Training at ATP makes a pilot part of a fraternity of Alumni that tend to stay in touch with us throughout their career. The phase of their career, when an ATP Graduate gets their first flying job, is the part that I enjoy hearing about the most . It is usually the time when a pilot reflects on their time with ATP and looks to an exciting future in aviation. I saw a very good letter of this type that was sent to our VP of Operations, and want to share it with you because of how it shows an ATP Students progress through our training program:
I have some time before I fly out to San Antonio tonight, and I want to provide to you some meaningful feedback.
After 4 weeks of ground/sim training, flight training, a successful FAA part 135 check-ride, and a week of IOE, yesterday I went fully operational commanding my own multi-turbine aircraft for Ameriflight. Of the 7 direct hire captains in my training class, only myself and one other person were hired directly into a turbine aircraft, and the other person hired into the turbine (Pedro Martinez) was an ATP instructor as well. I don't think this is a coincidence.
I didn't fully appreciate the training environment ATP has created until after I was out and into "the real world". People who make the decisions on who gets hired know ATP, and they seem to understand the hardened product that comes out of the program. Comparing my flight time to guy's who instructed at other flight schools or local FBO's, a clear distinction quickly emerges: I had instructed for the least amount of time of anyone in my class, but I had amassed more Instrument, Cross-Country, Night, and Multi-engine time than any other person save the other ATP instructor who was there with me.
While the other guys had accumulated over 1000 hours in the traffic pattern in a 152/172 on pretty and sunny days, I was shooting instrument approaches with my students in actual meteorological conditions in a multi-engine aircraft on cross country trips without batting an eye! In other words, when it was time for the rubber to meet the road, my wheels were already spinning!
The biggest intangible value of spending two years of my life first as a student, as an instructor, then as a graduate of the RJ Standards Certification course was getting used to the pace and mentality of an accelerated training program. People say that training with ATP is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. But as you're aware, airline training programs are designed to take you in, chew you up, and spit you out as quickly and safely as possible. Some say Ameriflight's program is one of the toughest part 135 training programs out there. It was not easy, but I was comfortable with the stress of having to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, and I attribute that feeling of being able to manage it all in part because of the opportunities and experiences that were available to me while with ATP.
The alumni network is incredible. Aviation is a small world, and I run into pilots (flying and in management positions) everywhere that did one or all of their ratings with ATP. I'm very happy to be part of this network.
Hope all is well, and if I can ever be of assistance to you, don't hesitate to reach out!