ATP Flight School Impression

Cessna172heavy

Touchdown on 1000' mark
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guess
I've often wondered if anyone besides myself was utterly turned off by ATP's private pilot program...

Back in February I decided I'd jump headfirst into this wonderful world of flying. I had just graduated college and began shopping around for flight schools. I wanted the whole shabang. I looked at Embry-Riddle and Delta, but they were talking like $90,000 plus for tuition, so I decided on ATP as they were quite reasonable at around $47,000 for private through MEI in about 5 months. I flew down to JAX to check it out before I signed away my dough. I was fairly impressed, although at the time, I had nothing to compare it to. I happened to walk into their corporate headquarters at the right time, and one of their VP's took me to lunch. That impressed me quite a bit as you can imagine, so I came back home, sure that ATP was the right choice. 2 weeks later I found myself in sunny Florida, about to chase down my dreams...

I get there and to my surprise, ATP's version of a room-mate is just that - there are 4 people living in a 2 bedroom apt - something they are not clear on in their brochures. Not too big a deal though, my room mate was a nice guy from East Africa, and we got along fine. They other two guys were nice, but they had lived there for a few months prior, and thus the apt wasn't nearly as clean as if could have been (ie they parked their motorcyles in our living room). All this aside, I'm still anxious to get started. The first day of school, they made nice first impressions. They took all us newbies up for a half our in their version of a Skyhawk, which I now refer to as a turd with wings. Still, my first impression of flying, and as I have nothing to compare to, I think its decent. The next few days is when things get screwy...

Day two finds myself and my 5 classmates sitting in a classroom for about 8hrs with no word from any of our instructors. Around 5:00 we decide to leave. Day three starts in a similar way. We show up at 8 and our instructors wander in after 12. We don't fly until day 4, and even then, some of us don't get to go up. There is NO SCHEDULE for private studenst. You take what you get when you get it - like it or not. I mention these "issues" I am having with my other two room mates who have been there almost the entire program (private - MEI) and all they can say is "get used to it". GET USED TO IT??? For $50000 I'm not getting used to anything I don't have to. There is no "hand-holding" at ATP, not that it's necessary, but for those of us who have no experience at all prior to coming, it would be nice if they could prepare you for the way it "really" is there. Also, their chief private instructor is a real class act. One day he asked "How many in here hate me?" I raised my hand and he laughed, only I wasn't kidding. I left after being there 5 days and lined up a much better program (for me) at my FBO back home in NC. To run the whole gambit - private through CFI - is taking me a bit longer, but it's worth the sacrifice in my opinion. I can still live in my home town, train with people who remember my name, learn in newer more well kept planes, spend LESS $$, and they'll even give me a job at the end of the line.

Has anyone had a similar experience with ATP? I don't doubt there are. When I told my room mates down there that I was considering dropping out and training back home, they all said that they would have done the same thing if they'd known how it was going to be at ATP before they got in too far.

Take care you guys
 

Steve

Curtis Malone
Joined
May 6, 2002
Posts
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Cessna172heavy said:
I've often wondered if anyone besides myself was utterly turned off by ATP's private pilot program...

Back in February I decided I'd jump headfirst into this wonderful world of flying. I had just graduated college and began shopping around for flight schools. I wanted the whole shabang. I looked at Embry-Riddle and Delta, but they were talking like $90,000 plus for tuition, so I decided on ATP as they were quite reasonable at around $47,000 for private through MEI in about 5 months. I flew down to JAX to check it out before I signed away my dough. I was fairly impressed, although at the time, I had nothing to compare it to. I happened to walk into their corporate headquarters at the right time, and one of their VP's took me to lunch. That impressed me quite a bit as you can imagine, so I came back home, sure that ATP was the right choice. 2 weeks later I found myself in sunny Florida, about to chase down my dreams...

I get there and to my surprise, ATP's version of a room-mate is just that - there are 4 people living in a 2 bedroom apt - something they are not clear on in their brochures. Not too big a deal though, my room mate was a nice guy from East Africa, and we got along fine. They other two guys were nice, but they had lived there for a few months prior, and thus the apt wasn't nearly as clean as if could have been (ie they parked their motorcyles in our living room). All this aside, I'm still anxious to get started. The first day of school, they made nice first impressions. They took all us newbies up for a half our in their version of a Skyhawk, which I now refer to as a turd with wings. Still, my first impression of flying, and as I have nothing to compare to, I think its decent. The next few days is when things get screwy...

Day two finds myself and my 5 classmates sitting in a classroom for about 8hrs with no word from any of our instructors. Around 5:00 we decide to leave. Day three starts in a similar way. We show up at 8 and our instructors wander in after 12. We don't fly until day 4, and even then, some of us don't get to go up. There is NO SCHEDULE for private studenst. You take what you get when you get it - like it or not. I mention these "issues" I am having with my other two room mates who have been there almost the entire program (private - MEI) and all they can say is "get used to it". GET USED TO IT??? For $50000 I'm not getting used to anything I don't have to. There is no "hand-holding" at ATP, not that it's necessary, but for those of us who have no experience at all prior to coming, it would be nice if they could prepare you for the way it "really" is there. Also, their chief private instructor is a real class act. One day he asked "How many in here hate me?" I raised my hand and he laughed, only I wasn't kidding. I left after being there 5 days and lined up a much better program (for me) at my FBO back home in NC. To run the whole gambit - private through CFI - is taking me a bit longer, but it's worth the sacrifice in my opinion. I can still live in my home town, train with people who remember my name, learn in newer more well kept planes, spend LESS $$, and they'll even give me a job at the end of the line.

Has anyone had a similar experience with ATP? I don't doubt there are. When I told my room mates down there that I was considering dropping out and training back home, they all said that they would have done the same thing if they'd known how it was going to be at ATP before they got in too far.

Take care you guys
Rich is def a jackass. He and Mr. Strange run the show in JAX. I did the course in Dallas TX so it wasnt too bad. Rich has made more than one person quite. They really do not care If a few people quit, they have lots of people waiting and are making tons of $$ off of them.
 

ERAUBrat3

Member
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I had an awesome time getting my MEL with ATP in Mesa, Ariz.
Instructor was awesome, planes were well-maintained and I blew through it, no problem.
 

pilotmiketx

Registerd User
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oodles
We hired an ATP (JAX) MEI at a flight school that I was teaching at. The guy didn't get hired initially at ATPs. He turned out to be a complete frat-boy jackass who not only couldn't teach, but couldn't fly worth a crap either. Had no clue how an ADF worked, since all their a/c are GPS equipped. Then we take him out for a few adult beverages and he starts telling stories about how he and all his frat boy buddies used to rob people and beat them up. WTF? When we were about to fire him, he got hired by ATPs so good riddance. I think it says a lot about an outfit that doesn't offer a teaching slot to one of their "graduates", probably because he's a total douche, but then hires him 3 months later because they're short. Like there aren't any other MEIs needing jobs out there.
 

Cessna172heavy

Touchdown on 1000' mark
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
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guess
Yeah Rich definitely gave off that impression. I guess I should clarify before I get people mad at me...

I think ATP has it together on many different things, but as far as their private program (which they require you to take if you have no experience and want to do their "Fast Track" program) they have no clue what they are doing. They treat their private students like dirt. I say this now that I have gotten my private through my FBO. I'm sure that once you get past this and into their Seminoles, you are treated much better. Bottom line - they made me doubt myself right at the very beginning of my pilot career, and I didn't like it, so I left. I think what ATP does to train pilots is great, but I wouldn't trade the training I have received since for another shot at ATP. Peace out
 

FlyingToIST

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Posts
417
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1300+
pilotmiketx said:
We hired an ATP (JAX) MEI at a flight school that I was teaching at. The guy didn't get hired initially at ATPs. He turned out to be a complete frat-boy jackass who not only couldn't teach, but couldn't fly worth a crap either. Had no clue how an ADF worked, since all their a/c are GPS equipped. Then we take him out for a few adult beverages and he starts telling stories about how he and all his frat boy buddies used to rob people and beat them up. WTF? When we were about to fire him, he got hired by ATPs so good riddance. I think it says a lot about an outfit that doesn't offer a teaching slot to one of their "graduates", probably because he's a total douche, but then hires him 3 months later because they're short. Like there aren't any other MEIs needing jobs out there.
I had a similar situation with an ATP grad. This guy was asking "how come you don't have cowlings in Warrior, ATP had them on their Seminoles" to which my reply was "we took them out to save weight". :)

I got my ME Comm in ATP back in the day and I was lucky to have a great instructor. Even then it was "rush rush.. here's your checkride".

Find a good local flight school where you can get a better training where every flight is scheduled; where you have one on one flying relationship with the individual instructor.

There are many of them all around the US..
 

NYCPilot

Incorporated.
Joined
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Posts
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.00001
Are you upset when the hamburger in the McDonald's ad doesn't look like the one that gets slapped onto your tray after its been ordered?

YMMV at ATP locations along with their individual instructors. These people have pretty good rates for all that they offer you. I've done a short stint at ATP and was satisifed. Very accelerated, but got what I wanted in contracted time.

Get used to crappy conditions while pursing an aviation career. You'll find crash pads no different in terms of occupancy.

Peace.
 

Cessna172heavy

Touchdown on 1000' mark
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When the "hamburger" costs $50,000, sure. Who wouldn't be?!
 

Horizon

Thrust=Weight+Drag
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Cessna172heavy said:
Also, their chief private instructor is a real class act. One day he asked "How many in here hate me?" I raised my hand and he laughed, only I wasn't kidding.
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
 

Tram

RaarR! SLM will getcha!!
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Ahh.. gotta love CRG.. :)
 

Steve

Curtis Malone
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ERAUBrat3 said:
I had an awesome time getting my MEL with ATP in Mesa, Ariz.
Instructor was awesome, planes were well-maintained and I blew through it, no problem.
Whats the most important thing to know about ATP? The further you can stay from CRG the more you will enjoy your training.
 

Tram

RaarR! SLM will getcha!!
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There's a mouthful.. :)
 

dueguard1

ROTT MAN 4 LIFE!!!
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Un Mil
I'm pretty sure anyone who has traversed the sacred halls of ATP would certainly know Rich is a Ummm "Piece of Work"......I completed my CFI training there and luckily had to only run in to him for 1 day........Besides that you have to understand that ATP'S is a pilot mill..as a matter of fact they don't want any of their instructors hanging around for more than a year which is why they work the S*&t out of you while your're there. It's all one big machine..Would'nt advise anyone to do their primary training there....In my case, I had ran out of cash and was loooking for the quickest way to get done w/ my CFI's so I could keep the Lights on !
As for the price no one around my area could beat them in comparison....Even the plethura of DE's they use in Florida are all in on the Action...If you know what I mean!...Get'em in Get'em through! That's the business model!
 
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moonlight

Flyin' to fund my fishin'
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Steve said:
Whats the most important thing to know about ATP? The further you can stay from CRG the more you will enjoy your training.
I second this!! Did my training in SAC, and had a great instructor. I only had to go east on one occasion, and did my CFI Initial in Stuart. MUCH different feeling and attitude there than on the west coast. I enjoyed the LAS office as well, when I opened it...
 

flylike44

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if you're just starting out, multi time is gold...you should have stayed unless the fbo you're going to offers you the chance at a comparable amount of twin time....
 
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