Real Answers from Real Pilots

Private pilot questions before starting ATP

Hello, my name is Bryan, I am planning on starting flight school very soon and had a few questions. I have no idea where to even start. I’m looking for a school in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area to get my private pilots license before beginning with ATP. Should I do anything before starting one of these courses with the flight school? Maybe ground school or something to get a head start? Or will the school provide all of that for me? If anyone recommends anything what should I do? I plan on finishing up my associates degree around the same time as getting my private pilots license so I can go ahead and get to commercial pilot level with ATP. Thanks in advance!

Hey Bryan, the school I recieved my Private Certificate from offered a group ground school a few nights a week for several months. I felt like it was very helpful. You may see if your school offers this or if another nearby does. Some community colleges offer private pilot courses as well. The school you attend may require a few textbooks for the program, I’d check to see if they recommend, or require a particular book(s) and perhaps start reading it early.

Bryan,

Welcome to the forums. If you take some time and read around the forum you will see that the mentors on here are definitely not salesman, anything but, so I tread carefully when I ask why you are not going to do your private pilot training with ATP when you plan on doing the rest of your training there? I did my private with a small, local school and it was a disaster. They only had two airplanes, one was always broken, my instructor only worked four days per week, etc. It took me twice as long as it should have to get my license and inevitably with that came more money than it should have cost. I would highly recommend staying away from the mom and pop schools, they have good sales pitches, but at the end of the day they almost always fail to deliver. I personally would just wait and do all of your training with ATP, but that is just me.

But, you should talk to various schools just to make sure that you are on a path that you feel comfortable with. I recommend asking any school you talk to these questions: Questions For Any Prospective Flight School

Chris

I’ll agree with Chris on this. When I got my private at a small mom and pop shop it was enjoyable, however, I also experienced delays due to maintenance. It did afford me the opportunity to pay as I go, which in the long run(nearly a year and a half did cost me almost twice as much as the $7500 advertised price. If you are certain you want to be a professional pilot, I would agree there is no quicker, efficient route than ATP. The results speak for themselves. If you are :100: commited and really want this, ATP will provide you all the opportunities to succeed. Understand that every day you delay reaching the airlines it’s costing you potentially significant amounts of money in the long run. Something to consider.

Thanks for the help guys! I’m wanting to get my private pilots license before I start at ATP just to have it done quicker. I can’t start ATP until I have an associates degree. I’ll have it at the end of December, so I figure I might as well make use of my time. There are a few reputable pilot schools in the area I’ve heard. I’m just trying to get a little input from the experienced people!

Bryan,

Just to chime in, I understand your desire to “get done quicker” but as we’ve all stated, training at the local flight school can often be frustrating AND expensive. The only time I really recommend it is if someone isn’t 100% certain flying is for them. Otherwise you may very well find that you’ve spent a lot more time and money than you needed to. I also would easily trade the 3mos you’ll save for having all my training done at a single source and having a solid foundation for the rest.

Adam

Thanks for the reply, I understand, that makes sense. It would be much less of a hassle switching between schools. I’m in online classes with a local community college and have more down time then I know what to do with. I’m working but still have plenty of time. Would anyone have any other ideas on things to do to help get a head start?

Bryan,

Usually we recommend people start working on the various Written exams. Keep in mind that the exams expire after 24mos so you don’t want to get too far ahead and you want to make sure you know for certain when you’re starting. Aside from that do what you’re doing. Ask questions and put your concerns aside. As I said I appreciate you want to get a jump but know that once you start at ATP you’ll be immersed so enjoy the light schedule while you can.

Adam

Is it possible for someone to complete the written exams during the program, as they would have better knowledge of the questions in program verses before.

Myself is having some diffcultg process in the information since I haven’t used none of the info yet…

Earv,

It is possible to complete the writtens during the program, but we certainly recommend completing as many of them as possible before starting the program.

Chris

Ohh ok I see… with my start date being 7/17 my goal is to at least have 2 if not 3 of them done by then…

Earv,

It’s possible but it certainly isn’t going to get any easier. The Writtens really don’t follow the curriculum and you’re expected to study for them on your own (why ATP provides the Sheppard Air programs). As we’ve said the program can be quite busy and intense at times and adding the Writtens into the mix doesn’t help with the Writtens OR the rest of the training.

Adam