Real Answers from Real Pilots

Going to ATP, scheduling, and side job?

Hello everyone, I’m Tyler. I’m currently 21 and working a full time job in mobile phone sales. I’ve been working with my local FBO to get my PPL with the intent to transfer to the ATP in Daytona, although I’m currently struggling with scheduling and cost, so I’ve been only flying 2-4 hours a month. I have 15TT and solo’d at 11 hours. So here’s my first debate… I’m planning on moving to FL sometime July-Sept regardless, but I don’t know if I should continue working on my PPL separately, or if I should just go into ATP as a “New” student. I’ve already gotten a lot of studying down and I’ll be taking my written in a month or so, so I don’t want to do all this and have to pay for it again with ATP. Or would ATP give a credit for some of the work that I’ve already done.

Second question being scheduling. I know ATP is mostly full time M-F, weekends on/off if worked out with your CFI. So would it be possible to work a side job while in ATP? I have a car payment and I’d need to pay for an apartment, so taking 6-9 months without some kind of pay would be almost impossible. I’m a great self study, so I’m not too worried about getting behind. But would a weekend job in retail and possible Uber weeknights be unreasonable while in ATP? What about while as a CFI? Not so much the retail job, but do CFI’s uber on the side for some extra cash?

Sorry if there’s a wall of text here. I’ve been into aviation a lot of my life and I want to get an early jump into the career so I don’t make that 5 million dollar mistake. Especially with how volatile the industry can, I want to get in before anything changes with the current hiring rates.

Tyler,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the detailed introduction, it helps us give you the best advice possible.

If you go to ATP you will enter the program as a new student, there will not be any credit for the flight hours you have logged. I would caution a guess though that with only flying 2-4 hours per month your skills are probably a bit rusty, I know mine would be if I only flew that much. At the rate of only a few hours per month it will be almost impossible to get your private license complete, pilots just need more practice than that. With only 15 hours logged I don’t think you really have much to lose by starting over and remember that those 15 hours will count towards you total time and the 1,500 hours that you will need to apply to the airlines.

I have not known any ATP students or instructors to hold side jobs. The demands of the training are just too great and variable. During certain portions of your training you could potentially be away for several weeks at a time and night flights are very common at ATP, just like they are at the airlines. Keep in mind that the more ATP instructors fly, the more they make, so many decide to work on the weekends, which both earns them extra cash and works towards their goal of building flight time.

I recommend that you call the admissions department and talk to them about your finances. Also, keep in mind that ATP does offer housing and sometimes runs specials where certain locations offer free housing.

Good questions, keep asking them as you think of them.

Chris

Hi Tyler,

If I were you I would not continue working on my PPL. Flying 2-4hrs a month I seriously doubt you’re making any real progress so I’d save my money. I’m not sure what kind of “credit” you’d be looking for (you’ve flown 15hr, haven’t taken your written and you’re still many hours away from being able, let alone ready for your PPL checkride) but ATP will start you at Day 1 training the way ATP does and that’s a good thing. The 15hrs will simply be 15hrs less you’ll need to build so don’t count that as wasted time.

ATP is full time with weekends off but I think if you talk to most students in the program they use the weekends to decompress, study AND occasionally they will do training to make up for bad weather. While there’s no law against working weekends keep in mind the program requires you to carry your end of studies and performance. You have a finite amount of time to complete the program and if your progress suffers there will be no extra time given for you to catch up. I would STRONGLY recommend you perhaps delay starting until you have the resources to be able to complete your training without needing to work. When you’re a CFI you are working for ATP and while you will normally have weekends off, most instructors will try and fly weekends to build more time and more important you need to be available should your students need you. Aside from ATPs demands keep in mind flight instructing is not Uber or retail sales and you have a RESPONSIBILITY to your students to be 100% on at all times. Failure to do so can at the least cost you your hard earned license an at worst your life. There are reasons why the FAA sets duty time limits for professional pilots.

I appreciate your enthusiasm and desire to get things done quickly but again flying isn’t something you can just show up and do. It requires your full and undivided attention at all times. Failure to do so has significantly greater risk than giving someone the wrong size pants at Old Navy.

Adam