Real Answers from Real Pilots

Few questions regarding my route to the majors

Hello, I’m a Sophomore studying Biomedical Sciences down in Florida (I live very close to an ATP school). I plan to continue my undergrad studies but have had a change of heart in regards to my career. I’ve always had a love for aviation… I guess everyone says that though haha :slight_smile:

  1. I’ve read through other posts here and I see that you guys recommend finishing college first. My dad and I both would like to start flying ASAP due to the seniority aspect. My major is offered completely online for the remainder of my courses so I was wondering what your guys opinions were on the following plan. Take 1 semester off and complete ATP, get a job as a CFI and start taking my classes again while working.

  2. How “guaranteed” is a job as a CFI after completion of the ATP program?

  3. Would I be able to work as a CFI and still finish up my courses online without losing my sanity?

  4. How important is the 100 multi engine compared to the 40? It’s a $10,000 difference so I just wanted to see if there are cheaper alternatives or if it is even worth doing.

  5. Should I get my PPL before starting the program? It knocks off 80 days and I think I could get it in less then the extra 13k which ATP has it for.

I have heard from a few pilots that right now is the best time to get into aviation. With so many retirements in the near future I don’t want to miss out on a spot on that sweet seniority list.

I love what you guys do here, thank you.

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Imran,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for your compliment! Let’s get right to your questions.

  1. That plan is not a bad one at all, keep in mind though that if you want to attend ATP you will need to complete two years of college first, so at a minimum you should finish out this academic year. You certainly could attend ATP this summer and then begin working as a CFI. My only concern is that it would be very difficult, if not impossible to work as a CFI while attending online classes. I think a better plan would be to resume your studies once you are at a regional airline as you will have a lot more time then.

  2. A position as a CFI at ATP is 100% guaranteed, assuming that you are able to complete their standardization process. If you have done well in the program this should not be a problem.

  3. No, being a ATP CFI is a full time job, it would be better to resume tour classes at a later date.

  4. I personally would do the 40 hour of multi engine time program. You will get plenty of multi time as a CFI working for ATP. If you plan on instructing outside of ATP you will find that multi time is hard to get, so in that case I would do the 100 hour program. If you plan on instructing for ATP save the money and do the 40 hour program.

  5. It will take you significantly longer to get your private outside of ATP. Keep in mind that ATP’s private program isn’t just the license, it is 80 hours of flight time. You will need 80 hours to enter the program if you get your PPL outside of ATP, so make sure you are comparing the same amount of hours when you compare costs.

Thanks for the well thought out questions. Please feel free to ask us whatever else you can think of.

Chris

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Imran,

I will add to Chris and say that doing both (CFI-ing and taking classes) is possible, it is not recommended. I took online classes at ERAU during the last few months of working at ATP and it was very hard to juggle both (and my grades at ERAU for those terms reflect it…).
In addition to that, the time you will spend at a regional, before moving to a major, is at least 3-4 years. So you will have plenty of time to knock it out later.
Definitely finish up your sophomore year before you take a break though.

Yarden

Imran,

Just to chime in, you would be very hard pressed to complete your Private training AND build 80 hrs in under 80 days. As for the $13,000, that comes to just over $162 an hour for the plane INCL instruction and no charge for the ground school which is actually a pretty good deal.

Not trying to sell you on ATP it’s just that if you’re already planning on doing the rest of your training with them, the time factor and expense shouldn’t dissuade you. What you should consider is the benefit of the continuity and quality of the training.

Adam

I represent ATP when I offer the following:

  1. Get through at least 2 years or half your Bachelor’s credits then do the ACPP.

  2. Absolutely guaranteed. Right now we need 13 CFIs at various training centers across the US. Keep in mind that we are “recruiting” before and during the flight instructor stage of the program, and this 13 is already net of those who have scheduled their “indoc” / “Instructor Standardization Program” with ATP. Pass your CFI checkrides, and you have a flight instructor position waiting for you at ATP. Guaranteed. We have 240 flight instructors. Every 1-3 days one of them gets hired by an airline. The guarantee is solid.

  3. No. Finish your Gen. Ed., do the ACPP and become a CFI, then finish your degree. Completing college coursework as an ATP CFI is not practical.

  4. The 40-Hour Multi program, assuming you will want to instruct with ATP, is the best return on investment. As Chris, Adam, and Yaden have said, if you want to instruct elsewhere, the 100 ME program will pretty much assure that you are the “senior” instructor at any other flight school because of the multi experience. But again, if you plan to stay at ATP, do the 40 ME program to save cost. The only other consideration is that the 100 ME program is potentially more fun, as the cross-country experience is more varied and covers much longer routes that can potentially include coast-to-coast, LA to Atlanta, flying.

  5. Chris, Adam, and Yarden have already spoken to this, but in short, if you do your Private with ATP it will flow seamlessly into the rest of your training. The cost is higher than quoted by most small flight schools because ATP includes more flight time. Specifically, ATP requires 52 hours before solo. Other schools will quote much less than that, but our safety protocols require 52 hours. If you’re well above-average, then you can do a minimum-time PSEL. If you’re like most people, then ATP’s times are practical and realistic. In the end, it’s your call.

Thanks for all the help everyone. I think as of now i’ll start my PPL while finishing up sophomore year. I will decide at the end of the year weather or not I will be finishing up college before attending ATP or jumping straight into it. One question regarding the PPL, say I get my PPL in 40 hours, will ATP reimburse me for those 40 hours if I jump into the program?

Thanks again.

Imran,

I think you’re misunderstanding. In order to enroll in the Career Pilot Program having already earned your PPL, ATP still requires a minimum of 80hrs (ie, you earn your PPL in 40hrs, you still need to build another 40 before starting the program). If you complete your PPL with ATP you still will need 80hrs before you can progress. The hours are required to allow you to have sufficient time to earn your Commercial license when the time comes so either way there will be no reimbursement. Make sense?

Adam

Ahh, ok I understand now, Thanks for clearing that up. Could I get those extra 40 hours just through recreational flying or would it have to be through a CFI?

Recreational is fine BUT since you need the time AND are going to be paying for it, wouldn’t make sense to do some training, improve your skills and progress rather than just checking a box and building the time?

Btw, it’s great to have goals but don’t beat yourself up too bad if you don’t get your PPL in 40 hrs.

Adam

Makes sense. I think one of my biggest concerns right now is that I may be rushing the process/life. I wanna enjoy flying and college but I still wanna get hired fast because of seniority.

Imran,

Seniority is important for sure but your education is more so. Relax and finish what you started. Believe me you’ll be happy you did.

Adam