A few questions!

Hello all! First off I want to thank all of the posters and mentors on this site as I’ve been reading all of the posts for hours a day the past week or so.

A little bit about me, I just graduated college with a B.S. in climate science and had a plan to join the Navy via Officer Candidate School to fly, however, there was a medical issue that came up and the Navy has deemed disqualifying but it shouldn’t be an issue for my FAA physical.

It’s been my dream to fly since I was young and I am now looking in the the commercial route as I have been working part time for Piedmont and just really enjoy the airlines! I have been talking to all the pilots as they land and they have all been super friendly and helpful and most have pointed me to ATP!

So I have a few questions for mentors or anyone with experience at ATP.

My goal would be to start ATP from zero time flying in early September or late August. I have seen you recommend doing the written exams before going to ATP, do you feel that a few months is adequate to get at least my first three exams done before getting there? I have a fairly strong knowledge of the science behind flying however any of the technical stuff and rules/regulations etc will be new to me.

Secondly, does anyone have any suggestions where to attend ATP? My goal is to be done as quick as possible and I was eyeing somewhere like Arizona as it seems to be a large location with many opportunities to get your flights in

And lastly if anyone has any other advice they wanna give I am taking everything in to make the best decision! I appreciate any time you took to read this and wish you all the best.

Thanks a bunch!

Because of your experience with the Navy, I’d recommend obtaining your 1st Class before moving too far forward. This is an easy first step and will prevent any unexpected issues down he road.

Definitely in the plans! Scheduled for my physical on the 19th. It’s crazy because my issue is something that Navy aeromedical has said is not an issue, it’s military entrance medical that has an issue with it! So the medical board overseeing flight doesn’t care but military entrance does!

Appreciate the advice! I have also checked all the guidelines for the first class exam and I SHOULD (knock on wood) not have any issues.


Welcome to the forums, let’s get right to your questions.

I think that a few months should be enough time to study for and take at least three written exams, if not more. They are really just rote memorization, the understanding aspect comes later.

As far as locations go, I would simply pick the one that is most convenient for you and not give it any further thought. ATP tries very hard to standardize all of their locations. A student at one location should have an incredibly similar experience to a student at another one. The company carefully evaluates a location for things such as airspace complexity, weather, facilities, etc before deciding to open a location there. I really would not put very much thought into this.

Have you taken an introductory flight yet?


Obtaining the first class medical before beginning training is a requirement for ATP.

Chris! Thanks for the response.

I have not taken an introductory flight through ATP however I have a relative who flies in the Navy and I have gotten to sit in on and in some cases “fly” in the full motion simulators that the Navy has for the T-44 and the E-6.

I had read that response in terms of location however for me it’s unfortunate as none of the locations are particularly convenient for me so I’m going to be paying for housing regardless of the location! I guess more so in terms of time if anyone had positive experiences at a specific location and wanted to share that would be awesome! I’ve read some reviews in the student experience sub forum as well!

Again I appreciate your response!


I’m sorry but while flying in a full motion sim is very cool, IT’S NOT AN AIRPLANE. You need to go up (in fact ATP requires it). A few months is plenty of time for your writtens (especially if you have some knowledge already). Finally there are pros and cons to every location and frankly I feel people spend way too much time and energy of that aspect of the program. Getting advice from others is fine but know much of the experience people have is based on their relationship with their instructor who may very well be long gone by the time you get there. You’ll get the same quality of training regardless of location. Pick a place that appeals to you for whatever reason you like (climate, comfort, family, or just because).

Oh and get that medical taken care of.


Appreciate the response Adam! Does the introductory flight need to be with ATP as there is not a location near me or can I go up with a smaller flight school near me? Closest ATP being around 6 hours away.

Thanks again for the response!


Even with the simulator experience, you will still be required to take an introductory flight. It does not have to be with ATP, but you will need to take one.


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Nope, any ole local flight school will do. It would just be a shame to sign up for $80k in loans, move all your stuff and go up once and toss your cookies. Know what I mean? :wink:


Hey Gregory,

I’m studying for my writtens right now so I can give you some insight into the time I have spent and where I am at. I am working full time still and study most evenings and a little on weekends and I was able to get done studying for the Private Pilot exam in about a month. I’m about halfway through with the Instrument studying now and that has taken around two weeks.

If I allocated a bit more time I could definitely knock them out quicker. I would say if you’re just studying a little everyday, one month per test is plenty of time. If you have the luxury of not working I would imagine you could probably finish two per month. Maybe more, as some of the material is overlapping. Once you have the private pilot information you will understand some of the stuff on the other tests more quickly.