Real Answers from Real Pilots

Airline Career Pilot Program: 40-hour Multi vs. 100-hour Multi-engine Option

ATP offers two options for the Airline Career Pilot Program, a 40-hour multi-engine option and a 100-hour multi-engine option for about $10,000 more. Both fast track programs describe a route to a guaranteed CFI job with ATP following the training syllabus and an eventual timeline to airline placement. Given the similarities of both end states, what is the advantage of spending the extra funds for the 100-hour option?

ATP’s website describes the following advantages of the 100-hour option:

• Expands your employment options upon graduation.
• Meets most regional airlines minimum requirement for multi-engine experience.
• Makes you employable by many flight schools and charter operators with a 100-hour multi-engine experience insurance requirement.
• Trains you to a proficiency level of a multi engine ATP certificate due to you taking your instrument rating in a multi-engine aircraft.
• Provides for multi-engine versatility and night flying with longer cross-countries, often coast-to-coast.

The bullet points still leave a lot of questions unanswered, such as how exactly does the 100-hour option “expand” employment options? If the 40-hour option doesn’t meet most regional airline minimums, then why does the time line graphic for the 40-hour option end with airline placement? I infer that the 40-hour option doesn’t have the student taking their instrument rating in a multi-engine aircraft, so what does that mean for the 40-hour multi option student looking to be an ATP CFI? What does the “multi-engine versatility” bullet really mean for the 40-hour multi option student looking for placement at the airlines?

Thanks very much for your time in clarifying the pros and cons of both options.
-Chris

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Chris,

Great question, let’s dive right into it. The extra hours of multi engine time do make the student more desirable by the airlines. It used to be that multi engine time was extremely important in getting hired at the airlines, now it is a bit less so. But for many airlines 100 hours of multi engine time is still the gold standard. Yes, both options end in CFI employment at ATP, but not everybody will chose to work for ATP. For whatever reasons some students chose to go to other schools to teach, such as one that is particularly close to home. Those CFIs will have very little access to build additional multi time, so the time they flew at ATP will be all the more valuable. For a CFI that choses to work for ATP, they will build more multi time while instructing so for them the 40 hour option is a great path.

Either way, you will graduate with the exact same FAA credentials. Which path you chose really depends on what you want to do after your time as a student with ATP.

I hope this helps, please follow up if you still have unanswered questions.

Chris

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Chris,

Thank you very much for your fast reply. Your advice was a tremendous help for me in understanding the implications of remaining with ATP as a CFI versus going to another flight school for instructor duty. It seems if one is committed to working for ATP then the 40-hour option would work.

I think I was just under the impression that opportunities to instruct in a multi-engine airplane for ATP would be limited for some reason, which in turn might limit the chances of securing an interview with one of the airlines at the 300-500 hour mark.

Great stuff, thanks again!

Chris,

I am glad that I was able to shed some light on this. An ATP graduate is an ATP graduate, no matter which program they did. Your opportunities while at ATP will be the same either way.

Keep your questions coming :slight_smile:

Chris

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Hey Chris (Chris D not Chris C),

Just to chime in on the convo (something I do often), Chris © is dead on as far as employment and your status as an ATP instructor. Money is always an issue and if you can save $10k why wouldn’t you? Now when I went to ATP there was no 40hr option and to be honest I probably would’ve grabbed it. That said I would like to comment on the other bullet points you mentioned and my experience in the program:
• Trains you to a proficiency level of a multi engine ATP certificate due to you taking your instrument rating in a multi-engine aircraft.
• Provides for multi-engine versatility and night flying with longer cross-countries, often coast-to-coast.

Proficiency: Most people are obviously very anxious to jump into training, flight instruct and get hired. For most of us it’s the means to an end. BUT glossing over that flight instructing part is easier said than done. The first time you find yourself sitting next to a student who knows NOTHING and seemingly for some reason is hell bent on trying to kill you both can be rather daunting. Now there’s a fun fact most non-pilots don’t know, more people have REALLY BAD DAYS flying in an twin engine airplane that loses one engine then people flying in a single who lose their ONLY engine. Now this should sound odd to you since in a single you’re now a glider pilot. The reality is when a twin loses one of it’s engine’s some funky stuff happens initially which needs to be addressed quickly and if it isn’t bad things happen (this btw is the focus of your multi-engine training). The first time I found myself doing a Vmc demo (THE scary maneuver?) with a new student I was very happy I’d done the majority of my training in the twin. I’m not saying this to alarm you or convince you to drop another $10k. Nor am I saying you won’t be skilled, trained or prepared with 40 hrs. What I am saying is more experience is never a bad thing.

Longer Cross-countries: This was actually one of the factors that attracted me to ATP in the first place. At ATP you’ll earn your Private and then your Multi and Instrument ratings. Next comes your Commercial license but there’s a problem, you won’t have the 250hrs you need for it. So what ATP does is they pair you up with another pilot and send you flying for 2-3 weeks to build that time. Pretty cool. Now if you’re going for the 100hrs you’ll be building that time in the twin and that means, due to it’s longer range and greater speed, they’ll send you farther, potentially much farther. I did my training in Virginia but my cross-countries took me south to Florida, west to Texas and north to Chicago! Now you may be thinking that’s cool but I’m not spending more money so I can sight see. It’s not about the distance or the locations, it’s about the flight conditions you encounter. I crossed the Appalachians (mountainous terrain) going west, dodged monster thunderstorms going south and picked up some nasty ice going north. When all was said and done I finished with a tremendous amount of confidence in my knowledge and abilities. I really was a pilot!

Again I’m not trying to sell you (I’m not a salesman and have zero incentive) and I’m confident you’ll be successful with either route. I’m just saying there’s more value to that $10k then simply more hours in your logbook.

Adam

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Adam, thanks very much for your honesty and unbiased opinion. The money is a big deal and when you talk to a flight school they will naturally want to steer you into the gold standard option. The points you make are perfect and really speaks to the value for money one receives for that extra 10K of training. This will obviously be a personal choice for each student enrolling in the program, who will have to balance their comfort level as an instructor with their own baseline experience as an aviator.

Those points also raise some additional thoughts about the standard and quality of instructors an ATP student will encounter as they start out as the one in the cockpit with zero experience! But that would be a topic for another discussion. Thanks again.

As I read this information makes me wonder, about how many multi hours can I expect to have logged when I get the required mins for the Airlines if I chose the 40hr program? I am aware this is relative but just to have an idea…

Angel,

It really just all depends on the mix of students you have. I would say to plan on about 50% of your flight time as an instructor being in the multi.

Chris

If that is the case then I am inclined into the 40hr program. Thanks!

Angel,

I always recommend the 40 hour program to people that intend to instruct for ATP. You will have plenty of multi time as an ATP instructor, don’t worry about that and $10k is no small amount of money to save.

Chris

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Angel,

Although I did the 100hr program, I finished with just under 500hrs ME time when I left ATP. So either way you will have more than enough.

Yarden

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Thank You all! I am now conviced for the 40hr program and save more.

Thomas,

All locations offer multi engine training, just only some offer the expanded 100 hour program. So if you are planning on doing the 40 hour program than it shouldn’t be an issue.

Chris

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Would completing the 100 hour program give you a better chance of starting at an airline than the 40 hour program? I haven’t started any school yet I’m just trying to figure out what’s the best program to go into.

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Joshua,

In short no. The 100hr program is simply for people who do not plan on instructing for ATP. Some Regionals have mulit time requirements which can be difficult to obtain UNLESS you instruct with ATP. ATP instructors get plenty of multi time while instructing so the 40hrs during training is plenty. As it says above, if you plan to instruct for ATP, save you money and do the 40hr program.

Adam

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Do I have to instruct at ATP in order for me to get a job at any airlines?

Joshua,

This is America and nobody has to do anything. In order to get hired by an airline you must build 1500hrs. How you build those hours is up to you. Instructing is the most common method and jobs aren’t always easy to come by which is one reason ATP is so popular. That said if you want to instruct elsewhere or can find some other flying gig to build time that’s fine. Totally up to you.

Adam

Hi All,

I’m deciding between the 40hr and 100 hr program but after reading this thread I’m leaning towards 40hr as I plan to instruct with ATP. Do 40 hr program locations offer the same Piper Seminoles as the 100 hr locations? Thank you!

Blake

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Blake,

I think that you are very wise to go with the 40 hour program. You will have the exact same education, but save a boat load of money.

Any and all variations of Seminoles are likely to be found at any location at anytime. I wouldn’t worry too much about this. The different versions of the Seminoles all have their strong points and it is good to have experience in all of them.

Chris

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I am finishing up with ATP now, going thru instructor standardization, and I chose the 100 hr program. even though, from day 1 I wanted to instruct with ATP, I still chose the 100 hr program to get that much more familiar and proficient in the seminole. it really is a personal choice. if you do decide to stay with ATP doing the 100 or 40 hr really isn’t an issue cause in the end you will still have a ton of multi engine time by the time you get to 1500 hrs. the main difference is the crew cross country phase, you either get to do the crew XC phase in seminole or the single engine could be a Cessna or an Archer. Also, for 40 hr program, you’d do your instrument training in an Archer but for 100 hr you’d do it in a seminole. after the crew XC phase, the timeline for both is the same, you’d get your private multi, if already not done before instrument, and start on commercial requirements, total time, cross countries, night time etc. you will get a Commercial in multiengine first then single engine as an added on rating. and CFI school where you would get the Multi engine instructor first and then single engine and instrument instructor. it may vary depending on your progress and school schedule but crew XC phase is the major difference between the two where the bulk of your multi time comes from.

like everyone said, if you plan to instruct for ATP, you will have enough multi hours in the instructing phase. the reason ATP has specified locations for 100 hr programs is, from what I believe, maintenance reasons. they are very good about making sure enough planes are available for students and how close is a maintenance base to make sure all the required inspections are done in a timely manner, and while one plane may be down for an inspection, ATP works really hard to make sure that there are other planes available for students to fly. over 300 planes so its never an issue :slight_smile:

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