Real Answers from Real Pilots

The next journey

I would like to take the time to thank the mentors and others for their assistance in this endeavor. I have finished all prereqs and have a Feb start date @ LGB. One way or another you were all instrumental in guiding my decision. And now “To the writtens”. Thank you all - Ed

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Plenty of time to get those written tests done! Excited for you, Ed.

Tory

Congrats! I’m planning on attending the Long Beach location as well. Is your February start day the soonest you can get or it’s just preference?

Based on preference. I am retiring a business end of year. That date works for me.

Edward,

Thank you for your kind words and good luck in the program. Keep us up to date, please.

Chris

Hello to all you pilots and future pilots! So I’m currently finishing up my associates degree at a two year college. I’m thinking about joining the APT program this spring, once I earn my two year degree. I came from a family that has zero experience or knowledge about aviation, so I’m totally new to it. I knew every since I was a freshman in High School that this is what I want to do. This is the career I want.

Would you recommend me going an additional two years at a college that offers a professional flight program, or would I be better off joining an ATP program? I know of a captain pilot who just retired from UPS, he recommended going the APT route. I have a child so I know that it’ll be tough, but my family and I can manage it and make it work. I’m not too worried about that. My only concern is the difficulty of the program? What’s it going to take to be successful. I’m one who won’t mind flying or studying, I’m all in for 40 hours a week into this and more. Any suggestions for me moving forward and deciding on what to do exactly?

Curtis,

To answer your first question we always recommend people complete their educations but we’re not really fans of aviation degrees. The airlines don’t require or even prefer them and if flying doesn’t work out there’s not much you can do with them.

Now let’s talk about ATP. If you’re “all in for 40hrs a week” and think somehow that’s working hard you really need to rethink this whole thing. I’m really not sure where everyone got the idea that flying airplanes is easy but it’s not. As for the difficulty of the program it’s highly accelerated and it’s incredibly challenging and difficult. My question is of you don’t think you can keep up at ATP what make you believe you’d be successful at the airlines? ATP modeled their training after actual airline training to help prepare students for the rigors and intensity of it. How many hours do you need to commit to a week? The answer is as many as it takes to be successful! ATP (like the airlines) won’t hold your hand and ask when you think you’ll be ready for your checkride. Your checkrides are scheduled when you start and its up to you and your instructor to make sure you’re ready. If you’re not there it won’t be delayed you’ll simply fail. Fail enough times and your career future can become questionable. The airlines don’t just hand over the keys to $50mil jets and they expect and hire pilots who are willing to do the work. If you don’t think ATP is right for you that’s a valid concern but then you also need to question the airlines as a career.

Adam

Curtis,

You need to do what is best for you. Get a clear picture of all of your options and decide which best suits you for your situation.

ATP lays out the program well on their website. They include time spent away from base for each applicable phase.

In order to be successful you need to be fully dedicated to the program. Since you have a family, you need to have a strong support system.

Tory

PAR knocked out this am (93%), on to the IRA/FII. The hardest part is finding consistent study time while retiring a business, busier than have been in years. Last open work day is Dec 20th, LGB Feb 17th. It has been a long road to this point but coming fast now. Loving it. Thank you all. ejb

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Edward,

Wow, it has been a long time since you began this journey. I am glad to hear that you stuck with it and are working on the written exams. Please keep us posted as you go through the program.

Chris

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Hey All, just a quick update. First Solo accomplished today. Only slight behind due to current conditions. ATP has been instrumental in keeping all this going during these times. Best wishes to all.

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Congrats Ed! That’s it? :wink: That’s all we get? :wink::wink: This is the appropriate time to embellish a little. I’ll never forget my first solo. Made it two times around the pattern before I noticed that the door my instructor climbed out of was still open. It was also one of the coolest experiences of my life. I suspect yours was too?

For those who are only a few months behind you, and for my own curiosity, what insight or advice could you pass along? Having started the program in February to now, a lot of people are wondering, “Should I? Shouldn’t I?”

Tory

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Hey Tory, sorry for the brevity, knee deep in NavLogs (need to stay ahead for next phase). I hesitate to offer advice because I think my motivations for the program may be a bit different. I am the old guy at our location (59) and am doing this for the pure joy and challenge. A career is not in the cards for me. The money side is not a motivator in my case. I chose ATP because of the condensed program. I am trying to squeeze in knowledge as fast as I can to allow as much time as possible for experience. If I make a Regional - great, but a Caravan cargo job would be equally fullfilling. As long as I feel I am a safe pilot - I’m a happy guy. As far as todays Solo - I found it strangely calming after the fast pace to get there. Getting ready for Solo XC - bring it on. Thank you all.

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Lol! I had the open door experience on my PPL check ride. All one needs to do is close it. If you’re having trouble, try descending, level out and try closing it again.

You had a good instructor to do that to you early on. Now you will never forget to secure the door.

Jerm

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Your motivations may be different, but you just accomplished something very few do. Thank you for taking the time to share, Ed.

Tory

Someone closes the door for me now. :wink:

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Edward,

Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment! It has been so interesting to watch you go through the whole decision making process and now the actual training. Keep up the good work!

Chris

TY Sir, it has been an interesting journey so far with a long way to go. I have met some good people and a few characters. We co-habit with Signature Flight Support and are next door to Gulfstream so the aircraft visuals are a nice bonus. It can definitely be overwhelming at times but I just keep at it again and again. Thanks to all the Mentors for the realistic advice along this journey.

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Completed 1st Solo XC today, many thanks to the mentors, members, ATP and numerous others that have assisted me on this journey. I was able to fly over an amphibious assault ship offshore Pendleton. Last time I did that I was in a CH-46 in the Indian Ocean. Ah memories. Thanks all.

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Edward,

That is awesome, congratulations! I still remember my first cross country, CPK - EMV. Good times.

Chris