Real Answers from Real Pilots

Quality and Flex Track

Hello all and best wishes on everyone’s journey!

I had my discovery flight at ATP Long Island today…I’ve been in the airline industry for 10+ years and am ready to fulfill a childhood dream I was always too afraid to make the time and monetary commitment to. That being said, I don’t trust easily and am deterred by some, or rather, a lot of the reviews I’ve read about quality and cost of ATP. I know the payoff is more than adequate looking at where I am and where I could be in 5 years and beyond. The speed of the program is appealing given my age…but I’m concerned about the quality of instruction. Yes, I want to be an airline pilot…but at every level as a student, instructor, and airline, I want to be a GOOD pilot! (I’m looking for assurance that this program provides that in a short amount of time) Also, is the Flex Track still an option? The instructors didn’t seem to have much knowledge of that option…For me this would be necessary until I can get LOA to commit to the Fast Track. Finally (I’m not looking for a sales pitch, but honest good pilot to a hopeful one), is it best to get my Private elsewhere and transfer to ATP, or is sufficient to get the full training at ATP?

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. All the best to all of you!

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We’re well aware of some of the negative reviews out there regarding the Airline Career Program. I’ve been participating in this forum for many years and I’ve always said ATP is not for everyone. ATPs program compresses what many schools take years to complete into 7 very short months. ATP uses FAA approved DEs (designated examiners) who don’t solely test for ATP but other schools in their region. When it comes checkride time they don’t care if you trained for 2 years or 2 weeks for that rating. There are standards and you with meet them or you don’t. So how does ATP accomplish this daunting task. There’s one critical element to the program and it’s also the source of the majority of the bad reviews. That element is YOU, the student. The program relies heavily on self study and hard work and frankly not everyone is up to the task. At most flight schools you start training and when you and your instructor feel you’re ready they’ll schedule a checkride. If you’re not ready you simply say I’m not ready and they say no problem. You pay more money, fly more lessons and keep going till you get all warm and fuzzy. That is not how ATP works and frankly if you’re looking for warm and fuzzy you might want to look elsewhere. Problem is that’s also not how the airlines work. The airlines give you a finite amount of sims, classes etc and you either get it done or you wash out. This is not a sales pitch. ATP was created by airline pilots to train airline pilots. This is the reason why long before the pilot shortage, when you couldn’t even get an interview, I was able to get mine with reduced hours because the airlines knew ATP delivered a superior product, for those that were successful.

I’m not trying to sell you on anything. This is a decision only you can make. I will say this, you can believe the naysayers who couldn’t cut it and would rather blame ATP then blame themselves OR you can believe the thousands of successful grads who are now airline pilots ATP had produced in the last 35+ years.


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Hello Benjamin!

All of the negative reviews you read online are written by former students that can’t take responsibility for their actions. They’d rather point the finger at ATP and blame them for their shortcomings. I see those negative reviews more as a failure on the student’s part for not having the right expectations.

As Adam said, the program is condensed into 7 months and relies heavily on self-study. That requires accountability on the student’s part to take initiative. The Instructors are there to facilitate, but the student does the heavy-lifting.

On that note, you mentioned that you wanted to be a good pilot at every level. I believe that ATP delivers on that front, but if you are as skeptical as you say you are then the only way to know is to see for yourself. If you read too many of the negative (biased) reviews of ATP online then you’ll talk yourself out of it. But I would encourage you to read some of the unedited reviews in the Student Experiences section of this forum to gain a better perspective.

As far as the Flex, check with Admin.

As far as getting your PPL before enrolling, I would only do that if you’re still having doubts about making this a career or if you can’t commit to training full-time. Otherwise, starting at ATP with zero time is more than sufficient.


Hi Benjamin,

Unlike the posts above I am not a pilot nor an ATP graduate however I read the same reviews as you and had similar doubts. I’ll be attending ATP in the near future.

The reason for my decision to go ahead was echoed above. Fast tracking any complex career into a short space of time requires hard work and sacrifice. Many people do not have that or choose not to which is their right of course. I even met a guy at a party who was an atp dropout recently and he openly admitted he didnt put the relevant work in compared to his successful counterparts.

Negative reviews often complain about the price and sure it is not cheap. But when you compare the cost with other flight schools it is comparable. Other reviews seem to throw about ATP as being a “pilot mill” as if that’s derogatory. I never quite understand that one as ultimately being a pilot is the end goal for every ATP student.

Again I have no affiliation whatsoever with ATP but will be attending. I hope explaining my thoughts around the decision from a similar position to you are now is helpful.



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Good insights. Thank you for sharing them. Please let us know when you are all signed up for the program and always feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Except questions about partial panel holding. I was never very good at it and would have a heck of a hard time passing that portion of a check ride now :wink:


Hi Benjamin,

I had read a lot of the same things you probably have. I think it comes down to getting out what you put into the training.

I got my PPL at a different Part 61 school and came here after with credit for private. briefly my thoughts are this: ATP is kind of unique as the program is very well structured and laid out for you to see. I haven’t found something yet ATP doesn’t have a video in the library to answer if you need it. But they also won’t hold your hand to learn, that’s on you. This set up requires you to be proactive and go out and seek the information you need. The CFIs are more than willing to chat you up about anything you have, in my experience. At my other school, you’d really lean more into the CFI for what was to be learned next.

I just think that if you have the motivation to go out and learn your craft, you’ll do fine here. But not everyone is so proactive in their studies, and the pace is tough here, as others have said, it’s not for everyone.

Best of luck!

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