New CFI school program

So, I think it’s always good to be open about changes ATP makes in the program, and I haven’t seen this posted anywhere by them.
But they’ve changed the CFI school program to be 3 weeks, from the start of ground school to checkride. I’d like to get an opinion on what you guys think of this change! I almost think it might be a bit too fast paced, but it will be interesting to see. I just remember the 2 weeks of cramming before my initial so I’m curious how they’re going to get it done in 3 total including ground school :flushed:


I think it’s definitely doable but we need to have it start early in the program to give people a shot because I think it will definitely have people not getting endorsed if we don’t.

Every student coming in should be going to CFI school in theory at some point so why not groom them with: here are the FARs we put in your logbook for this phase, this is why. Also try and start getting students to talk through what they are doing in every stage that way when they get there they know the FARs and they are in the swing of talking during maneuvers. I think that would take a huge amount of stress off the shortened time.


It used to be two weeks long. I do like Tom’s idea of a more integrated approach.

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As Chris said it used to be 2 weeks and in fact the entire program was 6mos. They only went to 9 due to the lack of examiners. 3 weeks is should be plenty.


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Sorry, yeah ground school still takes 2/3 weeks but they start flying by day 2 instead of 2 weeks of ground school, then the flights. Just doesn’t seem like enough time to get lesson plans in order and prepare. Then again, I was a bit over the top with mine so who knows

From the way I’ve come to understand ATP’s program is that you should be preparing for the next phase while in your current phase. I had the fortunate favor of getting built lesson plans from another student and I went through them and reverified the content with the PTS. The plans listed in ATPs library from Back Door CFI are incomplete in regards to the PTS, but it will gives a good base to build upon.

Three weeks is a tight squeeze with both flying and ground school involved. ATP has structured this point of training to where they tell us when to wake up, eat, fly, study, and sleep. It’s not going to be easy, but if an individual prepares and studies the listed CFI check-in items listed in the program outline, one should be well ahead of the CFI academy program (according to Todd Shelnutt).

I’m about to start the academy in JAX in about a week. So I’ll be happy to let others know how it went, if there’s anything left of me by the end of it, lol.


The old CFI program was 2 weeks and the full program was 150 days (5 months). Definitely doable.

I’ll also be starting in JAX on 12/3, so I’ll report back in a couple weeks if I’m still alive, lol.

That being said, there’s a few folks from my location that were in the last class, and a couple that are in the current class. The one’s I’ve talked to have said yes, it’s a lot to take in, but definitely doable (AFAIK all of them except for two, who chose to voluntarily withdraw, have passed).

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“Back in my day” lol Early 2018… it was Rough on East coast. 2wks ground… 1 2yr instructor for 2 classes of +15ppl, no review, no mock orals…

if you could land safely you got signed off. 100% sink or swim.

Sometimes over 30day wait for initial checkride one signed off.

Both Jax and Crg we’re dealing with 2yr CFI shortage as well as DPE shortage for a few months. My understanding is this has been corrected awhile ago

Just an update about CFI Acdemy this December. Due to the holidays they pushed everyone through (including right seat training, spin training, and 2-year endorsement flights) in just 17 days. Most of us like myself were sent back to our training centers to take the checkride due to limited availability of DPE slots at the Academy in JAX.

Had a good time though. Was drinking from a fire hose the whole time but we survived. Walt the ground instructor there was the best! Without his humorous instruction in the ground school we would have clawed our eyes out from death-by-PowerPoint. All I can say is prepare as much as you can before the academy (lesson plans, memorizing regs, maneuver objectives, and the FOIs) and you’ll be fine.

Michael T.

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Is that Walt Shammel you speak of?


Walt Newsom. He’s been with ATP a few years.

Here’s our motley crew from the Dec. 3rd class. Walt is on the right in the white tee.


Oh look, there I am, lol.

Second everything Michael said, Walt made it easier to survive the process and helped keep the ship afloat…can’t thank him enough!

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Ahh, got it. Walt Shammel was teaching the course when I went through. The man was a legend.

I thought the same thing.



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Original Walt once said something I will never forget to us while we were in CFI class: “You are not here to build time for the airlines. You are here to provide the best instruction possible. If you do that, you will have more flight time than you know what to do with.”

Very true words.


Hence why I’m not exactly looking at ATP to instruct with. I don’t necessarily want my schedule jam packed with a solid eight hours of flight time per day. I want to have the flexibility to work with my students to help them learn and master the skills and knowledge so when I give them that 61.39(a)(6)(i, ii) endorsement I know for a fact that they are prepared and can go into that checkride with confidence. I want to have the time to further elaborate on topics that the student didn’t quite grasp as the FAA handbooks and even ground school videos don’t always explain things the best to every student.

That certainly was not my experience as an ATP instructor, but everybody has their reasons for doing what they do.

I never felt like I was pressured to sign students off if they weren’t ready either.


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Unfortunately times have changed.

I’ve known and witnessed students tell their instructors first hand that they felt they weren’t ready for their checkride and they still got pushed through. Some even busted their rides.

I’d rather have someone drop out of the program because they can’t maintain the training pace then have them waste money and get pushed through to a checkride that they don’t feel ready for.

Michael T.

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