How did you prepare for the 6-month program?

I had my phone call with Horizon yesterday. Basically I need to be enrolled at ATP in order to be considered for the pilot development program and the sooner, the better. This got me thinking about a few things, specifically how does a person going into the program with their PPL prepare and be “up to speed” with ATP’s expectations? I’m not referring to airmanship. I’m confident my airmanship skills. What I’m not confident about is a lot of the other stuff I was required to learn for my PPL, but haven’t really had the need to apply in the last 8+ years such as calculating density altitude, reading weather charts, using the E6B, staying up to date with the FAR/AIM, etc.

Does ATP provide people in this scenario with a checklist of expectations? Study guides? Perhaps these are worked in to the instrument training? For all of you that started ATP with your PPL, how did you prepare yourself for that first day so as not to be a burden in their training regimen?


It is up to you to come prepared as a private pilot. If you are rusty, I would recommend reading the ASA Oral Exam Guide for PPL as it has a huge amount of very relevant information in it.

I started with my PPL, but I had just recently completed it. If you have not flown in a few years, I would recommend taking a lesson or two at your local flight school.


I’m current with my flight time. My BFR was in December and I have my own plane so I have the luxury of going up whenever I want. It’s the rules/regs/paper stuff that I need to brush up on. I will get the exam guide you suggested, thanks.


I know a pilot that just started and he hadn’t flown in almost 5 yrs. he did his BFR, a few more instruction flights to catch up on new tech.

When you enter the program with PPL credit you have an online instrument overview to complete before your start date and before it can contact Sheppard for any study material. In the portal you can also access the Private Pilot course so you could use that as well to refresh your memory on some things.

Good luck in the program!


Sounds like you know what you need to do. Do it and you’ll be fine.


Once you put your deposit down and ATP gives you access to study aids like Sheppard Air, start studying for your IRA/FII/IGI test. Take those before you show up (IGI is $150 extra, but you’d want to take it if you want your CFI Gold Seal eventually). If you have time to do so afterwards, study for the CAX/FIA and then FOI exams and get those out of the way. You will make your life easier and eliminate any possibility of delay due to tests not being done. Get out a copy of your Commercial ACS standards and while flying, try to perform to Comm SE standards. Since you have your own plane l, practice performance landings such as short/soft field and power off 180s. It would be helpful to use the ATP aircraft supplement and familiarize yourself with the ATP procedures for those, especially if you are flying the same aircraft as the ATP location you plan on attending. Finally, when you start training, don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. Take control of your own program. Commit to daily on-campus time to study, engage with other students and instructors, and keep track of your own progress. Success in such a compressed and accelerated program is highly dependent on your motivation to be prepared for every lesson. Ask for study aids and guides for your upcoming checkride from the start, use sims during down times, etc. The more initiative you show, the easier it will be for you in the long run. Plus…if you intend to stay and instruct at ATP at the location where you train, having a positive attitude and initiative will leave a good impression on management. It is a 6-month interview for a job you may want in the end. All in all, in less than 3 months you will be an instrument rated Commercial SE pilot, and can focus on CFI school and all the trials that come with trying to shove 50 pounds of…knowledge…into a one pound bag. Best of luck!