Good program covering a lot of information over 4 days of academics. If you look at the syllabus/schedule on ATP CTP program you can see what they all cover. There is a test at the end, but the instructors make sure you know what to expect and it is fairly easy compared to the FAA tests. I’m studying for the FAA ATP test, which I started for a few weeks ago and taking the test tomorrow morning before I fly home. I’m not worried about passing it, just trying to get a good score. We took the class test on the last day of academics and everyone passed with no issues.
The academics covers a lot of commercial accidents focusing on pilot actions, errors, poor decisions. My take from that is all the automation is great and makes flying a large aircraft very easy, but the pilots need to know their aircraft and be able to hand fly when things go wrong. Way too many accidents where a perfectly flyable aircraft crashed because of something like the pilot not doing a proper stall recovery. This isn’t to blame the pilots necessarily, but unfortunate that a lot of people have lost their lives for the lessons learned we have today. It was eye opening to see a high altitude stall recovery in a large aircraft in the sim. You loose a lot of altitude, but you don’t have the engine thrust on the back of the power curve at altitude so you need to descend to gain airspeed and get out of the stall. Just one example.
The other big thing from my perspective was the focus on CRM, communication, and speaking up when something doesn’t look right. The days of the copilot just sitting and being quite regardless of what is going on is way past. With my background of flying a crew aircraft in the military, it is refreshing to hear that the airlines do things a similar way with CRM concepts. The days of “gear up, flaps up, shut up” (as a friend of mine told me) are over (for the most part). I’m sure there are still a few Captains that have the old mindset.
So overall, very positive experience. It does seem to be more for the pilots coming straight from flying small single and twin engine aircraft, but I still learned a lot or re-learned a lot I forgot from my initial AF pilot training. About half of my class were Envoy or Endeavor new pilots and for pilots going to the regionals they will all pay for it as far as I know, so no need to pay $5,000 out of pocket. A lot of military pilots, like myself, pay for it out of pocket or with the GI bill to meet the requirements for the majors. I have not scheduled my ATP practical yet, still looking at my personal schedule, cost & location of where to get my practical done. But I still have a little over a year before I retire from active duty, so my plan is to get it done no later than about 6 months prior to my availability, since that seems to be the earliest anyone will start interviews.
I’ll see if I can get a photo of the 737 sim today at my last sim to post for comparison to Chris’s photo. Yes, I started my military flying without GPS, but we had a very good dual-INS system to navigate with, so it was almost like having GPS, but no RNAV or GPS approaches, just ILS or TACAN.
I wish you well on your aviation career. I have enjoyed my military flying career and look forward to getting 16-17 years of commercial flying in.
Back to studying for my ATP test and my 737 sim this afternoon.