Sabbath Observance as an ATP Student?

I’ve seen numerous posts about Sabbath observance as a professional pilot. Ultimately, seniority rules. Even El Al has flights that land on Friday and take off Saturday night, requiring pilots to be at work during Sabbath hours (depending on the time of year). My conscience and my soul are willing to accept this.

What about as an ATP student? My understanding is that full time students are required to be available 5 out of 7 days a week. Can schedules be set to not fly on Friday evening and Saturday, and make that one of the two days off? Or you’re pretty much at the mercy of scheduling and your two days off will be chosen for you?

This isn’t a make-or-break issue for me. I’m more curious.


Many students can and do coordinate their schedules with their instructors for a variety of reasons. That said as you point out, once you get to an airline you will not be able to. Sooner or later this will be an issue.



You could probably initially set your schedule that way, but as soon as weather hits or a maintenance delay, that will be out the window and you will be looking at either flying on Saturday or falling behind. I would speak with admin for further clarification on this.


In theory, yes you could talk to your instructor and see if they can work around those times. Just keep in mind, not all instructors will let you dictate the schedule. Their job is to get you to your goals in the time frame slotted. With a week of perfect weather and planes available it shouldn’t be an issue. However, you’ll find that training can be very unpredictable and at the end of the day it is the instructors responsibility to get your required flight activity in for the week to keep you on pace and that often means weekend work. For example, if it’s Thursday and you still haven’t flown yet… you need to complete 3 flights minimum before the end of the week. In the instrument phase, that means three flights and three sims because a sim is paired to each flight. You will probably end up doing that Thursday, Friday, Saturday and having Sunday as a backup day. Does that make sense?


It absolutely makes sense. And I figured that’s how it would be. Like I said, it’s not a deal-breaker for me. If we can try to stay in a framework of not flying on Friday night and Saturday, but occasionally have to deviate to stay on track I can live with it. I just wanted to get a better sense of how training and scheduling work and see if this was feasible.

I’ve been having thoughts about this too, what I hope to do is fly all the days if weather permits but take Saturday off so that way my future instructor doesn’t work on account of me. Sunday is included in the days of flying. As for the airlines, I would worry about that when the time comes. I would still do some light studying on Saturday, but no flying, just ground school, at home of course.