I took an intro flight (although I already have some flight time) and visited ATP TTN last weekend. I was very impressed with the modern plane we flew. It was a new Piper Archer, and it had glass instruments. The planes at my other school are pretty much from the 80s. I live about an hour from TTN, so I wouldn’t need housing. My instructor told me at that location it’s typically about 1 year from 0 to CFI. He also said that paying the loan really isn’t that difficult. One thing that sort of concerned me is that instructors at ATP are independent contractors.
Why does that concern you? It’s simply the way ATP choses to handle pay etc with their instructors. It also allows them to take advantage of certain tax benefits available. That aside ALL ATP instructors are not only FAA qualified but they all go through Instructor Indoc to standardize and ensure all students receive the same level of training. Again I’m not sure why you would care how they’re paid?
I’m curious: Did you happen to visit Infinity Flight School at TTN? Just wondering your impressions. They have a lot of planes at that location.
What specific concerns about CFIs for ATP being independent contractors do you have?
I’ve heard that independent contractors don’t get the same rights or benefits as actual employees. I could be wrong though.
I didn’t actually. Just ATP.
I read somewhere that ATP instructors don’t receive any benefits, and basically work 7 days a week on minimum wage. I read that in an online forum somewhere. You can’t always go by what you read online though.
True. Definitely something to consider. Subsidized health insurance is always an option. Or teaching for a different flight school that offers basic benefits if that is important to you.
The program has changed over the years, including pay. The program has weekends off built in, though most choose to work 6 days a week.
Many flight schools employ flight instructors as independent contractors. If that is a concern, take a look at ATP’s Envoy Cadet Program. CFIs that participate in said program are considered to be employees of Envoy and enjoy the benefits of such.
As Tory said, you can always instruct elsewhere but it’s always nice to have the option of a guaranteed instructor position and the available Tuition Reimbursement. Regardless that’s for further down the line and your primary focus (I believe) should be on find the best flight school available. ATP has been training pilots for the airlines for over 30yrs and ATP grads were getting hired long before getting a job at a Regional was a given.
Contract workers receive a 1099 tax form which is good with the new tax code. Receiving a 1099 allows you to deduct expenses (if you are able to itemize). New tax code took away the ability to use your expenses as a deduction if you receive a standard W2. On the other side…check about liability insurance and how you are covered if an accident occurs. I don’t think workers comp will cover you if you are an independent contractor.
Also given that the new standard deduction is 12k per person, you will have to have A LOT of deductions to make itemizing worth it. Not likely if your only source of income is flight instructing.
I actually decided to go with Infinity Flight Group. My first lesson was March 27. Very much enjoying my experience. Everyone is very professional and passionate about flying and safety. They give you a lot of confidence as well.