I know that the program is “aimed at making airline pilots” but how does it REALLY compare to new hire training at an airline? I have heard people say that it’s a whole other animal.
I’ve visited two campuses and talked to people in person and I’m sure I can handle the pace and study time of ATP without issue. I’m THISSSS close to pulling the trigger but get nervous not knowing what to really expect from new hire training at a regional.
Spending 80k and then washing out of the real airline training would be brutal…I know there are no guarantees in life but can you give me an honest comparison of the two training blocks ( ATP program vs airline new hire training.) Thanks.
Yes! The program was created by airline pilots. The program is modeled after new hire training and quite accurately at that.
One of the first things that I noticed is that the pace at which the information is presented to you and the pace at which you are expected to be proficient is on par with the pace of ATP’s program. A lot of the information is new, sure, but I remember being so accustomed to operating at a certain level at ATP that I knew that I could digest the information in time for my checkride.
I recall taking the CAX after only studying for it for 3 days. I remember spending 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week at the training center just to make sure that all of my students received an equal amount of attention. I remember finishing CFI school with just a few weeks left to finish my CSEL add-on, CFI single add-on, and my CFII. I remember spending countless hours in the sim honing my instrument skills. All of those experiences lead me to new hire ground school feeling pretty confident.
The one thing I will say that I wish I had when I was going through new hire training though was a mentor. That would have made the experience better because a mentor would have been able to help me by pointing out what I should be spending most of my time focusing on. There is SO MUCH information to learn in a short amount of time. Without the right guidance one could easily find themselves wrapped up in a manual for too long that they overlook very important information that would have helped them pass their next evaluation. That said, the airlines are pretty good at guiding new hires through the process.
Going back to how new hire training is similar to ATP’s program, it’s also similar in that ATP does a good job at introducing students to things like CRM, pilot monitoring and pilot flying roles, flows, proper checklist procedures, compliance with policies and procedures, etc. that when you are asked to apply your knowledge and understanding of those things, it isn’t the first time that you’ve heard of them; therefore, it’s easier to follow along and know what role it is that you are supposed to be playing when you get paired up with your sim partner.
As I wrap up, I realize that new hire training can seem intimidating from where you stand. Of course it does. You have a long way to go before you even get there, but if you were a CFI, MEI, CFII with 1500 hours, I’d bet you’d have a totally different perspective. Right now, if/when you decide to begin flight training, you just need to focus on one rating at a time and to also have faith in the program. ATP’s stats speak for themselves.
I find it interesting that you’re “sure I can handle the pace and study time of ATP without issue”, but it’s newhire training that’s giving you pause? Don’t get me wrong, newhire training is a bear (literally the most challenging experience of my life), but ATP is no walk in the park and in fact both have comparable failure rates. Frankly I’d me more concerned with success in the program than newhire training.
As Tory pointed out it’s really the volume of material you need to learn in a very compressed time frame with hard limits that makes newhire training so challenging. Thing is hopefully while building your 1500hrs you didn’t just stare out the window counting but rather used that time to become a better more knowledgeable pilot. Going ATP is a similar experience except you’re starting from scratch with little or no frame of reference. I don’t know if you have your PPL or not but do you even know if you have any flying ability at all? The fact is some people struggle with the Career Pilot Program for any number of reasons. They’re not really comfortable in the cockpit, they can’t process the information, don’t have the proper coordination etc. The reality is in most cases they’re simply overwhelmed by the pace or don’t have the work ethic to buckle down and say I’m going to do everything humanly possible to succeed.
While newhire training again is ridiculously challenging it’s really just an extension of what you started with ATP provided you go into the program willing to put in the effort. Difference is you’re already a pilot when you’re hired by a Regional, it’s simply a matter of stepping up your game. You’ve already demonstrated you’re capable, you just have to keep working hard until you earn your stripes.
If you’re concerned about wasting $80k, I’d be more worried about finishing ATP then getting through newhire training but if I’m fact “you’re sure you can handle” that, you should have the same confidence you’ll handle newhire training.
Thanks for the replies. I’m working on my ppl now and that’s going along alright. I should solo next week unless weather delays that (Iowa, so probably will). I feel pretty comfortable with all I’ve learned so far. As for the book knowledge at ATP, I feel confident after talking to people through the program that with good study habits and a lot of hard work that I can do that. I was just unsure what to expect at new hire training because the people I was talking to hadn’t experienced that yet and posts on here seemed to insinuate that it had an extremely high wash out rate. And it may have a high wash out rate (that % would be interesting to know) but what you guys say about it being really hard but building on what you know makes a lot of sense and helps a lot.
I think your focus should be on what’s immediately ahead of you. ATP is going to be quite a challenge especially coming from getting your PPL at a local school. The pace alone will be fast let alone the stage evaluation standards that need to be met. You really can’t anticipate how much work it will be until you’re in it. I understand your concern not wanting to embark on this journey only to wash out at the regional level. But first things first. Get through ATP successfully and that will be one hurdle you’ve overcome. Then build time safely without accidents or incidents and continuing learning and growing as a pilot. Prepare well for your ATM written and study well for your interviews. Once you land a class date, reach out to current FOs or people in class ahead of you to get study tips. Regional initial training is incredibly difficult but I’ll tell you from experience those who were ATP grads fared much better than those who didn’t. Was it still a challenge? Absolutely, but the two years of experience if done correctly should equip you with the right tools to handle the challenge. In short, don’t worry about what’s to come. Instead tackle each step at a time. Get your PPL and then think about your IR.
Alright, message received. Thank you everyone, I want to have each detail accounted for and everything planned out before switching careers but I understand that you can’t predict everything. I will just keep chugging along towards the goal.
Hi, in addition to all of the advice above, Hannah has a great write-up of her experience with new hire training here: Hannah - Biography - Pilot Mentor Biographies - Airline Pilot Life
I actually found my new hire training far easier than my initial training, particularly instrument training. Airline training is really just building non what you already know with a new airplane and some new challenges. I found the initial learning to be far more difficult than airline training.
Hi, a related question and wondering how different (or similar) is new hire training at a major airline (eg UA or Southwest) vs. a regional airline (eg Skywest or Horizon)? Thanks
Newhire training is much easier at the Majors than at the Regionals. The Regionals need to take you from a piston airplane pilot who’s used to flying in the pattern to flying a jet in every conceivable airspace and conditions. It’s ALOT of information. Conversely once you get to a Major you’ve got all that down. It’s really just a matter of learning a new (but similar) airplane and their procedures. For me it was night and day.
I am completely with Adam here. The regionals have to turn you into airline pilots, and teach you a new airplane. The majors are just teaching a new airplane. I have never felt that training at United was very stressful, I remember it being very much so at ExpressJet.