Private stage @ ATP

Hi everyone,
Just curious from past and current students perspectives, what did/do you find yourself studying and preparing for the most for during the private stage at ATP, when you were not either flying/sim/ or in ground instruction? Whether it was chair flying and flows, written prep, fundamentals/maneuvers, ACS? Excited to say I’m currently in my second week at IWA starting from zero, and will check in with experience as it goes on, but would love to hear what others focus points were at this stage during their time, and maybe what they wish they would’ve put more attention on in hindsight during this stage. Thanks in advance, and looking forward to sharing my experiences as well.



I think it varies by phase but at the beginning it was definitely procedures and chair flying. Everything is new and it’s important to get things down procedurally so you can focus on what’s actually going on with the airplane. Ie., if you’re struggling to remember what to do next for slow flight, it’s very challenging to maintain your altitude.


Hey Chase,

First off, I’d say “Ask your CFI.”

Next, get your written done. That should be your #1 goal starting every new stage.

After getting my written done, I studied the systems pretty thoroughly. I was able to sit in on some mock checkrides and noticed that I wasn’t able to come up with the answers to systems questions, so I knew that was something I needed to work on.

There’s honestly so much information that you could possibly be asked on your checkride, your CFI should have guidance on what you’ll need to study.

Good luck and keep us updated on how your program goes!


I found the Oral Exam Guide books to be by far the most helpful study material. They are a great review of the various stages of flight training and it is all information you should know.

Beyond that, you really should finish the written exam as soon as possible.



That’s a tough question to answer. All private pilot training is essential. It’s the foundation that everything else is built upon.

I can’t say that there is one specific thing that I spent the most of my time on. There are, however, a couple of things that I wish I had done differently. I wish I had been more diligent at retaining my private pilot knowledge as that would have made preparing for the CFI checkride a lot easier. And I wish I hadn’t treated my CFI like a college professor, only completing the assignments given to me. Pick up a copy of the PPL ACS, if you don’t have one already. Have your CFI explain how to use it and use that book as a checklist. If there is something in that book that you don’t know, or maybe kind of know but don’t feel that strongly about it, start teaching yourself. Don’t wait or expect that your CFI will teach you everything you need to know.


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