ATP Flight School – What to Expect as an Airline Transport Pilot Flight Student
In this article we will look at:
• The tried and true process of ATP and manpower available
• The benefits of the classroom setting
• How the campus environment benefits the students
This article might be a bit presumptuous by saying this, but if you’re here you have likely decided that being a pilot is the long term goal.
If that’s the case, then it also means you have to decide which flight school you want to go to. There’s so many choices that are great, but few, if any, have the clout that comes with ATP Flight School.
The name comes from the rating name required to be an airline pilot, the Airline Transport Pilot rating. And they chose that name for a great reason: they are the quickest, and debatably the best, route to getting that rating.
A lot of people might be a little confused as to what it’s like as an ATP flight student, so they are unsure if it’s better for them to go that route or have their uncle who is a pilot teach them how to fly.
Even though both routes can get you there, having your uncle teach you might take a bit longer. In a career field like aviation that is all about seniority at your employer, the smartest route is likely the quickest route.
ATP flight school is a bit pricey, but with the signing bonuses available and the overall high pay that airline pilots receive, loans can easily be justified.
But, I’m not here to be your financial advisor, I’m here to tell you about what it’s like as a student at ATP to see if it’s the right fit for you. We will explore why the ATP process is so good, how a classroom setting is beneficial for your training and career, and why the on campus environment is the right way to experience flight training.
The ATP Process – Tried and True
If you ask 10 people what their college life was like, you will get 10 different answers and experiences.
If you ask 10 pilot’s what their training was like, there’s really only 4 different possibilities you can get.
First off will be people that had a parent in the industry so they grew up learning to fly in the same way musicians pass that down or teachers beget teachers.
Second, people will tell you they had the money from their high paying career and they just wanted to learn to fly. They used their full-time career to get a new skill and take up an expensive hobby.
Third, there are people that loved aviation and wanted to learn to fly at a local airport. They worked their butts off to find a way to pay for it and learned to fly over a longer time.
The last way is that they didn’t want to go to college but wanted to learn to be pilots. Instead of taking out a ton of loans to get a degree they don’t plan to use, they decided to use those loans to learn to fly airplanes.
Which over time has proven to be the smart route as pilots are very well compensated.
If you were to go out and talk to all the pilots in the world, the majority will say they went to ATP Flight School more than any other flight school. This is because they created a method and proved continually how effective it is.
The ATP Flight School process is pretty straight forward. You will engage in an on-campus lifestyle, much like on-campus college living. It will consist of a ground portion and a flying portion of school.
The syllabus is mostly the same for every student as it follows the pathway laid out by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
When it comes to the process, it’s pretty standardized. You begin your journey working on your Private Pilot Certificate. After completing this you will begin working on your Instrument Rating to allow you to fly into conditions where you will navigate via instruments only.
After the instrument, you begin some crew style training to build time and work your way to your Commercial Rating. Once you get your commercial, you are officially legal to be employed. Which means ATP then trains you for your CFI or Certificated Flight Instructor.
You then begin training students to build time and learning how to operate a multi-engine aircraft to get your rating for that. Once you hit your 1,500 hours needed to get your ATP rating, you do the test and have interviews at airlines.
Did I mention ATP has deals with a ton of airlines to guarantee you an interview? Airlines trust the tried and true training of ATP and have partnered to give interviews to qualifying students.
This pathway is so successful because it’s very regimented and helps people to be immersed in aviation to learn a lot via proxy and by being surrounded. It’s been tested so many times and has such a high level of success that it’s been proven time and time again to be able to withstand the change of the times.
The ATP Classroom
With the Pandemic having made a lot of the classroom teachings a little different, for the most part it’s remained (or returned recently) to being just about the exact same as pre pandemic teaching.
Classroom teaching isn’t always the best for everyone, but it is so effective and familiar that it has stuck around.
Having a teacher that has to be continually tested to make sure they are up-to-date on the information they’re teaching proves to be the most effective way to pass on the necessary information.
On top of that, the classroom setting allows for unique training experiences. The funding for ATP Flight Schools help them to have top of the line teaching materials. There will be items that are perfect for illustrating difficult to grasp topics (just try explaining aerodynamics otherwise).
The biggest benefit to a classroom setting is that if one student doesn’t understand something, but doesn’t feel comfortable asking about it, then it’s likely someone will have a similar question to ask and receive a more in depth explanation.
Having other students to help is always a benefit of a classroom setting.
High school is great because you gain a bit more independence to your life, especially when you learn to drive and have the ability to move around yourself.
Sometimes this freedom leads to an issue with kids skipping out on classes due to peer pressure to make poor choices.
That’s why it’s such a big benefit to be on-campus. If everyone is paying the money to get their flight certificates and ratings, then it’s extremely beneficial that the peer pressure will be to be better at aviation related topics.
Having an on-campus environment also helps to allow students in similar stages of their training to get together and study. Group studying always proves to be more beneficial than studying solo. It gives a more accurate feel to how it will be as a career pilot having an entire crew at your disposal.
It gives a taste of CRM (Crew Resource Management) that is such an important part of maintaining a successful and safe flying environment.
ATP Flight Schools are so effective for this reason. They have a unique environment that allows for personalisation, but the process being regulated means everyone needs to know the exact same things for each rating. This helps to have a good pathways to follow that allows for individualisation when needed on certain topics.