How Early Should I Apply?

Hey everybody, I’m a senior mechanical engineering major at Clemson and I plan on pursuing the ATP pilot career program upon graduating in May 2020. I just have a few questions about the application process and the timeline I should expect. First, when should I start the online module to schedule the introductory flight, and typically how soon can you schedule the flight. I understand the answer may vary based on location; I intend on applying to the Charlotte-Concord location. And then following the introductory flight, how long until a typical student can start the program/classes. Of course this is dependent on acceptance and financing, but any estimation of an expected timeline would be very helpful! Thanks!


The introductory flight is valid for a year and like you said your start date will depend on when you can secure financing and availability at the training center.

That gives you six months to get things in order. Focus on your college classes, but if you want to get ahead we highly suggest getting the written tests out of the way before you start.



As Tory said, one thing at a time. Focus on finishing and doing well in school. You say you graduate in May but don’t say how quickly after you want to start?

Obviously I don’t know your finances but that’s often one of the more challenging aspects so I’d start working on that a good 6mos out. As Tory said the Intro flight is good for a year and you can generally schedule one pretty quickly. My only caveat with that is if you’ve never been up in a small but simple “know you’ll love it” I’d encourage you to do that pretty early too. While you may be right that flying is what you want to do, you could also be wrong and there’s little point in pursuing any of this if you don’t know for certain so go fly.

Finally we also don’t know your health status. The First Class Medical exam is really not a big deal UNLESS you’ve got some issues. If you do they’ll need to be addressed and that means getting the FAA involved. When they do become part of the process their schedule doesn’t always coincide with yours. If you think there might be any concerns, again you’ll want to start working on that as well.