Questions about ATP


New Member here's my situation...I already hold a PPL and meet the minimums for the CPP (160 hrs. total)...The thing is I haven't flow since 1991...
I have been doing the office job thing since then...I have always wanted to get back to flying and do it for a living, but it never seemed like the right time...Finally, after much discussion with the wife, we both realized that if I don't take the leap soon, I will just be limiting my seniority and basically giving up a dream! So, on to my questions:

1. Given that I haven't flown recently, I will need to complete a flight review and get current before starting the program...can/should this be done through ATP? Or, would it be best to do it somewhere else and come in ready to go?

2. I have seen a few posts by people indicating that getting all of the writtens taken care of is a good idea before starting. What is the best way to approach this? Enroll, and do it with ATP study materials before starting to fly?... Buy the KING or SPORTY's courses?... Take a crash weekend course for each one?... How have those of you with experience dealing with this approached it?

3. I live in the North Atlanta suburbs. Therefore, it shouldn't be too tough to just commute in to the airport. BUT, given the firehose pace of training and flying, is that realistic? Do you need to be staying with other students in student housing to get through? Heck, do I need to do it at a different location for that purpose?

4. Are the facilities and aircraft in Atlanta comparable to other training locations?

5. What about getting ACTUAL IFR? Do you get significantly more by training in Riverside or some other location?

6. I am considering ALL of my options at this point. That includes visits to a number of other flight academies/FBOs (other local programs on Monday, Sierra Academy on Tuesday, and Flight Safety and Pan Am on Wednesday). I have a tour for Comair scheduled in about a month. Can anybody give me a comparison of ATP with any of these places?

Any light you could shed on these questions or anything else you think may be relevant to my situation would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. I just found So far, it's the best site I've found for straight talk on a number of flying subjects. Thanks Doug!


I am in a similar boat as you. I had 10 years off while working full time, starting a family, getting my college degree, etc. Last year I got back into flying. I too want to make a living out of it. Research, research, research is the best advice besides more research. Get the point. Know what you are truly getting into. This field is very impacted right now given the economic situation. More specifically, I would suggest you get a bi out of the way and get yourself back in the swing of things before trying to go into a program like ATP. They supposedly are very accelerated oriented and if you can't keep up it will be that much harder. I don't think they want to have to spend time going over the basics like the new airspace issues, etc that you can learn own your own ahead of time. As for the writtens it has been suggested to do them ahead of time because you will not have to worry about them and you can devote more attention to flying and what you are being taught. This is not a requirement however! As for the individual location questions someone like Alderson or Sig may be able to help but I think they are more west coast oriented. They surely have visited though. Best of luck in your persuit!

It's good to see prospective students asking good questions. You wouldn't believe what we get asked every day in the office- "I want to move to San Juan and fly for American Eagle- you guarantee me a job when I'm finished, right?"


Yes, I agree with Paul (hey!) as far as getting your BFR. You'll have your sea-legs back when you start training, wherever you go.

I used the King videos for the writtens, and it took me a little over a week to watch them all and be ready to roll. The program was much more enjoyable with those out of the way. Go to and rent them.

You may live wherever you wish, as long as it is within an hour or so of the airport. The price does not change whether you live in the apartments or not.

The Hill FBO at FTY is a nice place- and the flight line was populated by both the new and old Seminoles when I went through. In fact, I picked up the newest plane in the fleet; it had 306 hours AFTTIS! The simulator room was impressive.

Actual IFR... you'll pick up bits here and there at every location. Dispatch tends to release you to places that have zero weather en route and at the destination for obvious reasons. Training elsewhere *might* get you more experience in IMC with marine layers and the like, but again, it won't be much more.

As far as comparison goes, I'm obligated by the website to go no further. Research the other schools' forums, and notice who is commenting (instructors, students, lurkers).

Call the 800-number if you have further questions. The office is staffed by CFIs who went through the program.
I'll throw in my towels/$0.02/boots/what-have-you...

As Sig said, get a BFR and get flying again. You don't have to be super-proficient to start our program, but neither is it the place to learn how to trim the plane, fly a rectangular traffic pattern or make basic traffic calls...
Brush up on your knowledge too, I'm sure a few things have changed since 1991.

3) I live close to Riverside, but did my training in Phoenix. The reason being getting away from home, to focus on studying and to be around other pilots/students 24/7. I would advice anyone to do the same. It's not impossible to stay at home and do this course, but finding the focus to study enough can be hard while being close to wife/family.

5) 'Significantly'? Probably not. In the grand scheme of things it's not going to matter much if you get 2.0 hours or 7.0 hours of actual in your training. If you wanted to you could go to and look at the past averages and weather history to pick the location that would give you those few extra hours of IMC, but frankly, I wouldn't sweat it.

I was in a similar situation, not having flown in 7 years and wanting to get back on track for an aviation career. Although I still haven't decided on what track to take (FSI, ATP or FBO), I went ahead and got my Bi, just to make sure I could still stay airborne. I found that it was just like riding a bike (although x-wind landings were a bit rusty). I rented the videos from to get the groundschool basics back. All in all, it came back pretty easily, and I look forward to getting my training rolling full-time. Plan to visit FSI, but I am sold on ATP as a quality program. The only thing that concerns me is getting enough quality instruction in a tight timeline - I don't want to bust a single check ride. I guess the open sim time would be enough to give you the confidence going into a check ride. Good luck!