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ATP ShyFlyer Style

Discussion in 'Airline Transport Professionals (ATP)' started by ShyFlyer, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've begun* my ATP Flight School odyssey. In this thread, I hope to keep a blog of sorts with my experiences with the school, the aircraft, and instructors. The plan, at this point, is to update the thread at least once per week with highlights, "low lights," and running tally of hours. I might add a photo to two depending circumstances.

    Disclaimers:
    The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the actual ATP policy, philosophy, etc. All names, where appropriate, have been changed. The experiences are those of the individuals and will vary based upon training location, time of year, market conditions, barometric pressure, and the market rate for pork bellies. Not responsible for lost or stolen articles. No outside drinks. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

    Background:
    I have a Private Pilot Certificate with about 130 hrs total time, all in Cessna 172s. I last flew (as a pilot) in April of 2006. I chose the ACPP 40 ME Fast Track (Credit Private) at the Denver location (Centennial). I've already put down a deposit on a start date and will officially begin training on 12 DEC 2016. This particular track will start of with training for the Instrument Rating. Initially, I'll be flying with my CFI on cross-country flights to time build in addition to Instrument lessons. After obtaining the Instrument Rating, I'll move to the "crew" cross-country flying. I think then it's on to Commercial followed by ME add-on, then the CFI portion.

    Goals:
    Well, aside from the obvious, I'm pretty much open to any type of flying (cargo, airline, corporate) that presents itself, provided that I'm treated (and paid) like a professional. There's a lot to accomplish before I get to that point, though. Realistically, I see myself instructing at ATP until I reach at least 1000 TT. If the "right" gig comes along before that, I'll take it. The placement with one of the "partner" airlines is also a possibility that I see for myself. As I said, lot's of important work to get done before I have to start seriously thinking about that.


    I hope that this thread will help others with thier flight training questions and concerns. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can but please keep in mind that I can only provide answers based upon my own experiences. Enjoy!


    * See following post for details.
     
  2. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Introductory Training Flight

    The Intro Training Flight is an optional portion of the program and, since I've secured financing and have put down a deposit on a start date, is included in the price of the program. I've got nothing but time on my hands and it seemed like a good idea to see the facilities, aircraft, and meet and greet the people.

    It's my understanding that these Intros are done on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 1100hrs. I was scheduled for today (Wednesday) at 1100. I showed up at Centennial (APA) at the appointed time (early, actually) and met with a CFI and another prospective student. We were given a tour of the facilities with are co-located with TAC Air on the field.

    APA has three sims. A Redbird G1000 FTD, A Frasca Seminole FTD, and a third that was in use and the name of which escapes me. All the sims were in a room that was shared with debriefing students/CFIs. The CFI doing the tour stated that he preferred to debrief his students in the lounge at TAC Air. We learned that this training location is also a testing site for writtens. There is also an independent testing site located in the same building, just down the hall from ATP's suites. ATP has a separate room for check ride orals and one was in progress during our tour. Our CFI said all the DPEs are fair and nice to work with. Once of the DPEs is also a VP with Key Lime Air.

    Our next stop was the ramp. The APA location features G1000 equipped 172SPs and all the Seminoles except for one is G500 equipped. We looked at an example of each aircraft type. We talked maintenance and learned that there are two mechanics on staff so most maintenance items are taken care of same day. I was scheduled to go up in the 172 but due to weather, had to reschedule (this Friday, hopefully).

    Overall, I was pleased with what I saw. The aircraft looked well cared for and I liked hearing that maintenance was in-house and on site. The students and instructors milling about seemed happy. The CFI conducting the tour was knowledgeable and seemed eager to teach, which is great because it looks like I'll be flying with him at least through my Instrument training. Dress code seems to be relaxed, so long as you look like you have a mirror and know how to use it. Personally, I'll forgo the shorts and stick with dress pants.

    The only question that remains on the table at this point is whether or not I'll be required to go through the Private self-study materials. My CFI was unsure if it was required or not and the guy that held those answers was busy with a student. Personally, I wouldn't mind going through it as it would be a good refresher since I've been out of the game for so long (I can't believe it's been 10 years!).

    I've already started on the self study materials. So far, it doesn't seem too daunting so long as you take it seriously. It's basically a customized version of ASA's ground school stuff. Watch a video or two, take a quiz. Rinse, lather, repeat. Don't pass the quiz, take it again until you pass.

    Stay tuned for my next update which should include a report on the actual intro flight (weather permitting).
     
  3. AA34

    AA34 Well-Known Member

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    Best of luck!
     
  4. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Thanks!


    21 NOV 2016 - Intro Training Flight

    Finally, after having to reschedule twice due to winds, my IP and I were able to get into the air. The plan was to depart APA and fly west over the Front Range and Red Rocks and then up to BJC for a trip around the pattern, then work our way back to APA.

    The winds picked up sooner than anticipated so flight at our intended altitude of 7500 ft was a bit bumpy. Nothing jarring, but just enough to take much of the fun out of things. We loitered out over Highlands Ranch area for a bit before coming back into the pattern at APA. I didn't handle the takeoff and landing due to ATP policy for the Intro flights. I would have sucked out loud anyway.

    All in all, it was fantastic being able to get back into the air again. It's going be a huge change (and challenge) for me transitioning to the G1000 flight deck, having done all my flying up until now on the traditional "six pack." The intro flight, though, was enough experience to show me that the G1000 is a fantastic addition to the Skyhawk. I'll enjoy learning to get the most out of it.

    It's still unknown at this point whether or not I'm required (by ATP) to complete the Private Pilot self-study materials. However, my Instructor and I both agree that it couldn't hurt.

    I'm very much looking forward to December!
     
    gotWXdagain likes this.
  5. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    WEEK ZERO

    I’ve titled this entry as such because, even though I haven’t “officially” started as a student at ATP, I’ve done a lot of preliminary work getting ready for the program. I’ll detail most of that below.

    Ground School
    The Ground School portion of the program is all computer based self-study. The sections are broken down in to “Training & Safety Bulletins,” “Intro To Instruments,” “Private,” “Instrument,” “Crew,” and “CFI.” There are no modules for the Multi-Engine rating. Most modules have a quiz at the end that must be passed with an 80% or better score in order to be recorded as complete. If you don’t pass a quiz, you can retake it at any time to better your score.

    Prior to your start date, you must have the “Training & Safety Bulletins” section complete. There are only nine modules in this section and pertain to basic safety and policy regarding ATP operations. You can print these bulletins out and refer to them during your quiz. As I am entering the program with my Private Pilot Certificate, the “Private” portion is not required, though it was recommended that I complete it anyway prior to starting as a review. Considering that my last logged flight before my Intro Flight was in April of 2006, this was more than just “a good idea.” I’ve completed this portion and the review was very, very helpful.

    Each lesson in the Course Outline (available via Student Extranet once you’ve paid your deposit) will not only include information on that particular lesson, but also list what self-study materials must be completed and what areas one should begin working through prior to the lesson. Going into Week One, the first lesson on my outline is SE XC PIC (20hrs/12 days). This is the cross-country time building phase of the 40hr ME track and will also be my initial instrument training. Prior to beginning this lesson, I’m required to have the “Intro To Instruments” section complete and I’m to have begun work on a few modules in the “Instruments” section. Personally, I have all of these (except “Instruments”) completed. Once completed, though, you can still go back and review a module if needed.

    Uniforms
    The cost of the program includes uniforms. Three shirts (polo/golf style) are provided via a discount code to be used at the ATP Gear online store, which you should receive via email at least a week prior to your selected start date. I received my code nearly two weeks prior to my date. You can select other accessories, including additional uniform shirts, but you will have to pay for them out of pocket. In my case, I ordered a couple of extra shirts, a few T-Shirts, and a hat. I found all the items reasonably priced. There are no pilot supplies available. Shipping is free if you select to have them sent to your training location. I selected this option and I’ll be picking those items up on my first day of training.

    Uniform policy is very strait forward. Officially, you’ll wear the ATP shirt and “chinos” for all training events. Implementation of this policy appears to vary depending upon training location. At the Denver location, it seems that any reasonable style of pants is acceptable. I could probably wear denim jeans, for example, provided that they are free of stains, rips, holes, etc. I plan on wearing black cargo pants. The basic idea is to look like you take pride in your appearance.

    Schedule
    Part of the sales package ATP prides itself on is the predetermined schedule and pricing. Once you pay the deposit and set a start date, you have a Course Outline which details when your lessons will take place. As an outline, it doesn’t include reporting times and such. It apparently doesn’t take into account school recognized holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day) either. For example, the Holiday Schedule states that no training events will be scheduled on the 22nd through the 27th of December. However, on my outline, my SE XC PIC flying is schedule through the 23rd and I have a simulator lessons scheduled on the 26th and 27th.

    Keep in mind that this is an outline, it’s not written in stone. As I write this, the only event that is actually scheduled is the Check-In process on my start date. I fully expect the dates on my Outline to change as I proceed through the program to account for weather and equipment delays, in addition to the adjustment for Christmas. I’m pretty sure my Instructor wants to go home for Christmas too.

    Financing
    I’ve spoken with the financing department staff. Although my loan was approved and certified long ago, the department touches base with students prior to their start date to make sure everything is still set to go. In my case, I borrowed way more than needed for the program. While this is common, since I initially selected the 100hr program and then “downgraded” to the 40hr program, I had a lot more "extra money" than was anticipated when ATP certified my loan. Any funds that are in excess of the funds charged to the lender for the program are kicked back to the student in the form of a check. Since I had a lot of “extra funds,” the financing folks initially didn’t want to be kicking back that much money to me.

    The options I was given was to either have the loan re-certified for a lower amount or provide them a written statement that justified why I was borrowing so much for the program. I provided the statement, justifying the extra money as needed for living expenses. Since I signed a 13-month lease, I’ve projected my rent out that far and have based my budget on that, not what I need for the duration of the six-month training program. I’ve spoken with the financial folks at ATP and we are moving forward with my original loan amount.

    Payments for the program are made in installments, four in total, starting with the first on the student’s selected start date. Subsequent disbursements are made once a month after that. Checks for excess funds from each disbursement are generated the following Thursday and sent to the relevant training center for pick up by the student.



    The adventure begins Monday.
     
  6. flybywp

    flybywp Well-Known Member

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    Good luck! DEN is a great ATP location.
     
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  7. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Thanks! I'm happy here.
     
  8. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Week 1

    Things haven't gone well. At all. The short version is that I apparently have a panic/anxiety issue that needs to be resolved prior to regaining my place in the cockpit. Think "Cougar" in the first part of Top Gun. "Maverick" had a similar issue. Unlike "Cougar," I'm not turning in my wings. Unlike "Maverick" the solution isn't to "keep sending him up." My issue got progressively worse with each flight. I've chosen to withdraw from the ATP program since I don't know how long the recovery process will take. So, for those of you following this thread, I'll be able to brief you on the withdrawal/refund process.

    To withdraw, one sends an email to student services. I was contacted by a gentleman in JAX within a couple of hours. He identified himself as a Training Manager (or perhaps THE Training Manager, can't remember) and we spoke about my issue. He was very polite, very understanding. He made sure that I was aware of and understood the pro-rated refund policy (I did, my IP also did this). "The whole refund process can take up to two weeks. Personally, I've never seen it take that long, but that would be the max time frame." Currently, my account is on "Flight Hold" and a refund is pending. Based on the hours that I've flown so far, I estimate that I'm out at least $2000 including the deposit. When the process in complete, I expect to see a full accounting of the costs that I've incurred.

    The folks at ATP Denver couldn't have been more accommodating, considering the restraints placed on them by the program. My Instructor suggested that, when I'm ready, to go to Flights Inc and get a Flight Review. He said that while my skills are fairly good considering a 10-year break, the review would be a good way to re-acclimate to flying. My goal is to to that (or perhaps just a "Discovery Flight") soon after the first of the year.

    When the refund process is complete, I'll provide an update.
     
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  9. Butch Palmore

    Butch Palmore Just happy to be here.

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    Temporary setback. Sorry to hear it. Similar happened to me after a bad power on stall in a 152 years ago. I got over it. Just got my CMEL at KPIE. Keep charging!
     
  10. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    So, my time with ATP Flight School as officially ended. Although I had told ATP I was ready to return to flying after grounding myself, they required I obtain a BFR and Log 15hrs after the review before I could return to ATP. After talking with a local flying club just before Christmas, I decided just to get the remainder of my training at the place where I'll get my Flight Review.

    The refund process was initiated just before the first of the year. I had been told this process can take up to two weeks to complete but that "[they'd] never seen it take that long." Today is slightly over the two week period but when you consider the New Year's holiday, it's close enough.

    According to my outstanding balance at Sallie Mae, I'm only on the hook for $1445.00. ATP had only received the first of four disbursements ($17,500 each) from Sallie Mae before the refund process began. So, contrary to some statements on the web claiming that ATP would use some absurd accounting methods to keep all the money and refund nothing appear to be unfounded. The amount ATP kept is for flight time (aircraft + CFI) and ground time with the CFI (post flight debrief and the initial check-in). I believe the initial $995 deposit is included as well. Just before by start date, they refunded that amount to my credit card and added it to my account.
     
  11. ajcv75

    ajcv75 Active Member

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    hey man what happened during those flights? I'm starting to get regrets and I start tomorrow.....
     
  12. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that can be attributed to my CFI (seemed like a great guy) nor ATP in general. In my situation, I grossly underestimated the amount of general stress I was under at the time. Long story short: a lot of life changes in a very short period of time. Had I moved to DEN say a few months earlier than I did, I probably wouldn't have had any issues.

    If you're fully settled in your personal ground-based life, you likely will be fine.
     
  13. ajcv75

    ajcv75 Active Member

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    I'm worried because I'm not feeling happy being here. Been feeling pretty low here to be honest. I'm trying to give it some time before I make a decision to continue the program or not. It's odd because I thought being my childhood dream I was going to be feeling excited to be flying...but I'm not... Dont know what to do
     
  14. ShyFlyer

    ShyFlyer CAP Member

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    Unfortunately, ATP won't give you a lot of time to figure out what your next step will be. In my case, once I grounded myself, they put me on a Flight Hold. I was still enrolled but not scheduled for any flying. The money from Sallie Mae would continue to flow, however. Since I didn't know how long I'd be grounded, or even if I wanted to return to flying at all, I disenrolled so that, at the very least, I wouldn't be continuing to borrow money for something I wasn't doing.

    Now, in your case, you just seem generally unhappy. It may get better once you settle in to the ATP "lifestyle" or it may not. It's ok to feel this way, but you will need to do a serious gut check. There were a couple of times during my PPL training that I wasn't happy flying. It happens. If you need to take a break from flying, do it. You won't be the first, you wont be the last. Then you should be able to see what lies in your future a bit more clearly.
     
  15. ajcv75

    ajcv75 Active Member

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    Thanks man I appreciate your honesty. I will give it some time to see how I continue to feel.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     

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