Sharing my ATP Experience

Hi all,

I just finished the program yesterday and wanted to share my experience with everyone. Overall, I want to say my experience was very enjoyable. There were definitely highs and lows and emotional times, but in the end, the environment to which I learned and trained in was just awesome, as were the people. What a great year I have had! And yes, a year! Actually, I finished 13 months to the day yesterday. I’ll try to keep this short (maybe not so) and to the point. Before I start, I just want to note that I did my training at TKI.

I started in January of 2019 from zero time. I didn’t get my private until about May 23rd 2019. I was very unfortunate to be in my solo phase when we literally had 3 weeks of either low ceilings or high winds and I wasn’t able to complete my solos. Weather also pushed my check ride back by a week at least once, maybe twice. I failed my XC solo eval because of a really dumb mistake where I just had a brain fart, but that put my behind about 2 weeks. DPE availability wasn’t the greatest at this time either. I was averaging 1 flight per week in this phase.

Instrument was just an awesome phase and went fairly smooth. I got my instrument on August 8th, 2019 and would have earned it close to a month earlier had DPE availability been better. Weather was pretty darn good during this phase, but the DPE we used at my location was out and we had to go to another location with a very unprofessional DPE who put me and 3-4 others about 3-4 weeks behind because of how unprofessional he was.

I was one of the first who started in the TAA program and there isn’t much to say about it. Auto pilot is nice on cross countries. I flew a G1000 C172 for the TAA. We just did a few cross countries and some pattern work, nothing special.

I got very lucky on my crew cross country phase and have to say hands down, that was the absolute most amazing part of the program. I had my first crew partner for 4 days. We left from GKY and ferried a plane to ADS, like a 20-30 min flight where we swapped out an archer and flew to MLU. From there we hopped to DHN and stayed the night where we had some good food. Our mission was to get this archer to PIE, but there was a stationary front throughout north Florida just hammering the area for days prior and another day or two after we reached DHN. Instead of wasting a day in DHN, we convinced flight ops (some serious negotiating) to let us go to LZU to burn time (since we still had so much). Flight ops wanted us to go to SVN after that, where there were thunderstorms literally just a few miles from it off the coast. They were just like ‘just divert if you need to’. So we filed to SVN but put SSI as our alternate cause we knew we weren’t going to SVN and ended up diverting 30 minutes into the flight. Man, what an amazing flight and approach into SSI! We ended up staying the night there and had some amazing BBQ just down the street from the airport. The next day we went to PIE. Another absolutely beautiful approach into that airport. We swapped an archer and flew it to FXE where we left it and caught a ticket on an airliner up to Jacksonville where we stayed the night. The following day, ATP sent out two instructors to split my crew partner and I up to take back two brand new archers (I’m talking they literally had 5 hours on them) back to north central Texas. We left out of CRG and made the journey home in a single day via MGM to MLU to TKI. I had a few additional Texas flights to finish off crew.

Great experience for me. Lots to learn when you have to make serious decisions on your own with no instructor around. I loved the responsibility that came with crew. Looking at the weather, your flight plan, filing an alternate if need be, recognizing potential weather hazards, knowing your airports and the flight planning that goes with that (FXE is crazy!). We dodged weather various times. Just amazing views and experiences. I know not everyone’s crew was like mine, that’s why I said I was very lucky.

TAA and crew XC took about a month to get through to which I started commercial and received my commercial on October 10th, 2019. Training went well and was fun to learn the new maneuvers.

CFI academy was something else and I don’t think ATP had their stuff together. Things were in the processing of changing up with the class before mine and it was just a nightmare. You had people saying do this, and people saying you can’t do that so do this. Then you have people saying ‘I never said that’ but when you start working directly with them they did actually say that. Make sense? Never did at the time either. It was just very stressful because of the disorganization and the fact you had to prepare to teach topics to a deeper knowledge level while learning the right seat. I experienced the awful feeling of busting my first checkride. I did the retake a few days later and received my CFI on December 6th, 2019. That was pretty hard to come back from if I’m being honest.

I got my CFII on December 30th, 2019 and that took some time because I decided to be nice and exchange my checkride date from Friday to Saturday, and because I was so nice, I got screwed by mother nature on that Saturday which lead into ATP’s end of the year break along with our DPE going on vacation.

Comm multi took me until February 6th, 2020 to get. Looking back, I’m a little upset at how this went because ATP decided to fast track about 4-6 people, who just finished there comm single, through comm multi before they headed off to CFI academy at the end of January. Not to mention, at this time, ATP decided to take away our second Seminole, making scheduling that much worse.

Not long after this, as I’m sure many of you have heard, there was a Seminole that landed gear up on the runway which threw a few things off for a week or two. Our DPE was out and we had to bring in another guy with whom I took my MEI yesterday and have completed the program.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. I just wanted to share my experiences. Weather and maintenance issues did play parts throughout the rest of my training to which I didn’t mention. But, weather and DPE availability were the biggest issues. I think I just got unlucky where everything fell into place because there was quite a few people who started only 1 month or so before me and finished on time, within 9 months. Anyway, what’s done is done. I had my main instructor for private, instrument, some commercial, and both comm multi and MEI. That was a big plus. I did 3 checkrides with the same DPE and the other 4 with all different DPEs. It was nice to get exposure to how different DPEs work.

Just on a note if anyone is interested, I took all my written exams, except private, during school. Not the greatest thing. If you have time to prep before starting ATP, get these out of the way, or at least as many as you can.

On to the next chapter!


Thanks for sharing your experience Kyle! Very insightful for us ATP potential students. Enjoy the next stage of the process! :grinning:


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Great accomplishment, thank you for sharing. Good luck on next phase!!


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Congratulations Kyle!

Sounds like ATP has moved phases around some but it is still overall the same experience that I had between March 2017-2018.

This includes both the positive and negatives. I think its still the fastest, reliable way from 0-hero.

Nice job, enjoy the climb to 1500,

Thanks! And I agree, not to mention probably one of the safest.


That you for sharing your experiences. I will pass this on to management as they always like to learn what they can do better on.

What is the next step for you?


Thanks Chris. I’ll see what ATP has to offer, location wise, but my plans are to instruct for quite some time if not all of my time to 1500.

Kyle, you were in college while attending ATP as well?


Hi Sean, I was not. I did ATP full time. I knew someone though who was and I wouldn’t recommend it from observing them over the past year.

Just an update in case anyone is wondering…

ATP initially didn’t offer me a position because they said I took 120% off the course program time to complete the program, but that they realize DPE availability and weather are issues and that they’d get back to me.

They did get back to me a few days or week later and offered me a job. I was able to choose RAL in so-cal, which I was hoping was available once I completed the program, because my mom lives out there and it will help me a lot with not having to worry about paying my mortgage in TX as well as paying rent where ever I ended up. So I’m really excited for that! I have my indoc date on 4/13. Hopefully the corona-virus panic won’t set anything back.


Congratulations on getting hired. Good luck as you build your time and please keep in touch.


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Conroe wasn’t available?

Nope. I still haven’t seen it come available yet. Unless others are snagging it too quickly.

That’s where I’m planning to go and was hoping to instruct but I guess it seems like a popular spot…