Real Answers from Real Pilots

Spartan College of Aeronautics

Hey guys! So I have been researching different options for flight training. The three that I narrowed it down to are ATP, Spartan, and an FBO. Both ATP and Spartan are freakin expensive. Spartan costs a little more than ATP (around $90,000 for the bachelors degree program). Their bachelor’s degree program is 33 months long, you graduate with a BS in Aviation Management, gets you a minimum of 1,250 flight hours, qualifies for the R-ATP minimums, and gets you all the ratings up to the ATP rating. Now if I were to go to ATP, it would be almost as expensive and I would have to spend additional money to get my bachelors degree. The FBO route would take much longer than Spartan/ ATP but might be less expensive. I also know that getting a bachelors degree in aviation can be risky because I wouldn’t have a plan B. So now to my question. I know this is an ATP owned website and you all graduated from ATP, but is there any insight you guys can give me regarding my three narrowed options and more specifically Spartan College?

Brandon,

I am not terribly familiar with Spartan’s program, but I can assure you of a few things. I see no way possible to graduate in 33 months with a bachelor’s degree and 1,250 hours of flight time, it just can’t be done. You will spend roughly 300 hours just earning your ratings, I am assuming that the other 950 hours are as an instructor. To fly that amount of time while maintaining a full course load would be exceedingly difficult. I would think that either your flying or your studying is going to suffer. I would also look very closely at the prices that Spartan is quoting for flight training, are they quoting the minimum hours necessary to achieve the various licenses or are they quoting more realistic hours? Nobody, including your’s truly, finishes their licenses within the FAA prescribed minimums. So if they are only quoting the minimums their actual costs will be much higher. I would ask to be put in touch with graduates of the program and see what their experiences were, specifically in regards to time frame and price.

I would stay away from the FBO route at all costs. I am sure that they are quoting you the minimums as well. FBOs also have a very good way of dragging your training out longer than need be. You will also likely run into maintenance issues with the FBO. I got my private at a local FBO in Chesapeake, VA. They had four airplanes, but it seemed that one or two of them were constantly down for maintenance, which of course extended my training out further. If neither the college or the FBO are quoting you fixed pricing watch out, it will get more expensive.

When comparing these various routes go to my “Flying the Line” forum and look at a thread called “Questions For Any Prospective Flight School”. I recommend printing this list out and writing down the answers as you interview all three schools, that way you can easily compare the answers.

Of course feel free to come back here as you have more questions.

Chris

Hello Brandon and welcome,

This is an ATP owned website and yes we are all grads but we make no attempt to hide our bias. That said the reason for our bias is because the ATP program is what worked best for us. Also in either case, Spartan or ATP neither is expensive if you break down the flight hours and I can pretty much guarantee if you go the local FBO route you’ll be frustrated and end up paying considerably more. Ok now that’s out of the way let’s talk Spartan.

Honestly I’m not that familiar with Spartan and that’s my first concern. Not trying to knock them down I’ve just been doing this a while and I meet many pilots. I know military grads, ATP grads, Embry Riddle grads, Kent State grads but I don’t know a single Spartan. Not that that’s the kiss of death but generally if a program is successful it’s producing products (aka airline pilots).

As Chris said the times do seem very optimistic. Can you get a BA in 33 months? Sure. Can you complete all your licenses, rating and build 1200hrs in 33 mos? Sure but can you accomplish both in 33 mos? That’s a stretch.

Again not trying to turn you off them but take Chris’ advice, ask ALOT of question. $90k is a lot to spend on an unknown.

Adam

1 Like

Chris and Adam,

Thank you both for your insight. I did expect a biased answer, but I don’t mind it. A friend of mine told me about Spartan as he is looking into flight school options too. I’m surprised you guys haven’t heard of it before. Spartan College claims students most students are able to get both their BA and their ratings/ minimum of 1,250 hours by the end of 33 months. It does seem unrealistic, so I will contact them and look more into it. I agree with you on staying away from the FBO route because it will take much longer and there are no guarantees.

Again, thank you guys and I will continue asking questions as they come along.

-Brandon

Brandon,

I would be very curious to learn how Spartan plans on accomplishing a four year degree, all of your ratings and 1,250 hours of flight time in 33 months. When you get a response from them I would be very curious to read it as it just doesn’t seem in any way realistic to me.

keep those questions coming, that is what we are here for.

Chris

Brandon,

Not sure I’d call our responses “biased”. We’re just asking the questions we think should be asked.

Adam

Brandon,

I briefly looked into Spartan some time ago. I would caution this route because the school is nationally accredited, no regionally accredited. After doing some research, I strongly recommend staying away from nationally accredited schools because they don’t hold much weight against regionally accredited schools.

Yuran

Hey Yuran,

I appreciate your response and will look into it farther. But could you explain to me what the difference is between nationally accredited and regionally accredited and why regional is better?

Brandon

Brandon,

This is what I found while researching the topic:

http://learn.org/articles/What_is_the_Difference_Between_Regionally_Accredited_Colleges_and_Nationally_Accredited_Colleges.html

Brandon,

The link Chris provided is excellent and provides a good amount of the information.

This is what I got when I researched it myself.

Regionally Accredited Online — Pros & Cons

Pros:

•The gold standard of college accreditation; highest prestige
•Most widely recognized type of college accreditation
•Credits and degrees widely accepted in transfer
•Eligible for all corporate tuition reimbursement plans
•Usually provide instructor-led courses

Cons:

•Often more expensive than nationally accredited colleges
•Often require more liberal arts coursework
•May offer less career-oriented programs
•Often enforce more competitive admission standards

Nationally Accredited Online Colleges – Pros & Cons

Pros: •Often less expensive than regionally accredited counterparts
•May require less liberal arts coursework
•May offer more practical, career-oriented majors
•May employ more relaxed admission standards

Cons: •Credits not widely accepted in transfer if you later attend a regionally accredited college
•Coursework and degrees may not be widely accepted for professions that require licensing after degree attainment, which might affect those in licensed careers such as teaching, accounting, engineering and healthcare
•Sometimes excluded from corporate tuition plans
•Sometimes provide self-study courses without instructor-led course sessions

Regionally accreditation is more impressive to an employer. The curriculum is more difficult and more extensive. You can’t say the same for nationally accredited universities.

Hope this helps, Brandon!

Yuran

Hello Brandon,
I have personally attended OSU, K-STATE, AND Spartan. I have a double masters and a doctorate. I have have flown in cargo and the airlines. Spartan is the second oldest flight school in the nation. They just had a student go from zero time time to bachelor’s and get hired in 27 months. The school is setup to start careers. When you get hired in 12 months with your CfI you will get 90 percent off each bachelor’s class you get an A in. That makes this school better priced for a bachelor’s program plus flight, anywhere you can find both flying and a bachelor’s.

Jade,

“A STUDENT” went from zero time and no credits to BA AND all ratings AND build 1500hrs in 27 mos? I’m sorry I don’t see how that math works (maybe he was a genius who never slept?). I’d actually be more interested in hearing about the “average” student? I don’t want to get into a “measuring” contest but the AVERAGE ATP student (not the savants) goes from Zero to hired in 24 mos. That happens every day, every month and has for years.

Adam

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Jade,

I have to question this one, too. It takes 48 months to get a degree from a regular college and that is without flight training. If a school is able to do all of that so quickly, while also building 1,500 hours then something is amiss.

Chris

I can give you his contact information off line if you want. He is in the new hire class at Skywest. Class for the bachelor can be taken online at the same time you are working on your flying. Do the research before opening your month. I have done this business for over twenty years I can back up every word I said

Yes this was a student who was dedicated and was a good flight instructor. We also have students to allow to fly over 200 hours a month on a regular basis. He worked hard and had a goal in mind and achieved his goals. 33 months should be the a student who doesn’t want to work 7 days a week as a flight instructor. I have plenty of students graduate before 33 months.

Jade,

Just because you can fly 200 hours per month doesn’t mean you should. It sounds great, but that is over six hours per day. If a CFI is routinely flying that much then there is no way that they are providing proper ground school to their students and absolutely impossible for them to attend any meaningful classes, be it online or not. Maybe Spartan can produce a pilot and print a degree in such a short time, but that doesn’t mean that the education is useful or well thought out.

You said “I have plenty of students graduate…”. Are you a representative of Spartan?

Chris

4 Likes

Jade,

“Do the research before opening your mouth”? I’m sorry, was I not allowed to question the numbers? (or were you just planning on coming on here, doing your commercial and leaving?). Never said it didn’t happen or was impossible. I simply asked BUT your response was both defensive and unprofessional. As Chris said, just because you can fly 6hrs a day/7 days a week doesn’t mean you should nor does that allow sufficient time for classes and study.

Neither I nor anyone on this forum has ever disparaged Spartan so I’m not really sure why the attitude? What I do know are these FACTS. I trained and instructed for ATP and owe them for much of my success. More important many of the PROFESSIONAL airline pilots I know also trained at ATP which is the main reason ATP does as well as it does. Spartan might be the 2nd oldest flight school in the country but honestly I’ve yet to meet a single pilot who’s trained there? (I know Riddle guys, military guys, Auburn guys, Kent State guys, FIT guys, UND guys and even GulfStream guys).

As always I encourage all perspective students to do their own research and make their own decisions. Nothing wrong with you visiting ATPs forum and giving your opinion, in fact it’s welcome but here’s a little free advice, you’d do better if you lost the attitude :slight_smile:

Adam

2 Likes

That is where Spartan is different, they have a dedicated ground school and staff from industry professionals. The flight instructors focus on flights and ground school is taught by a different staff.

You can have as much attitude as you want, that is not what I was conveying. I have ran many interviews with your instructors and understand why you feel the way you do. But the bridge is always small.

May I ask what airline you fly for and your base