Trip to Jax


Island Bus Driver
I just got back from my trip to JAX for the Gator Bowl (all you UMD fans can go burn in.... ah nevermind, we suck.) Anyhow, despite the fact the game was a complete washout, at least as far as I was concerned, I did spend a morning over at Craig Field talking to Richard Tillie (sp?) ATP's CP. He gave me the tour of the classrooms, one of the Sims the MX hangar and two AC.

I'll agree with everyone else that they seem to run a very tight ship down there. Although I did feel like I was getting a sales pitch at times ("pilots make so much money! you are picking a good career!") at times, for the most part what I heard was sincere and informative.

So here's my master plan (or plans) and I guess I would like some feed back as to who has done what and what has worked well. Any way I get there my long term goal is to CFI for ATP build lots of hours, get hired by a regional and make lots of money and get pretty women (well, the first part of all that anyways
) I'll be done with school in May and plan on starting shortly after that.

So... Plan A.
Get my PPL in the next few months while I am at school through a local FBO. Then go down to an ATP location and either do
A-1) 3 Month ACPP
A-2) 10 Month CPP while working full/part time

Plan B.
Same as Plan A but do the PPL at ATP after I graduate in May. Question about this... what option does ATP offer as far as doing a PPL at the NOT accelerated level so I could work while getting the PPL?

The major trade off I am trying to weigh is Time versus Money. I can't really go into debt 40K but at the same time I don't want to take more then 1.5 years to get to a CFI level.

Okie, if you can understand any of that let me know what you think.


I am going down to ATP in Jax next week and went through the same struggle that you are. After tons of research, lots of time reading JC and talking to people that went to ATP I made the decision that the accelerated program is the right thing to do. You have to look at it like going back to college, you are just adding tools to your life that no one can take away. If the industry struggles you could probably find a job as a CFI somewhere and still do what you love to do.
If it was easy it wouldn't be any fun. Good luck with your decision.
If you're sure of what you want to do, why waste time doing it. It is very likely that you will be able to be a private pilot in only 5 weeks after your arrival (if you keep focused on your goal) in JAX. Then as you burn off the rest of your time in the 172 you can practice your instrument stuff until it's time for the next phase. INVALUABLE.
I just started in Dallas and went back and forth trying to decide what to do... 10 months or 90 days--quit my job and jump in or keep the job and go to the airport 3 days a week.

I chose the 90 days and I am so glad I did!

I feel like my training is so much better, going in every day, being immersed in that environment, building on the previous day's learning and concreting that learning into knowledge.

I quit a good job to do this. Now, my wife earns a decent salary so we can still afford to eat. But I would highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about being in this business.

As far as PPL goes (BTW, I did NOT get my PPL from ATP)...

if you can stomach the $$ and the time, again, I'd recommend the ATP PPL. Just do the math... for roughly $5000, you get your PPL and 85 hours of flight time--not to mention excellent quality, standardarized, procedural, career-bound training. That's 59$ per hour!! You can barely rent a decent C-172 for that price.

They do have a 4 month PPL program that gets you the same hours, but at a local (qualified and ATP approved) FBO for a few thousand dollars more. I dont know much about it, you'd have to call and talk to them about it.

So the moral of the story is I just started my PPL at a local FBO and I think I am going to end up doing the 3 month starting in June. Thanks for the feedback.