Opinion on ATP CFII&MEI 5-day program...


Well-Known Member
I'll have my CFI (hopefully) by then so I was thinking of taking my senior year of college spring break to complete these ratings. Right now it's $4,000, which is very cheap for the 5 day + 15hours of multi PIC.

What can you guys tell me about this program? Do they provide housing?

Second, I'll be spending my spring break there so preferably somewhere in the south. Weather is huge so it has to be nice that week, I was thinking Birmingham, Atlanta, Dallas, or maybe some of the locations in Florida. I will be driving from the MW so that is a consideration.

Although I can get free housing at Indianapolis (family friend lives ~45min from the airport)
I did it at Orlando (which I think is closed now). No housing is provided.

My recommendation is to show up 100% COMPLETELY ABSOLUTELY READY TO TAKE BOTH ORALS ON DAY 1.

12 hours of flying over 3 days, followed by a checkride on day 3 and day 4. It's busy, it's fast. Don't try to show up on day 1 needing to learn all of the material for the oral too.
I used to be a CFI for ATP and I went through their 14 day CFI,MEI,II. Like the previous post don't show ready to learn, show up ready to perform. ATP is a great tool to get ratings fast, key word fast. Have your II written done, practice doing the required maneuvers on a seminole at least once and more importantly have your lessons prepared before you show and know and understand them. If you do all of these then the ratings will go very smoothly.

I taught primarily ATP students and the ones that didn't do the required pre-work or spend their day studying/practicing would usually fail their check ride. I would go back if I had it to do again.
Go to my former employer here in Vegas. I believe it's cheaper and they have an accelerated course. Not to mention the weather here rarely disappoints when it comes to flying.
Go to my former employer here in Vegas. I believe it's cheaper and they have an accelerated course. Not to mention the weather here rarely disappoints when it comes to flying.

What is the name of your former employer?
I went to ATP Long Beach in 2005 for the same program. I ran into weather and maintenance delays, but I got lucky and was able to finish on schedule, even though I only had 5 days. In retrospect, I should've gone to Vegas where the weather was less likely to be an issue and the fleet was bigger.

As others have said, show up ready to perform on day one. My experience was with a 300 hr given CFI who knew the gouge on the examiner and the airplane and had the FARs memorized, but couldn't really teach otherwise. (He told me one of the reasons a twin had a left-turning tendency was because the accelerated slip stream was deflected to the right. Huh? He also handed me a lesson on ILS and said, "Copy this over in your own handwriting." I elected to write my own lesson, the examiner asked me for it but didn't even look at it. Instead, most of the two orals was spent listening to him tell me stories of flying in the Battle of Midway, winning the Navy Cross, bombing the Yamamoto, and working in Hollywood after the war. Very interesting stuff, but not really typical orals.) My CFI was a graduate of ER, and I don't think he ever took a pleasure flight in his entire life, and it was reflected in how he approached flying. He had what I was after though -- the ability to endorse my logbook to take the tests. That's what I paid for, and that's what I got. Nothing more, nothing less.

When I enrolled in the program I was a CFI with about 1000 hrs TT and 400 dual given. I didn't have access to a twin at home and it had been over a year since I'd flown one, but I had about 75 hrs of twin time when I arrived. I did have access to a PCATD, so my instrument skills were sharp. Because of my lack of currency in a twin, and never having flown a Seminole, I opted for the 15 hr program. I'm glad I did because I didn't realize until I arrived that my block of time was to include transit from Long Beach to Van Nuys for the MEI, back to Long Beach then back to Van Nuys the following morning. It was 45 minutes each way, and although I did use the time for some training, it wasn't the most efficient hours of flight training I could've designed.

I was happy with my experience at ATP. I live in Japan, so it provided me an opportunity to divert from a business trip to Hawaii, grab a couple of tickets, and be on my way. I don't feel like I learned much at ATP, but that wasn't what I was after. The majority of my learning took place as I prepared myself prior to arriving.

I think your challenge will be to arrive prepared if you attempt to do it over spring break. Knowing that the weeks leading up to spring break will be filled with demands of school, studying for exams, etc. you may have trouble devoting the time required to prepare yourself. You'll probably also be mentally drained after finals week (at least I always was) and the last thing you'll want to do is hit the books again for a week. (That's why everyone goes to the beach instead!) Realize that you'll have to make your decision and stick with it. If you get to finals week and find out you haven't had enough time to prepare yourself, it will be too late.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
Thank for the informative post!

Weeks leading up to spring break week shouldn't be too bad, provided that I get my materials ahead of time and not 3-4 days before my start date. I really want to get it done over finals week so I can slowly start looking for jobs before the school year ends in May.