Aeroguard Vs. ATP: Choosing The Best Flight School

So, you want to become a pilot? That’s awesome! Getting your pilot’s license is an exciting goal that opens up a world of possibilities. Now comes the big decision – choosing the right flight school for your training. Two of the most well known flight schools in the US are Aeroguard and ATP.

But which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll compare the key factors you need to consider when choosing a flight school, including cost, locations, fleet, instructors, training styles, and more.

Whether you want to fly as a career or just for fun, read on for an in-depth look at Aeroguard and ATP to help you make the best choice.

A Brief Comparison Table

Locations25+ locations nationwide40+ locations nationwide
FleetNew Piper and Cessna aircraft, G1000 avionicsLarge fleet of late-model Pipers, G1000 avionics
InstructorsYounger career instructors, 250 hr minimumVeteran instructors, 500-1000+ hrs experience
Training StylePersonalized one-on-oneStructured, airline-modeled
ProgramsPrivate to ATP, niche coursesAccelerated packages to Airlines
PricingHourly instructors and aircraftAll inclusive package pricing
Job PlacementPersonalized advisingStrong relationships with 100+ airlines

Overview Of Aeroguard And ATP


First, a quick intro to both flight schools.

Aeroguard is a national flight school with a focus on personalized training. They have over 25 locations across the US and a fleet of new technologically advanced training aircraft.

Their programs range from Private Pilot to Airline Transport Pilot for both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

ATP is the largest flight school in the US. They offer accelerated pilot certification programs, with over 40 locations nationwide. ATP operates one of the country’s largest fleets of late-model training aircraft.

They focus on structured professional pilot career training.

Now let’s dig into the details on how they compare.

Detail Comparison Of Aeroguard and ATP

  • Cost and Payment Options

Cost is often the biggest factor for prospective flight students. Flight training doesn’t come cheap, so understanding the full costs and payment options is essential.

Aeroguard uses an hourly rate billing system. For Private Pilot training, expect to pay $150-$200/hr for the airplane and $55/hr for the instructor. Budget $10,000-$15,000 total to complete your Private Pilot’s license. Payment plans and financing options are available.


ATP offers all-inclusive packages for each rating/certificate. For example, the Private Pilot package costs $79,900, which includes all aircraft rental, instructors, materials, and exams.

Financing is available starting at $199/month with zero down payment. Multi-rating packages offer savings compared to individual packages.

The fixed all-inclusive pricing at ATP makes it easy to budget your full training costs upfront. But the hourly pay-as-you-go system at Aeroguard provides more flexibility. Consider your financial situation and payment preferences when choosing between the two.

  • Fleet and Aircraft

The aircraft you train in are your offices in the sky. Modern glass cockpit planes prepare you for what you’ll be flying after you get certified. Let’s compare the training fleets.

The Aeroguard fleet consists of new Piper and Cessna aircraft with advanced G1000 glass cockpit avionics, includingPrivate Pilot favorites like the Piper Archer III and Cessna 172S. Rental rates range from $140-$170/hr depending on aircraft.

ATP operates one of the nation’s largest fleets of late-model Piper Archer III, Piper Seminole, Beechcraft Duchess, and other training aircraft. Most are newer aircraft equipped with G1000 avionics. Aircraft rental is included in ATP’s all-inclusive training packages.

So, both provide modern training aircraft with similar advanced avionics. This prepares you to fly the latest planes with ease when you become a pilot.

  • Locations and Training Environments

With over 40 locations combined, ATP and Aeroguard make flight training accessible nationwide. Let’s see how their locations compare.

Aeroguard has 25+ flight schools conveniently located near major metropolitan areas across the US. Base your training at slower paced general aviation airports for a personalized experience. Class sizes are smaller with a student to instructor ratio around 6:1.

ATP has 40+ locations at busy corporate and airline-centered airports like PHX, IAH, and JFK. Their structured airline career programs are hosted at dedicated training centers with classroom environments similar to airlines. Larger class sizes mean a higher student to instructor ratio around 10:1.

Choose Aeroguard for a customized experience at slower paced airports. Opt for ATP for an airline-style structured training environment surrounded by corporate jets and airliners.

  • Instructors and Training Styles

The quality of instructors and training styles vastly impact the student experience. Here’s how they differ.

Aeroguard instructors are typically younger career instructors looking to build flight hours. They provide one-on-one personalized training tailored to your learning style and needs. With a 250 hour minimum, instructors are focused on building experience.

ATP has veteran instructors, many with 500-1000+ hours of instruction given. As the largest flight school, ATP attracts experienced career instructors looking for schedule flexibility and variety. The structured training programs offer less tailoring for individual learning styles.

Both have quality instructors, so assess your training style needs. Aeroguard offers customized personal experiences, while ATP has structured programs similar to airlines.

  • Training Programs Offered

From Private Pilot to Airline Transport Pilot, let’s see how the range of programs compare.

Aeroguard offers complete pilot certification training for Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI, and beyond. You can progress all the way to Airline Transport Pilot at select locations. Additional niche programs like aerobatics, upset recovery, and tailwheel endorsements are available.

As accelerated pilot career focused training, ATP offers programs to efficiently take you from zero time to airline pilot. Choose between Airline Career Pilot, International, or Executive airline packages.

All include Private, Instrument, Commercial, Multi, and CFI certificates and ratings. The only thing beyond ATP is their new Airline Career Pilot Masters Program.

Both provide full aviation training, just with different focuses. Aeroguard offers broad based modular training with supplemental niche courses. ATP accelerates you through to an airline pilot career.

Watch this review video of Aeroguard!

  • Maintenance and Safety

Safety should be your top priority when choosing a flight school. How do the schools compare for aircraft maintenance and safety best practices?

With new aircraft, Aeroguard maintains a young fleet age average of ≤ 10 years old. All aircraft and maintenance meet FAA standards, with additional company safety initiatives and flight operations protocols. As a smaller school, chief pilots personally oversee daily maintenance.

As an industry leader, ATP sets the benchmark for safety, with an FAA-approved Safety Management System (SMS). The system analyzes flight data and safety practices across 120,000+ annual flight hours.

ATP also adheres to their FAA-approved Maintenance Operations Manual which defines technician training and aircraft servicing standards. Their large scale allows them to set and follow rigorous system-wide safety practices.

With strong FAA oversight of all flight schools, both demonstrate exceptional safety programs and records. At the end of the day, there’s no compromise on safety.

  • Additional Student Resources

The student experience goes beyond the cockpit. Let’s compare some additional resources provided.

Aeroguard includes digital training materials like standard FAA manuals, Garmin avionics guides, and free access to industry leading King Schools.

Students receive an iPad with ForeFlight mobile for in-flight planning and navigation. Additional resources like free access to a national aviation mentoring program are also included.

ATP provides students complete integrated pilot training course materials, including books, syllabi, and logbooks. Digital resources include the ATP Aviation Hub mobile apps and ATP Allied Pilot mobile logbook.

Students get Jeppesen charts and testing tools along with introductory ATP Airlines videos. Access to ATP’s national group of career services advisors is also included.

The bottom line is that both provide extensive resources to set you up for success throughout your training journey and future aviation career.

  • Alumni Network and Job Placement

A strong alumni network and job placement services provide a huge head start after certification. Here’s an overview:

The Aeroguard network connects students to alumni who are always happy to provide career mentoring and advice. As a smaller school, they provide personalized guidance based on your specific goals. Recent graduates have gone on to major, regionals, corporate, and more.

ATP touts the strongest job placement in the industry given its airline partnerships and sheer alumni size as the largest flight school.

The ATP Career Services team provides personalized airline and corporate job placement services. Strong relationships with over 100 regional and major airlines result in 800+ job offers annually to ATP graduates.

In summary, ATP has the strongest job placement services, especially for airline pilot careers. But Aeroguard provides more broad based personalized career advising based on your goals.

Also Read: Comparison Between Survival Flight And Air Evac.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is ATP actually a good flight school?

Yes, ATP is one of the best and most reputable flight schools in the country. As the largest, they have the staff, resources, relationships, and experience to successfully train airline-ready pilots. Safety and training quality are top notch.

Which is the best flying school in USA?

There is no definitive “best” but ATP and Aeroguard are certainly among the top nationally recognized flight schools. Key factors to look for are safety, modern aircraft, experienced instructors, training resources, and alumni success. Assess your own personal priorities like location, pricing, and training style when choosing.

Is ATP pilot school legit?

Absolutely. ATP is accredited and meets or exceeds all FAA and TSA requirements. Their FAA Part 141 flight curriculum is approved to license pilots with up to 50% less minimum hours versus Part 61. As the leading supplier for airlines, major aviation companies validate the quality of ATP training.

What is the #1 flight school in America?

Based on size and airline placements, ATP Flight School is considered the #1 flight school in America. They have the most locations, most students trained, and strongest airline hiring relationships. However, “best” depends on your specific goals and needs as a pilot.

Also Read: Comparison Between SkyMed And Medjet

The Verdict

We’ve covered a detailed comparison of Aeroguard and ATP – from costs and training styles to fleet and safety. While both are excellent, here are some key considerations when choosing between them:

  • If you desire a highly structured airline-style training environment, ATP is best.
  • For personalized one-on-one training, choose Aeroguard.
  • Pick ATP if your goal is to quickly transition to an airline career after certification.
  • Aeroguard offers more broad aviation opportunities beyond just airlines.
  • Your budget and financing options may drive the decision one way or the other.

Take the time to carefully consider your goals, needs, and constraints. Reach out to any flight schools you are interested in for tours and discovery flights. Becoming a pilot is an amazing journey, so choose the right flight school partner for success!

We hope this detailed comparison helps you make the best decision for your future as a pilot. Blue skies ahead!

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