Local schools

Hello guys,

First of all thanks for everything you do here. For someone without any connections to the industry it is a nice place to be.

I guess my question goes more to Chris. Looks like you still hang out around Virginia and seems like northern va at that… Do you have an advise on a good local school, such as manassas or leesburg possibly, to get your private license. I know there are few in the area, would you have an advise or preference on which way to go? I would really love to get the whole thing done at ATP, but depending on what’s going on with my life and family situation I may need to start somewhere else.

Second question is in a little different category and hopefully some of the ATP people who hang out can help with that one… I saw on the site that daily “schedule” for classes is pretty long, but when I went to ATP sounded like the classes are only 4-5 hrs every day…I realize there are deviations from general schedules, but if I had to commute 120 ( :scream: ) miles every day, nice to have an idea of how rough it’s gonna be…ill have to manage any way this goes, and I’m sure me and my car will hate those 8 months, but if thats what I have to do, I’ll have to do it…I know there will be LOTS of studying involved, so it would help to be mentally prepared for this.

Thanks for any help you can provide

Hi Elena and welcome,

First I know you asked Chris but I would caution you against the local flight schools, particularly if you really intend to continue your education further. Local flight schools are fine for the casual aviator but can be really frustrating (and inefficient) if you have long term goals. If you have plans to eventually go to ATP I’d encourage you to just wait and do the whole thing.

Schedules at ATP vary from day to day but everyday is pretty full. There’s ground school, sim and aircraft training. The length you spend on each phase each day can vary but there is a tremendous amount of material to cover in a very short time. If you find yourself with a “short” 4-5 hr day, trust me, you’ll be spending the rest of the day studying.

Can you not use the ATP housing? That’s a lot of driving!


Thanks for your advise, Adam. In no way I meant to discount your opinion, I just figured after some time at the beach your memories of evil Virginia with its crappy weather are fading, if they do I won’t blame you, just envy you more :smiling_imp:.
With that being said, I’m on the same page with you on all of the topics. I’ve researched schools around and came to the conclusion that cutting couple of months out of ATP is not really worth is. But just seeing what are my options in case I need a plan B, depending where life can take me in the near future. Like many, I have some big decisions to make…and some times I’m not really sure what to do :pensive:.
As far as driving concerned, I’m not worried. I spend 12-14 hrs a day on the road (for the last 11 years now). The only reason I don’t want to do it, is I do realize how much learning I have to do to be good at this, and it’s nice to have a head that’s available and functions well. That’s when housing comes in handy… Not to bore you with all the details, but I need to consider all options, including the one when I wait til the end of school year, grab my kid and move ( and a high school kid generally doesn’t see that as a good idea at any point in their life)

Thanks for all your help and input :slight_smile:


Since you mentioned that you have a high school aged child, may I ask you age? There are some things to consider when making aviation a second career that I would like to point out to you.


Hi Chris,

I’m 38… So I kind of thought it might have been too late for me, but I guess there are few others in the same boat with me


I just want to clarify that the schedule at ATP will be a 2 hour event, 5 days a week. You will be meeting with the instructor mainly for flights and sims with an occasional ground session. The ground lessons are not as frequent and are scheduled in order to answer questions and clarify things you didn’t understand from the homework.

ATP’s ability to get you through the whole program in 180 days is highly dependent on the amount of time you spend studying outside of the scheduled events. A typical day will require about 6 hours of self-study on top of the 2 hour event that you will have with the instructor, and that is where the schedule that you see on the website comes from. (The times that you see on the program’s timeline are just an example, your will be able to coordinate the time of your daily event directly with your instructor.)

Now that being said, I don’t want to leave the impression that you will be on your own here. The instructors will always be available to answer questions and clarify anything that you didn’t understand, but the idea is not to spoon feed the information, rather you research and try to figure things out independently.

By the way, 38 is not too late to start. Although students in their 20s typically catch on a little bit quicker, I have seen many students that started to fly in their 30s & 40s succeed.



It isn’t too late by any means, but I want you to have realistic expectations. In the airlines seniority drives everything, this means that those who are hired at a young age will be the ones that end up being 777 Captains at major airlines. Since you are starting later in life you will probably not have that opportunity. However, 38 isn’t really that old to be entering the industry. You could have a rather productive 24 year career in the airlines before retire at the FAA mandated age of 65 (I added in two years for training and building flight time). During that time period it is completely reasonable to assume that you will upgrade to Captain at a regional and have a very good chance at getting on at a major airline (if you have a college degree).

I would avoid local flight schools and that is not me being a salesman (if you read my posts you will clearly see that I don’t do that). I went to a local school in Chesapeake, VA to get my private and it was a disaster. What should have taken me six months took well over a year. The school was just too small to handle any hiccups such as maintenance issues with the airplane or instructor availability. Not to mention that it cost me more than it should of because I had long pauses off during my training and had to relearn many things when I got back in the cockpit. Find a large school that can get you in and out quickly, while still teaching you effectively. You will be glad you did, I was.



Just to solidify. I started at ATP at 39, hired at ExpressJet at 41, upgraded to Capt at 43 and hired by Hawaiian at 49. The industry then was nowhere near it is today and you should be able to advance even quicker. Just FYI.


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Thanks Adam, Chris and Yarden for answering my silly questions :slight_smile:️. I am pretty realistic about not making captain at majors, and I ok with that. At this time for all I know I may be happy as a pickle in a right seat of a regional, but it is also likely that I may be looking for the next challenge and for an opportunity to advance and improve further… All this is at least few years away, right now it’s one step at a time and see where it gets me.

Thanks again and happy flying.
Does flying at some point become more natural then let’s say driving? :slight_smile:


That’s actually a really good question? I’m sure it’s different for many people. For my part, while I don’t believe it’s ever as mindless as driving can be, there is definitely a point we’re yes it’s very natural and you’re not thinking about the particular actions or skills, you’re just “doing it”. It’s a VERY cool feeling :slight_smile:


I would not say that it becomes more natural than driving, but it does become very second nature, just with a much higher level of concentration required than driving does.