Lapsed Pilot

Hello!

I’m 33 and considering getting out of the mortgage business and starting at ATP. I want to get advice on something.

I initially went to college majoring in aviation at a part 141 school. Due to some fears at the time (job security and unfamiliarity with the SODA process) I quit after obtaining my instrument rating. I have around 120 hours, but haven’t flown regularly in about 14 years. I spoke to admissions and they said my option would be to start with credit for my PPL, but given the time it’s been I wonder if I should:

  1. Start the program as if I have 0 hours

or

  1. Try to regain currency at a local flight school and just redo my instrument at ATP.

I’ve done one flight since I lapsed and the air maneuvers seemed to come back pretty quick, but I would need quite a bit of practice before I could pass a BFR and feel comfortable.

Thanks!

Cam

Cameron,

It depends on how you feel. Does the training 14 years ago seem like you never even did it because its all lapsed? Or do you feel rusty but think it will come back relatively quickly? The only way I can relate to this is my foreign language education in college. There was a time I was nearly fluent in Spanish. Since I have rarely used it for the last 8 years, I’d say I’ve lost practically all of it and would have to start from scratch again if I ever wanted to pick it back up.

I think the most efficient route would be to refresh the book knowledge yourself and go to a local flight school to refresh your stick and rudder skills. I imagine it will come back quicker than you think. Muscle memory is a powerful thing. Treat the BFR like a check ride and make sure you start ATP as if you just got your private pilot rating the day before.

Starting the program at credit private, you save $20k compared to zero time. I think you could refresh your flight skills plus take a BFR for a fraction of that cost.

Hannah

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Cam,

I had an almost 10yr lapse between getting my PPL and starting with ATP. As Hannah said it’s really your decision based on how you feel but as you said it does come back very quickly. Personally I’d do some reading and get my knowledge back up. Then I’d speak with ATP about maybe getting some extra time BEFORE you start the program (with credit for your PPL) to knock the rust off and get all warm and fuzzy with the plane and Instructor you’ll actually be working with (that what I did).

If not and if money’s not an issue you could def start from zero. You can always use the extra hours towards the magic 1500. Totally your call.

Adam

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Cameron,

Just to be clear with the SODA, you need a First Class medical without any restrictions at all to be eligible for the airlines.

I would recommend going to a local school and brushing up to the point where you can get a BFR. Do not worry about the instrument skills so much as you will go through that training again with ATP either way. I bet the flying comes back to you sooner than you might think.

Chris

Thanks everyone for the responses! It seems like there are a few good options so I might check in with a CFI and see if it comes back pretty quick or if I’d need significant time to be as ready as someone who just passed their checkride.

Reg the SODA - I have 20/40 vision in one eye, 20/20 in the other. Would the correct steps be:

  1. Schedule 1st class with AME
  2. Have it deferred for vision
  3. Gather docs from eye doctor
  4. Get current
  5. Apply for SODA with FAA
  6. Complete ride with FAA?

Also, if I decided to do ATP to get current again (the wrap up PPL option or something custom), would a deferred first class work to be admitted?

Thanks again!

Cam

Cameron,

You need a medical to do flight training beyond your solo and a deferred medical is not a medical.

Adam

Cameron,

You need to schedule an appointment with an AME and see if you can obtain a first class medical. If the AME decides to continuing pursuing the SODA process then yes, the process you described is correct. The goal would be to obtain the First Class medical with no limitations or restrictions and a SODA. You’d need to carry both with you for the duration of your career. I wouldn’t pursue any flight training until seeing the AME first.

Hannah