Ground school instruction

Hello and thank for any responses in advance. I’ve recently spoken with a someone who went to ATP and mentioned to me that as a flight instructor you dont get paid for ground instruction and therefore dont put really any effort towards it. He talked about this experience as a student and saw it in a few other instructors. This doesn’t discourage me completely and I’m sure it’s a good idea to get the written out of the way before hand not does it represent the majority of instructors, but is there any sort of merit to this representation and has anyone else experienced this? Thanks agai. For the responses.

I believe ATP now gives a $1,000 per month base salary for ground instruction for all of their instructors.

oh thats a relief! That would have been a deal breaker based on what the pay would be without that. thanks for the response


This is one of the things that makes my blood boil. First off ATP has ALWAYS paid a base salary to cover ground and your time in the office. They do not pay extra for it. Meaning whether you do 1 class or 27 you get the same base pay. Now I know there’s a segment of our population who believe they’re ENTITLED to EVERYTHING on EARTH. They should be able to bypass all this silly instructor time building and even the Regionals and just automatically be 787 Capts due to their AWESOMENESS which for some reason hasn’t been recognized but fortunately not everyone lives on Fantasy Island. There’s are words like “professional responsibility” and “paying your dues” which seem to be foreign concepts. The really sad part is that even if you were paid ZERO instructing will make you a better pilot and that includes doing ground but these Wunder Kind have no desire to be better pilots or to improve their knowledge or skills, this is simply a box that must be checked.

ATP does a great job of policing but sadly some get through the cracks. If no one says anything then they remain.

Glad your deal didn’t get broken.


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Adam getting his ass chapped is one of the best parts of perusing this board. I love it. :joy:



You’re evil sir and these peckerheads are taking years off my life!

True Fun Fact: I avoid the forum before my FAA medical for fear of raising my BP.



It’s ok, Adam! You just say out loud what most of us are thinking. :joy::joy::joy:

Thanks for the convicted response haha. to be clear my question meant not to represent my ambitions as a CFI, but rather concerns as a potential student.


Not sure what a “convicted response” is but you’re welcome?

This really does bother me because everyday prospective students (like yourself) come on this forum and express concerns because they’ve heard about instructors who don’t care and just dial it in. Problem is as soon as those same students complete training they completely forget what it was like to be a student and just start counting hours. I guarantee you these same people go on to be the Capts who treat their FOs like garbage because they forget they were FOs once and it’s all about THEM. The moral of the story is to not forget and BE the instructor you would want for yourself! Remember what it was like to be new and anxious and be the best instructor you can be (regardless of pay). This isn’t just about aviation, this my friends is about character and either you have it or you need to get some!




Thanks for that fresh perspective on things. As a ski instructor ( may not be comparable) i feel the same way and dont think about pay but rather get the joy of passing on the knowledge as seeing it click and cant wait to do that while instructing as a CFI.

Convicted was a compliment haha meaning passionate.


Of course it’s comparable! It’s about doing the best job you can do whether it’s flying 300+ people across the Pacific or working at the car wash. Years ago when I was an instructor at the Regionals we were going through some rough contract negotiations. At the time we had a fair amount of “non-standard” behavior going on and when I’d get these pilots in class and we’d have the conversation about professionalism I would too often get the response “they don’t pay me enough”. My response would always be the same, I’d ask “Ok, how much is enough? How much money is enough for you to do your job as a professional? To care about the people and equipment in your charge, what’s the price? $100k, $200k what’s your price?”. I’d then offer that if you have a number then you clearly don’t understand the job.

Listen I’m not a communist and I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t get a fair wage for the work we do. What I am saying is I have ONE level of performance and that’s to do my best. If I’m not satisfied that’s between me and my employer and if I can do better I should BUT until I move on I still owe it to my passengers, students, whoever to the best job I can always. PARTICULARLY when people’s lives count on it.



I’m just here for @Adam’s (El Capitan) comments :joy::joy::joy::joy:

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I’ll chime in. Being an instructor really does not feel like work. When I worked in retail, after a 12 hours day all I wanted to do was come home and bash my head against a wall. Spending a 12 hour day at ATP, wether you are flying, doing ground, or Sims, just doesn’t feel like work. I come home and don’t wanna bash my head into the wall and look forward to doing it again tomorrow. Now, I’ve only been instructing for 5 months, but that hasn’t changed yet. The fact I get paid to o anything related to flying is a blessing and I am always counting my blessings.

We do as much ground as our students need. Some students need a lot, some need very little. While the ones that need very little make our lives easier, we have to make sure everyone is getting the same product so we strive to provide that. If my students are putting in the effort, I have no problem being at the school as long as they need me. The problem is when students are not putting in the time to study and expect us to teach them everything they need to know.


In your experience what makes for a good student at ATP? How can a student make a CFIs life easier?

Very well said Tucker.



Good insights, thanks for sharing.


Investment. Be serious about your training. Set aside 6-9 months of your life and dedicate it to this program. Sure, there is some down time and you can have a life outside of ATP. But it should be your #1 priority. Come to each lesson prepared if not over prepared. Ask questions. Study with other students. If you Instructor gives you homework or tells you to study somthing, study it - there is a reason behind it.

What worked well for me was having a solid group of other students that pushed each other and held each other accountable. If someone was not studying or skipping out during our normal study times, we would get on them for that. It made it a lot easier when we had people pushing us to do our best and not just relying 100% on our own motivation.

In the end. It’s up to you. As the instructor, we can try and try and push you but we have a lot on our plates too. With 3 or 4 students and trying to have some kind of life we can’t hold your hand. We trust that you are putting in the work. If you put in the work your instructor will too.


I didn’t originally plan on it, but I ultimately decided to go with student housing for the study environment that you’re speaking of. Great insight Tucker!

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Thank you for your insight!

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Hi Cameron as someone who recently co pelted the program, let me start by saying there is some merit to what you’re saying. However there is some misunderstanding of what expectations are based on what I experienced. The ATP program is primarily self study (at least based on my experience) . There is not enough time in the program for instructors to provide detailed ground instruction on every subject area even if they absolutely wanted to. They key to success is self studying then asking instructors for ground lessons on areas that were challenging or confusing. Some locations have daily “group grounds” and students pick topics they’d like help with. You can also use other students who are ahead of you in the program as a resource.
But there are indeed instructors who won’t spend a minute going over ground knowledge and yes it’s because after the base pay , they only get paid for flight time so why would they? Some also just don’t like ground instruction. But nothing stops you from sitting in another instructor’s ground with their student. Take advantage of every resource and you’ll do just fine :slight_smile: