Thx @DE727UPS @dergCheck out this youtube video:View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5bT2UtO4Ig&list=PL9A5YmMmjcl5_ZxKLDcV2rwPY6xE1FDlh
It's the above mentioned flight school owner being interviewed by a prospective pilot. They talk about pricing and program contrasts with ATP. I've been to his place and he's a hands on owner that's been doing it a long time.
Agree with the first class medical comment above. If there is an issue there you want to know before you blow a bunch of money.
ATP is a huge school with a "system" that they don't vary from. Proven track record. They get more hours cause they do time building with two pilots logging the time on one flight. It's legit according to the FAA in a special situation. You could probably "split time" like this at a smaller, more informal, flight school if you found someone to do it with. I see people asking about this from time to time at the SoCal Aviators facebook page.
When considering the small school, though, look at number of planes, number of CFI's, and the owners willingness to work with a guy who wants to go "accelerated" with his training. No reason one can't get a lot done in a shorter time at a smaller school if they are open to it and equipped for it.
The best thing about your situation is, I would presume, the ability to get back into your present career if things don't work out for whatever reason. You worry about your age being an issue but you have an advantage over the young in that this isn't your first career rodeo. How many young guys spend a ton of money on flying, drop out, and end up with a different career? Many, trust me. I'm on this other facebook page called "raising aviation teens" and all they talk about is getting their kids to the airlines ASAP at any cost. ATP looks cheap compared to Riddle. They have little understanding of the history of this career and how it can come to a screeching halt from time to time. And I believe a lot are getting into the career for the money and not for the love of flying.
Best of luck. You did good to post here.
Timeline: I'm trying to determine at this point how long this will take me. I'm committing to this full time once I start, and ideally (weather and maintenance permitting) I can fly five days a week. If I understand correctly, I'll be paying for rental and instruction up until I get my CFI certification and 250 hours for commercial, and then at the point I can start working as an instructor. I'm really intrigued by the idea of instructing as I am currently an educator.
I've heard that this process from zero to Commercial/CFI cert can take as little as 7 months and up to even a year, depending on my commitment, study habits, availability, maintenance, weather, examination availability, etc. For me time is money as I will be doing this full time, so I want to commit myself to it fully to get back to work as soon as possible. Do people have any insight on how long it will take me to get to my CFI cert based on their experience?
Holy crap, how does anyone pay for flight training today? $185/hr + $75/hr instructor for I assume a single engine Cessna? That's more than instruction in a twin was when I was doing my civilian training.
Regarding the question of how long all of this will take, here is a data point for you. Of my last 7 scheduled flights, I had to cancel 5 of them. One due to illness, one due to crosswind exceeding limits, two due to widespread low-IFR without suitable alternates, and one due to a maintenance issue found during preflight. I think it's like the stock market. There will be ups and downs that are hard to forecast. You just know that the more effort you put in sooner, the better off you will be in the long run. I would not bank on being done and employed in 7 months, although I am sure that works out in some cases. Give yourself a flexible end date as far as your financial needs are concerned. For instance, my spouse's income is sufficient for covering all of our expenses as living on 50% has always been our natural state.
I found the old clapped out 172 I soloed in 25 years ago still flying around. It’s moved a couple of states… but now its in New Jersey…. i called up the flight school and on an EWR overnight I went out to go fly the 172 I hadn’t seen in 23 years…. It’s a different color paint now... It’s missing a few avionics boxes… still steam gauge…. Which is goood. Because the last time I flew a 172 was 18 years ago.. it had a g1000 panel and I couldn’t fly the 172 at all….Holy crap, how does anyone pay for flight training today? $185/hr + $75/hr instructor for I assume a single engine Cessna? That's more than instruction in a twin was when I was doing my civilian training.