ATP Orders 55 Skyhawks

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ATP Flight School has signed an agreement with Textron Aviation for the purchase of 55 new Cessna 172 Skyhawks. The aircraft will be used for ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program, joining the school’s fleet of 490 aircraft including Cessna Skyhawks, Piper Archer TXs and Piper Seminoles. Deliveries are slated to begin in late 2023 and continue through 2024.

“This order announcement demonstrates our continued long-term relationship we have with ATP in support of their flight training needs,” said Chris Crow, Textron Aviation vice president for piston sales. “For more than six decades, the legendary Cessna Skyhawk has been one of the world’s top training aircraft. We are thrilled to see these aircraft utilized to inspire the next generation of professional pilots.”

Founded in 1984, ATP currently runs 75 training centers across the U.S. The school reports that its students fly around 480,000 hours annually with nearly 9,000 receiving pilot certificates each year. According to ATP, 60 percent of its aircraft have been manufactured in the last six years and the average aircraft age for its fleet is 11 years.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. When I see the prices of new aircraft, I have to imagine what the costs are for just 1 hour to rent said aircraft. Then let’s factor in that a new student will need an instructor. I couldn’t afford to be a student today.

    • High costs in aviation are not artificial like in the “university industry”.
      Aviation costs reflest real world pressures like nsurance, liability, regulations and low volume.
      Hats off to ATP for making purchases that keep production lines open.

  2. We’re a in a catch-22 in which demand isn’t sufficient to support large production volumes that could lower the unit costs, and since unit costs are ridiculous, demand will remain low, which helps ensure that unit costs are ridiculous. it’s hard to see what the future of general aviation is going to be unless someone finds a way to built quality, certificated aircraft that don’t costs twice the value of a house.

    • They’re doing just what you said, and Cessna, bless their Dzus Fasteners, tried to get-in on the emerging LSA Market a few years back. Some amazing planes are under development, and in a free market, competition among manufacturers will ultimately lower their unit costs.

      • Too bad we aren’t in a free market. Regulations, by definition, regulate the market. And one need to look no further than Boeing and the 737 Max debacle for evidence that regulators and the politicians behind them play favorites and are anything but consistent/predictable. Point being that, while the regulations may be wrapped in a package of good intentions, they do add a layer of expense and uncertainty to the expensive process of developing aircraft, all while doing nothing to guarantee success in the market. All of this combined creates the barriers to market entry and increases costs to the point that virtually guarantees more of the same from Cessna+Beech and Piper while making it borderline insane for other companies to try anything new. And, as long as that is the case, I don’t see the market changing for the better.

        • I never flew or rode in an “Experimental” plane. The reason being was that they’re not certified in the Normal category. Call me a chicken, but the FAA does a fair job making sure the aircraft they authorize to operate under the Normal category are safe. I understand the Max issue, and it just seemed that trial lawyers were the ones screaming foul when two of those birds crashed. Boeing was trying to enter that plane into the market without burdening the airlines with additional training for their crews. When you read what happened during the Max crash sequences, it makes you wonder why an airline crew didn’t know how to disconnect the trim motors.

  3. Interesting, while we are constantly bombarded with rah rah virtue signaling, EV nonsense, etc. we see that in the real world, where folks make informed decisions based upon reality and not future fantasies, they spend their money and choose reality.

    • Their ‘reality’ will quickly become stark when fuel prices increase to the point where they can’t profit sufficiently due to already onerous operating expenses, insurance/maintenance costs and declining student enrollment as our economy enters the expected recession. Someone somewhere has to be their ‘angel investor’. Since airlines are looking under rocks for pilots, those companies might chip-in to produce needed crew resources from those schools.

  4. 400K a pop for the old Chickenhawk would be prohibitive, unless that school has interested backers. If not, they’ll have to charge exorbitant fees per flight hour to profit from their training operations. I’m a proponent of developing training devices such as simulators with accurate motion, control feel and instrument indications to train students for the bulk of their flight syllabus.

    • Yes, the costs per flying hour are ridiculous. And, yes, the simulators you describe do exist, essentially. But, I’d just suggest that you not assume simulators are automatically cheaper per hour when all associated costs are appropriately factored. The real comparison in costs, not to mention the less tangible value proposition, might be closer than you think.

      • Simulators (At least the 707 version I demonstrated) don’t leave the ground, so insurance would not be too burdensome, and their acquisition costs are much lower than aircraft. Redbird has a well designed full motion unit, and other outfits are entering the market with some amazingly accurate cockpit layouts for Skyhawks. I would guess that compiling hours in those sims would reduce flight training costs by 4 digits. Of course they’ll fly the real thing, but students could learn immense amounts of flying savvy without risk, and practice for the real thing with confidence.

  5. If you read the article David B. it shows this is an established company with a long track record that has to reflect a successful business plan including buying needed training aircraft, and knowing what it costs to service and maintain them. This is refreshing as compared with all the virtue signaling from the airlines who say they are going to purchase and support fanciful EV products and regulatory infrastructure that don’t even exist.

    • I read the article, but the article was written before fuel prices will go north towards $10.00 per gallon, especially AVGas. Schools will face declining enrollment when per hour costs exceed the amount most prospective trainees can afford. Unless some outfit steps up and underwrites those costs, the enormous acquisition costs for these new planes will sink any school into the red.