Sept 19th Start date at PIE

Hi everyone,

My name is Brittany and I will be starting training from 0 hours at PIE in mid-September! I’m thrilled to begin and have already received my training bundle. I’ve gone through a lot of the topics on here already and just have a few additional questions for anyone who is willing to give me a little guidance :smiley:

Sorry, this post is a little long so overall where should I delegate my time? Studying for the exams, watching the ATP Orientation Guided Independent Study videos, or reading the textbooks?

  1. I understand most of the written exams are really just a box to check but what should I use to study for them? I’ve heard both Sporty’s study buddy and King Schools are good to use. For anyone who has used Sporty’s, did you have success with using just the free version or did you pay for their learn-to-fly course (which is $279)?

  2. On ATP’s Dashboard it is recommended to complete the guided independent study videos. There are 59 of them, are these videos required to be completed before the start date? Or would it make more sense for me to focus on getting my written exams out of the way instead of watching these videos?

  3. Lastly, how many people read/studied any of the textbooks before starting the program? I am on chapter 5 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and just trying to decide where I should focus my time.

Thank you in advance!


Welcome to the forum and congratulations on a start date in PIE for September! You’ve taken the hardest step of the journey and that is enrolling. Let’s get to your questions and provide you with some answers, I am sure the others will chime in over today and the beginning of next week.

  1. You may use any material that is out there to study, if you want to pay out of pocket for the King Schools or Sporty’s ground course - that is at your discretion. I have seen students use the apps like Sporty’s Study Buddy App to study and prepare for their PAR written. Furthermore, after your Private Pilot Airplane (PAR), we like to recommend Sheppard Air for the remainder of the writtens. You can find some information on the writtens that need to be completed here: Get Ahead By Taking FAA Knowledge Tests Before Starting ATP / ATP Flight School.

  2. You want to have the 59 ATP Orientation modules completed by your first day of training. If you’re someone that wants to know the in’s and out’s of material and the why’s/how’s, I would recommend reviewing the ATP Orientation videos and then using the Sporty’s Study Buddy App to prepare for the PAR. The ATP Orientation modules can be lengthy, so maybe devoting a few days to thoroughly visit them all while taking notes will help.

  3. In your Read/View/Do’s for each event at ATP, there will always be some sort of watching or reading to do prior to the event. I typically waited to read my material until it came time to that specific lesson or event. Sometimes I would revisit material later in the phase that I read earlier to just brush up my knowledge. I can’t stress it enough, ATP doesn’t just send the books to waste, they’re extremely helpful and you can learn a lot from them if you supplement it with question/answers if you’re stuck on a subject. I once had a student get through 2 weeks without cracking their AFH or PHAK in the first week, and when I was conducting an eval they could not tell me the four forces of flight…I shook my head and asked, “have you ever cracked any of the books ATP sent you?” I got the simple answer I knew: “No.”

These are all great questions, let us know if you have anymore. Again, welcome to ATP and getting a start date!


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Hi Brittany!

It is good to see that you have already read so much of the PHAK, but I think that your time would be better spent on the videos and the written tests.

If your start date is Sept 19, that is plenty of time to complete the self-study videos and work towards completing your written tests.

Completing the written tests before the program is completely your choice. However, I do recommend trying to get as many out of the way as possible if you can.

As for the books, use your reading material to supplement your studying.

I used the free version of Sporty’s. I used Sheppard for everything else.


Im going to echo Tory’s response on trying to get as many written tests out of the way. I just went through the commercial phase and had to take the CAX, FIA and FOI tests in a 2-3 week period. Studying for those exams took time away from studying for my commercial checkride. It can be done, but if you can get ahead, take the time to do it now!

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