Real Answers from Real Pilots

Picking School Location and Living Arrangements

Greetings,

I would like to begin with thanking everyone for their questions and the mentors like @Chris and @Adam for their time answering them. Having a community like this definitely makes me feel that much more excited/confident/comfortable about making a career change with ATP just before my mid-30s crisis :joy:

I am a Class A PGA Golf Professional, and have been in the industry for 10 years following in the footsteps of my grandfathers. My original plan out of High School was to leave California and graduate from U of North Dakota like my Dad (who’s been a pilot with United since '87). Unfortunately with the industry changes, pay cuts, furloughs etc. after 9/11 I made the decision to pursue a different career path. I try not to kick myself about that, but I’ve had quite the menagerie of life experiences thus far, and it has made me who I am today.

So, getting started, I am looking into locations for the nine month training. My original thought is to pick a location where I would like to live. I’m currently in Monterey, CA but would like to go spend some time in the Seattle or Portland areas where I also have family and friends. Would it be wise though to pick a training location where the weather is nicer like Livermore, Carlsbad, Phoenix, et.? I am thinking about starting in February or June next year.

Regarding living arrangements, my girlfriend would really like to move with me (especially if it’s to the Pacific Northwest or Denver area) so she can be a support after the long days and take care of the things at home like cooking and cleaning so I can just focus on studying. I do like the idea of the shared living arrangement with fellow ATP students for studying purposes, but I know there are some locations where units are available to rent where ATP has their housing arrangements, so I could potentially be close by for any potential study groups. Does anyone have any thoughts on living with a significant other during this time?

I am really excited for this opportunity! It has been one of the biggest “What if’s?” in my life. I think my Dad has one of the coolest jobs, and it would be dream come true if I am able to be on the flight deck with him for his final approach. I know it’s a stretch but in the words of Lloyd Christmas, “…so you’re telling me there’s a chance!”

I appreciate your thoughts and thank you for the help!

All the best,
Bentley

Hello Bentley,

ATP works very hard (and is very successful) at providing the same level of quality training throughout their network of schools. As Chris often says it’s like going to McDonald’s. People spend way too much time and energy focused on choosing a location. Regardless of which you choose the training and equipment will be the same and as far as weather goes during your cross-country phase you’ll have the opportunity to experience a variety of weather and terrain. In short choose the location you like based on whatever you like.

As for having your girlfriend with you that’s a personal decision but one that you need to seriously weigh and discuss with her. While support is all well and good time to study will be more valuable. The ATP program is an accelerated program allowing you to complete in 9mos what many schools take 2 yrs to do. Your girlfriend needs to understand that for 9mos she needs to take a back seat to your training and studies. I’ll be frank, when I was an instructor I had a student who tried it and it didn’t go well for him. He was unable to keep up because his girlfriend was feeling neglected and he needed to spend some of his evenings giving her his attention. While I appreciate his commitment to his girlfriend and I hope they have a long and happy life together he won’t be supporting his family as a pilot since he washed out. Your call but I’ve yet to meet the person (male or female) who’ll be content cooking and cleaning while being essentially ignored. If you have you should probably go ring shopping!

Btw, your dad does have one of the coolest jobs and so do I. Maybe you will too?

Adam