Real Answers from Real Pilots

CFI school Jacksonville, FL

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated my progress through the program here at ATP. Since you last heard from me I’ve received my private Multi and commercial Multi. I just completed my first week of CFI school here in Jacksonville, FL. The first week is all 8 hour/day discussion and lessons on learning how to teach several topics in the PTS, common weak areas(Vmc, FOI’s, airspace, nav logs, endorsements, and several more topics). They had us teaching subjects out of the PTS on day one. I’ve realized that knowledge of a subject and the ability to teach that subject are two different things. It requires a much deeper understanding and the ability to convey your message. It’s a bit overwhelming, especially when they are scheduling your checkrides on day 1(about 3 weeks out). The instructors here really know their stuff and answer all your questions. This checkride is exceptionally important and it’s essential that you have (instructional knowledge) on all topics. I’ve learned a lot already and gained a deeper understanding of even simple principles. Florida weather compared to Phoenix is different, in Florida they have these things called “clouds”. I haven’t flown just yet, however spin training is on the list of things to do(required for CFI). I made it through all of my instrument training without logging any actual. I’m still an advocate of the program and still find myself having to stop and realize how much I’ve accomplished. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s doable for anyone that can focus on the goal. i am looking forward to updating all of you that I passed my CFI intitial on the first try. Stay tuned. Questions welcomed. We are in this together.

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Robert,

Thanks for the update and congratulations on passing those check rides!

Chris

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CFI school is in my opinion the most challenging phase as you’re essentially responsible for knowing EVERYTHING! That said I know you got this.

Adam

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Robert,
Does this forum offer some sort of private messaging? I am on an Air Force computer that has trouble displaying certain websites (and all the buttons). I am looking at the ATP school in Jacksonville as my next step after the military and would like to ask some site specific questions if that’s ok.
Regards,
Travis G.

Travis - You can email the admissions department at admissions@allatps.com and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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Hey Travis, feel free to ask your questions directly on this forum so that they may benefit others as well. My experience with Jacksonville was fairly limited, I was there for just over a month for the CFI part of my program. I thought that the KCRG airport was decent and the people were very friendly and helpful. They have Cessnas, Seminoles, and Archers at this location. Any more specific questions regarding Jacksonville may be more thoroughly answered by the admin staff since that is their headquarters.
-Robert

It sounds like the CFI program is the most demanding and they don’t pay enough to even live on if you don’t get enough flight hours and students!

Bradley,

You’re talking about 2 completely different issues here. First yes the CFI program is demanding, as it should be. You’re asking the FAA to allow you to train people with no experience to safely operate an airplane without killing themselves or others. They just don’t hand those certificates out.

As for the pay this is an entry level position and as such it actually pays reasonably well depending on where you instruct. ATP is one of the busiest flight schools in the country and most instructors average about 75hrs a month which will give you a livable wage (depending of course on your expenses). Factor in Tuition Reimbursement and things get better yet. I know law students who’ve invested $200k+ in their educations and then do FREE internships in order to get a job. That all said no one has a gun to anyone’s head, if you can find a better way to build time or don’t think it’s worth it, then don’t.

Adam

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I understand about the tuition but isn’t that not available for 6 months after you become a CFI? And if I only can fly for cargo I’m not sure anyone will offer tuition pay? Well yeah I know it needs to be hard but if you only make 2000, which is what Mac one of the CFI said, that’s only $1600 take home, do you have any suggestions of a good place I can be a CFI where I can make maximum hours, that’s of course if I make it to CFI, sounds really tough! Oh I just read what you said about 75 hours, did I read the pay scale wrong… I thought it was 50 hours/week to get $20/hour??

75 hours/ month doesn’t make the minimum or am I confused? I just need to make at least $2500/month take home and I should be able to make it, the rent is ridiculously high here In Denver area and I’m talking a cheaper place goes for like $1100/month, think I can only get housing loan while I’m in school not CFI right?

Bradley,

The CFI pay rate info can be found here: https://atpflightschool.com/airline-career-pilot-program/guaranteed-cfi-job.html Cargo airlines will not offer tuition reimbursement and quite honestly, there just aren’t many small cargo airlines left around anymore. There are many, many flight schools out there that offer CFI jobs, but you will be limited by the FAA and just practicality as to how much you can fly. It can be very hard to fly more than 80 hours per month as a CFI. There really are not any “housing loans” per se, but extra money is only available via the loan process during the student portion of your route to the airlines.

Chris

Oh I guess I did read it wrong, I thought we were working 50 hours/week as CFI, those must be actual flight hours. Well I’ll be 56 when I have my 1500 hours so that’s why I thought cargo is my only option, I wanna fly for as long as I can keep my medical, and looks like cargo is the only one because I was told there are no age limits must be because I’m not carrying passengers? I’d like to fly til I’m 75 if I can stay in shape. I’ve never had a career and don’t plan on retiring until I’m forced to. Do you agree with me starting in cargo, looks like there’s a lot of companies hiring at much better starting pay than regionals so I shouldn’t need tuition reimbursement, or should I start in regionals and work my way up to cargo?
I’m sorry I am totally clueless about what to do and could really use some expert advice! Thanks

Brad

There are a few things I haven't figured out quite yet. Is the CFI training/job guaranteed to still be at CRG? If I get a place there (been deployed 10 times and really prefer my own room for once) I'd like to remain until I get hired by an airline. I've read on the forums how hopes and dreams are only that, and seniority + what the company needs comes first, I'm just unclear on when that begins. 
Also, I am trying to keep my service time running by doing part time Guard in Jacksonville, will the 100 hour program have any flexibility? It's usually only on weekends but sometimes things happen. 
Lastly, and hypothetically, is it necessary to remain a CFI until you get 1500 hours to be hired by one of the partner regionals? I was just curious if getting a transpo job that paid more might be a better option, but not if it cancels out the tuition reimbursement/regional job. 

As always thanks for the patience and information,
-Travis G

Bradley,

Age limits apply to FAA part 121 carriers, many of the cargo airlines like FedEx are part 121. Even if you find one that is certified differently, you might find that you have a hard time maintaining a medical certificate up to age 75.

Which cargo airlines are you looking at?

Chris

Travis,

CFI training is not guaranteed to be at CRG, but it likely will be and is only a few weeks long. The CFI position is also not guaranteed to be at CRG, but I wouldn’t anticipate too much trouble getting into there. One thing that will definitely not be at JAX is an airline pilot base, which means that you will be a commuter and I strongly recommend against that. I would hold off on buying any homes until you are hired by an airline.

As a guard member, you are protected by various federal laws. ATP absolutely respects these and will work with you on any assignments.

You do not need to be a CFI to get the 1,500 hours, but by leaving ATP early you will forgo any tuition reimbursement and could potentially be liable for paying back any that you have received. I think you will find that the cargo jobs that are out there are not as great as everybody thinks they are and that being a CFI is your best route to the airlines.

Chris

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Key Lime since it is local outta Centennial, they said i could fly cargo or even charter as long as I can keep my 1st class medical, other than that I saw over 20 cargo airlines hiring on pilot central all over the nation, but not sure what there age parameters are? CRG must be short for cargo huh? I gotta learn all these abbreviations :wink:

I like the idea of 1 pilot flying the plane too, dunno if they’d hire me as captain Flying solo but add said they only require 1200 hours until a couple years later I’m sure? I really wish I could go yours and Adams path starting regional then going to major but it’s too late at 54 and I’m trying to get something to work, so I can finally have a career that I love and am challenged daily for the first time in my life, I’ve wasted my whole life because of poor planning! But like I said earlier I thought you had to be in the military and my step dad said all the military pilots were taking the airline jobs in the 80’s. I regret never seeing this site 20 years ago but I thought I never had a chance to fly!

Oops CRG was for Travis reply, my bad! :drooling_face:

CRG is Craig Airport in Jacksonville, FL.

Thanks Chris,
I was not intending on buying a house there but I know sometimes it’s hard to find a place that does month-to-month renting and didn’t want to get stuck in that situation if ATP only had me there under a year. Here’s to rolling the dice…
-Travis G.