Just starting my research phase

Hi there everyone! My name is Hannah and I’m starting to do my research on becoming a pilot. I’ve dreamt about it since I was 10, am now 31, but was nay-sayed against it by everyone in my family so I let it go, but it’s always been there nagging in my mind. I’m now at a point in my life where a career change is the only way I can move forward, and I have been seriously considering flight since I cannot get rid of the desire to fly.

I’ve been reading the forums here and looking at several other organizations to get as much information as I can, and right now ATP seems to be the absolute best course I can take (although, as I said, I’m still weighing all options).

A little of what I’ve seen about using ATP fast track is that people have been mentioning Flight Simulators to do in down time and such, especially before you even get in the cockpit just to prep you - as it were - for the real thing. Now, as of this moment I do not have an iPad yet, I just have an iPhone. First question is, are there any apps for the iPhone that could compare as a good Flight Simulator that I could start on?

I also haven’t been able to find an actual statistic for what percent of ATP fast track students actually get hired by airlines? I’ve seen the numbers of how many have been hired, but haven’t seen the numbers on how many students there were to pull from. Just wondering if anyone knows where I might find that information to see what the actual percentage of graduates that get jobs might be?


Welcome to the forums and thanks for your post.

As to Flight Simulator, I am not a fan of any of them, I think that they teach bad habits and then en grain those bad habits into the students heads. It can be very hard for a student who has picked up a bad habit from Flight Simulator to un-learn it in the real airplane. Plus, even the most advanced Flight Sim programs are not at all reflective of what it is like to actually fly an airplane. that being said, most Flight Simulator programs utilize a simulated yoke or control stick, so they are really designed more for a desktop than an Ipad or Iphone. I would recommend saving the money that you would spend on this and putting it towards flight school.

We do not have an accurate accounting of the number of ATP students that have moved onto the airlines because once they leave the program, especially if they do not instruct with ATP, we are reliant on them to keep as updated as to their career progress. Some students do, some don’t. What I can tell is that 90% of the students who start the program from zero hours successfully complete the program and the vast majority of those go on to be airline pilots.

Let us know what other questions you may have. I look forward to working with you.


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  Thanks for your prompt response and honest answers! I appreciate the time you guys take out of your schedules to answer the endless questions from us here on the forums! I have another question. I did not graduate college; I came close but had to withdraw with enough credits probably for an Associate's but not officially since I didn't graduate. I've seen some conflicting statements about having a degree before you get your PPL or anything and am wondering if I am hindering my chances at all by not having any degree. I am hoping that I can still make a career out of flying without having a degree, especially since my chosen degree when I was in college had absolutely nothing to do with flight.

 Can you tell me if getting a degree first is going to make that much of a difference?
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You will not need a degree for the regional airlines, but if you want to work for a major airline someday, you will absolutely need a four year degree. The field of study doesn’t matter much at all, I have known pilots to have degrees in anything from piano composition, US history, communications and physics to of course the standard aviation degree.

So for where you are in the process, I would recommend going to flight school, building your hours, getting hired on at a regional and then, if you want to set your sights on the majors, completing an online degree while you are flying at the regionals.




Again thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I do have another one, I’m curious as to what the difference is between the 40-hour multi and the 100-hour multi. Does the 100-hour multi give you that much more of a chance of getting hired, or is it just for people who think they’ll need that much more time to learn everything and be comfortable? I mean, I have seen that the difference is the plane you will fly for your certification, but am just wondering if it’s more than just the plane?


The 100 hour multi-time program is designed for students who do not wish to work at ATP and thus want to get a good chunk of multi-engine time before leaving the program. If you intention is to build your 1,500 hours by instructing, and it should be, then I absolutely recommend that you save your money and do the 40 hour program. You will receive the exact same training and certifications, just less multi engine time.


One more question as I’m doing my research here; and on many other sites.

I’ve seen that some Regional airlines post in their Minimum Requirements that pilots will need 750 hours of Military flight experience. However, I’m not sure how I can attain that, unless somehow if they hire through ATP they overlook that and say that the 1,500 hours through ATP is enough to overlap that 750 minimum Military time? Can anyone clarify this for me?

This is copied from airlinepilotcentral.com for CommutAir


ATP: 1500 TT

RATP (accredited school: 1000 TT

RATP (military): 750 TT

50 ME

75 Instrument

100 Night

250 Cross Country


You are misreading that. They are saying that they will hire a military pilot with only 750 hours of flight time. You are by no means required to have military flight time.


Those are either/or statements. You are eligible if you have either an ATP
with 1500 TT or a RATP with 750 TT and so on.


Chris and Tory,

 Thank you both for your clarification on that! I did run into another query.

I saw on the site that it’s a guaranteed Flight Instructor job once you reach your PPL and are trying to get your 1500 hours. Is that really the case? How can ATP absolutely guarantee that everyone that reaches that point can have a job? Is it basically an unpaid Internship kind of thing?

Take a more careful look at the page, your questions are answered there:



It’s not a scam. ATP has enough resources to fulfill their promise. It’s a
real job with real money.



No it’s not an unpaid internship. ATP actually pays it’s instructors quite well (if you check the link Chris provided you can see the details) and most average in the mid $20-30k. How they can guarantee a position to all their students is simple. First ATP has over 40 locations and the Regionals are sucking up instructors as fast as ATP can train them. Second to be completely honest there is some fine print which says you can’t have more than 2 checkride busts (which you shouldn’t if you’re working and studying hard) so that will wean out a few. Finally while ATP does guarantee a CFI position they will not guarantee a location. You will be given a choice of available locations where ATP needs instructors which may or may not be where you want to be. Many students want the job but are not willing to relocate for the 1.5-2yrs required to build the 1500hrs so they opt out.


Hi Hannah,

I just wanted to chime in quickly. I’m a current student at the Phoenix Mesa location.
1st you’re age- statistically speaking the average flight student is 34 years old so you’re age is not a problem, older students tend to have more invested because of this very reason and do quite well.
I just completed my multi engine instructor and have my single engine CFI next week. As soon as I completed the MEI I accepted a job and went through standardization training.
This program works and I believe it is the best option to get you’re ratings and time build ASAP.

The people who have trouble with the program typically struggle with the independent study, you need to live and breathe aviation.

My advise is find a place you want to fly out of - I moved from VA to AZ for this reason. I started the program January 16th and am almost done.

I also did the 100hr program, honestly it’s upto you which you do and really doesn’t matter in the long run however my experience was very different from those in a Cessna or archer - I would do the 100hr again. I flew further, faster and had more fun doing it. On crew time build I flew to Houston in a lot of actual IMC and it will be a great memory for a long time.

My advise is pull the trigger and follow you’re dream! We get one shot as life!

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Thanks for adding that information. What phase of the program are you in?



I’m doing my CFI next week and the CFI-I the week after then have already accepted a job at IWA. It’s a great center.

Once I’m fully done I’ll write a full review from before I joined all the way through the program.



We would love to see a review when you are all finished up. Congratulations on your progress and good luck coming down the home stretch!


Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for all your informational responses!

This has really helped me quite a bit! Financially, for the moment, I cannot pursue this, which is why I’m just in serious research mode. I’ll be starting somewhere in the next 3-6mos (I’ll have enough by then) but I wanted to make sure I have all my facts straight before making any kind of decision whatsoever, and you guys have all been super helpful in all of this, so thank you again!!!


Anytime, we are glad to be of help. Feel free to ask us any other questions you can think of.


Hey guys,

Just one more question that I thought of that I haven’t been able to find an answer to.

Do you know if you have to pass your Med Exam before you even take your Intro Flight? Or can you take your Intro Flight, then go and get your Med Exam? I mean, I know you have to have it definitely before you start ATP, but just wondering on that part. Thanks guys!