ATP worries...


New Member
I've recently done my Multi-engine (IFR) add-on, and did it at a location I won't disclose because I'm a little worried about a couple of things.

I thoroughly enjoyed the week of training, I thought it was top-notch 100% I liked being in the "airline cockpit" environment, running checklists like the pros and so forth (I think every place should, but most FBO's I've been at are as lax as possible). Anyway, obviously they were certain procedures for the multi-work, engine failures, engine shutdowns, and so forth. Since this was my first experience in a twin, it was all new and I think I handled it well and loved every second of it. The ground school was grueling for me since I'm as far from a "book" guy as you can get, but I learned the stuff well and was ready to go on my checkride.
Checkride day, and the oral went the best of any oral I've ever had...I'm usually stumbling and fumbling for even the most basic answers. The examiner was one of the nicest people I've ever met and I was excited to be talking with him; he genuininly wanted to learn as much from me as I did from him.
So anyway, all week long, my instructor would pull a mixture on me, and I'd react properly (well eventually I reacted properly!) by saying "mixture full" and pushing the good one forward while he held the "bad" one back, "props forward throttles forward, check flaps up, gear up, identify (w/dead foot), and verify (pulling throttle on bad engine back)" The engine of course would be spluttering and he'd either let me have it back, or we'd feather it and secure it and start it later. Anyway, when we were about ready to go for the ride, the examiner said when he wanted to fail an engine on me, he'd pull back a throttle (covering them up so I couldn't cheat!) and I was to simply touch the blue handle of which engine it was I was going to feather...much simpler, and different. I wanted to verify that that was all he wanted, since it seemed so simple, and I explained how I was used to the mixture being yanked and going thru the whole thing, no matter what altitude, and he looked surprised and said "I'm fat not stupid!!"
Anyway the point is, that he said that was crazy to do that, and so I just said "ok" and was more than happy to do it the easier way. Also I was supposed to have received training of an engine shut down and re-start while under the hood, and that was never covered, but luckily I improvised and got through it (damn near stalled the %^&$-er though).
So as a result, I was flying like crap and nearly blew almost everything except the stall recoveries. In fact, I messed up so bad on the instrument approaches I was sure I'd blown it...I mean, really stupid sh*t that I'd have flunked a guy on if I was examaning him. Most everything else went ok, but I blew the short-field landing by maybe 5 inches, and he flunked me on that, so I have to go back and demonstrate a short field landing on Monday...
But in any case, it just really concerned me that the examiner was on a very different page from ATP, and also, that he said the checklists are all wrong for the high altitude locations (he said ATP is a sea level school) and they need to adjust their checklists accordingly..for example checklist says full mixture - he said "NO! Lean it back"
anyway, just some venting and some concern for your reading pleasure...
This is of great concern for me.

My private checkride was with one of ATPs former DEs. He is a 30K-hr pilot... long story short, they marshall (supposedly) their DEs and students sent to them with the same page in mind.

The fact that your demonstration was such a shocker to him speaks volumes about the organization.

I'm tentatively starting May 6... but I have a few more questions unanswered.
I was scheduled to start at ATP on Monday of this week. I had paid the $1000 and taken all my writtens. I started to become uncomfortable with everything I was hearing about the poor quality of instruction at ATP (even from current students in front of their instructors in the JAX office). I called the admin office to find out about the refund policy and asked for a copy of the contract before I started the program. I was treated very badly and told that I would get the contract only after I had actually arrived for training and made my second payment. I was in JAX at the time and asked if I could just stop by the offices to pick up a copy to review and my request was refused. That was all I needed to hear to tell me that something was not right at ATP.
This all happened last week. I got on the internet and found Ari-Ben Aviators in Fort Pierce. The program takes longer (6 months) but it's part 141 accredited, $7000 cheaper, and you get 200 hours of multi in a Dutchess. I moved my poor wife and all my stuff to Fort Pierce on Monday and I started at Ari-Ben today. I'm extremely cynical at this point but I was very imp[ressed with everything I saw today. Great ground instruction, 1 1/2 hours in the plane on the first day. I fly tomorrow and Sunday. There are seven Dutchesses on line right now and my instructor flew 4.5 hours today that I'm sure of. Do that 6 days a week and I'll be building great hours. The owner, Micheal Cohen, made a simple promise to me, when I'm done he'll give me two students, if they do okay I'll get more, if not, I'm toast. That' fair and honest, I like that. It seems like a great place. I'll post more as it goes along and I'll be glad to answer questions and I WILL be honest. Another big selling point is that all of the practicals are done in Orlando with FAA examiners, not DE's or part time employees of the school. That kind of paper, along with a part 141 diploma means a lot more with employers.
THINK TWICE ABOUT ATP, They are evasive,if not dishonest, at best and if Jim or Erroll disagree with this post I'll be glad to discuss it with them in person,number in Vero is (772)794-4568.
Contracts??? The only thing you could call a contract is the agreement each Career Pilot is required to sign before the cross-country phase after receiving the multi-instrument. It has verbage in there about the minimums for landing. If I remember, I believe the requirement was for a minimum 800 foot CIG. That's pretty funny, since we regulary shot approaches in IMC down to nonprecision and precision minimums, sometimes at night. The dispatchers always were putting the pressure on us to go even when forecasted CIGs were below what the cross-country agreement said we could "legally" land in. Since my partner planned on instructing for them he always felt compelled to go along with the Dispatchers' wishes. Neither I nor my partner signed an official training contract. All that money you pay for the program is only backed up with 4 little pink receipts(the same one you got when you paid them for the initial $100 interview). I don't know if that has changed but it doesn't sound like the folks at Vero Beach provide training contracts for the ACPPP since they couldn't provide one to you.

I'm not discouraged, but I'll certainly keep an eye on my arse.

Thanks, Greg. All the best.
Hi all,
I went through the program last may and don't regret a thing.
As far as DE opinions, thay all have their way of doing things and some LOVE ATP, and some don't like some of the procedures, checklists, etc...

Do you want to go to your checkride with a DE who loves everything about your school? If he does, then something is fishy. If he sees things he does not like but feels the candidate is qualified enough to earn a rating, I would say he is an objective examiner, NOT in the pocket of the school.

As for customer service:
ATP's customer service IS APPALLING. As a CFI, I have spoken to many potential students of ATP and frequently hear of bad customer service or none at all. I tell them to not worry about it. The reason is simple.
Do you want some slick salesman who's never been in an AC telling you lies? Warm and fuzzy? NO.
Do they deliver what they promise?, absolutely!!

In this industry, if you feel warm and fuzzy, check your wallet!!!

Errol and Jim K. sometimes have a "screw you if you don't like it" attitude that assumes that the student pilots will keep coming in forever, but again, ignore it, study hard and you'll do fine.

Regarding contracts:
My best friend is a lawyer. He thought I was totally insane handing over $30K with no contract to some flight school with poor customer service. That is until I asked him if Harvard law provided him with a contract for his $90,000 tuition?(NO!)

Don't let a lack of good customer service determine the course of your training.

ATP delivers what they promise, no gimmicks, no tricks. (no warm fuzzy)

Alternate route?: Meet 3 other people in your same boat, combine your $30K, buy a Seminole, hire an instructor for 5 months, pay him with free hours in the plane, earn your ratings and sell the plane.

or, go to ATP

my .02
You proved a valuable point about many pilots--they're • and will put up with almost anything for the 1 percent chance they'll someday make captain in a wide body for one of the majors.
As most of you know, I went through the Career Pilot Program and was hired by the company last week as a MEI.

ATP is run by gentlemen who are all currently flying for an airline or major cargo carrier. These are not shady dealers -- and they certainly would not risk their careers at the airlines by running an operation that is duplicitous or not by the book. And, after being here for a week, I can also say that they are extremely hard-working people who care a great deal about making ATP as good as it can be. We are stressed over and over to follow the FAR/AIM's to the letter when scheduling pilots or dealing with a training issue.

If you aren't happy with the customer service when you call, you should say something to the person on the phone. If you still aren't satisfied, ask to speak to Errol -- he was the President of the Boys and Girls Club for a number of years and you will not find a better or more decent man anywhere.

As far as busting a checkride for going "5 inches long" on a short field, that is simply not true. The Commercial PTS is very clear on page 1-20 --

Task F, Number 8 reads:

Touches down at a specified point at or within 100 feet beyond the specified point, with little or no float, with no drift, and with the airplane's longitudinal axis aligned with and over the center of the landing surface.

If you busted because of short field landings, you went more than 5 inches long. I will say that the people I see who don't do well at ATP are those who constantly look to blame others for their own mistakes and failures. "It was the instructor's fault, it was the examiner's fault, it was the aircraft's fault, it was the weather's fault" -- anything but simply saying, I blew it. If you know what is in the PTS and meet every standard, you CANNOT bust a check ride.

As far as the examiner question, there is not an examiner in the world who uses anything but the PTS for their standards. They can't bust you if you meet all the standards. Do they all like to see different things? Absolutely. But, to suggest that certain examiners are somehow "cheating" is simply a lie. Each and every examiner is continuously checked out by the FAA, and if they don't meet standards, they get their DE license revoked.

I will say again that the people running ATP are currently flying for American -- the owner is a captain for Fed Ex. They have made it to the majors and know what it takes. They have tailored their flight school around this knowledge. If you want to spend that much money at a school run by someone who has never stepped foot in a major cockpit, you're a braver man than me.

I guarantee, if you look hard enough, you will find issues and problems anywhere you train. At the end of the day, this is the question to ask anyone who has ever trained at ATP:

Did you receive the rating(s) you signed up for? Did you pay one dime more than the agreed upon price?

I can already tell you the answer you're going to get.

If you really want to find out about a school, ask as many previous customers as you can about their experience. Take the consensus and consider that your best guage of what you're really going to get.

So, let me add my two cents to the consensus:

I went through the career pilot program. I got my multi/single instrument-commercial, MEI, CFI and CFII. I passed every checkride per the standards of the PTS. I recieved every hour I was told I would -- and even got a few extra on the cross-country phase. I did not pay one penny more than their advertised price. I can also guarantee that if you are in the Career Pilot Program and bust a checkride, you still aren't going to pay more -- I saw that with my own eyes. After starting in January, I have almost 200 hours in the Seminole, I am an MEI and will soon be buliding 80-100 hours per month of dual given multi-time.
We can get pissed off at the dispatchers, we can fidget when Jim starts barking questions, but • can be found anywhere you're willing to work.
Some good points from you there, COOPERVANE.

<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

THEY HAVE NO SALESPEOPLE, JUST EX CAREER STUDENTS MANNING THE PHONE. Do you want some slick salesman who's never been in an AC telling you lies? Warm and fuzzy? NO. Do they deliver what they promise?, absolutely!!


As one of said people manning the phones in Jacksonville now I couldn't agree with you more. That's not to say we don't try to be nice with customers, or do our best to help, but neither of us are trained salespeople, neither of us are smooth talkers.
And I believe, especially with a program like the ACP program, it's important to be honest about it. The program takes a lot of work and effort, that is a basic truth, and people need to be told that before they commit to it. Anyone can do it, but not without working for it. There is no extensive ground school, noone is going to hold your hand through this program, sometimes it's up to you yourself to make things happen, and people need to know this before signing up. Trust me, once you're in the program, you'll appreciate someone having told you this on beforehand, and not fed you some smooth lines about it. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

It's a great program, I loved it and don't regret a single second of it. No dance on roses, mind you, but if I had to choose again I would have made the same choise, in a heartbeat.

Yeah, well, it's also important to note that Sig got over his concerns, enrolled in ATP's program and now instructs for them.