Sacramento location


Well-Known Member
Gegraphically speaking, I am thinking that this is the best location for the ACPP as you have can get into IMC easily, SFO is nearby with its congested airspace, mountains, flatlands and the ocean are also all in the area.

Any info out there on the SMF location?

Is it actually at SMF? or at another local airport?

How large is the operation there, how many aircraft/instructors?

Any info on the apartments? How nice are they and how close to the airport?

Why isn't this location more popular as everyone seems to want to go to JAX DFW and ATL?

Thanks, Tim
Hey Tim:
I'm also wondering the same things about the Sacramento location. I'm hoping to attend ATP there in September of this year.
Cool, I am looking at going toward the end of the year, starting sometime between Nov and Feb... Hopefully the sooner!

I have free flight bennies so I am thinking of going out to visit for myself for a scheduled tour along with a surprise tour? I will definetly check out SMF and most like PHX too.

anyone else with info on SMF?

I checked out the Sacramento location when I was looking at the ACPP about a year ago.

The airport is Sacramento Executive (KSAC), which is about 5 miles south of downtown.

When I checked them out, the SAC location had 4-5 instructors. It is one of the busier locations from what I understand.

I did not look at the apartments because I live in the Sacramento area. From what I read, they are pretty close to the airport (5-10 minutes), but airport is not in the greatest area of town.

I think the Sacramento area is a great place for training and I am still considering ATP for the multi engine add ons.

I took my instrument checkride from the DE who does the bulk of the ATP Sacramento checkrides and he had generally good things to say about the ATP Sacramento location. His only reservation was the concern with having checkrides scheduled whether the student was ready or not due to the pace of the training. But that is something you should expect from ATP at all locations.
Interesting... 4-5 instructors for one of the busier locations? Before I started gathering alot of info on ATP I figured each location would have about 15-20 instructors but I am seeing that it is nowhere near that amount which leads to my next question. What is the student to instructor ratio? and are there scheduling problems there due to a lack of instructors?

As for the checkrides being scheduled, yeah I think that is part of going to ATP and is how they are able to get you done in 90 days or so. If that isnt motivation, I dont know what is.

Thanks for the info!

I've noticed you have posted a couple times about SFO/OAK being closer to the SAC ATP location. I'm not sure why that is a good thing, in your opinion.

You can not shoot a practice approach into SFO, and plan on going missed. If it was down to mins, and you had to, then ok. So you'd have to go full stop. Which means a LOT of taxi time over to the GA FBO on the field, and for a light twin you'd be in for ATP, well over $200 in landing and handling fees, even if you just taxi over, pay, and taxi back for takeoff.

That said, OAK is a nice field. But it usually stays clearer on that side of the bay. If it is fog you want though, do stuff in the valley around SAC during the winter. They get what is called Tule fog by the locals. Pretty much for a large part of the winter. As you are in a big valley, things are fairly safe for training, and there are a lot of ILS fields in the central valley area in case it gets low. There are some on here training out of FAT whom I'm sure can confirm how the winter weather in the valley gets.

Think the reason FL is a popular location, or so it seems from the sampling of people here, is lotsa folks involved in the discussions here live in the yucky-yucky east coast. And that is the closest they can get to ok weather. Even though there are still thunderstorms and hurricanes to deal with down there.
Well I think its great to be near congested airspace such as SFO just because it is good experience to go through that area. It's a large city large airport that you have to negotiate if you go near it. I wouldnt plan on landing there as I do know about landing fees. That is a great point you brought up though. I am sure at night though you could get in there doing touch n goes if you go late enough. Helps keep the controllers awake!

I just think the Sacramento location geographically gives you the best training from looking at the map. I have spent enough time in Florida to know that when it is cloudy, its usually the cumulus congestus type, rather than the nice stratus layers you commonly see in northen cali.

I think your comments about most coming from the east cost are probably dead on. After looking at some maps I am liking the Sacramento area even more as it seems to offer a bit of everything and would be perfect for training... at least in this geography major's view.
I trained in Sacramento. Overall a good place to fly. You will like all of the instructors there. If you go, say hi to Jim Rutledge for me.
I am sure at night though you could get in there doing touch n goes if you go late enough. Helps keep the controllers awake!

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Yeah, you'd think that would work. But not. Same fee 24/7. I called the tower, and my CFI called the tower. We needed to do a night x-country when I was working on commercial, and wanted to make SFO a late night stop. It was around $180-190 for a single engine. Twins quite a bit more. Larger, more still, etc. Asked if we could shoot a 1am or 2am approach, and they said, only if you go full stop and pay the fee.

I really don't think it is a big deal anyhow. I've flown near the airport at 1000', and that is good enough. SFO is not that busy of an area really. I get cleared through the B all the time on flights near the airport, with no problems. Anyhow, I'd guess that from SAC, your local training fields will be one of the dozen or so in that general area. MOD and SCK are close as well. All not that busy, so great for learning the IFR stuff, then move into OAK or somethin' like that.

If you really want fog, for some actual, train somewhere like Monterey (MRY). I'd say half of the 100 or so approaches I've done in there have been actual at some point. Fog just lives out there. Coastal fog here, the norm is fog til about 10 or 11am on a foggy day, which is maybe 1/3 of the summer mornings. Layer usually goes from about 500-2000agl.
Thanks, very encouraging about the Fog out there, that is exactly what I was thinking. You would be hard up to get WX like that in Dallas, Florida or any of the other popular locations for the 90-day program.

As for the controllers at SFO, sounds like they were buttheads. I work in the tower here at DEN and saturday nights and at other dead times I see 172s do touch no goes all the time. ATC is very open to stuff like that at certain times. During the middle of the day you can hang it up though. I would say Satruday night after 10pm you have an OK chance, and then after midnight pretty much any night they should be able to work you in most of the time. Requireing you to do a full stop sucks. Oh well, the airspace thing isnt that big of an issue with me anyway, landing in SFO and other large airports will come in due time anyway... Hopefully!
Yeah, SFO is weird. They are one of those B airports that have a note about "no student pilot operations". Ya know, the one where you can get a special endorsement for class B airports from your CFI while a student (with the, unless the airport restricts it added, and SFO is one of those). They were very friendly to suggest you can land, just expect fees. Inquired about T&G or just low approaches for IFR practice, and they said no way. And gave me the number for Signature on the field to get the current price for all fees. The landing fee is set by the airport it seemed, but the others were set by the Signature folks? Handling fees, and all that kinda stuff you usually get nailed with at larger fields. But heck, other than the fees being so high, they seemed just as GA friend as OAK or SJC.