Real Answers from Real Pilots

Jacksonville reviews

To begin this topic I’ll throw out a blanket statement, I’m not new to the internet and angry reviewers. Now that that’s out of the way… I have to admit google/yelp reviews are making me nervous. I have a friend in Jacksonville who is taking me in so it is the most convenient location, but I’ve been reading multiple bad experiences from people there about not enough flight time, not enough instructor input/help, and a general attitude of ‘thanks for the money good luck with the checkrides’.
One review is a disgruntled fail out, two is a bad egg instructor maybe, but there are many out there about Jacksonville specifically. Should I look somewhere else or just hope that my instructors will be better than theirs? This website has done a good job of looking good on paper but you can’t blame me for being skeptical with an ~80 grand bill ahead plus cost of living with no income. Just want some honest feedback please.

Travis,

I think that you are very wise to investigate as much as humanly possible. I would encourage you to read our “Student Experiences” section. We do not edit that section in anyway. While the vast majority of the posts there are positive, there are one or two negative ones, but look at how they were resolved. By bringing the issue to our attention, I was able to involve ATP management and in both cases, the students ended up being very happy.

The point is, no organization is perfect, but we can’t fix things that we don’t know about. Bring the issue up to somebody in management or even to us, and things change quickly.

Chris

Chris,
Thanks for the response as always. It’s hard to convey my concern while simultaneously understanding most reviews are from people who only have bad things to say. Will you be my mentor?? Haha, I have so many questions it’s overwhelming.

Travis,

You are welcome to ask any questions that you can think of on here, all three of us are happy to answer.

Chris

Travis,

I’ve said this many times. The fact is ATP is not for everyone. I don’t want to disparage any profession but flying is a little different. Pretty much anyone who decides they want to be a mailman can be a mailman, or work in a restaurant, even go to law school, study hard and earn a law degree. I’m not trying to make aviation sound like rocket science but it does require a certain amount of intelligence AND also some level of coordination which frankly not every person on this planet possesses. Combine that with a program modeled after actual airline training which is very challenging and yea you have the potential for some people to struggle and even fail. I also don’t want to make sweeping indictments of any generation but their are many people who were brought up being told “you can be ANYTHING you want”. Well the truth is Barney lied, you can’t, and that’s a hard pill for some people to swallow. It’s much easier to blame the school, the instructor, the weather etc.

I actually had a pretty big sim check just last night. I passed but I honestly didn’t do as well as I would have liked. It would be very easy for me to start pointing fingers at a number of “challenges” which weren’t my fault. With that in mind I have 2 choices. I can write it off, blame the sim, holes in my training or the pilot sitting next to me OR I can use it as an opportunity to learn, up my game and be more better prepared the next time. It’s kind of the same thing.

Adam

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Travis, I’m currently in the ACPP with both of my commercial checkrides upcoming in the next couple of weeks. I achieved my private certificate at a local school and was fortunate that my primary instructor was an excellent one who prepared me well then I entered the program with credit for private.

I too had reservations after reading several poor reviews from internet posters on various sites who claimed to have been ATP students, had a “best friend” who was a student, or simply washed out of the program. The qualms of there simply being too much work or being sent to checkrides when not ready are a stretch in my opinion. And having experienced it thus far, I would best equate it to the college experience in that you get out what you put into it. If you do the bare minimum, don’t study, party every night, or generally don’t take it serious, you’ll struggle. If you put in the work, mainly allow yourself to learn (and learn from your mistakes), you will be fine.

As for poor instructors, just like anything else in life, some bad eggs do seem to sneak through every once in awhile. While I’ve been very satisfied with my instructor, he did tell me that early on during his training, he requested an instructor change for professional reasons and was granted. So if you join the program and just do not get along with or cannot learn from whomever you’re initially assigned, speak up (to training support).

All that being said, I have yet to reach the CFI portion of the program so take my words with a grain of salt.

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That was very valuable information, Robb. Thank you for sharing.

Tory

Hello there,

I too am at a similar point, I am currently working on my commercial, I have trained at
two locations on the east coast thus far, and I have to say, for my humble opinion, that
what Chris, Adam, and Robb said is spot on. I toured a couple locations and asked, all the
questions I could about the real day to day of the program. I feel that it was accurately
portrayed, You absolutely get back what you put in, like life. Can the program be difficult?
Yes, indeed at times it can be, but focus on the task at hand, work hard, and you will be fine.
ATP gives you the tools to succeed, but you need to be able to use them. Overall, my
experience has been positive, and my instructors very helpful, they have gone the extra mile
to help me. But in the end your success lies on you. I hope this was helpful. Blue skies…
Kris

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Kris,

Thanks for sharing your experience :slight_smile:

Chris

Hey Travis,

I’ve found that most of the nay-sayers online ended up being people who were unsuccessful in keeping up with the pace of training, or who just didn’t have the ability to self-study to the extent required. There is always a risk of a “bad egg” instructor as you call it, but ATP is so completely standardized that I don’t think it should be a worry for you. I was a student at the ATP JAX location and had a great experience. I was able to finish successfully within the planned timeline. There were always many people available to me if I needed help or had questions if my own instructor was busy. Being self-motivated plays a huge role. If you take it upon yourself to study and find people to help you along the way when self-study isn’t enough, you will have nothing to worry about! And the JAX location has many of those resources available to you. I would go visit the location yourself to get a feel for it, that is what I did myself before starting. Good luck!

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Like it was said before, i too read the reviews and was worried, but once I started the program all worries washed away and realized there is only one outcome possible: success with a caveat: you shall study hard!
Ive seen in our location students discontinue for one or another reason. Mainly, lack of effort, daddy pays it all type and those that have no sense of higiene, self motivation or simply the smart alek type.
IMHO humble, dedicated and commited guys are the ones who succeeded.
Also, is your responsibility to be involved in your own training, and for that you have the ACS. Thank the FAA for it, great resource to not fail your check rides!
Good luck and check out the Daytona Beach ATP, not far from Jax and yes it does have the best CFI’s around!
Enrico

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