The Value of Regional Jet Training – Then and Now

Every now and then one of my friends will tell me about one website or another that host casual forums where pilots can go online and share their wisdom with other pilots or with people interested in becoming pilots.


There are generally a lot of egos on display in these public forums I’ve taken the time to visit, and much of the “wisdom” is being put forward anonymously by pilots using nicknames who are very young and inexperienced themselves.

Recently a young friend told me about one of these forums where the value of taking a Regional Jet transition course was being discussed. When I visited the site to take a look for myself I was surprised to see how few of the participants in the discussion actually knew anything about this type of RJ training.

The RJ Program at ATP, for example, is not intended to teach a pilot every single detail about the Regional Jet. The objective is to expose pilots to the technology that is rife in the RJ, how to operate as a pilot in the airline environment at a professional level and how to operate proficiently as a airline crewmember. Along the way a pilot learns how to train at an accelerated pace as Airline training departments do.

As I was doing some research for this blog spot I came across a letter that said more than I could ever say about the RJ Program. It was written by a young pilot who had seen firsthand what the benefits of ATP’s RJ Program are.

Dear Paul:
I wanted to let you know I completed training at Chautauqua and flew the 25 hours required for IOE. I would like to tell you that I underestimated the value of the Regional Jet Standards Certification Program. I found out very quickly how lucky I was to go through that training. Most people in my systems class were struggling to understand the material and keep up with the pace of the course. Most, like me, were transitioning from piston aircraft to jets. One very big difference was the fact that I had a great understanding of these systems and could concentrate on the important details while others just had time to grasp the basics. We had a few seasoned pilots in our class as well, one a Jetstream 31 captain and one a TWA/American MD-80 pilot. To my complete surprise, they had a harder time than anyone due to completely new automation.

Then followed my biggest realization of the importance of this
course. We started sim lessons and, even though I was not flying the CRJ, I had an easy time adjusting my scan and reading the information presented on the CRT’s in front of me. At the same time my sim partner and other classmates spent 2-3 sim lessons just trying to figure out the flight director, the autopilot, and glass, while I had some time to concentrate on flows and other details. I cannot say that I was not nervous. We only had a total of 8 sims before the check ride. Every sim lesson I was getting more and more nervous,
but compared to my classmates’ anxiety, I was cooler than Elvis. I forgot to mention that I had the coveted midnight to 4 a.m. sim slot.

When it came to the check ride, I was more than nervous, but
having gone through one similar in the CRJ with another check airman gave me an advantage. The check airman that gave me my ride failed 3 out of 4 people that he checked in my class. It was not an easy check ride. As a matter of fact, it was the hardest one I have ever taken, but I passed, thanks in no small part to the Regional Jet Standards Program. If it sounds like a sales pitch, well it should. I get frustrated when I hear that people do not reach their dreams and goals because of a flight school letting them down.

I have always supported and thought the best of the ATP Airline
Career Pilot Program! Now I am completely behind the RJ Program. Everyone in my class I spoke with said in one way or another that they wished they had gone to ATP. If not for the Career Pilot Program—then the Flight Instructor—if not
that—then at least the CRJ & FMS Orientation. There were people that spent almost $100,000 through other flight schools to be in the same place I was for $35,000. I cannot express enough how thankful I am to ATP.

Best Regards,
Michael Golinder
EMB-145 First Officer
Chautauqua Airlines

ATP has helped thousands of pilots experience the same results that Mr. Golinder did in 2004, and we are still busy doing it today.