Real Answers from Real Pilots

New student at ATP concerned over slow pace of program

I’m concerned over how FEW hours I have flown since starting the program two weeks ago. My first week I was ready to jump in, and felt prepared for this “strict” program I had read so much about. A program that was so rigid you could not work full time and go to flight school. I left an 18 year career working for the government to follow this path. I have a master’s degree and have repeatedly graduated in the top of my class throughout undergrad and grad school. I’m not afraid of putting in the time and work necessary.

Well, my first week I flew less than three hours.
The second week came and I was assigned a new flight instructor. Although I was frustrated, I took it in stride and realized some things happen outside our control. Week two, I flew a little more than four hours.

Here I am in the middle of week three, having flown only two hours this week with another two scheduled for Friday. I’m frustrated to say the least. I presented this frustration to my CFI and no addl flights were added this week, and next week is stacked with flying four days (hopefully, none will be cancelled). My syllabus states I should have 20.7 hours done by the end of this week, and at best I will have 9!!!

Looking for advice on when do I bring this to the attention of admin…or do I sit and wait … and potentially get further behind? ATP advertises zero to commercial in nine months. At this rate, I will not even complete my private until December. I obviously am not looking to burn any bridges, but I cannot just sit back either.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Chris,

You are spending a lot of money to be in this program and you should absolutely have your concerns addressed. Your first step is the training center manager, if you do not see desired results from that then reach out to admin in Jacksonville.

I sent you a private message asking for your contact info so I could have somebody from headquarters contact you.

Without knowing all the specifics it is hard to comment on the slow pace you are observing, but I am glad that you brought your concerns up and I will make sure that they are addressed promptly. Please let us know how this is resolved.

Chris

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Here’s some advice, I just finished the program last week. It took double the time it was supposed to so I couldn’t go to cfi school because my wife and I budgeting for the advertised 6 months. A few things you can’t control are 1) the weather and 2) the Examiner availability, both of which set me back drastically. I had one checkride rescheduled 12 times due to a stationary front that sat over us for an extended period of time. Also, I started with 0 time during hurricane season which didn’t help the situation. However, one thing you can do is switch instructors if needs be. Mine was extremely busy with checking out other students for crew cross countrys, this left me on the back burner a lot. If you don’t have an instructor who isn’t concerned with keeping you on track switch to one that will. That was one mistake I made early on. There are plenty of other instructors that would be happy to have you, and keep you on track. It’s a great school, however instructors aren’t always concerned about keeping students on track. Stick with it and push for what you want, but also understand the school can’t control the weather or examiner availability. Good luck!

Brandon,

Thanks for sharing your insights into this. FAA examiner availability has been a major issue that all flight schools have been dealing with. That issue and weather can sometimes make for some unforeseen challenges on the scheduling front.

Chris

Chris,

I’m sorry that you haven’t been flying as much as you want. The last few weeks have been tricky with a Service Bulletin (SB) that came out from Lycoming. Although SB’s aren’t mandatory, in this case ATP is addressing it like it is. We have been cycling our aircraft in and out of service centers as fast as possible trying to minimize delays.

I have also spoken with your Training Center Manager and he assures me that you should see things start to turn around very soon. We do our best to watch over the progress of our students but we could use your help too. You have a Training Support Specialist and a Training Center Manager at your location to help you address issues just like this. Don’t wait, please utilize these great resources at your disposal.

If you have any other concerns please feel free to reach out to me via the Training Support contact information at the top of your extranet page.

Fly safe.

Thank you, Brandon, for sharing your experiences. Unfortunately, my flight today was cancelled due to weather which I understand is going to happen from time to time, and it will likely always frustrate me. I had a double flight Friday, while draining, it was also great to be in the air learning! I’ll keep you posted on my progress and keep my eye on the prize!

Zac,

Thank you for the info! I believe I have learned who to contact when this type of concern comes up and I do feel my training center manager is helping to get me back on track. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again!

That’s what’s important, though frustrating at times, stay positive. What helped me a lot was just considering how much longer it would’ve taken me at any other school. Good luck!

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Chris,

You can just as easily catch up and get a head of schedule. Ive been well ahead of schedule since I started in May…the weather has been pretty good and the examiner has been available within a few days. Just a little luckier here I guess.