Real Answers from Real Pilots

Just a few questions

Hello everyone. Name is Mike. I’ve been an aircraft dispatcher for the past 2 years, including 14 moths at RPA. I left RPA to take on a different type of dispatching and miss 121 work and being able to jump seat was a nice perk too. I was seriously thinking about starting ATP 2 years ago and instead went the dispatch route. I went to Jeppesen for my DX certificate and now at 39 years young, looking to finally make the jump to the cockpit.

I’m currently living in Chicago and commute to my dispatch job. I’d be looking to train out at DuPage. My question is mostly centered around when you would find out what location you will be doing CFI work at? I’d like to stay here is the Chicagoland area if at all possible as I’m recently married. We’ve been doing the whole commute thing for the last 2 years and I’d like at least a tiny break before I’d have to do it again possibly as an airline pilot, unless I got lucky and assigned ORD.

I’ve already read a lot on this site and appreciate everyone’s input. Looking to start this new career by the end of the year or early next year. My personal goal is to fly for RPA and plan to stay at the regional level and slowly climb that seniority ladder up to CA. It’s not about the money for me as much it is about QOL and knowing the company and the great group of pilots and dxers.

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. ATP Chicago info would be great too. Thank you

Hi Mike,

At some point towards the end of your training (I believe during the CFI phase) you’ll be given a list of available locations at which point you can either a) get all excited because the location you want is on that list, b) get much less excited because your location is not on the list but suck it up and say “this is temporary, I’ll try and build the time fast and also put in a request for my location and hope it opens” or c) find another instructor position or other flying gig close to home.

It’s really about priorities and being close to home is yours I’d actually start doing some research to other flying positions or flight schools in your area that might be hiring. There’s really no way of knowing whether you’ll get the location you want at the time you want it but regardless it’s always good to have a back up.

Adam

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Adam,

Thanks for your advice. I have looked at other possible schools in the Chicago area as well. What I do like about ATP is the pace of study and flying. Weather permitting, you could be flying 4-5 days a week, instead of 1-2 times a week. However, I agree that if a favored location wasn’t on my list, I’d want to have a backup plan for earning those important hours. Though I tend to agree with your “suck it up and get thru it” approach - generally works out best in the end.

Mike,

Just to clarify, by all means do your research but I wasn’t really suggesting you go to a school other than ATP as I do believe they’re the best way to go. I was talking about schools to possibly instruct for. And yes sucking it up tends to work well in this business.

Adam

Adam

I understood what you meant - but I have researched several other schools and I just don’t get that same feeling I do with ATP - plus all their reimbursement and sponsorship programs they have is great. I like to weigh the cost/benefit of each school and ATP is on top. Wish list would be DuPage for CFI or LGB since I’m from SoCal and parents live in Newport Beach. I could always crash there until I get back home - unless the wifey wanted to move to sunny SoCal. Lol

Also Adam - will having the DX license help with landing a job w a regional? Figure it should help w the flight training as I understand instruments, approaches, weather, v speeds etc. as for landing a job - just curious if having that experience is all that helpful or if they just look at your hours and certs.

Mike,

Keep in mind that even if you are not offered your preferred location for instructing with ATP, you can always put in a transfer request and when your desired location comes up, you will be transferred.

Having your DX license will help with training and certainly will look good for the airlines, but at the end of the day, the pilots licenses and flight hours are what matters most.

Chris

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Mike,

Honestly Mike the way things are right now, to quote a friend of mine in HR at a Regional “if you have 1500hrs and a pulse we’ll put you in a class”. I do believe however the Dx will look very nice on your resume when it’s time to move on to a Major.

Adam

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Adam,

Had another question. Looking to start Jan/Feb but wanted to know. My wife and I already have a prepaid trip in May. Would I be able to take a 10 days off for the trip during training?

Mike,

You’d really have to coordinate that with ATP Admin but it should be fine. The best thing is to try and coordinate it so it falls between ratings but again it shouldn’t be an issue.

Adam

Thanks for the quick response Adam.

Happy Holidays and looking forward to getting this new career going.

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Mike,

Just keep in mind that you will essentially be adding ten days to the length of the program. Maybe even more days depending on where it falls in your training. I am sure that ATP will want to avoid you going on vacation right before a checkride, for example.

Chris