Real Answers from Real Pilots

Self-Paced vs ATP

I have been planning to start up the ATP program beginning of next year. However, I have come across a difficult decision whether or not ATP would be the best option for me with some options that lye before me. My Dad is an airplane owner and has recently offered me up his airplane for my training as long as I am to pay for fuel. First of all, does ATP offer any option for private airplane use for a lower price of training? Second, my brother is also training to become an airline pilot and we would plan on splitting the cost of fuel for use of my Dad’s plane. Would it be better for us to work on our ratings/hours on our own rather than through ATP? I would believe that it is much more affordable to do the private, self-paced route than through ATP, correct? My only concern is how difficult would it be to get the 1500 hrs on a self-paced program in a reasonable amount of time? And would the likeliness of being hired to a regional airline go down once reaching the 1500 hrs?

I understand that ATP would probably be the quickest way to go to reaching the 1500 hours, but becoming an instructor with ATP doesn’t sound too appealing to me as I have never desired of becoming a teacher. I am typically a more quiet, reserved kind of guy.

Tyler,

ATP does not allow the use of private airplanes in their program. All of ATP’s airplanes are maintained to a certain standard and have standardized cockpits, introducing an outside airplane would throw all of that out the window.

I have never owned an airplane, so I cannot speak to the costs of such. I am curious how you plan on getting to 1,500 hours if you do not plan on flight instructing?

Tyler,

Listen I’m all about saving money but if you think you’re going to get hired with 1500hrs in the pattern flying a single aircraft you could have some issues. There are many questions such as who’s going to instruct you? How’s the plane equipped? (IFR, GPS, etc). What about required Multi-time? What happens when the plane is down for mx? The list goes on. There’s a reason most people don’t go out and buy their own plane to do this.

Adam

Thanks for the replies! I guess I should clarify that my hope is to use my
dads airplane(IFR equipped, complex piper arrow) for both the Instrument
and commercial ratings. I would have my brother be my safety pilot during
the Instrument training. Then I would plan to go to my local flight school
and work with my instructor in helping me prepare for the checkrides, and
then finally get the multi time. I guess my main concern whether this is
the right path for me to go with instead of ATP(because I am still on the
fence) is when I do get all of my ratings, how realistic do you know it
would be or have heard from other pilots, to get hired for a small charter
company somewhere to build up the hours? Or If it is better for me to go
become an instructor, however, I’d rather do it through ATP and that would
mean I’d have to pay quite a bit more for obtaining the ratings there. My
instructor for my PPL has been instructing for a good number of years and I
don’t intend to take so long to obtain the 1500 hours.

Tyler,

The days of running checks or blood at night to build flight time are largely over and a charter company is going to require significantly more flight time than you will have. I will be honest, it seems like you are trying to cobble your flight training together in a very hap-hazard way and my suspicion is that it will take longer and cost much more than you think it will. Also, you are not setting yourself up to build your flight hours in as expeditious manner as possible. Very few jobs will involve flying as much as a CFI does.

Chris

Tyler,

There are definitely some small charter gigs that will pick up low-time pilots (usually around 500 are the mins). The problem is there aren’t a ton of them so it becomes a matter of finding one AND getting hired. Is it possible? Sure but you won’t know until you’re actually looking at the time. You can do some canvasing and talk to people but no one will commit to hiring you until you’re actually ready with the licenses, ratings and hours. Your call.

Adam

Thank you for your inputs, it’s something to think about. Would you happen
to know if ATP allows a pilot to enter after having completed the
instrument, commercial and multi ratings? Or do you have to start with
either the private or instrument?

Tyler,

While you could theoretically enter at any stage, ATP will put you through the same training as if you were entering with a private, so it would not make sense to enter late in the game.

Chris

I chatted to Flight Ops at one of the most widely used aerial survey/photography firms today. While they do look to hire pilots to fly a Caravan, a Navajo, and an Aero Commander, they need a minimum of 1,000 hours and pay only slightly more than the instructor gig with tuition reimbursement. The head of flight ops said their pilots get 500-700 hrs a year. So, there’s no tangible benefit to bypass a guaranteed CFI position with the sole exception of wanting to get turbine time.