Start date/location questions

Hi all,
I am looking at 2 options for starting flight training from zero.

  1. Chicago DuPage - I currently live 30 minutes away with my wife and this would be the most convenient and cost effective option given she already has a job here and we would not have to move at all. My main concern is weather and being held up in training December - February or longer.

  2. Charlotte-Concord. We would make this move in February or March and have more associated costs such as paying out our current apartment, moving, and my wife finding a new job. This would also mean a delay in start time, but possibly faster progression through the program assuming better weather.

Due to current financial and work obligations these are the best and final options we have, aside from delaying training any further.

Assuming I am able to progress through at normal speeds and am freely available to train, what insight might you have on these two options? Any and all thoughts are appreciated.



This question gets asked frequently. While I appreciate your concern, EVERY part of this country has weather issues, some worse than others and NO ONE can predict with any certainty what weather will disrupt your training.

That said ATPs program is 7mos whether you train in Chicago or Phoenix. If any ATP location was unable to adhere to the timeline there would be no school there. Further ATP has been doing what they do for over 35yrs and have this down.

Long short don’t try and predict what you think might be, choose the location that works best for you.

Btw, all ATPs aircraft have heaters that work really well :wink:



There are plenty of fine weather days in Chicago. I fly into ORD all the time and the vast majority of days are great for flight training. Without question, I would go to the Chicago DuPage location if I were you.



Thanks for the reply and insight. I will be fully flexible to fly whenever I can and will shift down time to ground work when weather inevitably restricts flight time.

Given I plan to start in December (although I do not yet have a class date secured) is this enough time to finish all writtens while working full time? Should I really push to finish them all prior to start date or should I focus on just a few?

Also, certainly glad to hear the planes have heaters for these Chicago winters!



Thanks for the insight and the reassurance on the DuPage location. I did my admissions flight out there with Cal a few weeks ago and have to admit it was hard to tell him that Charlotte is in question for training!

I look forward to the challenges it may bring and the experience it will provide me during these harsher weather months. Is there any easy way to contact current and/or former students from this location to learn more about how time is best managed when flying is a no go?



I have no idea how quickly you absorb information or how long you can devote to studying. The average working person takes about 2 weeks per year (but that doesn’t matter if it takes you more or less). Remember while we recommend taking all or some of the written exams prior, it’s def not a requirement and plenty of people who don’t do just fine. It’s simply a matter of lightening your load.

I would simply do as many as you can before starting but I wouldn’t delay my start for it.

As for managing the time you’re not flying, your instructor will give you some assignments and what you should be working on and studying. Also keep in mind this is part of the philosophy behind the training. To prepare you for the airlines. The airlines will give you an iPad with lots of manuals installed. Ground training doesn’t cover the majority of the items you’ll be tested on. It’s up to YOU to dive deep and find the info.


Thanks Adam, all this info is a huge help. Looking forward to getting started with everything.