Military to Pilot dream

Hello everyone, my name is Jonathan Sanchez. A quick background on me, I was born and raised in Bayamon Puerto Rico, joined the US Army as a Explosive detector dog handler for 6 year 11 months, transfer over to the reserve Army as a Logistic planer specialist. I am married to the best women in the world that is doing her best to raised our 2 kids Nayla 5yrs, Mateo 10month. As I transition to the civilian life I found a job at GE Aerospace as a repair technician, repairing harness , exciters and leads for the engines of multiple customers (airlines).

I been traying to joined the US Secret Service but is a complicated process that some of it I don’t control some of it. I failed 2 interviews and that dream is fading away. When I was a kid I always dreamed to fly and become a pilot. Growing up in a weird society that dream disappear, in a recent research I came across this school and I started to dream again about being a pilot. I don’t have any experience flying planes, BUT as a K9 handler in the military, I was constantly flying all over the world to include the typical overseas tours.

This school seems to be the one that will give me the tools to become a pilot. I got in contact with a representative of this school and a quick question that I asked was “what’s the failed rate? A) 50%for 0 experience and 90% of students with PPL”. That was a little shocking and I started to question if this is going to be the place I want to choose and even discourage from this person that I talked on the phone with but he is not going to stop me, this is something that I will commit 100% of me and is something that I can handle because military training is fast pace.

Part of me is scared of doing this part of me is excited and motivated to go chase my dream and change my life forever to give my family the best of me and to give me a second chance in life.
A question that I have and is the one that nobody but former students can answer is,
What is the hardest part of this school and test?
What can I do to prepare myself for potentially going to take training at ATP?
What difficulties you experience during training and what you did to overcome that?
What was your experience at ATP ? (pros&cons)

I can not express you guys how I feel about becoming a pilot, a sacrifice that my wife and I are willing to take for our kids for us. I wake up and immediately think about what can I do to be successful during school. My mind is now just stuck thinking about this, and as my dad told me, what are you gonna do if you never tried this? and I can’t do that to myself, I need to be able to tell my kids, I tried it and i failed or I tried it and i made it.

Thank you in advance, have a blessed day.


While I hadn’t heard the failure rates had gotten this high, frankly it doesn’t surprise me. Further, and I don’t mean to offend you, the reason I’m not is posts like yours.

You’re obviously very articulate about your new found passion for aviation but in the time you took to write this post you could’ve easily searched the forum for the answers to all your questions which have been answered many many times. Which brings me to reason#1 people fail the program: people these days are awesome at asking questions (blame Google) but not so good at finding the answers. ATP was created by airline pilots to train airline pilots. ATP will provide you with all the tools you’ll need to be successful but you’ve got to do the heavy lifting. Same as the airlines. There’s no hand holding or spoon feeding.

Second you state you have no doubt experience yet you want to invest $100k+ in a career flying? That like me watching the NFL today and thinking “that looks cool, I think I want to do that”. Maybe Id be great but maybe the first time I get hit by a 350lb lineman I’ll start crying and want to go home to mommy. Flying in the back is NOTHING like sitting up front in a small training airplane. Maybe you’ll love it but another reason the failure rates are so high is because people don’t try it first, get up front and get scared, get sick, or simply don’t like it. With that I strongly suggest you take an intro flight or lesson before you take another minute thinking about a career in aviation.

As for your questions ATP is very challenging due to the accelerated pace but it’s not rocket science. If you’re willing to put in the work you’ll be successful, if not you won’t. Yes it’s that simple.


Thanks for your response Sir. And yes I have spent quite a good time on the forums reading different types of answers. I am the type of person that I like to get my own answers. I am also not expecting to be given this to me Sir I never said that. I come from a background of a lot of action more bad than good. When I put this option in perspective yes I think about 100k in debt and doesn’t sounds amazing but college is just as expensive, and I already invested my life in a military career that gave me experience but not enough to get good jobs, so why not taking the risk I already risked myself trying to make it back home 9 month later to my wife and kids. I am working on getting a discovery flight and looking at a flight club at a navy base just so I can solidify more my decision get a better understanding of this field. I also have 2 person that are currently at atp one at the school the other one is a CFI , I haven’t been able to talked to them a lot about the school but I have this resource that seems to be some what helpful. I am sure there’s a lot of pilots out there that made it to the school without ever touching a plane and they were successful because they had commitment.
Thanks again for your time to respond.

Well… since an admission flight is a requirement for ATP, I’m going to respectfully disagree :wink:



I will have to ask for clarification on those failure rates. As you stated them, it is a 50% and 90% failure rates, I think you mean pass rates, which is a huge difference. The last I heard the success rate was 80% for those starting with zero time and 90% for those starting with their PPL, I would really doubt that it has changed that much.

Everybody has their own hardest part. For some people it is ATC communications, for others it is visual maneuvers. For me it was partial panel instrument work in the simulator. Everybody’s experience will be slightly different, including yours. There is no one major test, it is a series of exams along the way that when combined, allow you to operate as a commercial pilot.

Once you have committed to going to ATP, you can start working on your written exams. Before that, there really is not much you can do to prepare.

As I mentioned, I had difficulty in the instrument phase. I overcame this by spending extra time in the simulator and really trying to focus on what was affecting me.

For me the pros were that I finished the program exactly when they said I would, for the exact price and with passing all of my check rides. I cannot think of any cons.



I was impressed with the number when he said it because that was exactly how I asked him and he gave me that answer. I be honest with you for him to be customer service he was not very helpful and he pushed me away for considering ATP as my school. When you advertise zero to cpl and the #1 in America trusted by x y z airline I’m expecting number like the ones you mentioned. Overall his customer service was not good at all he mentioned couple other things that I was like I can’t even call to get contact with someone in the school. Mean while their neighbor school was my friendly and answered all my questions without any problem or " we expecting you to know what you are getting in" type of answer.

I have read a lot of post mentioning that instrument have been the hardest for them. Thank you for giving me your experience. I schedule my discovery flight with another school just because is 60 dollar cheaper than the one for atp and potentially joining a flight club at the Navy base here in Jacksonville FL that they offer discovery flight and couple other things to include training. I haven’t commit to anything yet because I have a lot to do before I can make this decision. Family and other type of things that I need to set up.

Thanks again Chris.


I’ll be honest, I’ve been monitoring this thread since the OP and I have to say after seeing your latest response, I am unsure why you are not considering ATP in your research for a flight school. I think you are missing out on a great opportunity. I want to share some of my feedback for your questions on the OP as well, even though I have an entire thread of my own “Checking in Ground Level” (which yes, includes a success story!):

I entered Credit Private in 2020 with full expectations of what was to be expected between both the flight school and me.

  1. For me the hardest part of the program was during the commercial phase as I struggled with some of the newer maneuvers, having not doing ground reference maneuvers for almost a year plus. How I fixed that is by getting into the simulator during days off or when other lessons were not taking place. I spent hours outside of my scheduled events and on bad weather, slow days, and weekends practicing.

  2. After you start the enrollment flow and secure a date, I would say the best way to be prepared is by completing as many writtens as you can. This will help decrease the workload throughout the program when things move quickly. It is doable and the program is designed to complete writtens during each phase, but picture yourself having all the writtens completed and able to study flows, procedures and maneuvers while others are focusing on studying for the written plus what you are. I found myself able to relax a little more than others and when I was instructing for ATP, I HIGHLY recommended to any introductory flight that was enrolling to complete writtens ahead of time.

  3. Refer up to my answer for #1.

  4. ATP delivered what they promised in the expectations, I completed the program on time, in cost range, and with zero checkride failures.

Your comment regarding a $60 cheaper Admission Flight my friend is not a positive attitude if you’re looking for a fast-track program. Imagine sitting reserve as a junior pilot in a regional (or major) airline making 4 hours of pay at home at a minimum $90/hr rate…but now because you delayed your training and opted to attend a flight school that could not deliver what ATP could.

All I have to say is don’t shoot yourself in the foot just because of a phone call, but as I’ve read through the thread I also have had to reread things to understand…maybe the representative didn’t fully receive your question? I doubt the failure rate of ATP is 50% for those that enter in Zero Time, when I was teaching the success rate of ATP was 84%, one of the highest in the country for the number of applicants through any similar program.

I recommend giving ATP a chance and scheduling an Pre-Enrollment Interview and Admission Flight.


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Hi Brady, Thanks for taking time and replying to this post.

Your answer has been helpful, and that’s why I am in this forum to get advice and encouragement, guidance in how to set up my goal. In reference to the discovery flight I said that because the school that offered had the decency to heard me and have a conversation with someone who has aspiration in this industry. I want to do a discovery flight with ATP too I just like to see other school around and on top of that I can log this hours according to the flight club at the navy base. So I think I’m heading in the right direction. This is like the first time I had to jump out of a plane in the military, zero experience and a week in I was jumping from a c130, trust me is never fun to jump out of a door from the plane.
I am planning a head other things that I have to take account before making this big decision, I have to take in consideration my family and set up for all of us to be just fine for 7 months. While I sit here and responded to this ATP sent me an email to set up pre-enrollment interview. I want to get ahead of the game as much as I can and taking a later start date is going to help me to get ready and take the test and maybe even get some more flight time or some light training with the navy flight club. We’ll see,
Again thank you for your time and advice.