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ATP Schools Aircraft

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The Man
Nov 27, 2001
I will be doing some training soon in HEF Manassas, Virginia. Do they have new Seminoles there or old gimped out ones?!

How is the quality of instruction?

I know there is a post already...just really looking for the quality of their aircraft. (i.e. of the aircraft that are not new....how nice are they!)

How do they go about their dispatching...mx record keeping...all that stuff.

Who Knows

I e-mailed ATP and asked which location I should attend to ensure that I got to do my ATP training in a new seminole. They basically told me to go wherever I wanted, because no location guaranteed new seminoles (you get what you get). I was a little taken back with that response. I was prepared to go to any one of their locations, now I'm seriously reconsidering if I even want to go to ATP.

Anybody out there know what the deal is with this?:confused:
ATP has a fleet of aircraft that are always moving. I was in Jacksonville this summer doing the career pilot program and flew a new one once. I have talked to people that flew nothing but new ones. It is just chance on how it all works out. The Seminoles they have are in good shape, and the old ones I flew were fine. Probably the best of any of the flight schools I went to. The reason they can't guarantee a new aircraft is that they don't know when one will be in any specific location. The X/C students are always moving them around and generally you just go fly what is out there at the time. However, I was able to get the one I wanted for all my checkrides so it all worked out.
I guess you could look at it like ATP is at least up front and honest about it instead of using the new ones as a bait and switch.
a Seminole is a Seminole

402 Driver,
I wouldn't worry about flying new equipment that much. I went to ATP Jax a couple of years ago and in my experience their mx was good; never had a problem with bad equipment. In fact the only real problem I had was with a brand new Seminole. The DG crapped out on me after taking off from Grand Prairie, TX (take those compass turns seriously in your instrument training:)
They run a big operation and students get their X-C time by bringing timed out planes to mx bases for 100 hours and taking fresh ones back out, so planes float around as needed.
Overall the program is pretty good if you don't require much direction or hand holding. Be prepared to be VERY flexible as plans are made last minute and always change several times after that anyway. It's actually pretty fun through the X-C phase (about 2/3 of the program). They advertise 21 days for the final phase during which you take your comm. multi & single, MEI, CFI single add-on and CFII. Don't believe it. Most people wind up having to do the last phase in about 10 days. Be prepared for that. You'll be just another brick in the wall there, but again, it's good for what it is. Can't beat the multi-time.
If you want to get a jump on the program study your instrument written well before you get there but do not take the written until you've been there a week or two. After a couple of weeks in the sim doing approaches, holds, DP's etc. it'll all be much more real and then you should ace the written.
Good luck to you.
ATP - The good, the bad, and the ugly

I did my commercial multi instrument add on with them. You can't beat the price for 10 hours in the seminole. It works out to be about 120 dollars an hour. I flew three different planes, all of them 2000 models. Anything ending in an N123AT is a new one. The planes were great, very easy to fly. The instruction was, well, lacking. It's not that the instructors are "bad" or don't know their stuff, they just don't care about you learning anything except what is expected for the checkride. The whole philosophy there is to get you through the checkride, any other instruction beyond that means is a waste to them. Don't go there to learn much, but do go there to get all your ratings real quick. In this industry, I'd tell anyone who was thinking about going through the career pilot program to not be so hasty. Why hurry up and wait and be in the hole for 30 grand when you can get yourself done a little slower, but learn more along the way? Find an instructor for your primary stuff whose main objective is to teach you everything that could save your life one day. That should be the instructor's main goal - to exhaust their own set of knowledge but challenge you enough along the way so that you don't kill yourself one day because of something they didn't teach you. Plus, you'll be a much better pilot in the end.

My $.02
ATP's aircraft

To add in my $.02, the previous posts are correct in that ATPs really won't know ahead of time where their new aircraft will be a at certain time in the future. I believe they currently have two maintenance bases which are Riverside and Jacksonville. They keep track of their maintenance records through their main dispatch person in Jax. Before and after each flight, you send him the hobbs and mx times and he keeps track of them. When an aircraft is approaching a 100hr inspection, etc, they will have students from the career pilot program ferry the aircraft to or toward one of the maintenance bases. So, there's really no telling when a new or old seminole will be at a certain location.

When I did my training there, the majority of it was in their older seminoles which all flew excellent. (1.5yrs ago) I think I only had one problem with an aircraft throughout my training. I did get the chance to fly the new seminoles as well.

"Prodigal" made a good comment in that the comment is fast paced and you must be very flexible when attending ATPs. It involves a lot of self study and a total commitment the entire time you're there.

Best of luck to you!
ATP Aircraft

Previous posts are pretty much on target. I went through ATP last summer in ATL. I flew both new and old PA-44's.
The old ones flew fine and were actually well equipped. I've been told that the old planes are going to be refurbished/repainted at the rate of one per month.

One piece of advice to ANYONE thinking of using ATP for any ratings. Don't let their atrocious lack of customer service turn you off. They are staffed by ex-career pilot student non-sales types, who are serving out a sentence answering phones before being sent out to instruct at whatever ATP location they are needed.

At least they don't use slick salesmen who put your name on a welcome sign in the lobby welcoming you to their school, then tell you half-truths and take all your money.

No surprises, you get exactly what you pay for.

My .02
AS i have said before about ATP, you must finally grow up and be willing to learn. They will NOT hold your hand like the other places will. They expect you to be professional and do your homwwork. Welcome to the real world of flying. Their goal is to prepare you for the airlines where you will have to do things without someone always telling you how to do it.

Other than that, the programs are great. When i attended they only had the old Seminoles, and they worked great. From what i have been told, the new ones are nice, but not really all that much better, if any, than the older aircraft. Besides the new avionics, Garmin 430's i believe, they are identical. There was only one aircraft without a GPS in it, and just before i got out of the program we flew it down to CRG(JAX) to have one installed. Don't worry about whether the planes are new or not, just enjoy it and have fun. Just don't forget to study to stay on top of things.
Previously posted by COOPERVANE "At least they don't use slick salesmen who put your name on a welcome sign in the lobby welcoming you to their school, then tell you half-truths and take all your money."

HAHAHA. That's hilarious. I see this everyday where I work at!
Good one!
can you hold a job while attending atps career program? just wondering because this would be a deciding factor for me.....


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