Real Answers from Real Pilots

Stop-gap in Flight School


I have been strongly considering starting flight school with ATP and am trying to determine a suitable timeline. I have a prior obligation to row a whitewater trip through the Grand Canyon in May. This trip takes several weeks start to finish. I am all for the immersive fast-track schedule and am excited that such an option exists! I also understand that there is a flex-schedule option. As I would not be utilizing ATP resources during that time, I am wondering how I would navigate that stop-gap if my trip were to happen during flight training?



I have rafted the Grand Canyon, it is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it. This November I have two nights at Phantom Ranch booked, which I am really looking forward to.

That being said, I would recommend either cancelling your rafting trip, or waiting until after the trip to begin flight training. Flight training is best accomplished when one is building on consistency and that means flying several times per week. This is the way the airlines, the military, and any fast paced flight school operate. Taking a few weeks off in the middle of your training would have a very adverse affect on your skills and learning. I would not recommend it at all. This is one of those places in life where you will need to make one of those tough choices.


Here is my wife and I about a third of the way down Bright Angel Trail last summer:




I completely agree with Chris on this one. While your trip sounds awesome it really comes down to priorities and goals. The ATP program is highly accelerated and requires a full-time commitment. Further obviously the program requires a large financial commitment. Risking derailing your training by falling behind or busting some checkrides could seriously impact your career.

If/when you decide to enroll you need to clear your calendar.



I also agree with Chris and Adam. Aviation comes with many sacrifices. Your free time being the biggest one. Small breaks to attend things like a wedding is understandable, but a several weeklong trip is simply just too long. If the trip is important enough to you I would just delay your training until after.


Thank you all for your responses! I completely understand that such a long break during training could have adverse effects on the outcome, as well as increasing overall cost. As this coming river trip is of great significance to me, I will make sure to plan my enrollment period for afterwards. Chris - so great to see you and your wife enjoying the Canyon!

On a related note - Once someone has gained acceptance into the ATP accelerated training program, how long does that acceptance last?


There is no expiration. As long as you meet the requirements you’re you’re good to start.


Excellent, thanks!