This has been coming up more and more often so I’ve decided to add my take to the FAQs.
If you look up and to the left you will CLEARLY see ATPs logo. ATP makes no attempt to hide this fact. Why would/should they? They created the forum and recruited the mentors. That said one of the primary reasons I participate is that in over 10yrs ATP has NEVER asked me to sell ANYONE ANYTHING nor have I EVER been censored for criticizing the program. Never. You don’t know the owners of ATP but I do. Sure ATPs a business, sure they want to make money and sure they hope that some people will get a positive impression of the program and perhaps sign up, but I can tell you for a fact that was never the motivation to create this forum. It was created with 2 primary goals. 1) To give prospective pilots the opportunity to ask current actual airline pilots questions about the industry (hence the name Airline Pilot Life) and 2) to give prospective students an idea of the process, the challenges and what’s actually involved in training to become an airline pilot (and yes that means ATPs program as a primary example). Seems fair enough to me? We never bad mouth other flight schools or discourage anyone from offering alternatives. Quite the contrary. We currently have a few long running threads regarding American Airlines Cadet program as well as others. I’ve always said while I feel Embry Riddle is somewhat expensive, you cannot question the level of training they and other reputable universities (Kent State, UND, Auburn for example) provide.
So what’s my point? My point is daily we’ve been getting prospective students on here asking about other schools (which is fine, all are welcome) but getting annoyed, angry, belligerent, hostile and down right rude when we start talking about ATP. Forget the fact this is ATPs forum for a moment. The fact is the mentors and current students on this forum were ALL in the exact same place many of you are right now. We had made the decision to become airline (professional) pilots and were looking for the best route to accomplish that goal. We ALL did our research, asked lots of questions etc. I personally flew down to FL and visited a half dozen flight schools because I believed anyone could make an attractive website. For any number of reasons we settled on ATP, took the plunge, invested a TON of our time and money into that decision. Fortunately when all was said and done we were all successful and have realized our goal and are now flying for airlines (or are well on our way). Do you honestly not expect us to defend that decision? Now you’ve done some homework, discovered you like ABC Flight Academy, you kind of made a choice and then you get angry because we ask you to do some more research? Seriously are you kidding? Seriously? Is it not safe to say we’re more invested in our decision than you are?
The fact is there is a huge pilot shortage in this country, the Regionals are hiring everyone with a pulse and 1500hrs, and every day more and more flight schools are jumping on the band wagon. Not saying they’re bad programs or not legitimate but the truth is some are. Chris created a really nice checklist of questions to ask any prospective flight school (https://airlinepilot.life/t/questions-for-any-prospective-flight-school/117/14) and I recommend you use it. I’m getting long in the tooth but I can tell you that 15yrs ago when I was doing my research there was ATP, Comair, Pan Am, Ari Ben, Phoenix, Gulfstream, Riddle, Kent and Flight Safety. Half of them are gone but that was really it. Today EVERY flight school is offering a Professional, Career, or Airline pilot training program. Problem is they’re not all equipped to do it. People want to talk about Regional partnerships and alliances. Well I can tell you the largest Regional in the US just set up an agreement with a VERY small mom and pop flight school close by with a horrible reputation. Why? Because they need bodies and so yes if you somehow manage to get through all the training and build your time sure they’ll promise you a slot at 500hrs. Why? Because they have nothing to lose and one more pilot to gain. ATP got me hired with 540 hrs total time when there were pilots I knew with 3,000+ hours who couldn’t get an interview. The reason was their reputation in the industry and the quality of their product. Back then only ATP, Riddle and Flight Safety had agreements with the airlines. Why? Because the Regionals were far from desperate and didn’t want to waste money on training failures. Now they have no choice and yes failures are the highest they’ve ever been.
In light of the above I ask that you please forgive my loyalty. I’m not a salesman or spokesperson but yes I am a huge fan and YES this is ATPs forum. All are welcome but if you have a problem with people defending and explaining the choices we made then that’s on you. Or you could simply go on one of the other flight school forums or blogs… oh that’s right, they didn’t take the time, effort and money to build one. ATP did and we sincerely want to help and I know for a fact we have. All we ask is a little civility. Sounds like a good deal to me.