CFI Program cost questions


New Member
Okay, I'm really in a bind trying to decide between going down to ATP Jacsonville to go for the total CFI program (CFI, CFII and MEI) for $4995 in 14 days (plus the DE costs)or going for my local FBO flight school.

My main question for folks on this board is, how accurate is that estimate of $4995? I'd have to tack on another $500 according to ATP for my Commercial Single add-on, and even there, I'm not sure if I can trust that $500 figure or not? I've heard ATP is very good about sticking to quoted prices in the total ACPP program, but I wonder about the CFI program, I mean, that sounds very optimistic to me.

My previous experience with part 141 at FSI has, uh, made me a bit wary of quoted prices, I easily ended up spending about 25 percent over costs there even though I only went over time by about a dozen hours, but at least I'd be no stranger to training in a Seminole if I go to ATP. Any other grads of ATP's CFI program have experience with going over the quoted 'maximum times' of 13.5 hours in the twin and 5 hours in the single engine?

I know you have to be on the ball for such an accelerated program, but after all the oral on the CFI checkride is probably the toughest in many ways so how well do they prepare you for things like endorsements, lesson plans, aerodynamics theory, etc?

And anyone have any idea at what point ATP might consider hiring on instructors who only do the CFI ratings with them and not the whole ACPP? (and don't say when hell freezes over).

The cons at ATP that I can see so far are possible cost over-runs, the cost of flying down to CRG and back, and the fact that some outfits look down upon you if you go through accelerated training. Appreciate any and all input.
Hi, I did the 10 hours ME Comm add on in August and finished without spending one additional dime than what I expected to pay. ATP has a reputation for delivering what they promise and from my experience, as well as the experience of those whom I have met, most people finish for the price advertised. They do offer additional training for those who need it and yes, it will cost more, but from all I have heard this is rare. I am going to the total CFI course in March and I fully expect to complete it without paying more than advertised. ATP has earned my business and I am really looking foward to the CFI course.
Hi PFactor,
Thanks for the reply, the ATP forum used to be one of the most active on jetcareers, but I'd heard nothing but crickets back in answer to my query. Maybe everyone's out having an early Thanksgiving
Yeah, I've heard nothing but good vibes about ATP and I'm sure their reputation is well deserved.
I just need to get instrument current and then I can apply for the total CFI program in January. Maybe they have a Frasca or other approved trainer I can use at their Aurora, IL location, that would help in cutting costs.
What ATP location do you plan to do your CFI program at? If you're in Cal, I assume Sacramento is the logical choice or perhaps Vegas, they were running a deal for $500 off at Vegas location. I think I'll go for Jacksonville, that's what the guy on the phone suggested.

Happy Thanksgiving
Hello Goldeneagle, I will attend the Vegas location for my CFI program. I did my multi add on in Riverside and they had 2 simms that were available most of the time. If you need info on different locations, call the 800# and ask for the code to enter the "scheduled student info" at the top righthand corner of ATP's homepage (you can PM me for it if you like). There you will find local approach plates, airport details, and other usefull information on each location. There is also an article about Walter S Schamel on their CFI page you might find interesting. Best of luck to you.
I don't have direct experience with them, but my understanding is that ATP is a flat-fee operation; you might get all the hours stated, you might not, but you'll get the ratings advertised.
You will get the hours and the time promised. I just finished my PPL @ JAX and this company doesn't just keep running your card through. It is up to you to study and work hard but the deal they offer is the deal you get.
Thanks for the replies Pfactor, Aloft and Bumblebee. If it truly does work out as a flat-fee operation, that would be refreshing. I believe most of the large scale pilot mills in the US and even many FBOs would not qualify and one has to be wary and tack on all sorts of unforseen cost runons. I have no experience with the university programs like UND, SIU and Riddle but it seems that they usually have comparable flat fee programs.

I'm going to shoot for a January or February date, which will among other things give me the perfect opportunity to escape Chicago with winter at its harshest and head off to Florida for some intense flying. I'm not instrument current though and they require instrument 'proficiency'. I'm trying to decide if getting some MS flight sim time will be enough to make me proficient or if I'll have to rent a plane and go up for a few hours, we'll see. Good luck to all, things seem to be picking up.