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tccharlie0821
04-13-2015, 08:50 AM
Looking to begin training from zero time later this year at ATP here in Jacksonville, FL. I spent many hours researching the school from ratings I will acquire upon completion, finances, lifestyle, etc. I am willing to completely sell my soul to school during the 6 months of training, no question about it. My biggest hangup is the fear of not having a great flight instructor and him not jumping on board with 100% with me. I am a huge hands on learner and not an amazing test taker. I am just worried that I will be sent in for a test or check ride not ready for it and fail which would cost me more money.

I understand the lifestyle that I will have to conform to upon reaching the regionals, especially after serving 4 years on active duty in the Army. My fiancÚ will be my wife come the end of June understands as well which is more important than me.

Any comments or insight is greatly appreciated!


usmc-sgt
04-13-2015, 09:01 AM
A few things:

Costs. If you are worried about costs, I'm not sure that I would have picked ATP in the first place. It can be done for much cheaper at a local FBO under part 61 in a 152 or a champ and transitioning to complex/multi down the line. Does ATP accept the GI bill? Are you using the GI bill? Do you have the GI bill? If you have it, you NEED to use it. Going into this job with any amount of debt for just your ratings will greatly affect your overall perception of this industry.

Instructors. If you don't feel that the instruction style is working with you, you need to talk to the instructor and/or school. If that does not solve your problem, you'll need a new instructor. YOU are the customer and are spending a great deal of money for a "product." I would accept no less than an ideal fit for you in both how you learn and your personality. With that being said, be flexible to a certain extent and open to new ideas. They are the expert (somewhat) at what they are doing, not you.

Test taking. It is what it is. If you do not feel ready, then you should not take a test, any test for that matter whether it be a written or practical. Failures (multiple or a pattern) could greatly affect your hire-ability down the line. With that being said. Professional aviation is not for everyone. We are "tested" when it matters the most and you don't get to pick those times. If you have problems with the tests (there will be MANY) how will you perform when you are tested out on the line someday in the left seat or with a new student who is panicking?

Have fun and enjoy the ride. It may not seem like it but there is A LOT of fun in the A-B of getting your ratings. Don't let that pass you by.

tccharlie0821
04-13-2015, 09:34 AM
I will submit the VA Form for a reimbursement of the 8 FAA check rides which total up to almost $5,000. I am aware that I will have to provide the cash up front for each throughout the training.

I went on an introductory flight last Monday (6 April) with an instructor who had around 900 hours. His opinion was that I did well for someone with zero time (could've been his attempt at a selling point). But he was very thorough, knowledgeable, and definitely someone who I'd love to be a student of. I did ask him of that possibility and he said it depended on his availability as an instructor and my schedule of when I actually begin at the school. Everyone and everything seemed very professional and top-notch. I think it's the fact of taking that "leap of faith" into the school is what's still bothering me.


bedrock
04-13-2015, 10:16 AM
Years ago, when I looked at ATP, I spoke to the owner and he told me that I could not choose who I can fly with in the airlines, so I can't choose instructors. I crossed them off my list. I did have some dealing with them years later, and found their aircraft very well maintained and equipped.

mexipilot84
04-13-2015, 10:27 AM
ATP is not the only choice out there, I was active duty army and got out and saw the enormous cost of flight training and I'm thankful I used my GIBill for it. I spent maybe $40K after my PPL and got most of it back. The smart thing to do would be to also look at a college flight school option with your GIBill to come out with degree and be eligible for the reduced ATP mins for the regionals.

I worked full time while I flew and it's not easy financially especially when you have to shell out up front, but it pays off in the end, just keep cycling the reimbursement money back into training.

usmc-sgt
04-13-2015, 10:50 AM
Use your GI bill. Keep looking and do more research into finding where you can. Worst case scenario is it pays for 60% of everything after your private. Do not settle for ATP and getting your writtens reimbursed only.

CO Pilotguy
04-13-2015, 02:04 PM
For what it's worth, I did my PPL through commercial with them, and then switched to another school for CFI/CFII. And I'm really glad I did. While I got decent instruction at ATP, and flew really nice equipment, they are indeed a pilot mill. They only care about getting you done quickly so they can get someone else in your place. All of the cliches about speed vs. quality apply here; especially if you feel like you might have to slow it down a bit. It's a TON of information thrown at you, and there is no patience from them if you have to take more time to get it done.
I feel I got significantly better instruction through one of the local, smaller 141 schools.
PM me if you'd like to chat.

USMCFLYR
04-13-2015, 02:12 PM
I went on an introductory flight last Monday (6 April) with an instructor who had around 900 hours.
First flight ever?

His opinion was that I did well for someone with zero time (could've been his attempt at a selling point).
I'm glad you are thinking like this. At least you see that it is a BUSINESS.

But he was very thorough, knowledgeable, and definitely someone who I'd love to be a student of.
This type of thought process always concerns me though.
What other examples of flight instructors have you encountered.
Was this Intro flight your first flight?
What criteria are you using to make a determination if this instructor was knowledgable or not and that you want him to be your instructor?

Just slow down a little and look around.
Maybe even take another Intro flight at another flight school in the area to get at least ONE data point for comparison.

kingsnake2
04-13-2015, 03:19 PM
You might consider flight training at an accredited college, they usually can make better use of your VA benefits. I'm not exactly sure what ATP can offer as far as VA use, but if it is just the normal 60% of flight costs using Montgomery or $10,400 or so per academic year using Post 9/11, the college is often a better choice for 0-CFI.

US Aviation (http://www.usaviationacademy.com/university-programs) partners with Tarrant County College (http://www.tccd.edu/student_services/veterans_and_military/) to provide one such program:
US Flight Academy Partner University Flight School Programs | 866-383-2400 | US Aviation Academy | 4850 Spartan Drive, Denton, TX 76207 (http://www.usaviationacademy.com/university-programs)
Veterans and Military - Tarrant County College (http://www.tccd.edu/student_services/veterans_and_military/)

Swakid8
04-13-2015, 03:42 PM
You need to slow ya horses man, use that post 9/11 at a good school
And have all of your ratings covered 100 percent


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

GrassLandings
04-13-2015, 06:19 PM
I will submit the VA Form for a reimbursement of the 8 FAA check rides which total up to almost $5,000. I am aware that I will have to provide the cash up front for each throughout the training.

I went on an introductory flight last Monday (6 April) with an instructor who had around 900 hours. His opinion was that I did well for someone with zero time (could've been his attempt at a selling point). But he was very thorough, knowledgeable, and definitely someone who I'd love to be a student of. I did ask him of that possibility and he said it depended on his availability as an instructor and my schedule of when I actually begin at the school. Everyone and everything seemed very professional and top-notch. I think it's the fact of taking that "leap of faith" into the school is what's still bothering me.

you get full VA or GI beni's? Go to a 141 school and have a much, much larger chunk paid off, if not all of it after your private. Plus, most local FBO's will cost 20K less than ATP. Wont be as fast paced(unless your work it out with them, its possible) Just explore your options at any number of the thousands of FBO's across the country. They are cheaper 99% of the time. By thousands... (some are not 141 certified)

headcase
04-14-2015, 04:41 AM
As a graduate of ATP's 90 day program several years back. I can assure you your concerns are valid. I had a flight instructor back home selling me on the idea that atp was the best place for getting all my ratings completed. I had some of the same concerns you had about failing check rides. I should have listened to my gut. I failed a total of 4 check rides. I had one good instructor out of the several that I had while going through their program. He worked with me on my commercial multi. The others certainly left alot to be desired. The pace of the program was also a factor.

You should not jeopardize your training record by going to this place. It will follow you forever. The pace of flight training should be reason enough, but add to it, you will likely get some punk kid who just graduated from the same high paced program as a flight instructor.

Plus, with your GI benefits, it is an obvious choice to pick somewhere else. maybe a community college.

one other note. if you want to accelerate your training. You should demand and pay for breifings and debriefings of each flight. Your instructor should have a note pad of some means of remembering how you did on each maneuver you are performing. You can contribute to this process by having absolute clarity on the maneuvers required for each flight before you go fly(pre maneuvers checklist, setup, flying the maneuver, and completion standards). Too many students try to use the airplane as a classroom and it just drags out the training

Check ride failures are for the most part avoidable.
And under no circumstances, do you take check rides before you are ready. This is the dumbest reason to jack up your record. Give yourself every advantage. Make the examiner come to you at your home airport. Use the plane you are most comfortable with. If your getting close to a rating and your instructor talking about calling up the examiner, yet your not comfortable, get more time. If you take 80 hours to get your private vs. 70 hours, nobody is going to notice. You flunk the check ride, and you will have to explain on every interview for the rest of your career

tccharlie0821
04-14-2015, 06:44 AM
First flight ever?


I'm glad you are thinking like this. At least you see that it is a BUSINESS.


This type of thought process always concerns me though.
What other examples of flight instructors have you encountered.
Was this Intro flight your first flight?
What criteria are you using to make a determination if this instructor was knowledgable or not and that you want him to be your instructor?

Just slow down a little and look around.
Maybe even take another Intro flight at another flight school in the area to get at least ONE data point for comparison.

3rd flight ever in a Cessna 172. But yes, I would consider it my first because the other 2 were over 10 years ago and I am 25 years old. I have never encountered another flight instructor. I have done some research here in the Jacksonville area for other flight schools. Yes, it is cheaper, but the aircraft, maintenance availability, and ratings/certifications I have seen are nothing to compare to ATP (from what I have seen).

Jato
04-14-2015, 06:53 AM
All good info here. Most of my ratings are paid by the gi bill. Do the college route, or after you get your ppl you can use it (for now) up to 10k per year toward any rating. And the year starts August, so you can get 2 years worth of money in 2 months if you chose that route. And if you use it through a state university it goes up to 23k. Ether way be careful, I too was there, had the cosigner and everything, but couldn't risk it, I knew there had to be a way to use my benefit.
Good luck!!

tccharlie0821
04-14-2015, 07:06 AM
As a graduate of ATP's 90 day program several years back. I can assure you your concerns are valid. I had a flight instructor back home selling me on the idea that atp was the best place for getting all my ratings completed. I had some of the same concerns you had about failing check rides. I should have listened to my gut. I failed a total of 4 check rides. I had one good instructor out of the several that I had while going through their program. He worked with me on my commercial multi. The others certainly left alot to be desired. The pace of the program was also a factor.

You should not jeopardize your training record by going to this place. It will follow you forever. The pace of flight training should be reason enough, but add to it, you will likely get some punk kid who just graduated from the same high paced program as a flight instructor.

Plus, with your GI benefits, it is an obvious choice to pick somewhere else. maybe a community college.


I inquired about the program at FSCJ (Florida State College of Jacksonville), which has a Professional Pilot Prgoram (2 year Associates). They would make me start from scratch with all the prerequisites due to the college I had previously attended is not accredited in their eyes (total BS). Therefore, I do not want to start over taking all the History, English, Speech, etc. which I have already taken just to come out with a 2 year degree and hardly any ratings and hours.


one other note. if you want to accelerate your training. You should demand and pay for breifings and debriefings of each flight. Your instructor should have a note pad of some means of remembering how you did on each maneuver you are performing. You can contribute to this process by having absolute clarity on the maneuvers required for each flight before you go fly(pre maneuvers checklist, setup, flying the maneuver, and completion standards). Too many students try to use the airplane as a classroom and it just drags out the training


I have a meeting tomorrow with head training director and my fiancÚ about all this because everything you are saying has crossed my mind. I am going to stress to him the importance of a great flight instructor who will not go easy on me and tell me if I am not doing a good job or if I am doing a good job. I don't want someone who is going to let me think the bare minimum is acceptable.


Check ride failures are for the most part avoidable.
And under no circumstances, do you take check rides before you are ready. This is the dumbest reason to jack up your record. Give yourself every advantage. Make the examiner come to you at your home airport. Use the plane you are most comfortable with. If your getting close to a rating and your instructor talking about calling up the examiner, yet your not comfortable, get more time. If you take 80 hours to get your private vs. 70 hours, nobody is going to notice. You flunk the check ride, and you will have to explain on every interview for the rest of your career

Everyone there adamantly assures me that they would NEVER send me into a check ride or exam with out thinking that I am 100% ready. Even current students have told me that. Also, all the FAA examiners are at the airport and the instructors know them well and what will be expected of the student for each exam and check ride.

I am still looking around and even though it might seem like I am dead set on attending ATP, I am still researching alternate routes to achieve my dream but doing it in the best way (cash, instruction, way of life, etc.). Thank you to everyone for your input and I am still open to everyone's opinion. You guys are awesome!

prat985
04-14-2015, 10:54 AM
Get used to it ! As a 25yr airline vet this is now the norm. If you think you where pressed in training at ATP, just wait till you proceed through a 121 program in the airlines. If you cant hack it you'll be out. Get groomed the right way now it will be much easier later.

bedrock
04-14-2015, 11:20 AM
I disagree with this. Going thru 121 training with at least 1500 hrs under your belt, is not the same as starting from scratch. When you go to 121 training, you already know how to fly and have that muscle memory and coordination. From a flying skills standpoint you aren't learning anything wholly new. When you go into ab-initio training, you need time for things to sink in and get internalized. A 90 day program which forces you to fly lessons before you are ready is going to be damaging unless you are really a fast learner. the best thing to do is get a PPL or at least a sport pilot certificate first outside of ATP and see how you do. From that experience you will be able to gauge how fast you learn. When you get into instrument flying, it's like juggling, rubbing your stomach, balancing on a ball all at one time, and it takes time to build those solid skills.

Johnny Skyhawk
04-17-2015, 07:25 AM
If you are in Jacksonville, look into Jacksonville University's Professional Pilot program. You'll get all your ratings and an Aviation Management BS degree from the College of Business. You can use your Post 9/11 GI bIll benefits and JU qualifies for the Yellow Ribbon benefit. The folks in the VA office on campus are very knowledgeable about benefits. Also, as a full time student using Post 9/11 GI Bill, you get a monthly living stipend. PM if you want more information. Good Luck.

CFI Guy
04-17-2015, 09:03 PM
Is the self proclaimed inventor of aviation (Rich Tillery) still work in JAX?

I can assure you they WILL force you to take checkrides when you are not ready. All your checkrides are scheduled the day you show up. If some reason you fall behind due to weather or MX issues they will force you to take checkride whether you are ready or not. Although in an interview I will take full responsibility for my failures and not blame anyone (well maybe myself for going to ATP in the first place) I can tell you I wasnt ready and failed as a result. One time I put up a little resistance in taking a Checkride and the VP called me and threatened to boot me out of the program if I didn't take it.

I'd be very leary knowing what I know now to hand someone all that money up front. Once they have your money they treat you like dirt. If you for some reason leave in the middle of the program they will "pro rate" your training costs and rake you over the coals. I think they make more money by booting people out of the program. I saw it happen several times.

Some instructors were great and others not so much. If you get stuck with a bad one you are up a creek. Again, if you make any noise about it you'll be labeled as a trouble maker. You can kiss the opportunity to instruct for them goodbye. And if you do somehow make it to an instructor they will find any excuse to give you the boot. They have too many people coming through the program and not enough jobs. You'll answer phones in the call center until a spot opens up. Then they will work you 7 days a week for peanuts (1099).

Also you will come out knowing barely enough. ATP is good getting people through checkrides because they know what the examiner will ask. I knew I wasn't prepared for this particular oral exam but my instructor assured me if I knew the answers to these questions it would go like clockwork. I had one instructor hand me the gouge for an oral. His words were "ATP is a play and here is your script". The only problem was that particular day the Feds decided to show up and observe the checkride. Well that script went out the window.

They will tell you anything you want to hear until you hand over your cash.

You have been warned.

Barrettb
04-17-2015, 10:03 PM
I have never replied to a thread before but, don't want to see a fellow army guy make a bad decision.

First, do you have a four year degree yet?

Second, what is your goal and dream? Legacy carrier? (American, Delta, United) Regional? Corporate?

You mention way of life, what are you looking for?

You mention Cash, wouldn't school paid in full and BAH give you more cash and less debt?

Once I have some of these answers I can give you some solid feedback based on my experience and recent information from industry professionals.

I can tell you a couple things now, you will be forced into check rides even if you don't feel you are ready. They might tell you that isn't the case but, one of the flight instructors from the FBO I was at about 9 months ago came over from ATP? She came over because she felt she wasn't ready for her MEI ride. When she brought up her concern they told her she could take the ride or leave, so, in my opinion, she made the right choice and left. Came to the FBO I was at, built her confidence and knocked out the ride.

Second, ATP sells themselves that they have all these agreements with regionals however they are not an AABI accredited program or school. Now for regionals this might not matter as much but, since I am working on somethings at UND at the moment and we just had a job fair today with over 30 airlines, the legacy carriers absolutely are and the regionals are giving you points as well if your degree is from an AABI school. Not to mention these schools are the ones that get you reduced minimums to get into the airlines, so if you have to take English again suck it up and do it, it's paid for and it will get you an airline job 500hrs sooner if you do a four year.

Finally, without knowing your background and what you want I can't give you the best advice but, ATP might be the best choice for you, then again it might not be. It depends what you already have in your kit bag and where you want to end up.

If it is a legacy carrier or corporate you need a four year degree. If it is any of the above you need to think about debt and if reduced ATP minimums are worth it for you. A university like Embry Riddle, UND, WMU, Purdue the list goes on will prepare you much better for an airline career then ATP. They give you the same structure and fire hose that an earlier poster mentioned but, they give you so much more knowledge and understanding.

Last but certainly not least, you can get a f$&( stick instructor anywhere. Again like was mentioned before, if you don't feel you are getting what you need from them switch and do it early, don't wait.

Hope I helped a little and again, give the answers to the above questions and we can really talk specifics.

Oh almost forgot, yes, they do know all the examiners and they are some of the best paid examiners in the country and that is one of the reasons the FAA is taking a very close look at ATP right now, well that and the fact they lost an aircraft about a year and half ago now.



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