Sheppard Air vs King

Hey all,

I’m starting the ACPP this October and am trying to get ahead as much as possible. As well as taking as many writtens as I can prior to starting, I’d like to enter the program with a solid depth of knowledge pertaining to the subject matter.

I used the King Ground School for the PAR, and although I scored over 95% on three practice exams and only got an 82% on the actual FAA written, I feel like I walked away with a thorough understanding of the material. The videos were a bit dry, but I found the format perfect for studying whenever I had a few min to spare throughout the day.

I just started Sheppard Air’s program for the IRA and I can’t say I’m a fan. I’ve gathered that it’s great for passing exams, but my intent is not to be a great test taker, it is to become the most informed pilot I can be. I understand that this program is a lot of self study, so what are we studying to actually learn to be pilots if we’re using this memorization app that is less than diligent, in my opinion? I’ve tried reading the Instrument Flying Handbook, but it seems more practical as a reference source than learning material.

From current and former students, do you feel the ground school at ATP fills in these gaps, and do you think I should quit worrying about getting too deep before I start and just focus on knocking out the writtens?

Thanks in advance for any input.

  • Anderson

Hey Anderson,

I’m currently in my Instrument phase and I can definitely say the material you get once you pass your Private checkride more than makes up for what you feel you lack. Since you just took the PAR I’m assuming you are going in zero time. Since this is the case I would not even worry about comprehending the instrument material right now because it will not really be of any benefit until you actually get all the foundations down in the private stage.

Personally, I do not like Sheppard Air because it is not my learning style. There is no denying its usefulness though when it comes to the IRA because there are some questions within the IRA test bank that are flat out wrong, and Sheppard Air tells you about and gives the “correct” answer for these. Just keep powering through the writtens using Sheppard Air because at this point “knowing” anything more about them other than just memorizing would be a detriment vs a boon, even though I definitely agree with you about the overarching issue of them.

One thing I will also point out is you gain access to King’s School Instrument Ground School once you complete the private phase. This is massively helpful in my opinion and that coupled with ATP’s online modules sufficiently cover instrument learning. Definitely supplement it with IFH and the relevant FAR/AIM sections. This all comes later and for now I would definitely focus on just memorizing for the writtens and moving on and making a circle back to the Private material before your start date.

Hope that helps,



Much appreciated, this is extremely helpful. I also had no idea you gain access to the King Instrument course as well. An ATP email indicated it was one or the other.

Good luck to you and your future career.

  • Anderson


No problem, glad I could help. Access to King Instrument is also fairly recent being adopted as part of ATP’s instrument training, so they are still probably standardizing and updating information they send out to new prospects.

Thanks for the well wishes and same to you as you come up on your start date.



I’m going to chime in for a minute. I think Sheppard is the best for getting the written tests out of the way. Yea Kings will get you the knowledge but Sheppard will get you the RIGHT answers with it being updated everytime someone takes the test and gives feedback. The writtens are literally just a box to check and you want the best scores possible.

The test that really matters is your practical test or Checkride and your writtens play a part of that as the DPE can question you on anything but they love honing in on answers you’ve gotten wrong on the writtens. What would you rather walk in with an 80% test with 9 PLT codes or a 96% and 1 PLT code.

I suggest using Sheppard to knock out the writtens and then comprehend the information later when you can get in the plane and use what you learn into action.