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Old 04-13-2015, 08:50 AM   #1  
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Default Starting ATP Flight School in Jacksonville

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 fiancé 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!
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:01 AM   #2  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:34 AM   #3  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:16 AM   #4  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:27 AM   #5  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:50 AM   #6  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:04 PM   #7  
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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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:12 PM   #8  
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Quote:
I went on an introductory flight last Monday (6 April) with an instructor who had around 900 hours.
First flight ever?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:19 PM   #9  
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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 partners with Tarrant County College 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
Veterans and Military - Tarrant County College
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:42 PM   #10  
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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


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