Rumors regarding ATP?

Hi everyone. I am planning on enrolling to ATP in a month and I am curious about your experience w them. I have heard mixed reviews w some being that the instructors are there to get their 1500 hours w no regard to training the students and that they teach too quickly. I am a 10 year paramedic (training was tough kinda like nursing school slammed into 7 months) looking for a change to fly which has been a dream of mine for many years. I have a great work/study ethic I am hoping you guys might have some input to the program or any advice. I wish you all the best and maybe one day see you in the cockpit.


Hi Ralph. I thought my instructors were great at ATP. They were always professional and created a safe flying atmosphere. I never heard any complaints from my fellow classmates either. It is very fast paced, but the curriculum is very structured and allows you to go from zero time to having all your ratings in ~6 months, which is unheard of at other schools. I highly recommend them.

Hey Ralph and Welcome!

Hope you don’t mind but I moved your post out to it’s own topic because I didn’t want it to get lost and I think it’s a great question.

ATP requires all their instructors to got through standardization training (in addition to the usual FAA CFI requirements) to insure the training you get in NY is the same as you get in CA. Personally I had an excellent experience with ATP which is the primary reason I participate in this forum (kinda spreading the gospel if you will). I also know for a fact not everyone does. ATP has many locations and many instructors and frankly some are better than others and yes I’m sure everyone one of them is there to build time (I sure was!). So what does this all mean? So let’s talk about this.

ATP was created to train pilots for a career in aviation, period. You can’t go to ATP for just your Private or Instrument rating etc. (there are plenty of flight schools for that). ATP trains pilots, hires them as instructors and then helps them get hired at the airlines. It’s really a great system and keeps the food chain moving. Are the pilots there to build time? Of course they are and that’s how it’s intended to be. If ATP hired career instructors there would be no slots for the new guys and the chain would stop. Does that mean you’re a bad instructor? I wasn’t. I worked very hard and did the best job I could. I learned at least as much instructing as I had as a student (probably more). Listen when you’re sitting next to some nubie without a clue who appears to be doing everything in his power to end your life your situation awareness and skills increase fast! Are all ATP instructors as good or as conscientious as I was? I’m sure some were better and I’m sure some were worse. ATP does an excellent job screening and training instructors but occasionally a bad egg unfortunately makes it through. That’s why I encourage EVERY new student (whether you’re at ATP or any flight school) to never forget you’re also a customer. You’re investing a tremendous amount of time, energy and money into this career and if there’s a problem you need to let someone know. If you do it will be remedied. But that’s really not the end of the conversation. The REAL question (at least in my mind and in my experience) is the pace of ATPs training and this is where much of the criticism of ATP stems from.

Here’s a cold hard fact. Not everyone is successful at ATP. That’s actually one of the things that attracted me to ATP. I visited every pilot academy out there and one of the questions I asked was regarding washout rates. Almost every school I visited responded “don’t worry, we don’t let you washout, we’ll get you through”. ATP did not. They were frank and told me some people don’t make it. I didn’t take this as a dare or a challenge but it did make sense. I’m sorry, flying airplanes isn’t rocket science but you cannot convince me that every person with the money can AND SHOULD be an airline pilot. Flying requires a certain amount of intelligence and skill and not every human possesses the ability. ATP will provide you with all the tools to be successful but they will not hold your hand and spoon feed you. At virtually EVERY other flight school in the country you sign up, pay some money and start training. Cool. When you and your instructor agree you’re ready for your checkride you go. If you’re not ready, you train some more until you are (as long as you have the money of course). That’s all well and good if you want to get your Private and fly to grandmas on Thanksgiving BUT if you want to be an airline pilot there’s a problem. The problem is when you show up day one at your airline they’re gonna give you a stack of books, access to online study and an instructor who’ll touch on the highlights. In 6 weeks, good instructor or bad, you will be ready for your checkride or you will be unemployed. There is no “I’m not ready”. So that’s the way ATP does it. They do it to prepare you for the airlines which is also the reason ATP’s pilots get hired by the airlines because they’ve already demonstrated their ability to handle the pace. Again, not everyone can. No one likes to fail or be told they can’t and as humans we all have defense mechanisms which sometimes causes us to want to place the blame elsewhere. Not saying that’s always the case but it happens.

I don’t want to sound like a commercial but ATP’s been around for decades and has a proven track record of not only training pilots but getting them hired as airline pilots. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today if it hadn’t been for them and there are many pilots who’ll say the same. It’s not for everybody but not everybody can fly an Airbus or a Boeing either.



You are right to be concerned, The school has a reputation of providing terrible instruction.

ATPs been in business for over 30yrs, they welcome EVERYONE onto this forum to tell their stories good or bad as well as encouraging potential students to visit the locations and speak with current students, has had over 500 students hired by airlines in the last year alone, has alliances and partnerships with virtually EVERY Regional in the country and every Major airline pilot I know who’s child wants to follow in their footsteps sends them to ATP BUT they have a reputation of providing terrible instruction. Hmmmmm, that doesn’t sound right does it?



Hello all. I am a retired Army combat medic and a prospective student at ATP. I have had my fair share of “tense” moments, if you will, so I don’t feel too terribly concerned that I will be left behind or overwhelmed by this program. My concerns, which have mostly been addressed through the discussions in these forums, are revolving around the professionalism of the instructors. I have great concerns that I may draw the proverbial “short straw” and end up with a sub par instructor. Has anyone experienced this, and if so, how common is the occurrence? The school I will be attending, assuming I get my other prerequisites in order, is Daytona Beach. I did notice they received the 2017 AOPA Flight Training Excellence Award last year, and that helped to reassure me, however, I would love some feedback from any students that attended this particular school. Thank you all, in advance, for your time and replies.



ATP does an excellent job of standardizing the program and their instructors. Obviously with an operation of this size there’s always potential for the proverbial “bad egg” to slip in. The thing to keep in mind is while this is a very rigorous training program and much of the responsibility for success falls on your shoulders, ultimately you’re a customer first. A customer who’s invested a considerable amount of time and money. If you’re not happy or believe your instructor is lacking, you simply have to let someone know and the situation will be remedied. While it doesn’t happen often it does happen and it’s something ATP takes very seriously.

Keep in mind that while Daytona Beach received the Excellence award those instructors are long gone. In fact anyone you speak with who’s training today, regardless of their experience positive or not, the chances are they’ll be different staffing when you get there. I would focus on the fact ATP has been SUCCESSFULLY training pilots for over 30years at over 40 locations. The odds are definitely against you getting the short straw.



Like any school, there can be a few bad apples. What is important is that those issues, if they are present, are immediately brought to management. The company cannot fix what they do not know about.


I am at DAB. I have so far been very impressed by the quality and professionalism of instructors here. The training center manager runs a tight ship. At any location, if you have concerns with instruction, ATP will address it promptly. I had similar concerns and the nature of the fast-paced training does not lend itself to promoting slow/unmotivated performance. You gotta “go” or get off the pot…

In my time at ATP I have yet to meet or work with an instructor who doesn’t want to be here. Yes, we are all trying to get to the airlines, but we also want everyone else to get there too. During your training, you see things in CFIs that you like, and things you don’t like. When you become a instructor yourself, you model yourself from the good. I’m sure there are instructors out there that do not care, not just at ATP, but in general. I also think it’s a much more infrequent occurrence than many think. The better our students do, and the faster they get through the program, the faster we get to where we want to be.

Like they said above. If your instructor is not putting in the work, or if you guys just do not get along, talk to ATP and changes can be made. It’s usually as easy as two instructors swapping students.

Appreciate the responses folks. Thanks again for your time.

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