31 years old at ATP

USNAInstructor

Well-Known Member
I'm 31 y.o. and looking at going to ATP or a like school in the 4th quarter next year (I'll be 32). My reason for going to an intense school such as ATP is the total immersion. I've thought of the FBO route but I have so much going on (work, investments, family, etc.) that I really need to buckle down and immerse myself in aviation. I have 150 hours right now and got my PPL several years ago.

I'm not sure where aviation will take me. I think my ideal situation would be where I could get a couple SR22s and run a program that introduces kids to aviation. That being said, I would mind flying corporate but would probably stay away from the airlines.

Wanted to see what guidance anyone might have for me. I appreciate it in advance.

Fly safe!
 

N826AW

Snooki's Baby Daddy
I'm an ATP alum. I enjoyed my time there and thought the training was great. That being said, it's pretty spendy and there are a lot of other options out there. I would consider them wisely, visit the schools that make the most sense.

I tried to get my PPL via working/school/flying at the same time and it never worked out. So the whole 90 day program appealed to me. There's a lot of ex-ATP guys on here and probably more non-ATP guys that can offer their $.02.

Best of luck with whatever you pursue.
 

aloft

New Member
ATP's program is designed to crank out first officer candidates for the airlines, not well-rounded pilots. In exchange for a huge sum of money, you'll be taught the bare minimum to pass a specific examiner's checkride and no more. No emergency upset training, no mountain flying exposure, nothing that isn't in line with what works for the airlines. You'll save money and likely become a better pilot by getting your training at a local FBO with an instructor who wasn't a student the week before.
 

DL31082

Well-Known Member
ATP's program is designed to crank out first officer candidates for the airlines, not well-rounded pilots. In exchange for a huge sum of money, you'll be taught the bare minimum to pass a specific examiner's checkride and no more. No emergency upset training, no mountain flying exposure, nothing that isn't in line with what works for the airlines. You'll save money and likely become a better pilot by getting your training at a local FBO with an instructor who wasn't a student the week before.

At ATP being taught only the checkride really depends on the instructor that you have. I have seen some instructors taking this route, but most don't. You are right though they do not teach you mountain flying unless you cross country out west. Then it is just a crash course. If you want something that is very standardized in procedures and checklists ATP is the place. I would personally go the cheaper FBO route at the moment, 57000 in loans is a lot of money.
 

Captain_Bob

Well-Known Member
Just keep following your dreams no matter where you decide to go.

For what it's worth... I too was 32 when I went through ATP. It really does depend on your instructor... and just like DL31082 stated: most don't teach just the PTS.

First officer candidates have to be "well rounded" pilots by nature... an interview and a SIM check at an airline doesn't just check to see if you can run a checklist and an autopilot. In fact... there is no autopilot for any portion of the XC phase at ATP. Hand flown all the time with coast to coast flying possibilities. Yes... even including mountainous terrain, cold weather ops, busy Class B, C, and D airpspace, and even podunk strips in between.

I too am a fan of the immersion style of training. That was a factor for my decision as well.

Claims of becoming a "better pilot" by only subscribing to one specific training style don't really hold water, and I know you probably already know that, but I just wanted to clarify aloft's statement. In addition... I've visited a lot of FBO's, even some listed here on JC, where the instructors had "wet tickets"... my Initial Private CFI in Maine was fresh out of PanAm/AZ. But he had a great attitude and a good lesson plan that we stuck with. That's what it's all about.

That said... ATP does a good job of training airline pilot candidates, but there are many students who have 135 and 91 gigs lined up after finishing as well. The Multi-time helps those folks quite a bit. If you are focused on only Private Pilot style Intro flights for your future... then there is no real need for all the multi-time and real world XC exprience that you'd get at ATP (which is a large portion of their cost).

But the advantage is certainly the immersion style of training and the ability to still do their program in a relatively short time frame while still working full time as well, by doing the 10-month program. It's not really meant to be 10 months long... that's just the goal end-date on more a motivated, self-paced program.

Anyway... as others have said before... do your research and find out what type of environment will work for you best, and meet your current and future needs best too.

Fly safe!

Bob
 

Kleigh

New Member
Aloft may be "Old Skool" on the forums, but his perception of the ATP I know is way off. The career pilot program does not just teach to the bare minimums. It may have done that with him, but it isnt the ATP I know and work at. That is actually a ridiculous statement. Not long ago one of the hiring managers at a regional said of his last few classes, those CFII from ATP did better in real world instrument flying in the sim eval than several 135 freight pilots. We train in real weather everyday. We fly everyday. In my time at ATP there has only been a few days we didnt fly due to weather, and that was hurricane related. Nearly all of our CFI students get their AGI and IGI. The program has evolved and grown. Ask anyone teaching the new curriculum. Talk to Dave S. at CRG about CFI school, better yet- talk to his students. If you think it is a bare minimum cake walk you are refering to a different school.
 

Trip7

Well-Known Member
ATP's program is designed to crank out first officer candidates for the airlines, not well-rounded pilots. In exchange for a huge sum of money, you'll be taught the bare minimum to pass a specific examiner's checkride and no more. No emergency upset training, no mountain flying exposure, nothing that isn't in line with what works for the airlines. You'll save money and likely become a better pilot by getting your training at a local FBO with an instructor who wasn't a student the week before.
You have NO clue what you're talking about. Your post is laughable at best. Have you even step foot on ATP property before? Let alone attend ATP...
 

eclipse

New Member
I will never understand why people with no idea about how a place operates can comment on that place. That is one reason i tune in- I need a good laugh after long trips in my professional pilot career for which I was apparently woefully unprepared. :sarcasm:
 

Snuggles

Well-Known Member
Like you, I found the immersion style of training at ATP appealing, particularly since at age 37 I didn't feel like I had much time to waste. So far I have not been disappointed. I started in July with 2 hours (intro flight) and already have my multi-engine and instrument ratings, and in about a month I'll be done with commercial and CFI certificates as well.

In fact, it's been quite a thrill to find out that I had the ability to develop these skills so quickly. Flying every day really does help to sweeten those senses needed to become a skilled pilot. It's been a grind at times, since days off are very few, but it's already well worth it.

Of course there are many different routes to take for training, but I can attest that the structure and format that ATP offers has been a very good match for me. I wish you all the best in your pursuit!
 

LoadMasterC141

Well-Known Member
Today I put a 44 year old student through his paces in the segment of the program before the students are sent out in pairs on nationwide cross countries. Having spent most of his waking hours training this student and only one other over the last 6 weeks, another instructor was certainly eager to hear from me. Would his student retain everything he had learned? Would the hour upon hour of questioning I assaulted him with reveal something even an examiner had missed? Would he react correctly during the hours of sim eval? Only then would I take him out for hours of flying, day and night, left and right seat, to further examine every facet of the skills and knowledge he would need to succeed in the next phase.

Not to worry. ATP has ensured that the student is a safe and competent pilot. They provided the original instructor with a specific and detailed curriculum to train this student and the instructor was held accountable to train to that syllabus. An examiner has signed this student off twice. Now I am going to check AGAIN to ensure that nothing has been missed. All the while, I am reinforcing everything the student needs to know and teaching them core concepts of Crew Resource Management.

Tomorrow, the 44 year old "check ride passer" is going to be dispatched out into the world flying a 2008 $500,000 Complex Multi-Engine Aircraft. He and his flight partner will head to
Phoenix, probably by way of Roswell. EGAD! They may even jump a mountain or so...and with no Auto-Pilot!


A few other asides......

Out of a dozen or so instructors at my location, I have had my license the least amount of time; Since May this year. At one point though, there were weeks separating me the instructor from me the student. I mean what place does not have new instructors? Isn't the idea to go from being a student to an instructor? Is experience what makes a great flight instructor? Or maybe it is the one who has just taken his head out of the books, has a true desire to help others succeed because he cares about others(something that cannot be taught), and loves what he does? Because I have seen plenty of highly experienced CFIs who no longer have these qualities and I would not give them a dime.

I am an instructor only. I am not a charter pilot Slash instructor to help pay the bills(guess who is not the number one priority). I don't go to work as a window washer during the day and take on a few students a month nights and weekends to slowly build time on the side. I don't have my own little 172 that I am going to try to get as much time out of you as I can until the next student comes along. I am not an instructor who flies a DE's plane that can guarantee you a check ride pass if you come see me for a few days.

Don't get me wrong, there are great full time FBOs and their instructors out there, but the potholes mentioned above are ones I unwillingly, or perhaps unwittingly, ran into personally.

Oh yeah, you can surely hold it against me because I am an ATP instructor. I am sure there must be bias, but I spent all of my hours as a student on the other side of the fence. For me anyway, the grass is greener here. Your mileage may vary.
 

DL31082

Well-Known Member
I think at this point anything that could be said about ATP has been said about ATP. If you want to get your rating fast, in a professional environment, and in most multi-engine airplanes then ATP is your place. If your looking to save money and fly/ train at your own pace, ATP probably isn't the right place. The biggest downside to ATP is the cost 57495+interest really sucks.

I have to say that I do not regret going to ATP. I had a blast flying cross countries to places like, Raliegh-Durhan, Richmond, Jasper, Monroe, Tyson-McGee, and Fort Lauderdale. The people I met will be friends for life and they are probably some of the better pilots that I know. If you have any questions you are more then welcome to PM me. Whatever you do have full and welcome to aviation.
 

stillageek

Well-Known Member
I started ATP at age 29. Finished at age 30 and was hired by an airline at age 30. Many of the "older" students did better as they had more invested in the program. Yes everyone wants to be a pilot, but when you are changing careers with a mortgage, wife, etc those steep turns during a checkride become that much more important.
 

USNAInstructor

Well-Known Member
Thank you to all who posted. I appreciate your advice. It seems like ATP is definitely worth the visit. I'm up in Charleston, SC so it's a short drive down to JAX to check it out. My name is Jim Chalupsky - definitely look forward to meeting y'all in the future!
 

BillH

New Member
ATP must be doing well still if the owners keep flying their CJ1 here every weekend to visit their friends.
 

eclipse

New Member
Sounds like someone has success envy. :(

I say, if you earned it- fly it. That is what I plan to do with mine (when and if of course.)
 

BillH

New Member
Sounds like someone has success envy. :(

I say, if you earned it- fly it. That is what I plan to do with mine (when and if of course.)
Sorry Ben, I am not an Obama supporter, I enjoy telling my students, "you see that CJ1 there? I flew that exact tail number!"
I keep missing them though, I want to go over and say hello, my busy work schedule makes it hard to do so.
 
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