Real Answers from Real Pilots

Check Rides 1st Time Pass Percentage?

I’m currently applying for financing to do the ATP accelerated program from zero to commercial in the Fall of 2017. I’ve heard mixed things about ATP but am overall excited to focus on the program full time. I had a concerning experience today. My buddy had a check ride today from another local flight school and he was talking to the Utah regional check ride person who told him that he estimates only 30% of the students pass the 1st time at the local ATP location. Then went on to tell me that those stay on your record for life if you fail your first one which doesn’t look good when getting hired by the regionals. Of course there’s a higher chance that less people pass the first time with such a tight schedule so i understand that but is there any experiences out there where students felt they weren’t prepped enough for the check rides and failed? How much knowledge am i going to be expected to learn on my own to pass the first time? Through high school and my 4 year college degree I was always within the top 30% of my class and an engaged student. thanks in advance.

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This was outside of ATP but when I took my Private Checkride I was nervous that I didn’t study enough or that I wasn’t solid on all my maneuvers, even though my instructor ensured me I was and I knew I could fly all of them. The test came and went and at the end of it I could not believed I had stressed out about it for so long. It was not easy, but when it comes to it, you are just talking flying and then flying. I think people psych themselves out and make little mistakes that cost them the checkride.

Spencer,

To begin with, any checkride failure at any stage of your career stays on your FAA record forever. It doesn’t matter if it is your first checkride or your last. Failing one or even two checkrides is not the end of the world as far as the airlines are concerned, but I would of course try not to fail any.

That being said, I highly doubt that only 30% of pilots are passing their checkrides on the first time. ATP wouldn’t have the solid reputation that it does if it was turning out pilots with such low pass rates.

Of course there are examples of people that failed checkrides, it is just part of aviation. But keep in mind that when your instructor signs you off for a checkride his reputation and record is on the line, too. CFIs don’t want their students to fail, ATP doesn’t want students to fail and of course the students don’t want to fail. I will say that when I was a CFI I had very few failures and every one of them was because the student hadn’t prepared themselves or copped an attitude during the checkride.

You will be expected to do a lot of studying on your own, but you will have your instructor to help explain things and teach lessons. At no point are you just on your own to learn the material.

Chris

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Spencer,

It’s always funny to me how EVERYBODY knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who has something negative to say about ATP. Honestly I don’t know the pass rate but I can guarantee it’s well above 30%. How? Two things. First if that were the case ATP wouldn’t be the flight school of choice supplying the Regionals for over 20yrs. Second (and more important), the FAA doesn’t like checkride busts and schools that send their students up for rides who are not prepared very quickly find themselves under heavy scutiny. Flying is not a joke and it’s not driving a car. If something goes wrong you can’t simply pull over and catch your breath. If 70% of ATPs students were busting their checkrides ATP would’ve been shut down a long time ago.

As for your end it’s high. ATP was created to prepare pilots for careers in the airlines so just like the airlines the pace is fast and you are expected to keep up. You will be given all the tools and guidance you will need to pass all your checkrides on the first try BUT it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting. What that means is if you have some difficulty with a certain concept or segment there’s plenty of help available. What it doesn’t mean is your instructor will spoon feed you the information or hold your hand until you’re ready. The 2 of you will work as a team to ensure you are. No honestly some pilots don’t like this concept, don’t think it’s fair and demand that they paid their money and it’s ATPs responsibility to MAKE them a pilot. To that I reply if you don’t believe that “style” is for you or you can’t keep up what makes you believe you’ll be successful at an airline. One of the reasons ATP students have been getting hired at Regionals (LONG before the pilot shortage where all you need is a pulse and a license) is because ATPs students have demonstrated their ability to perform AND be successful at an accelerated pace.

Adam

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So does anyone know the check ride percentage rate at atp?

Can you give me some references for ATPs reputation? Anything of noteriety ? Stats for how many graduates get picked up by regionals? Of course I realize it’s a program that is very rigid and built around preparing students for the airline industry but when I hear a very poor review of how unprepared the majority of students from atp are and how there are “holes” in their knowledge because of how fast their training is it is a legitimate worry for someone looking into the program. My question isn’t if you have to work hard. My question is if there is a quality of knowledge lost when you have fresh graduate cfis teaching brand new students. And what % of a students learning will be personal or learned at home in order to pass

Spencer,

If you want references for ATP’s reputation, all you have to do is look on the “Placements” page on ATP’s website as there is no stronger testimony to a schools’ ability to train airline pilots than airlines actually hiring their graduates. Beyond that Adam, Yarden and myself are three ATP grads who give up our own time to moderate this forum, we all do it because we had positives experiences with ATP and want to pass that on to other people who may be interested themselves. Bottom line is that no organization trains more airline pilots than ATP does, not even close. That is about all the reference one can possibly have.

I get that you heard a poor review. Not everybody will be a fan of any school, that is why there are so many schools out there. It is why we have Pepsi and Coke, because there is no perfect drink for everybody. But rather than get hung up on one poor review, I suggest that you head to the “Student Experiences” section of this website and read some of the reviews that are there. We don’t edit that section. In fact, I have never once deleted a post over there, so go see what actual students have to say. Better yet, schedule a tour of an ATP location and go talk to the students and instructors there.

Having new CFIs teach new students is commonplace in the industry and will be found at just about any flight school because let’s face it, we are in this to be airline pilots, not CFIs. In fact, if I met somebody who had been a CFI for more than a few years I would have to seriously wonder why they were doing it and choosing to make 20% of what I do. Furthermore, I say that having the new CFIs teach is actually better as they are far more current on the rules and regulations than any airline pilot is.

You will need to review all of the material at home and try your best to learn it, but your instructors are always there to answer questions and of course teach lessons. I can’t really answer your question because that depends on how much you are able to retain on your own versus with an instructor.
You seem to be having some serious questions, which is great and you should before making such a large financial commitment. Head on over to my “Flying the Line” section and look at my “Questions For Any Prospective Flight School”, I think you will find it useful.

Chris

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Spencer,

We do not know answers to your pass rate questions as our mission here is to provide general information about the industry and flight training, not to act a salesman. I suggest that you contact the Admissions Department and ask them those type of questions.

Chris

I will thanks for the sincere response.

Spencer,

The following 2 links list ATP’s Regional Partners (and shows their Letter of Agreement as well as those offering Tuition Reimbursement)
https://atpflightschool.com/airlines/airlines-offering-tuition-reimbursement.html
https://atpflightschool.com/airlines/index.html

My question for you is do you believe ALL the major Regionals in this country would sign agreements with ATP if their students had “holes” in their knowledge? Would the Regional partners make conditional job offers to ATPs instructors at 500hrs if they did? My recommendation is rather than read online hearsay you speak to actual airline pilots. Call the Regional airlines hiring hotlines or visit their recruitment events and ask them directly. I personally know at least a dozen current Capts who’s children are currently training or have recently graduated from ATP. My mentor is a former Presidential pilot, Fortune 500 Corporate Chief pilot and retired Gulfstream/Global Express pilot who’s daughter has an engineering degree from GATech. When she decided to become a pilot HE sent her to ATP. These are the facts.

Listen, I’m not a salesman and receive NOTHING if you enroll or not. I’m simply a guy who had a dream and ATP helped me to reach it. I’m a pilot and instructor for a Major airline and honestly don’t think I’d be where I am without ATP. If you believe there’s better out there, hey go for it. And I’ll even make you a deal. If our paths should ever cross down the line I won’t even say “I told you so” :slight_smile:

Adam

Here are the actual stats since 1/1/16 at our OGD training center:

Private 83% first time pass
Instrument 82% first time pass
Commercial 76% first time pass (oddly below nationwide average)

There are 198 check rides in these pass rates. I don’t think you got the full story.

Thanks for your responses. I’m not trying to be disrespectful Im just really thorough when an $80k loan is in the mix and I’m going to put my research through a rigid stress test before I get into this commitment. Minimize risk. I will explore the channels you guys have suggested for my research And I hope our paths cross in the future! Thank you Justin for the stats at the ogden training center. I’m so glad you guys have proved me wrong.

Spencer,

No disrespect was taken at all. I asked questions exactly like you are before I signed up for the program. It is always wise to do your homework.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask them anytime, we are always happy to help.

Chris

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