Flight Schools and Training Ratings, building hours, airmanship, CFI topics

Open Letter to ATP

Old 03-10-2010, 10:01 AM
On Reserve
Thread Starter
SYdude's Avatar
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Position: Son of a beech
Posts: 17
Default Open Letter to ATP

The following is an email I wrote to All-ATPs after a bad experience training with them:


My name is Matt and I am a CFI from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I recently attempted to complete my CFII and MEI at the PHX location. I purchased a week at the local apartment for $200 but when I arrived into PHX the night before my training and proceeded to the apartment, I discovered there was no bed for me to sleep in. So I took a taxi to the affiliated hotel and spent the night. I had to pay $23 for the taxi and $95 for the hotel. The next morning I made my way to the training facility where I requested that ATP cover my expenses for the previous night due to the absence of a bed that I had paid for. They declined to reimburse me so I declined to train with them. I got back home and continued to plead my case to ATP's management. They were great at asking questions about the situation and making sure they understood what I was telling them. In the end, they offered to give me a $200 credit on my ATP account. Thanks, but that doesn't really solve my problem with ATP taking my money.

Although I would like the $200 ATP stole from me, that isn't the real issue. As a CFI, I have come into contact with many students with the urge to fly and I have become aware that flight students are unlike any other student out there. They have such a high passion for what they want to accomplish--and sometimes that's a dangerous thing. Unlike someone going for a degree in Business or training to become a truck driver, aviation students are so impassioned with flying planes because it's something not very many people can do. I never hear people in the banking for example, just burst with joy at the opening of a new checking account or the prospect of helping a customer change a ten into two fives. Flight students are crazy--they are in love with the thrill of taking off and the accomplishment of landing.

The danger of this love is that it opens the door for greed and deception. You and other schools have discovered a great secret--flight students will do almost anything to get their ticket! A training charge here, an examiners fee there, and all of the sudden the bill starts to increase. Customer service has been thrown out the window. What makes me the most sad about my experience is that I saw ATP's true colors. You are undermining the very foundation of any line of work--honesty and integrity. Pilots are getting the shaft day after day out in the real world. They are being taken advantage of my big corporate airline departments--and your school is no exception. I beg you to not feed in to the increasingly humiliating way pilots are being treated. ATP has a large influence on new pilots--don't let that opportunity slip away! Use it to instill subtle lessons of integrity by the way you do your day to day business. If only flight schools could share the same level of passion that their students have for flight...I challenge you as a school to match and exceed your student's zeal for aviation. I'm not talking about being excited just to go up for a training flight--I'm talking about treating your students as actual human beings complete with car payments, family troubles, and a whole mess of other things going on. As I have found from my experience as a CFI, support the needs of your student, and the training will be a blast!

Again, I am disappointed that I lost $200 to you. But if that $200 starts a re-examination of your policies, so be it.
SYdude is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 01:12 PM
2 days off
minimwage4's Avatar
Joined APC: Jun 2009
Position: Embraer Systems Analyst
Posts: 1,853

A 200 dollar refund is nothing for them, they must be getting desperate

ATP is what it is, it's a pilot mill. They have something you need quickly, and you have something they need. That's the way they operate. If you want quality professional training go elsewhere. Personally I would have just found a way to tough it out for that night but that's just me.
minimwage4 is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 01:48 PM
Does NOT get weekends off
snippercr's Avatar
Joined APC: Jul 2007
Position: ERJ - 145
Posts: 1,631

You arrive and your housing accommodations are not set up. You spend the night in a hotel and get reimbursed for your travel and housing plus you make out ~$80. Sure you are not given the refund in cashey money, but you are spending the money anyways for your training.

I think there is a difference between doing ANYTHING for a certificate, rating or even a job, and that of being flexible. Accommodations did not work out... that can happen in any field for any reason. It doesn't mean that just because the oil change place lost your appointment that the auto mechanic's union is to blame

To me it sounds like you are using this as an excuse to complain about this industry and all the things wrong with it. I don't deny your complaints are valid, I just don't see what the price of milk has to do with North Korea's missile initiatives...

But hey, what do I know? I am just a CFI too. I am sorry to hear about your frustrations and the problems this caused. But can't part of it just be blamed on "that's life and these things happen"?

Last edited by snippercr; 03-10-2010 at 10:22 PM.
snippercr is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 02:47 PM
On Reserve
Thread Starter
SYdude's Avatar
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Position: Son of a beech
Posts: 17

You all present valid points. True, these things happen in life, it's just that it was a good opportunity for ATP to do the right thing. I just love the profession and I don't want it humiliated any more than it already has.
SYdude is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 03:00 PM
Gets Weekends Off
Joined APC: Mar 2008
Position: FAA 'Flight Check'
Posts: 13,831

Originally Posted by SYdude View Post
You all present valid points. True, these things happen in life, it's just that it was a good opportunity for ATP to do the right thing. I just love the profession and I don't want it humiliated any more than it already has.
I bought a dinner plate from a store two days ago. I got it home and it was chipped. I took it back, they gave me credit for the price of the plate, and I used that credit to buy a good plate I was happy with that.

Isn't this what happened to you? You got there and something wasn't right. You paid for transportation and a night in a hotel; they reimbursed you for the full cost of each AND $82 EXTRA and then you use words like "stole"?

Sounds to me like they did exactly what they should have and more. Bad on them for not having the accommodations squared away, but at least they tried to make it right.

As far as what they are doing to the pilot profession....well you decided to go there in the first place. You must not have too much heartburn with their product.

USMCFLYR is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 03:25 PM
On Reserve
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Posts: 11

Such a shame you had a bad experience with them. I did my ATP at their SAC facility last year and, though I did my own hotel booking, everything turned out great!

I always thought ATP was a "pilot mill" like everyone thinks. How wrong I was. Yes, most of the CFIs there are just building hours. Yes, the training curriculum is sometimes "iffy" at best. But hey, for the ATP certificate there is no specified training if it's your first attempt anyway. I really don't know anything about their PVT / COMM or IF program.

What surprised me the most, they used the same designated examiners as my original school, Sierra Academy, used. This gave me the confidence that I was going to get what I paid for.

I had over 1,000 hours on the DA42; never flown the Seminole, or current (i.e. hadn't flown) any conventional twin in over a decade, but managed to pass on the first attempt after their "Five Hour ATP Program + Written". While the examiner was busy issuing my temp certificate, the ATP staff at SAC told me the failure rate was averaging 50% for the same program, and this was taking into account the people current and with time in the Seminole.

No disrespect to anyone's opinion, but for me, I would recommend ATP to anyone who needs to go for their ATP checkride!
japanam is offline  
Old 03-10-2010, 06:14 PM
Gets Weekends Off
Joined APC: Sep 2009
Posts: 134

I recomend ATP all the time for add on ratings and certs, not for private tho? I think their PPL program is 'lacking', but thats my opinion? but I also tell them what to expect. Every place has issues. IF you have the money and the time, and IF your doing add on certs or ratings, I think its one of the places to go.
doublerjay is offline  
Old 03-11-2010, 03:50 PM
Flying Farmer
Ewfflyer's Avatar
Joined APC: Jul 2006
Position: Turbo-props' and John Deere's
Posts: 3,160

I'm failing to see the problem here. Just me, but.....yeah. While I don't 100% agree with the whole Pilot-Mill, I don't think the did anything wrong here besides messing up an accomodation. Pretty small beans IMO for what you would've been paying for and they more than made up for their mistake by giving you additional funds towards your rating you were pursuing.
Ewfflyer is offline  
Old 03-12-2010, 02:02 PM
On Reserve
Thread Starter
SYdude's Avatar
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Position: Son of a beech
Posts: 17

This is why I joined APC! I do understand that they are a business and they have to protect their own interests...I was just a little frustrated with the operation, that's all.
SYdude is offline  
Old 03-12-2010, 02:30 PM
On Reserve
Joined APC: Mar 2010
Posts: 11

You should try working with Chinese management!

Try telling them that they're doing something wrong (i.e. flying with iced wings, just for example).

Sorry, fell off the topic there. So Matt, where are you going to go for your II and MEI?
japanam is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
AA gear puller
08-19-2014 04:29 PM
11-04-2009 06:01 AM
Low & Slow
05-26-2009 07:41 PM
11-20-2008 11:18 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread