Real Answers from Real Pilots

First week down

I just finished my first week today, and everyone is right about it being like trying to drink water from a fire hose. It is very exciting though, and my CFI is great. I am doing the zero time program, although I had 12 hours coming in. I am mainly posting to see if anyone has any questions. I’m not too experienced, but I don’t recall seeing anyone post much about the first week. So feel free to ask away.

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Hi Matthew!
I’m hoping to start ATP in about 4-6 months (depending on some personal things). Currently I’m in the process of trying to choose a regional airline (which I may spend most of my career at, again because of personal matters). So would you mind sharing which one you’ve chosen, and why? I know it’s kind of a weird question but it could really end up helping me. Thanks so much!
-Isaiah L

Isaiah,

I have to ask you what you mean by “trying to choose a Regional airline”? There’s an old expression “putting the cart before the horse” that comes to mind. The airline you decide to APPLY to and then hopefully get hired by is an important decision but you’re talking about something that’s not going to happen for a while. More so it’s not going to happen at all if you don’t do well and successfully finish your flight training. Further the Regional landscape might look very different 2yrs from now. The Regional that’s on top might not be, the Majors they support, bases etc could change as well.

If you’re serious about becoming a pilot you’d be much better served picking a start date and banging out your knowledge exams. The better prepared you are the better you’ll do in training. That way when the time comes you’ll be in a position to choose the airline you want vs hoping someone gives you a call.

Adam

Hi Adam,
I fully understand the point that you’re making and have taken the changing job field into account. My desire is to have an educated goal- to know which may have benefits and a culture that seem to fit my personality best (to those of us from the Northwest that does matter). I do not have any delusions about being certain to be hired at my “top priority” airline; I simply want to know which airline I’d like as my first choice to interview with around 500 hours with ATP. I’m trying to make good life choices now.
Best,
Isaiah L

Isaiah,

If your plan is to stay in the PNW Horizon is a fun place to work. Just about everyone that works there chose Horizon simply because they didn’t want to commute or live anywhere else.

Tory

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Good to know! Thanks very much.
-IL

Sorry, I was utilizing the free sim. I have not put much thought into which airline. I would prefer to stay in the southeast US, but even that is not mandatory as my wife has a job that travels well. We are planning for financial success rather then location, and hoping to get an adventure out of it all.

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Okay, no problem! Good luck to both of you. Hope you enjoy the adventure!
-IL

Matthew,

Thank you for posting about your first week. It would be great if you could continue to post as you go through the program.

Chris

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Isaiah,

The airline industry is changing rapidly. The regionals that are situated well right now might not be desirable in a few years. While I understand your desire to focus on airline selection now, I would encourage you to spend that time working on your written exams. Once you become a CFI and are building your hours, you will have plenty of time to focus on airline selection.

Chris

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I will definitely try to, time permitting of course. I think the biggest takeaway I have from week one is to work on not only memorization, but fast recall of that memorization. For example, the maneuver checklist for steep turns, slow flight, power on and off stalls. Just having them memorized is not enough, you have to be able to recall them quickly and efficiently. They will teach you the chair flying part once you arrive, but if you are struggling with the actual list, it makes execution slower, which in turn leads to things like more altitude lost then expected in a stall recovery.

Matthew,

The importance of having the basics down cold is a huge take away for your first week and something to carry with you throughout your training and into your airline career.

There’s a book called A Twist of the Wrist, The Motorcycle Road Racer’s Handbook by a man named Keith Code. In there Keith talks about attention and how at any given time you have a finite amount of it. He says let’s put a dollar amount on it, say $10. That’s all you have, you can’t get anymore (at the moment). He then talks about how essential it is to have all your basics down cold because if your still spending $3-4 on basics like shifting etc it only leaves you $6-7 to pick your lines, assess the road and go fast. But if you’ve got the basics down that they’re almost automatic that allows you to use almost all your money on the skills you need to go fast and ultimately win races.

I always thought that translated really well into aviation. If you’ve got those procedures for your maneuvers down to the point they’re almost rote that allows you to focus on actually flying the plane but if you’re still trying to recall the steps you will most definitely miss things. This again continues throughout your career. If you’re a very competent and standard pilot when there’s a checkride, line check or even an actual emergency, you won’t have to waste valuable and finite “attention” on things you should have down and can focus on the task at hand. That’s what makes the difference between being Sully or not making it home.

Nice job!

Adam

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Thank you, I appreciate your thoughts sir.

Best,
Isaiah

Week two is down, all TOL (take off, landing). There isn’t much to report, I flew every day, and I’m becoming increasingly more comfortable with all the phases of flight. I was excruciatingly close to a full pattern including landing without my CFI having to say or do anything today, but he had to help me out as I crossed the runway threshold.
We also went to an uncontrolled airport to our north and do some touch and go’s because of a weather cell over KCRG on Wednesday. I found that helpful in both coms, and having another site picture of a different runway.
I will be watching for any questions about the first two weeks of training, so feel free.

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Matthew,

Gotta say I appreciate your updates. They bring back memories.

Listen, I understand the frustration of being “excruciatingly close” to having something down but don’t lose sight of the fact 2 weeks you were a mere mortal leashed to the ground! Nice job!

Adam

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Matthew,

Thank you for the post. No matter what anybody else says, landings are always the hardest. Just keep a theme and they will come, eventually :slight_smile:

Chris

I thought I might chime into this thread! I’ve currently just finished week 4 at KCRG training center as well. Still in my TOL phase, as the weather in Florida, well ya know afternoon thunderstorms are inevitable… Needless to say, I’m enjoying every bit of this training. Sometimes things get challenging but I still have a smile on my face through it all! Today I accomplished all comms on my own, yay for small victories!! Still working on my flare, I know this will come with practice. Friday I passed my PAR with a 93% and the studying continues! Until next time!

-Aly

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Aly,

Nice job with the written exam.

Keep working on those landings, they will come soon enough.

Thank you for the update.

Chris

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Just to let everyone know, I have requested to be put on virtual flight hold. So my updates will be a week or two later. I have to travel to Huntsville to make medical decisions for my father. And most likely plan services after. I hope to be back to training in the next week, but currently don’t know what the timeline will dictate.

Matthew,

I am so sorry to hear about your father. Take your time and spend the time with your father while you can. The airplanes will still be there when you come back.

Chris