Starting 24 June 2024

Hello,
I’ve been on this forum since November of 2022 researching as much as I can before committing to the Airline Career Pilot Program and I’m excited to finally start the program. I am attending the Tucson, Arizona location. I recommend to any prospective student that you spend some time on this forum and search for answers, browse the FAQs, and get as much information as you can as this Forum is a wealth of knowledge, as are the mentors! I began taking my FAA Written Tests in April and finished them all by the first week of June. Having the written tests done will be a huge relief to me as I work through the program.

I started my program yesterday, June 24th, with a 0420 showtime. We started by completing a few checklists, verifying that I had received and/or purchased the required items necessary to start the program. We scanned in my medical and passport, as well as verified that I had signed my Student Agreement and Refund Policy - basically making sure everything was good-to-go. I was originally scheduled to start the program July 15th but received notification that ATP had earlier dates available so I worked with them to start sooner, with the only caveat being that I had already scheduled an appointment with my AME to renew my medical (I’m on a special issuance due to sleep apnea so my medical is only good for a year at a time). Because of my appointment, we were a bit rushed throughout the morning.

After getting checked in we spent a couple of hours in the Sim covering fundamentals. I will say the Sim responds much quicker than the actual airplane and I’d say it was a bit more difficult to get a feel for it, then again, it was day one. I plan on using the sim as much as I can throughout the program to get more comfortable with it and the maneuvers I’ll need to fly.

After the sim, we were able to head out to the plane - we knocked out our checklists, pre-flighted the airplane and headed out. Again, due to my appointment we were only able to fly for about an hour. Going off the program outline, they like to get about 2 hours in on the first flight - regardless, it was awesome to get up and get a feel for the plane - as I mentioned, it is quite a bit different from the simulator. Tucson is extremely hot this time of year and we are beginning our monsoon season so it is also getting unusually humid. This definitely had an effect on the aircraft’s performance and was also pretty rough on me and my instructor as there is no A/C but it was still awesome. I expect the majority of my flights will be early in the morning to avoid the heat and humidity and that really just highlights how important it is to be flexible and available 24/7.

I’m due back at the training center this afternoon and we will conduct some ground lessons and get back in the Sim for more fundamentals.

I will do my best to keep this thread updated as I continue through the program but it will obviously NOT be my biggest concern. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll try to answer them as I’m able to!

-Steve

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Steve,

Thank you for the update. Also, great work on getting all of your writtens done, that will be a huge help to you in the program.

It sounds like you have a great attitude and work ethic going into this program. Keep it up and you will do great.

I am looking forward to the next update.

Chris

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Congrats Steve. TUS is a great location, and Frank is the best lead you could ask for! Have a blast down there, miss it every day.

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Dane,
I flew with Frank this morning and passed on your compliment!
-Steve

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Well, the first week FLEW by! I had a few sims then flights for fundamentals and then quickly moved into Takeoffs and Landings (TOLs). I’ve flown pretty much every day. When I haven’t been flying, I’ve been in the Sim, in Group Grounds, or chair flying. The goal is to fly as often as possible, especially during these first few weeks so that you can develop a feel for the plane and get used to everything. I will say it is a lot of information, techniques, flows, checklists, and once you’re in the plane, you want to have everything down so you can stay ahead of the plane.

The Tucson location seems to be a very close-knit group of instructors and students. There were two other students that started the same day as me and I’ve been able to study with them and get different perspectives on what we’re all working towards. I think it will be nice to have them throughout the program as we can continue to study together. There are open group ground lessons just about daily that have been helpful as well.

I’m happy that I did all the FAA written exams before starting. While the ground sessions and elevates will provide info that can help with the written exams, I would hate to be trying to memorize flows, speeds, and configurations while also worrying about an upcoming written exam requirement - I strongly recommend getting as many done before starting as possible.

I’ve enjoyed this first week a lot - I’m getting more comfortable in the plane, despite the Tucson heat trying to murder us all morning, and I am continuing to study and work hard to get everything down. So far, I’ve flown everyday but one since starting and I’m scheduled to fly everyday this week except Saturday, and then back to flying Sunday. It is a lot of flying, a lot of studying, a bit of stress, and a lot of fun.

Hopefully I will have a free moment to update this thread next week!
-Steve

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Steve,

Congrats on completing your first week. :slight_smile:

Thanks for providing some feedback on hot topics we receive and discuss about (the writtens), and taking our advice to heart, completing at least one if not all of them ahead of schedule. You will see that it will pay off in the long run of how much more focus you can do of actual flying and studying for lessons being taught.

The forum isn’t going anywhere so if you don’t get a week update, there’s always time when you have bad weather or a little break in training. As we’ve said, training first, forum second. :smiley:

Brady

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Brady,
It’s definitely not a priority :rofl: but if I can get to it, and if I can provide insight to potential future pilots, I’m happy to provide updates as I’m able!
-Steve

I’m a potential future pilot and am following along! :smiley:

Teri

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Steve,

You’re a week in and already learned the most important lesson for success in this industry! Prepare on the ground so that in the plane your primary responsibility is staying ahead of it keeping safety at the forefront!

Sounds like you’re doing really well so far. Keep up the great work! Looking forward to solo pictures here very soon.

Hannah

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Well, we ran into a plane issue (failed magneto check) this morning and my flight was cancelled but such is life - as such, I’m taking a brief break from studying to make a quick update.

Week 2 went pretty well and I’d say just as fast as the first week did. For week two, we got started on Takeoffs and Landings (TOLs). We covered getting established in the pattern, running checklists, appropriate speeds, altitudes, and flap settings while in the pattern and while maneuvering to land. It has definitely been nice to be able to fly just about everyday here in Tucson, despite it being extremely hot. It really has provided me a fair bit of confidence and a better feel for the plane.

I’ve been fortunate to participate in several group ground lessons at my location since starting and I’ve found that it is great to get in with all the other students, who are in different parts of the program, and get study techniques, study guides, what worked for them, etc. There were two other students who started the same day as I did so we have been studying together and keeping each other motivated and moving throughout our program so far. The program is no joke - there is a lot to do and memorize and if you don’t stay on top, it could be difficult to keep pace or catch up if you fall behind. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the sim and/or chair flying to get what I need to do in the patterns down so I can get good landings in. I will have my TOL eval later this week and then we will start working on solo prep. I’ve had a few good landings and am getting better but I tend to kind of plop in last minute so I’m still working on it!

I snapped this picture the other evening as I was leaving the training center after working on pattern stuff and TOLs in the Sim. I don’t want to fall behind and there is always room to improve so I have spent some long days at the training center and will continue to do so!

-Steve

Steve,

Thank you for the update, great picture!

Chris

Steve,

It’s that time of the year that magnetos and spark plugs are fowling. I hope you get some more flying in this week. Always, I applaud you for wanting to stay ahead, it will serve you well in your career and life.

Brady

Good Morning Steve,

Great to hear you are excelling at ATP. I noticed you served 20 years in the armed services and as a fellow brother-at-arms (4yrs Navy), I wanted to thank you for dedicated service. I am also a new student at ATP, working towards a start class date. My 1st Class Medical is scheduled for 7/29 and is the last check mark to begin.

With that being said, I have a question for you. What order did you study and take your written exams in? Did you use Sheppard or Studybuddy or something else? How much time did you allot to studying before you felt ready to take an exam?

Like yourself, I want to be as prepared as possible. I am currently leaving Amtrak as a senior passenger rail conductor, and cannot afford to fail. I’m giving up a thirty year pension and 160k yearly salary to start all over - because after a decade on the railroad, it is a job I just don’t look forward to going to anymore.

Stay positive and keep motivated! I look forward to see what is in store for us. Bravo Zulu.

-Brian Estano

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Brian,

I know Steve will get to you when he has a chance, but the recommended order to take the writtens is:

However, it is totally up to you on how you want to accomplish them. Typically, each written builds on itself, the PAR is a foundation for the CAX. The IRA and FII is a similar test bank. The FIA is a build on of CAX. You must pass each written with a 70% or better to pass, wanting to strive for the best result you can get. 3 90’s or better and I’d take the actual exam.

For the PAR, there are numerous apps like ASA Study or Sporty’s Study Buddy App, which all work well, given you follow the recommendation method of studying. Rote memorization will head you well going into the actual test, and you will build the actual knowledge in the ground school portion. Plus, you’ll see key points and it’ll grasp your attention better when emphasized.

Brady

Brady,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and share your knowledge on the matter. I will take the time to explore more threads on this site as well going forward. Your response is exactly what I was looking for and I am most appreciative of the timely reply. Cheers!

Brian,

Anytime, it’s why we’re here. We all have gone through the same process of which you’re striving for. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Brady

Brian,
Brady posted exactly what I followed - I used Sporty’s StudyBuddy for the PAR and Sheppard for everything else. Follow the Sheppard Study Method or whatever they call it and you should do great. I took my PAR first after going through the ATP elevates and sending them pictures of 3 90s or above that I needed to get my endorsement. Endorsements are needed for PAR, IRA, and CAX - You can get a complimentary endorsement through Sheppard Air for IRA and CAX, you’ll just have to give them a call, they’ll send you an email with some steps to take, and then they’ll send you the endorsement so you can take your test. I took a few weeks on the Instrument exam as it was totally foreign to me but the CAX and the rest of the exams were a breeze to study for - I think I took a week or so for most and only a day for the FOI (got 100% on FOI, much smaller question bank).

This thread also had some great info in it!
FAA Written Exams

This morning I had my Takeoff and Landing Eval and I can’t say that it went all that well. I did pass it but I struggled with everything that I’ve been working on. I have had some great flights over the past week and have been doing well with my landings but today, for whatever reason, I struggled with every aspect of flying. I don’t know if it was performance anxiety flying with the lead instructor or the 4AM showtime, all I know is it was not a good showing. And I will say my lead instructor is awesome so I don’t know what my deal is. I’ve been working hard on everything I needed to do for the TOL eval, chair flying, spending extra time in the sim, working on flows and checklists, but I just seemed to have forgotten EVERYTHING once I got in the plane. I’m very disappointed with my performance but I don’t have time for a pity party - tomorrow morning I start Solo-Prep which is slotted for about 2 weeks and 17 hours of flying.
Truthfully, my landings were actually pretty good, the first one was a bit of a plop-in, harder than I’d like, but the rest were decent. I actually struggled most with the pattern and flying the numbers which then caused me to not be set up appropriately which resulted in a couple of go-arounds.
Despite the poor showing, I’m continuing to work on everything as it only gets more complex from here. (I’ve been studying since I got home this morning and needed a break so I decided I’d make this quick progress update.)
I’m happy to answer any other questions and will update as I’m able to!
-Steve

Steve,

When I first upgraded to Captain, it was on the Airbus 320. I made it through the Flight Training Devices just fine and then the first two simulator sessions, all with good marks. On the third simulator session, for whatever reason, I had a horrible day. Part of it was nerves about upgrading, part a brand new airplane, and part I did not care for the instructor. But all of that was my fault and I owned it just like you did. Either way though, I was very disappointed with myself and that of course caused some doubt. My next session went much better, and I went on to finish training without any retakes and was an Airbus Captain for five years.

You know what you are doing, or you would not have passed. Remember that you are a student and this is a learning process. If it wasn’t they would. just hand the keys to a 737 to the first passenger to board the airplane. I look forward to hearing another update from you soon.

Chris

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Steve,

Performance anxiety is normal. It’s another skill you will learn throughout your time in the program. The TOL eval is the first time you’re being evaluated in the airplane. Now that you know what that feels like, I bet you’ll be better prepared for the solo eval. The goal is after the numerous in house evaluations you will feel better prepared when you fly with a DPE for your first checkride.

Learn from the experience, keep preparing like you’ve been doing and grow from it. It’s all a part of the process…

Hannah

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