So I was issued my First Class last week and I was just about to place a deposit to secure a spot at the Daytona Beach location before I thought to myself, “hmm… the smallest plane I’ve ever been in is a twin turbo, maybe I should see if this is for me before I commit a $1,000 non-refundable deposit.” So I booked a discovery flight with a local flight school, and lo and behold flying is certainly for me. However my flight instructor had graduated from the Fast Track program at Daytona, and his exact words were “it was the worst decision of my life.”
His reasoning was the CFIs are absolutely horrible on both the ground and the air. He said he spent 20 hours with one instructor who taught him absolutely nothing except how to spend 20 hours on Facebook. On the ground, he mentioned none of the administrators or CFIs were willing to answer any questions and basically treat you like dog poo. I understand that a lot of this is self-study (taught), and I don’t mind because I basically got through college and achieved several industry certifications in my current career via self-study, however my personal safety never relied on any of this information.
Another concern he brought up was that the $80,995 “tuition” is not exactly a one time flat fee. He had to get additional loans because he needed a few more multi-engine hours and ATP was billing him $500+/hr because he had already used up his allotted multi time. I tried looking up time allotments on ATP’s site but I could not find any information on it. One of the biggest draws to ATP is that I thought I knew exactly what I’d be getting for the money.
I liked this guy, however he did seem like a bit of a complainer. He admitted he completed the program in 9 months and that ATP is the fastest way to 1500 hrs, but strongly recommended looking at the mom and pops on Florida’s east coast to save money. When asked if ATPs claim of airline industry immersion from day 1 was beneficial, he responded “yes, but any flight school can do that.”
I’m moving to Melbourne, FL this Fall and there are a lot of flight schools within an hour of there. Some with testimonials of graduates claiming they achieved their CFII + Instruments in under a year for less than $65K. I’m absolutely still considering ATP, however I just want to make sure the extra cost and saved time is worth the low quality of life and rampant immaturity that I keep hearing about.
Thanks in advance for anyone’s input on the concerns I listed above.