Too early for writtens?

First post in the forum, but I have been following for a few months now.

In a nutshell, I’m looking to begin the journey in about a year. I am 33, have worked in aviation for 10 years as a mechanic in the military and for Boeing. I currently work as a techincal author for the AH64. I am married, 4 kids, wife stays at home. We think we have handle on the financial side of things. We are currently downsizing our home to throw some money in savings to make up the income loss during training, along with some other adjustments to set us up to be responsible during training, and the ensuing time build up. I have no college degree, but am researching colleges to begin the task. Shouldn’t be too bad a class or two at a time online.

So, to the question. I understand it can be an advantage to get some of the FAA Airman Knowledge tests out of the way before starting class at ATP. How soon is too soon to begin? Should I only focus on PPL? As I stated, I am at least a year out. I am hopeful that the current “Now Hiring” climate with the airlines will still be in place.

Any input is greatly appreciated, and please feel free to speak to MORE than the presented question.

Rich in AZ

Hi Richard and welcome,

While it’s definitely not required, it is a good idea to bang out as many of the writtens as you can, just to get them out of the way. The wriitens are an FAA requirement but the knowledge required is really just rote and doesn’t usually follow your training. The main thing to keep in mind is the writtens are only good for 2yrs, meaning you have to take the associated flight exam within that time. A year out would not be too early IF you’re 100% positive you’ll be starting in a year. Since the training now takes 9mos, you’re looking at the CFI checkrides to be say a year and 9mos from now leaving them only valid for an extra 3 mos (kind of close). Obviously it would be a shame to do the work and then have the tests void out.


I am knocking all of mine out now before my start date. It will help you focus more on flying and les on the monkey on your back of the written. As was stated make sure oyu know your start date but once you have that planned out knock them out and good luck!!

Thanks. I appreciate the input.