Questions for ACP grads


New Member

I am a private pilot with an instrument rating and about 200 hours and am planning to start the ACP program in Summer 2003 in Atlanta. I have a few questions for anyone who has been through the program.

1. Although the $ and time are the same, does having an instrument rating ahead of time make a big difference in the stress/difficulty of the program?

2. If I have 250+ hours starting the program should I expect to be taking the commercial(s) almost immediately?

3. How is your x/c right-seat time logged? Is this SIC?

4. Are students partnered based on their common experience? (i.e. Would I likely be partnered with someone who also already has an instrument rating if available?)

5. Is there usually enough free time to travel home on a few weekends? ( I will be traveling between Atlanta and Cincinnati.)
If you already have your instrument and that many hours, I'd think the ACP would be a monumental waste of money. Get your commercial locally, then do ATP's CFI program ($5995, covers Commercial AMEL add-on, CFI, CFII, MEI). Take the leftover cash and go buy a 100 hr block (or two) of multi time at Ari-Ben Aviator ($5,995.00 + tax, housing included). Then take any leftover cash and send half of it to me.

Think about it; CFII/MEI and about 215 hrs of multi time for about $19k. You could even buy another 100 hrs multi at Ari-Ben and still be money ahead.
According to the ATP folks at AOPA Expo, if you have an instrument rating, then the instrument portion of the ACP would focus on practicing approaches and sharpening your instrument skills. I guess it would be less stressful in the sense that you'd have one fewer checkride to worry about.

I am currently an ACPP guy at the DFW location. I came into ATP w/ ~150 hrs and all my requirements met for the instrument rating. I thought I'd be ready the second I got my multi-private to take the instrument rating the same day. BOY WAS I WRONG! Shooting approaches in the seminole (or probably any twin for that matter) is very different than in the single engine cessnas and pipers. I've been shooting approaches for about 1-2 weeks now and I'm now I'm sure I'm ready for the instrument checkride. For once, I have to disagree with Aloft. The ACPP program is beneficial to people who already have their Instrument ratings. The nice thing is that you only have to focus on shooting approaches which leaves more time for XC flights.

Q2: If you already have the 250 hrs...ATP will still have you do some multi engine XCs and other things to make sure you're prepared for the checkride. They will never send you out blindly and if you feel like you're way over your head. They want you to pass as much as you want to pass and they'll make sure you're adequately prepared for each and every checkride.

Q3: Don't know yet since I haven't gotten to the XC phase. I think it's safety pilot time and not SIC b/c SIC is limited to a/c which require 2 pilots (don't hold me to that as I'm not a FAR expert)

Q4: ATP will try and pair you with someone who's similar as can be for the program. I don't have a they will probably pair me with another partnerless student or with a pair of studens and I trade off flying with each. It's not really that big of a deal. You have to pass your instrument checkride to go on the XC either way, your partner will be instrument rated.

Q5: I've had almost every weekend off so far and I've been in the program for about a month now. After you get to the XC phase though, you basically can't live off a schedule as things change constantly. You basically never leave home (home base I guess) without 2-3 days worth of clothes and stuff.

I hope this answered your questions. If you have any others, please feel free to ask me.

<I'm not sure about all this rule breaking mumbo jumbo so here's my disclaimer: I am an instructor for ATP, therefore I am biased. On the flip side of the coin, Before I was an instuctor I was an unaffiliated student just like you, trying to make the right decision, and I can honestly say I did my homework and ATP is what I chose.> Take it for what it's worth...

I would have to agree with aloft, although I would say that specifically, you should go and get your commercial single engine at your local FBO so it's cheaper. Then go to ATP and get your Commercial Multi Add-on in their 10 hour program and then complete their CFIIMEI course. Unless you have some good connections, you'll probably come out in the least amount of $$ that way.