Real Answers from Real Pilots

Today’s the day boys

(Sergey Kireyev) #82

That should be my mascot… I would have preferred a more dignified mascot and a tried and true path, but what’s the fun in that?

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(Peter Banning) #83

Well, today’s the day that I completed the ATP ACP Program!

This last checkride (CFII) was delayed by a couple of weeks by my own request so I could have time to really dive into instrument stuff beforehand.

In total, it took me a little more than 7 months from start to finish. I headed into CFI Academy about 3 weeks ahead of schedule. All in all, I’ve had a total of 7 checkrides with a total of 6 different examiners. I finished the program with zero check ride busts.

I’d like to also add a couple of details and expand on a thing or two.

  1. I did this program while working an average of 32 hours per week bartending and supervising at a restaurant, and with a small child at home. There were at least 3 different weeks over the course of the program that I hit overtime at my job. I have never worked so hard or been so overwhelmed in my life - at any level. It has been said many times that it’s not feasible to work while going through this program, and I actually 100% agree. It caused a tremendous stress on my marriage and family life, caused me to have zero time for recreation or even watching TV for that matter - and this was with a job that allowed me to essentially come into work whenever I wanted - total flexibility. I don’t see how it would be remotely possible to hold down anything with a normal schedule. I was extraordinarily fortunate in how it all worked out, and I absolutely, positively do not recommend it. However, the bottom line is that if you need to provide for your family, you figure out a way to do it. I am very proud of having been able to accomplish that, and equally relieved that I can move on from this season of my life. Feel free to point new people to this thread when they ask about working during ATP. :face_vomiting: :rofl:

  2. ATP delivers what they promise. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. However, I see a lot of reviews online from flunkees and folks with ATP envy who call it a “pilot mill” and argue that ATP only teaches people how to pass a checkride. That is a sorry, weak excuse for people who are looking for something negative to say and are too lazy to form their own opinions. The FAA is responsible for developing standards to ensure that people are capable of safely flying an aircraft with the skills necessary for any given certificate - and the bottom line is that ATP does a better job of producing those pilots than anyone else in America. Period. Call it a pilot mill, because that’s what it is. And it works better than any program of its kind and it’s the source for what seems like dozens of copy cat programs that have popped up over the last couple years. The truth is, if ATP weren’t producing good pilots, we’d be seeing alot more news headlines, a lot fewer airline hires, and a lot more washouts once they got there.

  3. I truly can’t say enough about the people I had the honor of being around during the program. From the training support manager, Raphael - to my instructor, Caden, and pretty much every student I met, there was professionalism, attention to detail, and an eagerness to help that I feel like was paramount to my success in the program. That is what “company culture” is all about, and that’s what breeds success.

  4. Lastly, to the mentors and active members of this forum, THANK YOU. I made the decision to enroll in ATP in large part because of what I read here and the interactions I had with you all prior to making that phone call. The time you have spent sharing advice, experiences, and even humor has been invaluable and is genuinely appreciated.

To any current or prospective students who have any questions, I am an open book and am happy to help with any specific questions that might pop up.





That is fantastic news, congratulations!!! All the hard work paid off.

So what is next for you?



(Peter Banning) #85

Thank you, Chris! We are exploring our options, but it looks like we will very likely be moving this summer. Possibly Texas, we’ll see.


(Caleb Shearer) #86

Congrats man, if you end up at the Conroe location I’ll see you soon. Though I imagine you’ll be at one of the DFW locations. Thanks for the write up too, good to hear that kind of stuff.

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Congrats and MAJOR kudos Peter!

I remember when you were just an annoying prospect asking annoying questions and look at you now, all growed up and a real pilot :wink:

While I can’t condone you working during the program, you clearly were successful and obviously had to do what’s best for you and yours. I have no doubt you have a very bright future ahead and hope you’ll keep chiming in and keeping us informed as to your progress.


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(Tory) #88

Pete (if that’s even your real name :wink:),

The feeling is mutual. Congrats on the well deserved success. Now go pay it forward and don’t forget to check back in.


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(Sergey Kireyev) #89

Congratulations brother! I remember reading your posts from when you were first starting. Kudos to you for being able to work during the program and still finish like a boss. That’s some true grit right there. I also couldn’t have said it better than you about the program and it’s structure and success. Clear skies and tailwinds to you!

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They say Peter is a man with “True Grit”.

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(Peter Banning) #91

Thank you, Sergey! It was a great experience and I appreciate your encouragement along the way. Really glad I found this place! Looking forward to seeing you finished up soon too! You’ll be done before you blink.


(Peter Banning) #92

HA! Awesome film. You guys are going to give me a big head. :grin:



Which “True Grit” did you think was better? While the Duke is hard to beat, I have to go with the second one.


(Peter Banning) #94

Ooooo, that’s a tough one! I’m probably more partial to the original one because of the nostalgia of watching it with my dad and brother when I was young, and of course John Wayne, as you mentioned. The newer one is great, though! I thought it was exceptionally well made. Both had an incredible cast.



The music was just so good in the second one. I grew up with all of those hymns in the Methodist Church. The version of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” at the very end has turned me into a life long Iris Dement fan.

I do wish that they would have had Kim Darby play the one armed lady at the end, that would have been such a cool tie in.

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(Peter Banning) #96

Having grown up in the Methodist Church as well, that was one of my favorite little details of the second one for sure. Very neat that you had the same experience! I didn’t know that about you - thank you for mentioning it!

Both films are serious All-Timers, in my opinion. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to enjoy and appreciate them as well. I will add - the fact that the 2010 movie didn’t win a single Oscar should be criminal. Hard to believe.


(Kimberly McKeon) #97

I start in a few weeks and needed to read a post like this! Congrats and great job on all the hard work and determination! Definitely setting a great example for others, I hope to be as successful as you with this program!

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(Peter Banning) #98

Thank you, Kimberly!

I have no doubt that your hard work will pay off. Stay focused and keep moving. It’ll be over before you know it.


(Evan Canfield) #99

Thanks for sharing your story and progress through the program!

I am getting ready to start at Denver on the 18th and this post was a welcomed extra boost of motivation. I too will be making the faithful drive up 25/83 from COS. Looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life, from small business owner to my dream job. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors and keep us all posted.




Good luck in the program! Keep us in the loop, please.


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(Peter Banning) #101

Evan, that’s awesome! You’re going to love it. Study hard and keep us posted.

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