ATP Instructor Life


New Member
For those of you who are ATP instructors, I have a couple of questions.

First, some backqroud info: I'm looking at starting the career pilot program sometime in the next year. I will be a career changer (42 years old) and I have a wife and two young kids. We live about 1 1/2 hours away from the Manassas airport in VA, where ATP is offered.

Here are my questions: I know as a student that you are pretty much flying, studying, etc 7 days a week during the couse, but IF I was hired as an instructor, is the pace the same? In other words, is it possible / feasible to commute each day from home to the airport? And are you working 7 days a week also? Basically, what is an instructors life like?

In addition, how many flying hours does an instructor normally get each month

This subject has been on my mind as well. I am 32, married with 2 kids and I am preparing my wife for the change. Especially because I live in Pennsylvania and I am considering either Sacratomato, as Socal calls it or Jacksonville. Both are a move for us involving the sale of our home, etc. My son is 3 and daughter is only 4 1/2 months so they are young yet but nevertheless will be affected. Knowing as much about what to expect for all of us is essential to having the family support to get through it.
The pace is actually pretty much the same. Or in some ways, at least. You don't spend your evenings studying as an instructor, but your days can be just as long, if not longer, than the day is as a student.
Not only that, but you work 7 days a week. Any off time you get is sporadic in nature and unpredictable, to say the least.

The pay sucks too.

The upside? 60-80 hours of ME time pr. month, meaning you can shave from 6 to 12 months off the time it will take you to move from an instruction job to sitting in the right seat somewhere.
Don't know 'bout you guys, but I would rather work a little extra for a year then spending an extra year dinking around in a C172.

Besides, instructing in ATP is actually fun! 98% if your students are highly motivated students who want to do their best and who put down a lot of cash to realize their dream.

What about job opportunities after employment at ATP. Can any of you guys share any info about former instructors that have been recently hired by regionals, etc..?I am planning on checking out ATP in Phoenix sometime in October along with Westwind.

Before considering such a move, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! I can't stress this enough. California is a VERY expensive place to live! DO NOT HARBOR ANY DELUSIONS WHATSOEVER THAT YOU'LL BE ABLE TO SUPPORT A FAMILY AS THE SOLE BREADWINNER ON FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR WAGES HERE. You'll ruin yourself, your marriage and your family. If your spousal unit isn't prepared or willing to work full time too, plan on going somewhere else with a more reasonable cost of living.

I'm completely serious. As a single guy making over $120k/yr when I was living in San Francisco, I couldn't afford a house anywhere I was willing to live.

Do you think it would be feasable for someone to commute 1 1/2 hours each way while instructing. Or would it be better to live in one of those ATP apartments even though the family will still be 1 1/2 hours away? What are your usual work hours, 6 to 6, 8 to 6, 6 to 8, 9 to 3 :) etc, etc. And what's the pay, $1200 per month?

Is it feasable to commute 1.5 hours each way? Not to me.
Then again, people put up with different kinds of commutes. SoCal I belive commute about 1.25 hours each way, too much for me, but he manages. Then again, half the time he ends up sleeping in the office..

As far as work day goes, it's not set. The message from the powers that be is 'You work enough to get the job done, no more, no less.' Some days that mean from 08:00 to 22:00, some days from 10:00 to 12:00, some days not at all. (Though those are rare and far between.) Right now my workdays seem to end up being from 09:00 to 15:00, but come Monday and I get a second ACP student, so it'll probably add a few hours to my day. Then you have the days where you go for the x-c trips, and work from 18:00 to 02:00..
In other words, it's completely unpredictable and unscheduled.

(Though you do have a lot of control over your own day, and you do normally know the evening before what your next day is going to be like.)

Hope this sheds a little light on what you can expect.

Hi, yet another pilot looking for the right spot. To note on your 'picking up another ACP student'. Are you assigned a student from day one, and then stay with them all the way through? Or more importantly from the student's view point, do you consistently stay with one instructor, or do you have to do the dreaded "instructor shuffle".