Starting ATP soon!

Hello! My name is Jaclyn, I’m 26 and currently in the process of moving to Nevada to hopefully start ATP at their Vegas location in June! My amazing daddy has graciously offered to support me for the 9 months of school and no work!
Love this forum, so much great information on here!

I’ve been curious of a few things so I thought I’d ask, I’m exremely interested in doing both commercial and missionary aviation. I’m just not sure entirely of which route to take. Do you gentlemen have any thoughts/advice regarding missionary aviation work? As a commercial pilot, on off-days or vacation time can you do charitable type of work? I.e. Samaritan’s Purse, MAF, Red Cross, etc…

Another question, do commercial pilots typically get into flying helicopters also? Is that realistic to do after let’s say, 5-10 years of working at an airline? Is there flexibility on maybe learning how to do that too?

Last question, I’m currently studying and seeking to take my written exams prior to starting ATP, as ATP now offers incentives for doing so. When I met with a CFI on my introductory flight and brought this up he was unaware of it because I think its really a newer thing that they’re doing. Literally, as we were speaking a gentleman came in saying, “so and so wants to take his written but I don’t think he’s ready”. Needless to say, it definitely reinforced for me the idea of completing my writtens prior to starting and the CFI agreed and noted it would be a very wise thing to do. In doing this first, during school I can focus primarily on flight and ground training and have the writtens out of the way. The incentives are; reimbursements for all third-party apps, the written test costs, and one year free ForeFlight.

My question I guess is then, do you think this is definitely doable to do it this way? I mean, it may be a dumb question considering they offer the incentive it’s obviously possible. So I guess it’s not really a question then but moreso of wanting your guys thoughts and opinions on it! :slight_smile: I’ve given myself approximately 7 weeks to do all 3 writtens. I’ll probably be ready to take the Private in 1-2 weeks. I’m using Sportys 7-DVD set and apps right now. But, I believe for Instrument I need Shepherds and I dont think ATP will give you that material until you sign up and pick a start date. Which I guess brings me to another question, is if my start date is flexible or not…:thinking:

Anyways, lots for my little brain to take in and consider! Of course, my first two questions aren’t possible for at least about 3 years anyways. One step at a time, moving this week and doing FAA medical this week too! Excited for this journey!! It’s what I’ve always wanted to do!! :grin::raised_hands:t3:


I am not familiar with missions flying, nor do I know anybody who does it. On your days off you are free to do whatever you like, as long as it is not considered commercial aviation that might interfere with your flight time restrictions. Basically, you can’t to any flying that you are paid for on your days off.

Most people go down either the fixed wing (airplane) track, or the rotary wing (helicopter) track as the training for each is rather expensive and you would lose all of your airline seniority if you left to go fly helicopters.

Once you put your deposit down with ATP, you will have access to the Sheppard Air test prep software. Start dates are not really flexible as they require a new deposit each tine you schedule. My recommendation is to schedule for a time that works for you, then get as many of the writtens out of the way with as possible. If you don’t finish them all, don’t worry about it as there is time in the program to work on them.

Let us know what other questions you have.



As Chris said you can do whatever type of “recreational” flying you chose when you’re off so long as you’re not getting paid. Personally I do enough flying on the “job” that when I avoid the airport but if that’s what you like you absolutely can. The only other caveat is as airline pilots we are very fortunate in that whenever we fly we fly under IFR (Instrument Flight Rule) and we are also followed by a dispatcher on the ground. What this means is there is virtually always an extra set of eyes on us. When flying GA we often don’t have that luxury. What I’m saying is I know a few pilots who found themselves in trouble for violating some airspace which then effected their careers. Not trying to dissuade you from your charity work just be very diligent when you do it.

As for helicopters I’m not sure if you’re talking commercial helicopter flying or just recreational? Again the problem is as an airline pilot you’re limited as to how many hours a month you can fly commercially and many airlines actually prohibit any additional. Now again if it’s recreational and just something you want to do for yourself or charity that’s fine but commercial flying is commercial flying regardless of the “category” of aircraft. I do know a few pilots who are dual rated and fly corporate. Many corporate flight departments have both fixed and rotary wing aircraft so if that’s something you’re interested in doing that might be an avenue you want to investigate.

As for the writtens, while the incentives are new, the idea of banging them out early is not. I trained at ATP almost 14yrs ago and that was the recommendation back then. As Chris said if you don’t it’s not the end of the world but it definitely lightens the load during training. Btw, you mention “all 3 writtens”, there are actually 5 required writtens. Private, Instrument, Commercial and 2 Instructor writtens (the Flight Instructor Airplane and the Fundamentals of Instruction).


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Don’t forget the Flight instructor instrument test!

Thank you Kamrin! Make that 6 writtens.


Thanks so much for all your feedback!!! Great information and good to know! On ATP’s website the incentives mentioned are for completing the first 3 writtens. They don’t mention the other ones!!! :grin::+1:t3:

To get the ForeFlight reimbursement you only need to complete the Private, Instrument, and Commercial written. That said, most that have started down the path of completing these exams continue to knock them out and just be done with it.



If nothing else you want to take your Flight Instructor Instrument when you take the Instrument exam since they share the same test bank of questions and are essentially the same exam.


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Thanks Adam! I came across another thread on here where a few of you guys were discussing all the writtens, which ones to take and the order. :slight_smile: