1st… thanks for creating this site. It has a ton of helpful information.
I have completed my PPL and am working on IFR and am considering ATP. One of their big advantages is the opportunity to have a CFI position with enough flight time to reach airline mins in 2 years.
I am interested if anyone with ATP Flight School flight instructor experience can help me understand the work expectations when working as a flight instructor at ATP. I am specific interested to know the typical number of hours expected to be at the flight base. I understand from other posts that the time commitment and impact on one’s personal life is pretty intense during ACPP training, does this continue into the flight instructor phase as well?
Good question and the short answer is yes. What you need to understand is besides hopefully having a good amount of students to juggle, all these students have a very finite amount of time to get done. At you average flight school if a student is having an issue with a skill or concept they simply come back next week, or the week after, etc until it clicks and then they move on. Just like the airlines and the military we need this student to “get it” now, not in 2 weeks or 2 mos, today. That means if you need to stay late (or come in early) for additional ground, or sim you will. Now factor in weather. If you were suppose to fly in the am and the weather craps out well then you’ll be flying later when it clears. You and your student will work hard together to get them ready. The same way I’m certain should you sign up for ATP as a student you’ll expect your instructor to be there when you need them, your students will expect no less. You said “One of their big advantages is the opportunity to have a CFI position with enough flight time to reach airline mins in 2 years”, well, you can’t do that working part-time or slacking off
Definitely makes sense.
What are the non-student focused responsibilities and is there an expectation that a certain number of hours be committed to these?
There really aren’t many I recall? You may be asked to give an occasional tour and speak with some prospective students (but that’s kind of student related). Depending on the location move/secure aircraft (I was in TTN and a bad winter storm came. We had to help park some planes in a hanger). Honestly it’s been a while but I’m sure some others will chime in but I’m sticking with my “not many”.
ATP instructors are expected to be available Monday through Friday, all day. A good instructor who wants to get to the airlines quickly will also work weekends. You will not have time for a second job or attending college classes.
That is good to know. I am married with three young kids (4,5,7), and my main concern is setting expectations and knowing the potential impact on my family (we’re okay financially and school-wise). In my case I can be comfortable with a crazy schedule as long as I can also commit to some protected time as well. My work schedule is currently intense M-F + regular travel.
We are homeschooling so we are pretty flexible as to when we spend time together. However, disappearing for two years is not an option.
I’m a current instructor at ATP, what the mentors mentioned is correct. What you’ll find is that the hours per month vary significantly and I attribute that to the particular stage your students are in. For instance there is more flight time for a private student as opposed to an instrument student. This being said pay from month to month can also vary significantly. This is very much a full time job and I find I have a hard time tuning it out when I’m away from work, which isn’t often. To fly 80-100 hours in a month is nearly a 7 day/week 8 hr+ a day job, simply because you must factor in grounds, which you must give at your discretion. Sim time, which there is a lot for during the instrument stage. To have any sort of life outside of instructing you must sacrifice flight hours, and thus pay. Good news is you have control of your schedule although you are expected to fly/sim/ground with each student for 2hrs per day. I’ve had as many as 5 students at one time, so if you figure that, it’s 10 hours/day I’m committed too, not to mention any time between flights or lessons(usually 30 min). All the while you must adhere to FAR flight time rules for instructors, which is 8 hours in a 24hr period. Simply put it’s not uncommon for a motivated person to be at work from before sun up, to after sun down most days out of the week. If you choose otherwise, your paycheck suffers, your relationships suffer, and your timeframe to get to the Airlines suffers. Is it easy? No, but then again I expected that coming in.
Interesting insights, thank you. Like any job, there are some dues to pay in the beginning.
Thanks for the replies. I do appreciate it.
I am planning to do an intro flight in Dallas in the next couple weeks and then will make a decision on the next steps for my training.