Real Answers from Real Pilots

How do locations like Minnesota or Michigan compare to others as far as weather delays?

I’ve been reading a LOT of this forum and others the past couple weeks as I dig into my research, and I’ve seen a couple of horror stories such a student whose training took 16 months to complete due to constant weather delays in the PNW. Obviously ATP wouldn’t put a school in a location where it’s impossible to fly half the time, but I was wondering if anyone can chime in with some info on this, especially since I’m considering the Detroit location as one of my options. Unfortunately, because I’m a teacher, when I leave my current career it would already be summer/early autumn before I’d be able to start ATP, meaning if Detroit were my spot, I’d be hitting a rough time of year for flying pretty soon into my training.


I’m not sure i recall a 16mos timeline for any student solely based on weather (thinking there were other factors?) but obviously weather can affect your training. Thing is most parts of the country get some adverse weather (it’s cold and wet in Seattle, the gulf states get major storms in the summer, etc). As you point out the reality is ATP would not set up the program where the weather was consistently an issue. It’s up to you to weigh the possibility of a delay with the other factors you’d encounter by moving to another location, keeping in mind again any area of the country can suffer.

Your call.


If I had to guess there was a lot more than just weather that tripped that student up… if the weather prevented them from flying for a while, then a beautiful day happens on checkride day but they weren’t proficient from sitting and they bust. Now that could make a huge delay waiting for the next checkride date that also has good weather. That’s how delays multiply the timeline. If the ATP Detroit location was having such horrible times getting their students through on time, they would shut the location down. The program timeline is 9 months from zero to MEI no matter which location you choose. If you find challenges with weather, you and the instructors at that location just have to be creative and flexible with finding windows to get the flying done. You may have to double up sessions at times. No location has perfect weather. You and the entire southeast will be fighting thunderstorms all summer.



I have heard that occasionally weather can cause delays, especially in the northern training centers. If a delay is encountered it is usually 1-3 months for a student starting with zero hours. Sixteen months sounds like a huge anomaly to me and my suspicion would be that there was a lot more going on there than just the weather.

Now I am a Michigander myself and personally would lot leave the state because of the weather, but it might take you just a bit longer to compete the program there.


Thanks for the answers, everyone. I’m sure every place has its own weather hurdles to deal with.


I will be starting at the Detroit location in July. Past experiences flying in Michigan, the weather can be a little difficult but after talking with the three current CFI’s there, they are making thing work pretty well. I am looking forward to starting. July and August will be good months to fly especially if you are starting from zero time.

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I’ll be about a year behind you, then, I guess, if I do decide on ATP. Maybe we can chat about that location specifically once you’ve been there for a bit. Good luck!