What is it like going to ATP when you have a young family

I’m considering going to ATP flight school and possibly selling my house And moving to the nearest location and going at it full throttle. I’ve got a two-year-old and a baby due at the beginning of October. What is it like with a young family and is there Family housing? What kind of advice can you give me?

Hello Tyson,

I can’t tell you what’s it’s like to go through training with a young family because I don’t have one of my own yet, but I can tell you that it is a big time commitment even while you are home since there is a conserable amount of self study required.

To help paint a picture of what the program is like, ATP requires students to be available 8 hours a day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that students need to be at the training center for all 8 hours, but they need to be available because there will be last minute schedule changes due to weather and/or equipment availability.

There are also portions of the training that require students to be away from home for 2 weeks, sometimes longer. For example, during the instrument cross country phase, two instrument rated students will fly together for about 2 weeks while they build their instrument cross country time. CFI training could also be as long as a month depending on how backed up it is due to examiner availability.

I can’t decide for you. Every situation is different and everyone’s abilities vary, but if I had a family while I was in training, I would have needed someone at home, taking care of everything as if I was absent for the majority of time I was training. When I went through, I didn’t have a social life or any hobbies because there wasn’t time. I’m sure I would have found a way to make it work, but I would have needed a lot of help.

Also, I just want to point out that I like your determination. However, I must say I hope you’ve really done your research on whether or not this is something you’re really interested in. Selling your house and relocating are not things that people just decide to do without good reason. I mean no offense by commenting on that. It would help if you shared some more information about yourself like age, education, work experience, and what kind of experience you have in aviation, if any, so we can help you as best as we can.

Lastly, if you haven’t already, there’s a lot of good info in the FAQ section worth reading.



Honestly I can’t imagine going through the training with 2 small children. When I went through the program I had 3 teens (all fairly self-sufficient) and it was tough. ATP’s program is highly accelerated and requires ALL your time and focus. There is no family housing and I generally recommend people chose a location as far from home as they can get to avoid the distractions. These are grownup decisions but I would think long and hard before committing to the program and the money involved.


Here’s my experience: I have 2 kids at home ages 14 and 18. My wife works full time. I quit my job and started at ATP. I just finished my COM SE and I’m headed to CFI tomorrow.

I had a conversation with my family before I started. We ALL agreed that I was going back to school and we all talked about the impact it would have on family life. A few things that we discussed:

  1. Finances - being a student can be brutal on the bank account; talked about cutting back on the unnecessary things and ensuring you’re still able to take care of the necessities
  2. Reliability - in order to succeed at ATP I needed to make school a priority. I would not be able to take kids to/from school, I wouldn’t be able to make last minute schedule changes to accommodate unnecessary things (obviously my family always comes first and emergencies pop up) I told my wife not to rely on me the way she normally does. With notice, I was able to work the important things into my schedule.
  3. Time: you won’t be around. At least I wasn’t. I’m the type of student that can only effectively study when it’s quiet and distraction free. I was either at school/the airport, at the library or in our home office studying.
    Our Network: we really had to rely on the support system/network we have. Luckily I have parents and in-laws who are nothing short of amazing. We talked to them in advance about my focus on school. They were able to step up in a huge way and help out with the kids.

After all of that, it was a go. I made it through my first 4 checkrides and now I’m leaving for Vegas. ATP told us to expect to be gone for 4-6 weeks.

It hasn’t been an easy path, but it’s been incredible. I think the key is communication and being realistic. It’s an all in effort and your whole family has to be on board.

Hope this helps.


Awesome thanks for the advice and congratulations on all your accomplishments. What are you doing when they expect you to leave for 4 to 6 weeks?

I’m 23 I don’t have any experience but I have family that are commercial pilots flying for United airlines and Delta. Being a pilot is something I’ve always wanted to do but I never really pursued it or looked into it much now that I have it I realize that it’s something very achievable for me And I am willing to put in the work

Thanks! Vegas should be 2 weeks of ground school, some flights in the Seminole, and prep for the MEI checkride

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Tyson, is there an update on your situation. I am in the same boat with 3 kids and even considering moving in with my mom for the duration of the class just to make ends meet.


It’s been 4yrs since Tyson posted anything so I’m not sure he’ll be responding?

There are plenty of people in your situation who make it work and yes living with your parents is a solid way to make the finances work. Flight training isn’t cheap but the rewards can be and are well worth the sacrifice.



I don’t have kids yet but I moved back in with my parents to make it work too. It’s not ideal but it would help you financially as well as with child care needs during training.

Once you complete the program and begin instructing, you will be making an income again and have the opportunity to apply for tuition reimbursement programs which will drastically help cover the loan repayment until you’re at the airlines.



Depending on the ages of your children and how much support you have, it could be really difficult. The program is absolutely full time and will not leave much time for parenting, somebody else will basically have to take over your entire role as a parent. Beyond that, have you given any though as to how you will handle parenting issues when you are gone 15-18 days per month as an airline pilot?