IF you had a time machine

Let’s say that this time machine was a plane (see what I did there :smiley: ), and you travelled back to day one of training, what advice would you give your previous self?

Thomas

Thomas,

To have started the process with ATP from Day1 (without my PPL) and 15yrs sooner.

Adam

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Thomas,

I would encourage myself to enjoy the journey a bit more. As pilots, we tend to always be looking for the next step of career progression, especially in the beginning phases of the career. Looking back on my time as a CFI, I now see it as one of the most enjoyable periods of my career, I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get to the airlines.

Enjoy every minute along the way.

Chris

3 Likes

Thomas,

I wish I knew I wanted to be an airline pilot sooner! It would have saved me some time and seniority numbers. At the end of the day though, I still got a degree and know what the weekly 9-5 jobs feel like which makes me appreciate every second of my work life now.

As for advice applicable to you, I would go through each phase learning to a level of detail knowing you’d be teaching it very soon. The phases go by very quick and CFI can be overwhelming if you have gaps in knowledge or skill to fill. You want to be focused on what’s right ahead of you, but knowing what’s to come can make you even more prepared. I wanted to be a great private pilot by meeting and exceeding ACS standards in the private phase. If I had a little more awareness at the time, I would have pushed myself to the point of being able to teach myself or other students behind me through a maneuver or a ground lesson. That way when I got to the CFI phase, it wasn’t such a new and overwhelming concept.

Hannah

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Thomas,

I wish I had taken the written tests before the program. I had the time to get them done but I didn’t know that completing them early was an option. That said, if you are ready to sign up I would not delay your start date just to take the written tests first. The tests can be completed during the program.

Tory

2 Likes

Adam,

Better late than never, right? Plus you are probably the best cook of the pilot mentors :rofl:

Thomas

Chris,

That’s great advice! I imagine that is certainly a challenge with what the end goal is for us! Any good stories from your time as CFI that you can share?

Thomas

Hannah,

I love that advice! Thank you for sharing!

Thomas

Tory,

That is certainly a goal of mine (completing as many writtens as possible). I start on Aug 15th so I have a good window to knock some out!

Thomas

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That’s plenty of time to get at least the three (really four) major ones (PAR, IRA/FII, CAX) done if you dedicate yourself.

Tory

What seems to work better in terms of studying for the writtens:

  1. Focus on taking as many practice tests as possible and study further what you get wrong?
  2. Read the material that will be tested and then take practice tests?
  3. A different way entirely that I am not considering haha

Thank you!

Thomas,

Honestly, this may surprise you, but most people just memorize. For the PAR I recommend the free version of Sporty’s Studdy Buddy. Just go through each section as many times as you need and take practice tests. If you are scoring in the mid-high 90’s consistently, schedule the test. The questions on the actual test are very close to the practice test.

After the PAR, you will want to use Sheppard Air’s test prep software. Sheppard uses their own Study Strategy which you will want to use to help you with memorization.

That said, not everyone studies the same. You will have to make your own assessment along the way. However, if memorization works just stick with that. You will learn the material during the program. It is totally acceptable to approach the written tests this way.

Visit ATP’s website for detailed instructions on prepping, scheduling, paying for the tests. Some of the tests require an endorsement from an instructor. The website explains the endorsement process as well.

Tory

2 Likes

Cool! Thank you for the insights! Let’s see how many of these I can knock out before 8/15 haha

Thomas,

If I could go back and redo any checkride, I would have prepared more thoroughly using the ACS/PTS as my guide. The Airmen Certification Standards (ACS) publication is the exact same document that the Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) will test you off of. Any knowledge question you got wrong on during your AKT the DPE is required to review with you under their responsibilities in the Appendix. Knowing how to maneuver through the ACS is key to a checkride pass.

Coming in prepared with all my writtens was probably the best decision I have made after being both a student and instructor at ATP. When my fellow classmates were studying, I was enjoying my walk studying for the oral and chair flying the maneuver/configuration flows for my flight lessons. A lot of individuals I meet, I try to recommend studying for the written and just checking the box off with a good score prior to starting the program. After your Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) written, Sheppard Air is amazing to study the rest of your exams with. There is a reason that the ATP-CTP course recommends Sheppard Air for the written, their study strategy works.

I think you have time to complete if not your Private and Instrument (along with the Flight Instructor Instrument), you can even get the CAX. ATP offers ForeFlight basic for a year if you complete your PAR, IRA and CAX prior to start date. Get Ahead By Taking FAA Knowledge Tests Before Starting ATP / ATP Flight School

Brady

Thomas,

Sure, here is one. I used to take all of my students down to a very small airport in Ahoskie, NC for check rides. While the student was out with the examiner, the examiner’s son would sometimes take me up in his Piper Cub and go land on grass strips, fly low over cornfields, etc. It was unlike any flying I ever did before or after and was rather enjoyable. That examiner’s son is now a United pilot as well.

Chris

1 Like