Positives and negatives of different ATP locations

I’m currently looking at the ATP locations in Utah, Phoenix, Nashville, and maybe Charlotte. Who has been to and\or trained at any of these locations? Im interested to know how the facilities are, cost of living nearby, weather, quality of life, and anything else you think might be pertinent.

I currently live in Fort Collins Colorado and have no desire to fly at the Denver location mostly because the cost of living in Denver is obscene. I’m 35 and married, no kids, and enjoy pretty laid back hobbies (hiking, fishing, skiing, etc). I’ve lived in Utah before and loved it, so that might be at the top of my list.



It is a nine month program, weather will vary greatly at each location during that time period and each season brings its own challenges with it.

As to your leisure activities, if those are a factor in your location choice, I do not predict success in the program. It is a very short, intense program. All of your free time needs to be spend flying or studying, period. I am not saying that an occasional mental health break isn’t good, but you should not have sufficient time for any real hobbies.



Hopefully some students at those locations will give you some input but here’s my take. First all the cities you list are fairly large so I’ll think you’ll find the cost of living to be comparable. As Chris said every location has it’s unique weather, more important they can’t predict the weather for next Tues let alone over a 9mos period so that wouldn’t even be a consideration.

As far as the rest goes you’re going for pilot training and should plan on a VERY poor quality of life over the 9mos. You’re there to learn, study, train, repeat and there’s nothing laid back about it. That may come in the future as being an airline pilot EVENTUALLY can provide an amazing QOL (I’m writing this from Kailua beach) but that’s many years down the road.

If you like Utah that’s where you should go to train unless all your hobbies would be too much of a distraction. In that case I’d choose Jersey.


That’s interesting you say that since I’ve talked to a few students who still went skiing one day a week and had time for leisure activities and still got through the program just fine.

Also, I’m not really asking for my own good, but for my wife’s well-being because I’ll be working so much. Kind of an assumptive comment don’t you think?

Haha I’m originally from Philly and there’s absolutely no way I’ll ever move back to that area…especially Jersey.

I probably should have mentioned that I’ll be doing the 6 month program as I’m getting my PPL at home and still working, which sounds like there’s a little more available time since you’re mostly building your hours. Granted, ATP actually told me this, so I don’t know if they were just selling me on it? Either way, I’d like to try and stay put to be a CFI wherever I end up doing the training and so then where I’m at for hobbies will most certainly be important. I know that there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to teach at the same place, but I’d like to give it a shot if I can.

Regarding weather, there are obviously better places to consider than others. Phoenix is going to be better than Seattle for example, Utah and Colorado will be pretty similar. I’m mostly looking for an average outlook of which locations are better than others.


I assumed that you were referring to yourself as you mentioned your hobbies and where you lived. Anyways, I would not plan on having much free time in the program.


Yeah, we kinda have the same interests, my fault for not making that clear.

I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement so I’m all for being completely immersed in studying/working my butt off to make this happen. I miss being in school and learning. I know it’s going to be hard as hell, but I sell insurance and that is hard as hell also…as well as mind blowingly boring.


You couldn’t be more wrong in your assumption. The fact you’re starting with your PPL means you’re expected to be a VERY competent PPL and you’ll dive headfirst in your instrument training and it will not stop (btw, you’ll need your PPL AND 80hrs of min flight time to start). Once you get in a groove can you take a day here or there? Sure (also keep in mind you’ll be away from your home base for approx. 6 weeks) but honestly skiing should be the furthest thing from your mind and you have zero way of knowing how well (or not) the people you spoke with did (people don’t generally advertise their checkride busts).

As for your instructor location that is completely a crap shoot. There is no “try” and stay where you are, you can simply hope.


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Congrats to you!! It’s an exciting adventure that lies ahead. Definitely plan on little free time as those above have already stated. It may be true that you’re “just time-bulding” but I also know that the majority of folks coming in with a PPL from elsewhere take some serious practice to get into the ATP groove. ATP does things VERY standardized (as modeled off of what you will see later in your career) and most other flight schools don’t quite train to that same standard. I am sure you’ll have your hands full.

All of those locations sound wonderful! I instructed in PHX so I am biased towards that location. It has it’s pros and cons. The cost of living is insanely low compared to most other large cities. And the weather permits flying almost 365 days a year (probably closer to 360), so you will rarely ever see weather delays. On the flip side, you won’t be getting much actual outside of your cross-country trips to Cali. They are (I believe) the largest ATP location when you factor in the ASU flight training. Endless resources and lots of instructors who you can use to your benefit. They also do standardization and often have those instructors available for tutoring in their down time - something I highly suggest taking advantage of.

I know a few people who trained/instructed out of Utah and LOVED their time there as well, though I can’t speak from personal experience. Any location will work for you in the long run though - good luck!

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Thanks Jordan, that’s what I was looking for in terms of a review of a location! I have heard a lot of great stuff about Utah and PHX, partly because of their facilities and they don’t have a bunch of weather delays, but also they’re places my wife got excited about.

I have a buddy who graduated from ATP in Denver recently and he mentioned that PHX was the place to be if I wanted to CFI in order to build time and not fly for a 135 or something of that Ilk. Someone else also mentioned that it’s more likely that I’d be able to stay in the PHX area while I CFI because of the size of the school and number of them in the area. Obviously there aren’t any guarantees there, but if the chances are greater that I’ll be close to home I want to go that route. I know this might be harder on her than it is on me and would like to make things as easy for her as possible, so if that’s more likely then PHX is definitely going to be the place for us.