Hello aviators and mentors,
Joined up here to submit some questions and voice a few concerns. Also, please pardon me if I seem brash at any time, I’m just being honest.
This website is obviously endorsed to some extent by ATP considering the name is in the logo and all but a handful of questions are about receiving an education through ATP. With that being said, I don’t fully understand why I keep reading comments such as, “I am in no way trying to sell you on ATP, but…” by the mentors. I say lets call it what it is and that this website is a great recruitment tool for the school so therefore it’s an advertisement, and therefore we are being sold something. But why?
We all know ATP is not the only flight school that exists and building time with a regional carrier is not the only way to reach the majors, so why paint that picture? I would just like to create a non-biased conversation regarding flight training, flight schools, and reaching the airlines.
I spoke with an ATP graduate from JAX, who transferred from Emory-Riddle, and the first thing he said was don’t do it. The comment that resonated the most with me was “It’s like throwing dirt at a wall, only some of it will stick”. He continued to say the main purpose of the school is to just get your through your certifications, exams, and check rides with whatever is dubbed passing. Personally, 6 months does not seem like an adequate amount of time to fully comprehend and master the skills being taught, just pass. On that note, I spoke with a current ATP student at the JAX location and he was 4+ months into his training and wasn’t even half way towards the commercial 250. That student was also training in Los Angeles and was relocated to JAX due to availability. So, here are some questions regarding the above thoughts and others:
- Do students truly complete all exams, check rides, and necessary hours within the 6-month period? Not what “can” be done, but what is practical to create a proficient pilot?
- Can students be relocated to other airports based on aircraft or instructor demands? If so, is it common?
- What ratio or number of pilots graduating from ATP pursue commercial aviation vs. private aviation?
- Do you know the difficulty or likelihood of going from private aviation into the majors?
- What ratio or number of US citizen pilots pursue aviation outside of the US, say Canada?
- Any experience with students graduating and pursuing contract flying overseas, say Afghanistan?
- On average, what percentage of students must retake their exams or re-do their check rides?
- If the program goes beyond 6-months or additional instruction is needed beyond the 275 quoted hours, prior to CFI work, will they be billed accordingly?
- Is there a proper vetting system for students to see if they have the aptitude or ability to learn and thrive in the program before pledging the money? Is there a back-out plan if things go wrong or minds change?
Circling back to my original thoughts, I know ATP works and I am in no way attempting to belittle it. The success of you gentlemen (the pilot mentors) are testimonies of that. But let’s talk about other programs…those that lie outside of the collegiate variety (e.g. University of N. Dakota, Texas A & M, Emory-Riddle, etc.).
For the record of anyone reading this, JetBlue (US) and EasyJet (EU) both have 2-year pilot programs that hover around the $135,000 range. Also Emirates Airways, while seldom, will select international students for their program, which by the way is 100% free, except for 5 years of garnished wages (so I suppose not free). Due to the cost and selective nature of those programs, they will not be the topic here. I want to discuss, in particular, Aviator College of Aeronautical Science and Technology. (click catalog at the top of the page to D/L the 119-page booklet)
I have not found any threads regarding this school, but I wanted to introduce it to the conversation. It is a 15-month program based in south Florida whereas one can obtain an associates degree while obtaining their commercial multi (degree is optional). Their ground school seems more like a college environment, therefore not necessarily a cram session. If any readers or mentors have any knowledge, experience, or concerns with the school please let me know. With that being said, pilot mentors, if you have any questions regarding the program, ask away because I am taking an official tour on July 28 (next Friday) and I can provide answers for yourselves and future readers. I did find your flight school questions and I plan to deploy them with admissions.
Again, at no point did I intend on sounding rude and I sincerely apologize if I did. For all I know this website could be run by ATP and I’m simply confusing it with www.airliners.net or something. We all know the financial, mental, and physical demand such an endeavor as flight school carries, so I’d like to get it right the first time.
I look forward to any and all feedback, thoughts, comments, and discussion!