How to choose? ATP or Flight Safety Academy?

Hi everyone:

I’m Joe, just got my PPL, live in Atlanta GA (I am 43, older compared to most since this happens to be the time in my life I can pursue the pilot career). I am looking for schools for next steps to go all the way to commercial. I visited ATP this weekend but it doesn’t seem very busy (the one in Peachtree; probably because it was windy and weekend etc). I am trying to decide between ATP Atlanta and Flight Safety Academy. Both are very expensive and not an insignificant investment (quitting job, taking out loans, putting life on hold). I would prefer staying in Atlanta so I don’t need to take additional loans for housing and travels but if there is indeed a significant advantage, I would like to know what they are and consider going for it.

Here are my questions.

(1) Has anyone here been through or are currently attending ATP in Peachtree City or somewhere in Georgia? I wonder if I can buy you a cup of coffee, pick your brain and learn from your experience (instructor commitment, housing options, network, job prospectives, relationship with airlines etc.)

(2) Has anyone here been through or are currently attending Flight International Safety in Vero Beach Florida? I would really appreciate the opportunity to give you a call and learn from your experience (instructor commitment, housing options, network, job prospectives, relationship with airlines etc.)


I think you will find that asking former students about a certain location will be of very little value. Keep in mind that as soon as instructors hit 1,500 hours, they are moving onto the airlines. So the instructors that are there now, will likely not be there when you go through the program.

As for housing options, the admissions department will have that information for you.

There really is no need for networking, at least not at the regional level. The regionals are hurting for pilots and people that are qualified are usually hired rather quickly.

All flight schools have hiring agreements and again, it really does not matter in today’s hiring environment.

Feel free to ask us any other questions you may have.



Do you live in Peachtree City? I am thinking of pursuing private Pilot license. I am curious if you went through an instructor at falcon Field or somewhere else. I haven’t Began to research the steps for getting my private license but I want to by the summer. Any advice would be appreciated.


Both ATP and FS are fine schools. When I was doing my research the deciding factor for me between the twon was the time factor. FS took approx.1.5yrs which was considerably longer than ATP. As someone who was also on the older side I knew time was an issue. Additionally while neither school is cheap FS was almost twice the price. This was a few years ago so I don’t know if any of this has changed but that’s what swung me.



I am scheduled to begin at the ATP site at Peachtree Dekalb Airport (PDK) this May, and will be 42 when I start. They have Piper Archers with glass cockpit as their base fleet, and the training environment looked good. They operate from a busy towered airfield for exposure to ATC but have plenty of maneuver space to the N of Atlanta.

The team were very friendly when I visited for my introductory flight, and when I recently took my PAR knowledge test.

I personally chose PDK because it offered the shortest commute for me. Lawrenceville also has a site which is considerably larger including one of ATP’s CFI schools.


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Sure. You can send me an email: I actually live in Atlanta and have been going to one closer.

Hi Simon - Thank you very much for sharing your decision process!

Thank you Adam. Time is indeed a key factor for me as well. However, based on my conversation with FS, they said it’s because they factor in the 12 month training time for a student to get 1200 hours… Additionally, they pride themselves as a structured environment which is key for adult students (i.e., those of us who have been away from schools for a while) to learn… However, the price tag is a hard one to swallow. That’s why I am having a very difficult time. I am trying to compare Apples to Apples - just wonder if ATP Atlanta (the Peachtree one) has the ability to afford the high volumne of flying time to instructors once we graduate from students to instructors.

Adam: This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing. Did you stay at ATP as an instructor to get the flying hours?


First I’m not sure why FS would quote you to get 1200hrs as 1200hrs won’t meet the mins. Again at the time the were 1.5yrs JUST to complete the training period so I would definitely clarify.

Yes I did my time building as an ATP instructor. Great experience and that was another factor in my decision. FS was very honest (which I appreciated) but at the time there was a 1yr waiting list for an instructor position.


I’m currently a student of a different 141 flight school located at Peachtree city in GA, Falcon Aviation Academy. although I would have preferred to attend ATP at that location, Falcon fit into my personal situation much better. Saying that, it has been difficult balancing the 2, but i’m currently about a month from hitting my mins for my CPL, after 13 months in the program, with no busts. I would encourage you to check them out.