First, I have to agree with Tory that things may be very different by the time you start. What I can add is that Colorado has more sunny days than you can imagine, and as much as people worry about weather here, so far I have not been delayed too much by bad weather. The toughest time was September when my Solo XC flights were delayed due to some pretty bad winds. But right now in December, it’s cold in the morning which makes for some smooth air, and pretty sunny in the afternoon.
I began in July and I’m currently sitting about two weeks ahead of schedule. The best thing you can do, like everyone says, is get your writtens out of the way if you can, and plan on putting your life on hold while you study and work hard at finishing the program. I did not have a chance to complete my writtens beforehand and they really do take time to prepare for.
As far as instructors, like with any company, some people work harder than others. My experience currently is that my CFI makes herself ALWAYS available for grounds, flights, after hours, etc. Additionally, any time I’m at the school if I have a question any CFI is happy to help even if it takes a significant amount of time out of their day, and I’m not technically their student. Lastly, being at the school during the day allows you to sit in on “pop up” grounds. You can learn so much by being part of small study groups!
To be completely honest, my first and second CFI’s were not able to provide the services or standards ATP stands for and were eventually let go. I spent a total of three weeks between both of them. I was then assigned to my current CFI and she not only got me caught up, but pushed me to even be ahead of schedule. After being in the program the past five months, I think these two were not the norm in terms of quality of instructors. I probably should not have waited theee weeks and spoke up sooner, but thankfully it all worked out.
Work hard, make friends, ask lots of questions, be prepared to be humbled and you will do well.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have specific questions. I’m happy to help if I can!