Real Answers from Real Pilots

Different Location

Hey All,

I have been approved for my loan to get started in July 2017 and I included housing costs in my loan as well. I am wondering if there is any differences between the locations (pros and cons) and if anyone had any insight on this aspect? I am looking at either Phoenix (Mesa) or San Diego (Montgomery Field)…

Any input would be much appreciated!

Kind regards,
Austin

Austin,

Really all of the locations meet the same standards as ATP strives to have all of their locations offer the same level of quality. Remember that all of ATP’s instructors go through the exact same standardization process so it really doesn’t matter where you attend. Both of the locations that you mention have great weather and will be ideal for flight training. I would pick the one that is most convenient to you.

Chris

I’m starting to see a lot of post regarding locations, also visiting other forums most people are saying most instructors are snobby and really just want the hours. Is that true?

Earv,

ATP has 40 locations across the country with I don’t know how many instructors, so I have no doubt some are more cordial than others. While ATP does an excellent job training their instructors, guaranteeing a pleasant demeanor is a bit more challenging. As for the “just want the hours” let’s be honest, after you’re done with training why will you be instructing? Other than older retired pilots, I don’t know a single pilot who’s not instructing to build time, doesn’t make them bad at what they do.

I actually had a similar experience my first visit, but fortunately I was encouraged to try again and I was very happy I did. There have been people bashing (and praising) ATP on forums for years. Many washed out, many are sorry they paid 2-3 times as much for their training, and I’m sure a few have legitimate beefs. That said if after decades the worst they can come up with is an occasional rude CFI they met on a visit and the fact the instructors are there for the same reason they hope to be in 6 mos I’d say they’re doing pretty good.

Adam

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Thanks Chris! I visited the PHX location recently and spoke to some students there and they said that I should expect that the program lasts a little longer than 6 months, is that accurate?

Austin,

The program is designed to be completed in six months, but sometimes irregularities like weather, examiner availability, or student performance can cause the program to take a little longer. Any delays should be minimal though.

Chris

Earv,

As Adam said, almost all flight instructors at any flight school are there to build hours, someday you will be part of that group. When I was in CFI school a wise, older gentleman named Walt Schamel that was reaching the class said something that I will never forgot. He said “You are not here to build flight time for the airlines, if you have that attitude you will not be successful. You are here to provide the best possible instruction to your students, if you do that you will be at the airlines before you know it as everybody will want to fly with you”. I always kept that in mind when I was an instructor, I encourage you to do the same when your time comes.

Chris

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During my tour the instructor in Tampa said the course took him 9 months due to the summer weather in Tampa and having to cancel a lot of flights. Even at 9 months, you can’t really beat it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Chris,

That is what I assumed, but I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t missing something important. I also want to make sure I can afford living in San Diego/ Phoenix for any additional time period, like @Tucker’s instructor! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, it really helps getting an inside perspective.

Kind regards,
Austin

Austin,

Anytime. Feel free to ask us anything else that you think of.

Chris

Nine months seems like the extreme, it is certainly the longest that I have ever heard of. I personally finished exactly to the day that I was supposed to. We even had a large ice storm while I was in training, but I can see where there is a possibility of things getting extended out if need be.

Chris

Yeah he said he started the begining of march and just finished up around the end of December, he has about 260 hours, so very new instructor! I was pretty surprised by that as well.

I remember very well being a brand new, 260 hour instructor. Hopefully you will be one too soon :slight_smile:

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Chris which location did you instruct at?

@Chris @Adam thanks! Actually
I can’t wait to wake up and teach student how to fly for living… Seems pretty nice and fun!!!

I am a student at Tampa currently and I know some that have taken longer than 9 months. However, it’s important to know that in almost all cases it’s due to personal reasons. I’ve seen some lengthy personal time taken to go back to their homes for 2 weeks here and there. If you stay on track and don’t fall behind (keep up with your studies) 6-7 months is extremely doable. One of our instructors who also finished in Dec. actually finished 2 weeks early. It’s a great program and the instructors are great. I can ask any instructor a question and they typically put in as much energy to answer my question as my own instructor would. Everyone helps each other out.

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Dan,

I instructed at the now closed Norfolk location. A few months after I left to go to ExpressJet the Norfolk location was moved to Richmond.

Brandon,

Thanks for sharing your insights on this, that was almost always my experience with students that took longer too, there was typically something else to the story. I am glad that you are pleased with the program. Where are you in your training now?

Chris

Started with zero time and should hopefully be wrapping up the instrument phase in a week or two