Why ATP is a great school!


So I just started my instrument training at Mesa-Gateway near Phoenix. My very first day was pure epic!

Initially, my instructor scheduled us to take a flight to nearby KAVQ (Marana Regional) Just northeast of Tucson. However, I made a minor mistake and forgot to bring my birth certificate so I was placed on a flight hold. Even though my previous instructor had already endorsed my citizenship. ATP has rules and regulations for a reason and this is great practice for students to become accustomed to adhering to them.

Not all was lost, my instructor still took the time to show me how to do an ATP preflight. As we were returning from the ramp. Flight operations asked my instructor if he would be willing to ferry a plane from another ATP facility in Ogden, Utah. Of course, this was a no-brainer and he accepted, immediately looked at me and asked me if I wanted to go. With no hesitation, I was all over it like a wolverine on a waffle!

Went home, packed my back and grabbed my birth certificate. Headed back to ATP to have my certificate scanned thus removing my flight hold. Drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor to catch a flight to Salt Lake City. Took an Uber to Ogden and checked into a very nice Hampton Inn to stay for the night. All of this paid for by ATP so that we could ferry a bird down to Mesa for maintenance.

The next morning bright and early my instructor and I headed to Ogden airport and began my first flight with ATP. This was absolutely perfect in setting the tone for my experience at ATP. Departed Ogden for St George Regional on the border of Utah and Arizona. This was the first IFR flight of my pilot career. With 3hours of hood time (simulated instrument) it was quite the challenge flying precisely. This was also my first mountain flying experience. What a great way to check off a few flying bucket list items. Not to mention my first instrument approach was the LDA RWY 19! It was absolutely an amazing first leg and flight with ATP!

After a fuel stop and grabbing lunch we set off on another IFR flight plan to KIWA (Mesa-Gateway) This would prove to be a challenging flight for me. Flying over the mountains of Arizona with quite moderate turbulence and up and down drafts exceeding 500 ft per min was very challenging to maintain altitude while under the hood. I loved every minute of it. I don’t think I deviated more than 200ft at any moment. However after advising ATC of the weather conditions my instructor made it a point to file a pilot report with flight service. Letting ATC know whats going on is very helpful so they can understand current conditions as to why a flight is having varying altitude irregularities.

After shutting down at Mesa, and 6.8 hours of flying. I had already witnessed great professionalism from my instructor. I was able to experience a great flight to jumpstart my time at ATP. Now everyone’s experiences may vary and not everyone might be fortunate to have a flight like this in their ATP training. After coming from a local Part 61 flight school for my private, ATP is a welcome addition to my training interests. The facilities are great for studying, having other students to get to know and talk aviation with. This appears to be a great start for me at ATP. I still have quite a bit to go over the next 6 months and I’ll be sure to share experiences good and bad.



While certainly not a standard first few days at ATP, that sounds like an amazing experience. I have always wanted to fly low over Arizona and have never really gotten the chance. Did you get to fly near Grand Canyon or Sedona?



I did fly over the western portion of the Grand Canyon. I’m not sure why I didn’t mention that! I have never been to the Grand Canyon, so my first experience flying 11000 ft and looking down in to the vast canyons was truly breathtaking!

I flew down V235 from MMM to PGS VOR, which takes you right over the Grand Canyon. Luckily my instructor allowed me a little 5 min break from the hood to take in the sights! Upon arriavl into Phoenix ATC vectored us east of Prescott and just west of Sedona. Which brought us on the eastern portion of the Bravo into Mesa. The legs from Prescott were very bumpy and quite the challenge.

Either way, this was truly an unforgettable experience!


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Now I am even more jealous, I hope you took some good pictures :slight_smile:


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VERY cool!


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