Introduction- Rich Beaudrie

Hi everyone. I wanted to take a second and introduce myself. First of all, I have genuinely enjoyed reading all of your post and comments. They have helped me make a pretty big career decision. I am 43 and have decided to chase after my first love, flying. My career is mapping out to be quite interesting. After spending ten years in public education as a 5th-grade science and technology teacher, I decided to move my family from Michigan to ATL in pursuit of a corporate learning career. Six years into the corporate space, I’m realizing that for the second half of my career I need to change things up a bit. I am hoping to start with ATP in ATL sometime this fall/early winter.

My question to the group: What do you recommend that I do to prepare for the ATP zero to airline pilot program? What should I be reading to help equip me (and my family) for this journey? I want to aggressively chase after this, being 43 I feel as if I am already at a disadvantage. It’s been a few years since I finished my Master’s degree so my study skills may require some brushing up.

Hi Rich - I’m in the same age bracket as you, also in ATL and with a scheduled start date this year.
There is a lot of great advice here about ensuring you complete Introductory Flight(s) and try to pass as many FAA Knowledge Written exams as possible before your start date.

I would also encourage you to read as much as possible, and as broadly as possible to prepare for the course. If you have time study Weather and weather forecasts so you are very comfortable with this area and build detailed weather checks into your routine, check out the FAA website for some of the free documents they have including the PHAK, look through YouTube for aviation training videos for both inspiration and further background knowledge, and visit the different ATL sites to see which may fit you best - PDK, FFC or LZU.

Hope to see you on the course later this year.



Welcome to the forums and thank you for the introduction. The best thing that you could do to prepare for the program is to finish as many written exams as possible (hopefully all of them) prior to starting the program. You can read more about that here:

Once you put your deposit down, you will receive the study materials that you need for the written exams. There will also be online moduls that you will need to complete prior to your start date. Beyond that, I would just relax and enjoy the time with your family now.



Congrats on your decision. I turned 43 a few weeks ago and put my deposit down a few days later with a start date in August. Since then I’ve been glued to the Sheppard Air study material when I’m not at work. I think that’s pretty much the consensus around here. Study for the writtens and pass them before your start date.


Hi Chris,

Another email that was inadvertently sent to me. By the way, I agree with your advice on private, but for IFR, my son Jacob and I agree (but what do we know) that there is so much to learn and retain on IFR that taking the test after completing study materials, seems like a good way to go.

I seem to recall you mentioning that you got a lot of benefit from Kings School on the IFR training. Jacob is just about done with the 105 or so ATP modules and will try to complete Kings IFR next week. Any other thoughts or suggestions on IFR which is what I was looking into the last few days would be greatly appreciated.


Mark Bendick

There are definitely certain aspects of the IRA that are much easier to understand when you are actually doing your instrument cross country flights in the program (holding procedures, if a procedure turn is needed, DME arcs, etc.), but stuff like weather, the En-Route charts, and learning the basics of the arrival/approach/departure plates (how to brief them, frequencies, altitudes/minimums, etc.) can be done easily when not in the program.

Personally the ATP modules and the Instrument Flying Handbook helped me far more than Shepherd air, but I can’t just sit down and memorize things, I have to have an understanding of why the answers are the answers haha