Introduction and ACPP Updates

Hey everyone,

My name is Alexis and I am 26 years old, I will be sharing my experience with ATP starting July 22, 2024 at KLGB, but first let me share why and how I got here in the first place. By the way, sorry for the long read.

My first ever experience with aviation started when I was about 7 or 8 years old, when I first glanced at a Southwest Airlines 737 parked at the gate before my very first flight. I was in awe seeing this in person for the first time and not just flying 10,000 feet above my house, it was a surreal moment and I still remember that feeling. That flight was from ONT to SJC, a little over an hour flight. From there I was fascinated and hooked with aviation and everything about it. I’ve only had a handful of flights during my childhood but remember them very vividly, and now I try to find an excuse to fly whenever possible since I love it so much. As a kid I knew I was a long ways away to do this “when I grow up”. Then I discovered Microsoft flight simulator X (pretty cringy I know), seeing this game for the first time and knowing its existence, I made my mom buy me a laptop capable of playing it (I thank her for it to this day). Then as time went on, I’d play this game every once and awhile when I have time. Then when I was 14-16, I figured that becoming a pilot was too expensive and unobtainable in my family’s financial situation and I knew that they couldn’t afford to get me flight lessons. So I put that dream in the back burner while I go through High School and searching for an alternate career path. I’ve been working since I was 16, my first job was at a gas station and it taught me to have a good work ethic and habit throughout high school. Though I wasn’t the best student and I didn’t try my best until baseball season came around and it gave me a reason to have decent grades. Then I graduated high school.

From this point I was working full time as a gas station clerk near a tourist attraction (The Grand Canyon). When I was working one day, I was browsing the internet looking through social media, like a normal teenager would. I see this ad for ATP Flight School, and I was curious what this was about. Looking through the website between customers, trying to read the “become an airline pilot” section of the website and seeing that it had financing available. Possibly making my actual childhood dream come true! I then messaged the admissions email and explained my situation, I didn’t go to college, I didn’t go to the military, I emailed them in the hopes my job qualifies as a professional work experience. The next day they emailed me saying that unfortunately my current job didn’t qualify as such. I was deeply disappointed in the outcome and thought I was never gonna fulfill my dream. I didn’t fully understand what professional work was considered but I didn’t bother asking since I was already disappointed. I then put my dream aside once again, knowing that it’s probably never happening. I was unhappy at this current job, being a gas station employee and I wanted something new, I left this job at 22. I turned towards Best Buy, it was new and exciting and I was learning al sorts of new things technology wise. I was always excited to talk about these types of stuff to customers and teaching them how to use it in their daily lives. I was considered one of the best at sales at this store. I moved from part time to full time in a matter of months, got a few raises, got paid more than my old job and didn’t have to scrub toilets every night. Then I was promoted to a shift lead with store keys and master codes to lock up the store at night. At this point I’ve been with Best Buy for 3 years. Everything at this point was good, I had a full time job with advancement opportunities, a fully owned manufactured home, and I had recently gotten married. My life was decent. Then out of nowhere I started saying to myself “never regret”. I was giving my self this sense of incompleteness, like something is missing. Then one morning I heard the faint roars of an airliner passing through the skies at cruising altitude. I instantly muttered “never regret”.

I went to ATP’s website again and looked at the prerequisites to enrollment. I emailed admissions once again explaining my situation and saying that I worked for Best Buy for 3 years as shift lead with store keys and master codes I was basically a supervisor. Of course I had my doubts and all, trying to manage expectations. The next morning I received an email from the admissions team saying that I qualified to apply for the ACPP program and sent me an application. I filed it out, then they prompted me to call them for next steps. I called and they wanted to do a pre enrollment interview. And I never been more nervous in my life, after about 15-20 min on the phone he told me that admissions will email me if I continue to the next step. And after about a week I got the confirmation email that I can continue to the next step and getting my 1st class medical. After I got my medical and knowing that this is actually a possibility now, at this point I told my bosses that I will be leaving Best Buy to pursue my dream. Then soon after I had scheduled my admissions flight for October 29th, that went very well and the entire experience was phenomenal and professional and sets the stage. I asked my instructor if she was afraid of failing. She said “failure is not an option”. Those words also stick with me. My last day of work was January 1st, literally making a New Year’s resolution to better myself and to appreciate this opportunity I have and not take it for granted like I did during high school. At this point I was living alone with my wife in Northern AZ, the nearest ATP training center was in Phoenix AZ. I do not have any family living there so it would be harder to live there in general. So my mom who lives in LA told me that I can move in with her while I attend school rent free with my wife. I was hesitant but I ultimately chose to do that and my wife fully supports me through this process. So we went ahead and sold the manufactured home for a good chunk of change. I was able to pay off ALL of my debts and then have enough to live off of and have the enrollment fee. We officially moved out January 16th and once I paid my debts, I waiting for my credit to increase since it updates once a month. When I was comfortable with my credit score I then applied for the Sallie Mae loan without a co-signer. Believe me when I said this was the worst time for me. The uncertainty to get approved or denied, I literally uprooted my life to get to this point and getting denied will absolutely crush me beyond words. The next morning at 5 am I get an email saying that I was approved for the WHOLE amount. I was ecstatic, I wanted to do this my whole life and now everything is coming together. On February 20th, the same day, I called admissions and reserved my first day, July 22nd. It’s a long time to wait but it’s a blessing in disguise, I can complete all of my written exams before my start date. They did give me the option to schedule for an earlier date, but for now I’ll focus on my writtens and when I’m done early I’ll then see if there is still an opening to get an earlier class date. I have already completed my PAR and private elevate classes and right now I am doing my instrument elevate class so I have some knowledge going in for my IRA Exam and studying for that. Everything is going very well so far. I can’t wait to see where my journey leads me.

Failure is not an option.

This has been my journey so far and I’m sorry if there is any holes in my story because I’m not a very good story teller so I might’ve just rambled. I do plan on updating this thread throughout my journey with not only ATP, but my aviation career. Thank you so much for reading.

Alexis Galvan

3 Likes

Alexis,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for the introduction. It is always good to hear about people’s background and what led them to aviation. Please continue to update us and let’s know what questions you have.

As an aside, were you working in Tusayan?

Chris

2 Likes

No, I worked south near Williams. So I guess not at the Grand Canyon per se but in my mind I’ve always thought of it that way. If I have questions I will definitely let you know!

Alexis,

Welcome to the forum and nice introduction, the aviation bug can definitely bite at a younger age for some more than others. I’m looking forward to seeing updates and your journey through not only the program, but the pathway following it.

Brady

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Alexis,
That’s awesome you’re getting after it. We both have the same start date and I’m on day 6 of the instrument elevate (afternoon classes). I’m sure you got the word to sign up with Sheppard Air. You’ll have to call and leave them a voicemail but they’ll call you right back. I’m at ORF in Norfolk, VA. I’m not sure if you’ve read Brady’s post about “Preparing For The Airmen Knowledge Test” but it says to knock out your FII on the same day as your IRA. The FII doesn’t require and endorsement. Definitely check out the zoom events ATP hosts listed at the bottom of overview page. Congrats pursuing your dream job!
Dan

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Alexis,

Welcome to the forum and the ATP family. We’re so happy to hear your story and to see that you’ve made it to this point… The journey really is just beginning and we can’t wait to follow along. Feel free to drop questions here as they come up. We’re here to help. Get going on those writers! Your start date will be here before you know it! :slight_smile:

Hannah

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Daniel,

Once upon a time, I ran the original ORF location. I need to stop by and see what it looks like now.

Chris

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I appreciate the warm welcome from everyone! Daniel, yes I have I heard of Shepherds air and it’s been serving me well thus far. I’ve been studying throughout the day usually totaling 8 hrs per day or more of studying. I feel like my brain is mush after everyday, I better get used to it now.

I’ve also been reading that the IRA and FII tests are basically the same with some questions that are different. So I will get those scheduled the same day when I feel comfortable I can pass. Is the AGI and IGI recommended to take as well

I know I’m really thinking into the future here but what can I do now to help me get a job with ATP as an instructor? I know it is no longer a guaranteed job but I want the best chances to advance myself.

Alexis

Alexis,

In regards to getting a job with ATP, I have a few tips:

  1. Treat everyday of your training like it is a job interview, because it is.

  2. Keep a good attitude, dress the part, follow the rules ATP lays out and let people know that you desire to work for ATP.

  3. Be flexible in the locations you are willing to instruct at, even if it means moving.

Chris

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Alexis,

If you can schedule IRA, FII and IGI in the same day, I would recommend it. You only need 1 test bank for them (I recommend IRA, it’s larger) and then take all three. It will benefit you when you become a CFI and can be an applicant for the Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor.

Brady

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I will vouch for this - or at least take them within a day or two of each other. I actually scored higher on the FII than the IRA after only using Sheppard’s IRA study guide. I took the FII and IRA the same day and the IGI a day or two later. The IGI had a few more questions I hadn’t seen but I still got a 90 on it.

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Alexis,

With roughly 9 weeks until your start date, I’d focus more on getting all the rest of the written exams done first prior to taking the AGI/IGI. Of course the recency of the PAR/IRA will help on those exams, but they are not required. If you can finish the CAX, FIA, FII and FOI first then you can circle back to finish those if you have time.

The advice Chris gave is great. Treat everyday like a job interview. Be on time, be prepared, adhere to the student handbook and do your best to finish the program on time and with minimal check ride failures (if any). If you do those things, you should have a good chance at getting offered a CFI position.

Hannah

Alexis,

Furthering Hannah’s reply of completing other writtens (which we all highly recommend completing if able), make sure you also complete the required Day 1 items for ATP:

Brady