Real Answers from Real Pilots

Making a plan

First of all, thank you for the advice thus far. I’m starting to pre-flight my plan. Looking to attend ATP in late summer. In the meantime I’m going for my 2nd class medical and get a SEL BFR (the multi will have to wait). Sad that the days of renting a Tomahawk for $42/hr are over. Anyways, I’ll be working on getting some air under my butt while working on financing. I think I’m going to hold off on the 1st class medical until I’m closer to my start date due to the fact that it would only be good for 6 months. I’m looking at locations. I’m in NH but have ties to the Tampa area. The closest ATP is in NY/NJ (I think). Just curious about where the pilot mentors attended and the pro’s/con’s of those locations as well as any thoughts on the path I’m on. Thanks


Just a thought Rick, but since you would be using the medical in an operation only requiring a third class medical (private flying and instructing), any medical would be valid for the same 24 or 60 months depending on your age. Why not go for the first class to make sure you can be approved for it, and then you’ll just need to renew when it runs out instead of upgrade the medical again?


Good point. I’d have to get a couple medicals either way. I’m over 40. Thanks James.


I would absolutely recommend that you get a first class medical to make sure that you are eligible to get one. Remember that after six months it will become a second class, it doesn’t just expire.



First I agree with the others, make sure you have no issues getting the First Class and save on a second medical. I did my training in VA (HEF) but instructed at TTN. ATP has all their pilots go through standardization so you can be assured you’ll receive the same level of training regardless of location. Beyond that it’s what works best for you. I picked TTN because like you it was the closest to home. TTN is a great little airport as it’s sandwiched between NY and Philly’s airspace. Great controllers and TONS of small fields around to practice a variety of approaches. TTN also gets some of the gnarliest x-cross winds I’ve ever experienced, EVER (I watched a plane land in a crab and sheer it’s gear off one afternoon). It’ll definitely make you a better stick. I’m a fan but again it’s your call.


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Oh, I was under the impression that ATP required students to maintain a first class medical. Thanks for clarification. Changing my plan.


Nope, they just want to make sure that you don’t have any health issues that would prevent you from getting one. Your first class will revert to a second after six months, which will be fine for your checkrides.


Cool, that makes sense.
Thanks again.