Is ATP Still a Good Option?

Is ATP still a good option? I’m hearing real-life mixed results.

I’m an ATP grad myself and currently at a major. I have lots of friends asking me whether or not to choose ATP or the many other programs out there offered by each individual major.

I had a good experience when I went through, but one of their family members asking me questions had the below experience. Any thoughts on this? I’m just trying to give the right advice and have no idea if ATP is still a fine-tuned machine like it once was. Thanks for any info.

“ATP has in house DPE so check rides aren’t the issue… it’s planes down for mx, shortage of cfi’s, and the ratios of instructors to students is high therefore not allowing them to fly as much. Also ATP adds additional flights and mock check rides that must be scheduled and complete before they let you move on to the actual check ride. My husband was “full time” booking 5-6 days per week and ended up leaving after 7 months and $23k and not even having solo’d… He stays in touch with People still there and they have spent the Entire $90k and just getting to Instrument/commercial. ATP can be good, but there’s a lot of bad and having chunks of money taken out up front on a schedule regardless of where you are in the program is not a good thing. :woman_shrugging: But it does open doors to airlines down the road. I would just get my private elsewhere first. And def don’t go to ATP in Vegas!”


I find your post interesting. I have a question for you? You’re a successful grad at a Major, have you gone around since completing the program singing ATPs praise? I’m not challenging or criticizing, I’m honestly asking.

Thing is I know a TON of successful grads and most don’t. They get hired and are happily living their dream and that’s fine. It’s the naysayers who washout who make all the noise because it’s far easier to blame ATP then blame yourself. When I was in the program there was one guy who failed out. He blamed everyone and everything including the kitchen sink. He also never studied, hung out with his gf, and was often late.

Long short I fly with successful ATP grads everyday and over 1,100 have been hired in the last 12mos alone. To me that means the answer is yes.


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Seven months full time and never solo’d? Gotta be more to that story.


ATP is the largest flight school in the country, they did not become that way by not producing solid results. Seven months without soloing seems like a bit much, there simply has to be more to that story. It sounds to me like that individual had trouble in training and is blaming everybody else.

I would encourage anybody interested in ATP to schedule an Admissions Flight and go out and talk to current students that are in the program.

The “Student Experiences” section of this website also has a ton of great, un-edited, stories from current and former students.


Thanks all for the responses!

To answer some of the questions… yes! I do go around singing ATP’s praises. I left for a regional back in 2006 so I was unsure if anything changed.

When I went to promote ATP this past week on social media I got blasted by people who had bad experiences- which made me confused and post to this forum.

We all know it’s like drinking from a firehose but that’s a part of the deal. But people were making it sound like they were just taking money and prolonging flight training for as long as possible instead of giving people the boot and the rest of their money back.

One last question. Is ATP backed up with check rides like all other flight training outfits right now?


Something I wanted to correct from the first post, ATP does not have in house DPEs, that is factually incorrect, they use the same DPEs that everybody else uses. With hat being said, yes, there have been issues with examiner availability. That is in part why the program is now longer than when we went through. Unlike other schools though, ATP has the ability to send pilots around the country to go where there is availability.


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Seven months without soloing is very hard to believe. Brady and I were both flight standards instructors and if a student was getting even a month behind, there would be meetings with instructors, leads and regional managers to make an action plan to get back on pace. If the course wasn’t corrected immediately, there would be conversation to terminate the program because at the end of the day it’s about protecting the students investment. ATP is doing just fine with thousands of successful students graduating every week, if one student is falling out that says more about the student.

The one thing that has changed recently is the massive demand for flight training. Since the pilot shortage made big news, everyone and their mother decided they’ve had a life long dream to be a pilot. ATP is doing the best they can opening new training centers and buying new airplanes but DPE availability is something that is outside of their control. Luckily, they have years and years of experience and can get creative to get students to open examiners and keep them on pace.

The best advertisement is success stories. You’re one of them, all the mentors are and the hundreds that are on the alumni pages every day.



Hey Hannah

I do appreciate the informational response. It’s nice to get a straight answer. I agree with you and others that said 7 months without soloing is morrrrrre than a stretch. But you know how it goes with people and their experiences - exaggeration goes a long way in expressing negative emotions. I will pass along the information you provided.

That said, I reached out because I wanted to stop the “he-said-she-said banter” in their tracks and get good info out to people who are seriously interested in this career - not just what they read from Joe-Shmoe’s bad experience.



“Is ATP Still a Good Option,” I have one thing to share with you and anyone else that is questioning if ATP is “still good”:

You are a graduate yourself, flying for a major airline, do you see yourself getting there as quick and in timely manner if you didn’t attend ATP when you did? Seeing the quote of the wife makes me cringe, she wasn’t the one attending so why is she speaking on her husbands’ behalf.


Thanks for the graphic, Brady.

To clarify - I’m not talking about ATP in negative way. I was just taken by surprise by getting berated online after speaking of its praises. And that example I posted earlier in the thread isn’t the only negative example / experience I’ve heard.

Glad to hear things are still running smoothly.