Best location for career pilot program?


Well-Known Member
I've been looking into ATP for a while, but have a few questions you guys might be able to answer.

1. What is the best location for the career pilot program, and which locations have the best equipment? I am flexible and could go to any of the locations. How is Manassas in particular? It's closer.

2. Housing-do you have a roommate, or your own room?

3. Would it be better to show up with my instrument and comm writtens already? I have a few months until I can go anywhere.

4. ATP seems like a no-BS straight-to-the point outfit that seeks motivated students. I like that. The pace is quick, and the program is total immersion-but what happens when I need a couple of extra hours because a certain maneuver doesn't "click"?
I'm attending ATP at the end of October. One of my best friends went through ATP and recommended I do the same. Here's what I have gleaned over the past few months which can answer some of your questions:

1. The location depends on you. The planes don't stay at the same location every day. The planes fluctuate often. You may fly a new Seminole, or an old one. Either way, you're prepared to do it.

2. You share a room. It's like a college dorm. 2 bdr w/ 4 occupants. Your roommate is your "partner" for the program...meaning you fly together on most trips.

3. Once you pay your deposit, you get all your written study guides. It's adviseable that you get all your writtens done before going. It just makes the time you're there simpler and less stressful.

4. You get unlimited time in the Sim. You basically get your practice done in the sim. There may be a little time for practice, but a lot of it is XC time.

That's what I've gotten so far.

Thanks for the info. I did call them and got a lot of good info as well.

As for locations, I am just looking at the map with a feeling of "hmm, where should I go....". Out West sounds great, and the ATP CFI I spoke with mentioned that out West the flights are longer due to larger distances between ATP centers.

Sacramento sounds really nice, but I understand it's very foggy in the mornings. It does seem to be a nice place to spend 3 months, and the airspace doesn't look too busy.
I like the idea of Los Angeles too, never been there, seems interesting although the airspace is the opposite end of the spectrum.

Anyone who has been to the CA locations (esp. SAC), I'd appreciate any info.
It's been said before---if you can handle flying in SoCal, you can handle flying anywhere.
So I've heard. The winter weather in LA is decent for flying though. Do all the ACP locations have an AST-300 sim? I read on another thread that the SAC location is definitely a satellite operation; now I'm considering the operational aspects of the various locations. I got an email suggesting Stuart FL, as the facility is new and weather is great.

Will Riverside, LA be a good choice?
Im thinking about it because I live in Los Angeles.
I will move to the dorms, so it doesnt matter where I live.
But if I move out of CALIF I wont be able to go to college for cheap.
What do you say about it?
Do you like LA? I've never been there, but it sounds interesting. As I plan to begin in January, winter weather is a concern and LA seems to really be great.

The program is only 3 months so I suspect you could get away with leaving the state and not losing residency. Wherever I go, I am keeping the car registration and residency I have now.
I visited ATP in Sac a while back and it's a decent training facility. They've got a Sim, classrooms, testing facility, and computers. They've got some sweet A/C too. As for flying out of SAC. It's a breeze. Yep, it's sometimes foggy for a few days at a time in the winter (not very often), but most of the time (in the winter) it's 1-2 days easy rain with icing, then sunny skies for a week or so. Cycles like that starting around Nov. lasting til Feb/Mar. As far as the airspace goes, it's cake. Class C over at SMF and everywhere else is D. There are several towered airports around town, too (3). I don't know where ATP fly's around here but there's bayarea class Bravo an hour away which will gain you some vital experience, not to mention the views. Let me know if you have any other questions, I may be able to answer 'em.
Riverside will be a good choice. Perhaps I'm just an incy tincy bit biased, working there as an instructor.

It is good though, in the sense that you /know/ that once you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. (As someone else said.)
Especially in the winter it's nice flying here. I myself went to Phoenix when I did the program, despite living half an hour from Riverside. The reason for that though was to go somewhere where I would live in the student apartments. If I had lived at home, as I would have done if I did the program here, I would never have found enough alone time to do the studying I needed to do.

If you look at it from a more 'neutral' perspective though; It really doesn't matter where you do the program. The planes are the same, the program is the same, the instructors are 'the same', it's all the same. Go where you feel like going.


PS: If you have specific questions on Riverside let me know.
Thanks to both of you-I realize the ATP aspect is the same, just trying to determine living conditions/stuff to do aspect. Weather is a major reason I abandoned the FBO training idea a long time ago, and LA is nice in the winter.

Looking at a borrowed LA sectional, I now believe if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere! But how much does the dense ATC environment get in the way of learning? Is it 30 minutes of vectoring just to get to the practice area? Or is that an intended part of the training?

Also, how is the housing at Riverside? I've heard Sacramento is basic but okay, and Phoenix is great.
Not sure how the housing is here in Riverside, never actually been to the apartments.
The housing in Phoenix is nice though. Especially since TGI's is only 3 minutes away, on foot. Makes for some nice.. *Cough* Studying.
Also keep in mind that picking a location that has a lot to offer outside of studying really shouldn't be a priority; You won't have much time to do stuff anyway.

As far as how the busy airspace here in SoCal makes training; The training area here in Riverside is actually closer than the one in Phoenix, belive it or not. Or Las Vegas, for that matter. Look at your sectional, and just south/south west of RAL you'll see Lake Mathews. That's where we train. So you take off, climb for 2 minutes, and you're set.
So for an easy quiet training, or cross country for that matter, you can head south towards San Diego, or out into the desert, and as your experience level increases you can go west in stead, towards Santa Barbara or Van Nuys or something like that.

Oh, cool. I will keep ATP in mind. WIlliams is only 15 minutes from me. I landed at WIlliams the other week. I just couldnt' believe how long the runway was. Something like 10410 ft. I think it was an F-18 that landed while I was there too.
I'm sure the UPT students who trained there in the T-38 couldn't believe how short the runways were, considering they flew most of their patterns at 160 kias!
Aloft, you're the man! Willy was/is a great place! With 10k and change, you could do several touch and gos! LOL! Question here for the folks on this thread. What's the ultimate goal? Are you planning an airline career? Knowing what's out there as we speak, I am just not sure what you will do once youfinish the ratings? Are there many West Coast companies hiring??
I went through ATP Career Pilot Program in Dallas. They use the Arlington Municipal Airport. The location is great, good airspace for instrument and cross-country flying and easy to get in and out of for VFR. The instructors are cool and the hosuing is decent. During my cross country phase, I saw the Stuart, FL location. In my opinion those are the two best locations. Stuart has the best housing situation, nice, very nice apartments, and the instructors are good, as is the ATP office (brand new office space), and of course there is the ocean! If you have nay questions about the program please feel free to e-mail me:
How about washington DC? ANyone heard of the facilites ther for the Career pilot program?

Foks, I am originaly from SoCal, in fact did my first 20 hrs out of SNA (pretty cool/hairy doing a landing with a 757 on the parallel) Anyways I am getting ready to finish my BS in Aviation Mgmt. at Southern Illinois Univ. and am strongly concidereing ATP. As far as the facilities and locations go, I am looking forward to heading back home. I have heard about how nice Phoenix is, but havent heard too much about Riverside or Long Beach. Anyone have any input. Thanks.