Real Answers from Real Pilots

Choosing Daytona or Tampa Location?

Ok now that I have decided that I am coming to ATP, I need to choose a location.

I live an equal distance between Daytona and Tampa so travel time is roughly the same.

My questions are such:

Daytona seems to have more aircraft and resources than the Tampa location, but is the airport so much busier that I will spend way more time on the ground waiting for clearance for departure? So less time in the air gaining actual flying time? Are the resources/equipment at Daytona worth the delays getting into the air each flight?

How does ATP feel/handle a situation if a student starts at one location and wants to switch to another location midway through training?

Dennis,

Honestly, and this isn’t a sales pitch, all of the locations are pretty darn similar. I instructed at three different locations when I was an instructor and filled in temporarily at two others. Some of the locations were large, others small, but the equipment and instructor to student ratio was always about the same. I never had difficulties securing the resources I needed for my students at any of the locations.

As for airspace, Florida is a pretty packed environment no matter which airport you fly in and out of. I did most of my instructing at the former Norfolk International location and was always able to slide out pretty quickly in-between large jet arrivals, it just wasn’t a factor for me.

If you want to transfer locations you will need to do it in-between ratings so as not to have to transfer instructors right in the middle of training for a particular rating.

In short, I would just pick the location that is most convenient to you and go for it.

Chris

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I’ll add that any time you transfer you’re creating little hardships in an already stressful environment. New instructor, new airspace, new housing, and sometimes new aircraft (we fly Archers and 172’s). I find it’s usually best to make a decision and stick with it. We will however try to accommodate transfers that happen just after checkrides up until the Crew phase.

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Thank you for the responses. I have about 6 more months overseas before I have to make a decision. Already started the book studies and will soon start knocking my tests out.

Sounds like a plan. Remember that the writtens expire after two years, so don’t get too far ahead of yourself.

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Dennis,

The resources are comparable at all ATP locations so I wouldn’t be concerned as far as that goes. I have ALWAYS been a fan of busy airspace. While you may see it as a negative, dealing with ATC is a required pilot skill and one that far too many pilots are weak at. If it were a problem delay wise ATP wouldn’t be there. Go where you’re most comfortable but I wouldn’t shy away from the traffic.

Adam

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Hi Dennis,

I trained at Tampa and I loved it. I have to say my only complaint was that for a period of at least a month, every Seminole was sent to maintenance every other day. That became less common toward the end of my training, but it was frustrating for a little while. When all the planes are down for maintenance, you guessed right, you don’t fly! Another issue with Tampa is that there is a huge shortage of examiners there. If you don’t mind flying an hour to the checkride then it’s no big deal. It just eats away at your training time a bit. Other than that, I have no complaints. I’ve been to several ATP locations along the east coast and none matches up to Tampa. The classroom is very spacious compared to the others. The instructors there are great. Couldn’t ask for better. I’m very glad I chose that location.

As for Daytona, you’re right that you will spend way more time on the ground. I met a couple Daytona students and their biggest complaint was that the airport is so busy. Embry-Riddle trains there as well and their fleet is huge. The ATP office is very nice, but not quite as big as Tampa’s. This is coming from just me, but I wouldn’t recommend Daytona unless you really really want to get used to flying in and out of a very busy airport.

It’s all up to you, but if I were you I’d definitely go with Tampa.

I toured the Tampa location back in May when I was home and liked what I saw. I will be back home in October and will go check out the Daytona location and make a decision after that.

But thank you for your feedback.