Real Answers from Real Pilots

Update from Denver location!

Hello all!
Just a quick update that I passed my Instrument Rating today! I started the program July 17th, then completed PPL by October 19th, and now Instrument Rating December 15th.

I am beyond both thrilled and relieved. The intensity of the ATP program is real. For anyone considering this route, my advice would be take it one step at a time, keep your eyes on your goals, and always remember why you started. This program requires intense self-study and complete dedication. Some weeks are definitely harder than others, and it is important to “enjoy the flight” while you are learning at lightening speed. Many say that learning at ATP, is like you are drinking from a firehose. I have to agree. While your CFI is there to assist, the burden is always on you to make this happen.

Next up, Crew! Thank you again to the mentors on here for constantly encouraging and being “real.”
-Christine

2 Likes

Congrats Chris and thanks for the update. The IR can definitely be a bear so kudos!

Keep up the good work.

Adam

Christine,

That is awesome, congratulations! Enjoy the cross-country phase, it is by far the most enjoyable part of the experience.

Chris

1 Like

It was a bear!! I’m happy to be done. :slight_smile: Thank you for the support!

Thank you, Chris!! I’m so excited to get going on the next phase!

Hi Christine,

I’m so glad to see you’re doing well and it’s very cool to see an update from the Denver location, as I am planning on starting there some time within the next year. Can you tell us more about your overall experience? Any words of wisdom or advice for prospective students? How is the staff there at Denver? Would you do anything differently?

Thanks!

Pete

1 Like

Hello Pete,

Those are good questions. Christine can certainly share her experience, and
I hope that she does, but keep in mind that the staff may be completely
different by the time you start the program. For advice and words of
wisdom, read “What does an ATP student need to do to be successful?” in the
FAQ section.

Tory

1 Like

Hi Pete!

First, I have to agree with Tory that things may be very different by the time you start. What I can add is that Colorado has more sunny days than you can imagine, and as much as people worry about weather here, so far I have not been delayed too much by bad weather. The toughest time was September when my Solo XC flights were delayed due to some pretty bad winds. But right now in December, it’s cold in the morning which makes for some smooth air, and pretty sunny in the afternoon.

I began in July and I’m currently sitting about two weeks ahead of schedule. The best thing you can do, like everyone says, is get your writtens out of the way if you can, and plan on putting your life on hold while you study and work hard at finishing the program. I did not have a chance to complete my writtens beforehand and they really do take time to prepare for.

As far as instructors, like with any company, some people work harder than others. My experience currently is that my CFI makes herself ALWAYS available for grounds, flights, after hours, etc. Additionally, any time I’m at the school if I have a question any CFI is happy to help even if it takes a significant amount of time out of their day, and I’m not technically their student. Lastly, being at the school during the day allows you to sit in on “pop up” grounds. You can learn so much by being part of small study groups!

To be completely honest, my first and second CFI’s were not able to provide the services or standards ATP stands for and were eventually let go. I spent a total of three weeks between both of them. I was then assigned to my current CFI and she not only got me caught up, but pushed me to even be ahead of schedule. After being in the program the past five months, I think these two were not the norm in terms of quality of instructors. I probably should not have waited theee weeks and spoke up sooner, but thankfully it all worked out.

Work hard, make friends, ask lots of questions, be prepared to be humbled and you will do well.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have specific questions. I’m happy to help if I can!

Christine

Christine,

Thank you so much for the update and your insights as to the DEN location. I’m glad you’re doing well. Please forgive me but I’m about to hijack your post. While I’m certain it wasn’t the point of your post I do think you bring up a VERY important (and to me fascinating) aspect of this whole process.

I’ve been mentoring on this forum for a while now and we frequently get questions regarding the quality of the instruction as well as the “will I really get hired at a Regional?”. These 2 go hand in hand and the most interesting part is that YOU (the students) really hold your fate in your own hands. Both the instructors you mention, not long before, were ATP students. They spent ALOT of time and money (as we all did) investing in this career. They passed their checkrides and were literally in the homestretch to becoming airline pilots and somehow forgot why they were there and where they came from. While we all enjoy flying this is a serious occupation and definitely not a job where you can just phone it in. Fortunately you Chris (and perhaps others) let ATP know the situation and it was remedied. I can tell you for a fact ATP does not like removing instructors BUT they will. The program, the company’s reputation and of course the students deserve nothing less. What will happen to these 2? I’d imagine if they were receiving Tuition Reimbursement that will stop and if they signed a Conditional Letter of Employment with a Regional, despite the shortage that has to give the airline pause if this is truly someone they want to employ. In reality they’ll probably be fine BUT know this is a very small aviation community. If 7yrs from now they find themselves interviewing at a Major sitting in front of another ATP grad I’m sure that panel member may ask “so why did you stop instructing for ATP and start at Podunk Flight school?”. They’ll probably lie and blame ATP (I’m sure they’ll be bashing ATP on some other forum shortly) but that’s definitely a conversation I’d like to avoid during an interview. The bottomline here is this is YOUR career and YOUR future and without question you will get out of it what you put in. Work hard and do your best and you can and will have a wonderful career. Or don’t. After all you can always blame ATP.

Adam

1 Like

Well said!! Thank you for expanding.