Horizon Air Pilot Development Program with a Busted Checkride

Good afternoon y’all,

I’m starting with ATP November 28th, and I can’t wait to get started! Flying has been a dream of mine since I was little, as I’m sure it was for most, if not all, of you.

That being said - when the time comes, I’m looking at applying to Horizon’s Air Pilot Development Program, and I’m a bit nervous about my odds. Back in 2019, I was working towards my private, and I busted the checkride. It was entirely my fault - I was brash and overconfident, and thought I could get through on my stick and rudder skills alone. Predictably, I busted the oral portion.

Any advice on how to approach this during a potential interview would be appreciated. I know Horizon starts hiring after you get your private, and I worry that at that point, with very little flight experience, this will stick out like a sore thumb.


I have no direct experience with the Horizon program, but just some general advice would be that it might be best to wait until you have a second or third successful checkride under your belt before applying to the program. Do not worry about ruching this, when you get accepted into their development program will have very little affect on when you actually start working at the airline. When you get 1,500 hours will be what determines that.



I would contact Horizon and ask them their thoughts to get a better sense of whether you should postpone your application or not.


Chris and Tory,

Thanks for the advice! I can definitely see the benefit of postponing a bit to make myself more competitive. I’ll reach out to Horizon to get their thoughts, and I’ll be sure to check back in later down the road!

Whatever happens, I sincerely appreciate the thoughtful responses. Navigating this can be tough without some guidance, so I very much appreciate what this forum does!


Welcome to ATP and the forum! Checkride busts especially in the private stage is common because of the new environment and how tests are completed, not everyone knows how to prepare for a checkride and that’s why we encourage you to get with students/instructors who’ve done it. Currently working on a checkride prep guide for the forum…I’m looking at tidying it up over the next few weeks. Facts and details are important!

Like the others have mentioned is contacting Horizon recruiters or waiting to build a little more experience (checkrides). The fact is that someone at some point may fail a checkride for some reason more than others, but what matters more is not failing anymore. You have the experience from your private checkride, what you need to do is improve on that and figure new study habits, ways to complete and pass the next 7 checkrides (including the type rating/ATP one).

I always suggest the ASA Pilot Oral Exam Guide books for studying for checkride, maybe a few audiobooks, sitting in a simulator chair flying and talking with fellow peers. The other is professionalism and presentation which is setting yourself up for success before the DPE walks into the room with gear.

Please let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with, welcome again. :slight_smile:


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I know the recommended advice for the PAR is to memorize the answers but I think spending two-three days reading the ASA Private Oral Prep book would help reduce the amount of practice test to get a 90 or higher on Sportys.


I am in the program and I don’t think it will be an issue. I applied after I got my instrument rating and at the time, I busted the IR checkride and got accepted into the program. Like any pilot interview, just be upfront and ready to explain why it happened and if you learned anything from the bust. The interview is non-technical so they really want to see who you are as a person. What I got from the interview was, are you the type of person the co-pilot/captain would be ok with flying with for several days as well as your risk/safety judgement.


Brady, David, Sam,

Thank you for all the advice! This has helped a ton. More excited than ever to get started!!