Moving to a sunny state for flight time


I’m going to be joining ATP as a student later this year. Upon graduating, I plan to become a flight instructor with ATP. I live in Chicago, but I’m wondering if I should move somewhere with better weather. Like most people, I want to get my 1500 hours as quickly as possible, and I worry that we won’t be able to fly as much in the winter months. Obviously, planes work in the snow and rain, but I worry that business will be slower as fewer people will want to learn how to fly during winter.

So, my question is, will I get my 1500 hours faster by going to enrolling in and working as a flight instructor at an ATP location in a sunnier state (Arizona, Nevada, California)? Or will things move just as fast in Chicago?



EVERY part of the country has it’s weather challenges. While Chicago gets cold and snow, FL gets massive thunderstorms in the summer.

What’s more important is ATP will not guarantee you an instructor slot at the airport you instructed at (or any for that matter). When you’re done with training they’ll give you a list of available locations and you can choose what’s best for you at that time. With that in mind I’d train wherever is most convenient for you now and when you’re ready to instruct, see that’s available and make a decision.


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Ok, I appreciate the perspective. I’ll do what’s most convenient for now. Thanks!


Just for perspective, I live in AZ. It’s great during the winter, but during the summer there are a host of issues that could affect flying. Mid June through end of Sept is Monsoon season. During this time you can expect a storm or two every week. This is on top of random blowing dust storms. There is also the heat. There are always a couple days during the summer where its hot enough that PHX grounds some flights during the hottest part of the day. I assume Cessna’s are more susceptible to this than the jets at PHX.

Every place seems to have their 3 months of bad weather.


Does the 7 month figure include down time for weather? The instructor I took my flight said it usually really takes nearly a year for training.


This past winter was particularly harsh and did cause some delays. That said if it “usually” took a year ATP would say it’s a 12mos program. The 7mos footprint is actually the norm.


Yeah, last winter was really nasty. I currently walk to work and yeah the walk on that -25 with winds walk wasnt too bad, but my shoes getting wet and then driving a truck all day and the heater refusing to work was a struggle.

That’s what I figured. There really is no perfect weather every day location…