hybrid telework/flexible schedule that allows me to get in the air 3-4 times a week) and finish up my PPL within the next few months. After getting my PPL, the idea is to secure financing, get a date, knock out all of my exams, and go to Arizona for ATP (Preferably Scottsdale) for the weather. I have a few buddies from my Army days who live there, my girlfriend is a nurse and could easily pick up work in the area as a travel nurse - and we really like warm weather so it seems like a no brainer to us.

Going in with a PPL already in hand, going to a location with great weather sounds like the best route for me to finish up my certs as soon as possible and then be in a great place to instruct. I suppose the question is: due to the warm weather, I can only assume these locations are very popular and have a lot of students - does volume of students generally clog up the flying time and slow down progress in any way?

My apologies for my life story before the question. I have been lurking this blog for a while and I am excited to get involved.



ATP works very hard to ensure all their students have the same high level of training at all their locations. This means all locations have the same instructor/airplane/sim/student ratio. Long short you’ll be fine.

Btw, remember to receive credit for your PPL for the program you need at least 78hrs of flt time.


The 78 hours rule is something that was not aware of.




Welcome to the forum. We’re glad you’re here. We typically recommend you go to the location that is most convenient for you. There are two locations in the DC area: Manassas and Leesburg. Of course you’re welcome to go to the Arizona if you have a desire to, but regardless of the location you choose you can expect the same training experience in terms of curriculum and timeline. The only difference, each location has its own unique weather and terrain differences.

The Arizona locations are generally larger than most. That means tons of students to study with, lots of great instructors and tons of airplanes! All good things with great weather. You should have no issue getting through on time.


Thanks Hannah,

I think I am equally excited to start this journey as I am to get OUT of the DC area. I have been working here for 7 years and I am ready for a change of scenery.

Thanks again,


I can completely understand wanting to get out of the DCA area after 7 years, do know there are 82 locations throughout the United States and ATP does there best to ensure that regardless the location you go, you will receive the same training as someone else all the way across the states. I’m not familiar with the cost of living in Arizona, but we always recommend somewhere convenient for you.

Can I ask why you’re focused on Arizona?

Do also know that ATP has a time build opportunity where you can finish the remainder of your flight time to get you the minimum 78 hours. I’ve seen two students use this to also get familiar with operations and standardizations of ATP, which help in the long run. This might be a consideration for you if you want to get more of a head start than just written exams.



Thanks for the information I appreciate it. I am focused on Arizona because I was stationed there for a time and enjoyed it, I have friends there, cost of living is a fraction of the DC area, and in my head I feel that the weather makes for a smoother training process in terms of hours flown vs weathered out. April in DC is pretty beautiful and I still got weathered out of my last 3 lessons in the last 5 days.