Private Certificafe or Exams?


I’m excited to report that, last Friday, I completed my ATP Admissions Flight in Arlington, TX! I had a great time, met a great instructor, took a tourand talked with an ATP Admissions member.

I’m getting my FAA first class medical today (9/27). After that, I will contact my training center and discuss what’s next, which I believe is reserving a class date in April 2024.

In this topic, I would appreciate your advice and opinions.

I have an instructor with Civil Air Patrol (NetJets pilot and former ATP student) who is ready and willing to help me earn my private pilot certificate during the six months before my class date. It would save me a large amount of money and get an entire certificate out of the way before I begin at ATP. However, the admissions staff member at ATP advised me that it would be good to focus on my written exams during this time. Both options are perfectly valid.

Based on your experiences with your own training, your students, and other alumni, should I earn my private before I start at ATP, or should I wait for my class date?

Thanks for the help!



Totally your call but a couple of things.

First off keep in mind you need your PPL AND at least 78hrs of flight time to receive credit for your PPL with ATP. That’s alot of flying part-time in 6mos.

What’s more important is I assume you’ve decided to do your training with ATP due in part to their reputation of delivering excellent instruction. If that’s the case, why would you want to do your initial training (essentially the foundation for all your training) somewhere other than ATP? Wouldn’t it be best to start off on your best foot?

Again your call but I’d focus on the written exams.


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The only reason I would recommend in this situation to obtain your PPL outside of ATP is if you’re unsure of the career or have second doubts. I would take the funds you’d spend on lessons and time outside of ATP…to save and use towards knowledge tests, equipment and funds when you’re in ATP.

Depending on the flight school you’re looking at outside of ATP, you may run into unpredicted events, aircraft maintenance, sick instructors, weather delays, and you might not make your anticipated ATP date. Plus, you can’t officially enroll into ATP until you meet the prereq’s, so until you have your PPL plus hours, you can’t enroll.


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Thank you, sir. I will focus on the written exams for now.

Thanks for the viewpoint! Given ATP’s outstanding track record, and the fact that I am fully invested in becoming an airline pilot, I will take the full ATP route.

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