Advice for a New ATP Flight School Candidate

Hello all! I am new to the forum and I would like to start by thanking you all for the opportunity to be a part of the community and for all the information I have gained so far just by reading past discussions and topics. So, formally, THANK YOU!

Okay, so, my funds are available and my 1st school visit / flight lesson is scheduled for next weekend, and my 1st class medical appointment is scheduled for the following Monday. If all goes well, I think this is really going to happen! And I really want this to happen. A couple things I would love to ask about are…

  1. I would love some advice or just even some simple feedback on your own experiences or any other experiences you are willing to share about where I am now in this process. I have lots of questions about the program but I want to save them for my visit.

Again, thank you all so much for letting me join your community and for all the previous posts and discussions to read, and now for taking some time to read mine.



A few pieces of advice:

  1. Get started as soon as you can. Timing is everything in this industry. The sooner you start, the sooner you get to an airline and get a seniority number. That translates to quality of life.

  2. Get as many written exams completed before you start to lighten your study load while in the program.

  3. Be present in each phase and intentional with each flight, each stage check, and subsequent checkride. Every single detail matters. A strong written exam score and detailed and organized logbook puts you on the best possible footing starting a checkride. Then a strong oral, sets you up well for a great flight. With one rating successfully completed, rinse and repeat. Focus solely on the next one and preparing even better than you did for the last phase.

  4. Be flexible and focused. The aviation industry is dramatically tumultuous.When things are good, they are GOOD. When things are bad, it’s BAD.Control what you can control, keep the passion for flying at the forefront and ride the times the best you can.




Everything Hannah said plus visit our Student Experiences section for words of wisdom from those currently in the program.


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Thanks Hannah. Solid, genuine, and tangibly not sugar coated which is exactly how I would shoot it so fist bump to all that, I really appreciate it.

I can also genuinely say that my passion for what we do is by far at the forefront and my focus is not the income. Solid income is the icing.

It is also really refreshing to hear advice that I have already been concluding on my own when it comes to some of the preparation. For example, I do not have an instructor to sign me off to do so, but I could pass my Private Pilot written exam today if I needed to. I took it about 7 years ago and passed but it has lapsed obviously. After reviewing and taking many practice tests over the past several weeks I’m ready for that test now. I am also studying instrument rating stuff now.

And to your last point, which is good life advice in general, I am also quite versed and capable when I have to pivot and / or role on (so to speak) when I need to do so and I don’t see why this would be any different. I am feeling confident I can weather the good and the bad.

I’ll be back to fill y’all in after next Saturday after my visit and lesson, and after I get back from the Doc regarding my 1st Class Medical.

Thanks again!


Thank you Adam. I hadn’t run across that specific section yet so I will.


Seems like you have a good head start securing the funds and scheduling your FAA First Class Medical. The Airman Knowledge Tests (“writtens”) are valid for 24 months, so the earliest I would complete them is 6-9 months from start date since ATP’s ACPP is 7 months; “Zero to Hero.”

If you can come to every lesson prepared and well rested, reviewing the material the night prior will help you in the atmosphere of learning. What I found helpful was in your documents reviewing the “Plan of Action” for the phase you’re in and event number because that is the topic that generally will be taught. Weather and plane availability is not something you can control, what you can control is having a positive attitude about something and always being open-minded for change.

Great example of change in the industry. Yesterday I woke up at 5:30 AM for an airline AQP validation, arrive to the training center at 7:45 AM, to find out my 8:00 AM validation was moved to 1 PM. I had a flight home scheduled for 3 PM but had to reschedule and the next available flight I could positive space was 10:30 PM… not ideal, but it was out of my control. I checked back on an earlier flight during a break in my validation, saw an opening seat in the 6 PM flight, sent an email and got on a much earlier flight.

The Student Experiences is a great place to start for firsthand experiences where current and former students have threads: