Steven - questions

@Brady , I’m reading through all the posts in this thread. (Working my way through so maybe I’ll see it…) You came in with PPL credit. Did you go the regular route or the 100 ME route? Why did you decide one over the other? And if you had to do it again would you change what you did or did the program reinforce your choice?


Seems a little nostalgic right now reviewing my old thread to see if I can reference anything above…as it’s been a few months since I’ve checked in. Little teaser, you brought me back a few weeks sooner that I was expecting to be here. :wink: spoiler alert

As you have probably read, I have another thread posting title Current PPL-SEL, I need some advice. To simply sum up the thread posting, I wasn’t sure of my decision. I applied for my initial loan and got declined, after numerous hours on the phone with underwriters and their manager, I was able to come to an agreement and signed the documents. I took my intro flight in November 2019, enrolled following week with @ATPEric. A few weeks prior to my start date ATP released the 100-HR ME program, I contacted Kirk from Financing to see what I could do, I needed to find funding for $12,000+ to upgrade. I tried getting my lender to approve an increase, but the best they could do was $2,000…no biggie.

I would say I made the right choice going in the direction that I did. In the aviation industry today, so many more paths exist than it did 2 years ago, that the 100-HR ME program is reasonable to eye up. The benefit of doing the 100-HR ME is that you will get the obvious: more twin-engine time which helps with finding low-time P91 and P135 gigs that may be of interest if CFI does not work out. A lot of Private companies require an X amount of Multiengine time because of insurance purposes, not that they don’t think you can fly a jet. If you do the training and demonstrate your ability to fly a jet, then the only thing stopping you is the hours and the company’s insurance broker. Private flying soared during covid peaks, which saw a lot of furloughed pilots making the jump to P91 and P135 operations. JetIt soared through ratings and growing, similar to NetJets and FlexJet.

If I had been approved for the extra $12,000, at the time I would have taken the 100-HR ME, but I can say proudly that I am extremely thankful with the route that I took. I also have another thread posting titled: New Journey in Life.


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Helpful thank you Brady.

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@Brady now a bit further along, if you had to go back and give your past self some advice, are there things that jump out that you would have done differently? Were there things you got “right” or “wrong” that you would change?

Are you able to comment on some of the major comments/criticisms of ATP? Something I have heard, not merely from online forms, but from friends who went through and graduated ATP, is that there is a good amount of truth to the criticism that ATP can treat students poorly, CFI’s even more poorly, and especially rush through students into checkrides they are not ready for.

Did you experience any of that or see others like that? If someone is working for ATP I would not expect them to publicly criticize their employer, though interested in any thoughts you are willing to share or relay experiences or anecdotes.


I’m sure Brady will respond but addressing critiques is one my favorite pastimes so please indulge me.

ATP makes it very clear (as we do on this forum) that the school is not for everyone. EVERYBODY LOVES the idea of getting done in 7mos but many don’t seem to understand what that means and how it’s accomplished. ATP (again) was created BY airline pilots to train airline pilots. While most schools will allow you to earn just your PPL (or other single rating), ATP will not. The program is VERY accelerated and to be successful you will be challenged, your hand will not be held and you will never have the warm fuzzies. I have an ATP alumni sticker on my flight case and I fly with many former students. While most feel like I do, every now and then I get one who makes a negative comment. I always will ask why and I often get the same answers you mention. “They rushed me and made me take my checkride before I was ready”. My response is always “when you for to your Regional (or here at the Major) did you feel rushed and unready?”. The answer 100% of the time is “well yea but that’s different”.

Again ATP was created to prepare you for what’s ahead. The reason the training is accelerated isn’t so you can get done quickly. It’s to prepare you for the pace of airline training. While everyone is talking about the pilot shortage and historic hiring, they’re not talking about the historic failure rates. Getting hired is easy now, passing training still isn’t. The reason ATP was able to pioneer relationships with the airlines and get reduced minimums (when that was legal) for their students is because the airlines recognized the fact that ATP grads had already demonstrated their ability to handle the pace. I’m not going to lie, when I went through the program there were times when I thought “holy crap I’m really not ready for this checkride”. My instructor assured me I was and I dove in, albeit reluctantly. They were right and I passed. It wasn’t till after I started my newhire training that I “got it”. I honestly believe had I not trained with ATP I would not have been successful as a newhire.

As for the instructor portion that goes the same for virtually any job including my current one. Every day I fly with pilots who (like me) love their jobs and others who think it’s one step above slavery. It’s ridiculous and I’m willing to bet some of your friends who talk about the how bad it was instructing never had a real job in their lives. My favorite comment I posted about last year. I was flying with a new FO who was bashing ATP (of course he was successful in the program, got hired at a Regional and 3yrs later was at a Major so I would argue he got what he paid for). He said that “ATP screwed him”. I asked how? He said that he had a CONDITIONAL offer of employment with a Regional and that one of those conditions was he continued to instruct with ATP until he reached his 1000hrs. Halfway through he found a job that paid more and he quit ATP and lost his conditional offer (all of which makes perfect sense to me). I again asked how he got screwed? He said that ATP didn’t have to tell the Regional that he had quit. When I then asked “soooo, you want ATP to jeopardize their relationship with their Regional partner for you?”. I’m sorry but that’s not the way things work.

Long short Steven again ATP isn’t for everyone and like most things you’ll find people who love the program and those who don’t. ATP has trained thousands of pilots for the airlines (1200 hired in the last 12mos alone. That’s 1,000 a month). That’s not opinion, that’s fact. Ultimately it’s your call but for me, particularly with the industry where it is, it’s a no brainer. Unless being warm and fuzzy is more important to you than seniority? Which it shouldn’t be.


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Now that’s the Adam response I would hope for! One of the things that I like most about ATP is their apparent “suck it up, and commit yourself” type of attitude. (I’m paraphrasing). If you’re getting surgery, you probably want the doctor who committed himself in med school.

I’ve spoken with some similar schools & programs, and they all seem to be trying to be ATP ish. One I went to look at had all the right plans, but their hook was “we’re like ATP but not as strict and more laid back” thinking that will be appealing. And maybe it is to some, but not to me. I came away thinking, “Oh… I actually want someone telling me ‘Get it together and work hard, snowflake’.”…

I wonder though (and I’m all talk, I’m not yet a student, so who am I to say?) if ATP could be missing an opportunity - While there are a lot of negative comments about some apparent real concerns, rushing through checkrides is one of them I’ve heard not only through forums but personal conversations with former grads. Do you think the complaints are 100% out of touch by people for the reasons you mentioned?

Do you think there is anything that ATP is not doing well or could be doing better? Are any criticisms of ATP legimate or are they all made by people who are possibly bitter or didn’t work hard enough?


I really can’t argue with over 35yrs of experience, 70 locations and again literally thousands of sucess stories. There’s also a reason why virtually every other flight school in the country has created their version of the Airline Career Pilot program that ATP pioneered almost 4 decades ago. Are they perfect? Nothing is but after all this time they definitely have it down pretty well.

To answer your question no, I don’t believe ATP is missing out on an opportunity. They may be sacrificing some profits but that demonstrates their integrity. It would be so easy to be like every other flight school and coddle students as long as they keep paying but that would be contrary to their charter which is to deliver pilots to the airlines who have proven their commitment and drive. Their reputation is more important than their bottomline and that’s to be commended vs criticized. But then again I’ve also never been called a snowflake sooo…


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Like Adam mentioned and it’s been talked about previously, this forum exists because of ATP. All the mentors have had success in the program and enjoy talking about their experience, in return giving advice. I will say I am a bit bias, I have had a wonderful time at ATP since I was a student, was blessed to return shortly after my completion to instruct for the company.

The program is accelerated, I just saw a recent thread titled “A dream until it’s reality,” and the responses are accurate. I’ve commented on numerous threads that continuously mention how ATP takes what you would do at a 4-year University or Academy, and compress it into 7-months, what other school can do it and have the same success as ATP.

The criticism that you heard about ATP treating students and CFI poorly is probably from Facebook and Reddit where those who have not been able to complete the program or don’t agree with ATP’s policies/procedures “vent.” A CFI is an entry level position, similar to what Adam mentioned above, it’s not the final round or the tip of the peak where you have the “best” schedule or pay. ATP does a great job to bring more to the table than what I could see others by having the Airline Partnerships, again what school has 37 Airline Partnerships? The offset of pay these days is tuition reimbursement, if I scrolled through a decent bit of those partnerships I in fact could find extra funds that I could advance before I reach the regionals/majors to help pay for living expenses. The truth in fact is that not all CFIs at ATP have the same experience, some will leave and speak negative about the company because they didn’t think they got the best pay or flight hours. There are opportunities for promotions, after 6-months of being a CFI, I was handed the Training Center Flight Standards Instructor (Lead Instructor) role and lead the training center for 7-months. Some other positions are the 2-year CFI, Multi-Engine Standards Instructors, Regional Leads, etc.

In a recent Nationwide Meeting our directors told us explicitly: “If someone is not ready for a checkride, don’t sign them off - plain and simple, don’t.” These “oh you’re rushing them/me to a checkride” is not accurate, sometimes the student may be ready, but fails because of nerves or their own preparation. When someone fails, typically the first reaction is - to blame someone else, whether it’s the DPE or CFI. I’ve seen a few recent checkride failures and go “well tell me about the details of the checkride,” and the first thing they say is “the DPE.” I believe a lot of checkride failures are self-accountable, they can be prevented. I have 1 student right now as I am preparing my leave, they are a Commercial Single-Engine, while I may only have 2 more flights with them and their checkride is the 11th scheduled, I am sitting down assisting them in any way be as prepared as they can be. I’ve offered to do virtual ground with them rather than have them drive an hour each way, that way I can make sure their needs and expectations are met.

One of my previous colleagues who left the company to work for the company, his new flight school their own version of the “Airline Career Pilot Program” and just took delivery of brand new Piper Archer P100i’s. An overlook fact is that ATP has the most locations and success in all those locations, sending 1,169 airline placements in the last 12-months. All the facts of ATP are available online and updated regularly. What flight school flies 37,800 hours a month?

All on the table, I’ve been very happy with my time at ATP. The only thing I wish I did better was prepare harder for checkrides and not “slack” even though I am 7/7. I plan to take all that I have learned from my previous checkrides and time as a CFI to better prepare myself for the ATP checkride. I have an update coming to this thread very shortly.


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Brady that is a lucid and very thorough response. Thank you for taking the time to go into such detail.

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@Brady, follow up question on one point. You said:

The criticism that you heard about ATP treating students and CFI poorly is probably from Facebook and Reddit where those who have not been able to complete the program or don’t agree with ATP’s policies/procedures “vent.

While I’m not on facebook, reading through a mix of reddit, pilotforums, online business reviews, a number of them seem to iterate the same concerns. Also beyond “he said/she said” personal conversations I’ve had with pilots who went to ATP, and even graduated from ATP, share many of the same sentiments as well.

I don’t see it as needing to be one or the other. Either a good vs bad. ATP can be a great program that gets the job done and requires herculean effort for 7 months with no excuses (what I find appealing about it and makes me want to do it), and still rub some people the wrong way. Especially those who didn’t or even couldn’t, make it.

Do you think there is any weight to these concerns at all or does it truly fall into the category as you said about venting? That ATP is what it is, pushes the best and brightest to do the work, and yes… some can’t hack it and they get asked/told to leave.

Did you see any students raise these questions when you were going through the program? Or have you noticed them now that you are training others?

Appreciate you. Thank you.


I think most of this falls into the category of venting. Sure, every organization occasionally has their issues, but when I have seen those pop up at ATP, the response has always been very swift, thorough and the student’s needs were addressed.

My favorite was a YouTuber, who was talking about ATP and said that he did not recommend it. Now he had passed all of his checkrides on the first time and done perfectly well in the program, but he just wanted to complain. If you watch enough of this guy’s videos, you will see he complains about everything.



Appreciate it. Thank you

@forourspam via other thread. Now a few years on, was there anything coming into ATP-concerns, trepidations, criticisms you saw or read… that turned out to have some degree of truth to them? Things that you didn’t love about your experience or ATP could have done better?

And on the other side, were there any things that jumped out more than others, that were even better than you thought? Things that ATP didn’t/doesn’t get enough credit for being good at?

Honestly, I’m probably not the best person to ask that question because my experience as a student at ATP was nearly flawless. Also, I came with reasonable expectations that weather will not always be flyable, that planes break, and that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. But, I finished up a month ahead of schedule, and as a result even got some of my living expenses/rent credited back to my loan. Fleet maintenance was one of the biggest things I’d say many take for granted if they haven’t been a part of another flight training operation.
See, when you look at reviews generally the folks that post are the ones whose expectations weren’t met. If I were to post a glowing review, I wouldn’t be surprised if some would consider it not genuine so I help future and current students through here.



I respectfully disagree. I think you’re the perfect person to ask. The key statement is you went in with reasonable expectations and also asked a ton of great questions and were up for the task ahead of you.

Mature, hardworking students are successful. That’s the moral of the story.



Sergey were there any things you made sure to focus on more than others when it came to mindset, dedication and retaining knowledge? Was there anything that you pushed yourself harder than you saw most people doing?

If you could go back and do it again, would you change anything or improve anything with yourself and how you approached the program? Are there things you would advise someone coming in fresh to really focus on (or even not spend so much brainpower on /stress over) that would make them a safer, smarter, more successful pilot?

I think what really helped me was consistency and following advice from mentors on here. I flew almost daily, I studied daily, I spent lots of time at the training center beyond scheduled lessons. I took all of the writtens ahead of training as advised. Just as Chris and Adam mentioned, I just followed mentor advice and didn’t quit.
One thing I wish I did more is enjoy the process a little and pause to take in the journey. I was so focused on getting to the next step that I lost sight of how cool what I was learning to do actually was.


Adam, you’ve spoken before about being out of flying about 10 years when you came back.

In this thread:

  • you talk about being short about 5 hours from the 78 required for PP Credit, when you started and instead of flying with a local instructor, you encouraged the Original Poster to go the ATP route for those extra few hours.

Did you pick up a block of hours? 5-10? to get your time and get rid of the rush (Hourly time build that ATP offers currently for $250?

Or did you grab a larger block more like the Private Pilot Finish Up (currently 10k for about 24/12, flight/ground)

Im also about 10 years away, have begun re-studying all PP books and materials, also short 5 hours from the 78. I was originally planning on shaking off rust/building time with a local CFI or school, as I’m unable to start for a couple months anyway. But I’m questioning that decision. I’m already seeing the limitations, "CFI is sick today, the two planes we have are being used… and getting pushed back.

My limitation is I’m 2 hours away from nearest ATP location, so I’m trying to balance it out. I wonder if even at the cost of finances, it might make sense to pay for a block of 5-8 hours, make the commute for a few days, study for a month or two, then maybe pay for another block of 5-8 hours.

So to make a long story… even longer… how did you manage it and do you still feel the same way, paying for ATP time build vs local CFI?


I did a ton of reading prior and got my knowledge up to where to needed to me. I then did my remaining hours with my instructor at ATP. I felt it was worth the extra cost to get acquainted with my new instructor and ATP while knocking the rust off and yes I still feel that was the best decision and I’m glad I did it.


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@Adam @Chris @Hannah @Tory @JLascomb @forourspam @Brady

When you went for your walk-throughs and tours of ATP, when you went to visit a location for the first time, were there any questions you would have asked, looking back on it?

Is there anything that jumps out that you came away afterward, or even weeks/months later saying, "I should have asked ___, or found out about ____, or got more clarification on ____?

Is there any way you could have made your tour/meeting with ATP staff better and more informative for you?

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