Real Answers from Real Pilots

A few questions

I have a couple of questions that may or may not be able to be answered here.

First and foremost, aviation has always been a considerable interest of mine, from flying as a kid with my grandfather to traveling and living abroad with my family growing up, I get more excited about going to the airport and flying than I do the destination. Being a commercial (in particular international) pilot has always been a dream of mine. However, I have a medical condition that according to the FAA guidelines states that I am not eligible for licensure. I have glaucoma as a result of a direct hit to the eye when I was 12 (I am now 32). It is currently under control, no meds (and has been for close to 2 decades) and I have correctable 20/20 vision. Had a cataract replacement a few years ago to boot. So is it even worth my time getting my hopes up about flight school, only to be crushed during the FAA exam?

Secondly, I have an established career that I might be able to work during school (I am a chiropractor with my own practice). Are classes all day every day, or is it something that a few hours a day could be dedicated to work to cover living expense, etc?

Thanks in advance!

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Dusty,

The only way to answer your question about the medical exam is to go in and get a first class exam from an FAA doctor. We have had pilots in the past who were physically missing an eye, so unusual situations do happen. I would strongly recommend that you go in for an exam. It will cost you around $100, but you will get your answer once and for all.

ATP requires students to be available eight hours per day, Monday through Friday, so working while in the program is not possible. You could likely find another flight school that would be willing to work around your schedule, but I have to caution you that it will take much, much longer to complete your training when you are trying to fit it around an already existing career.

I wish I could be more help to you. Call and schedule an FAA medical exam. I would not give up based off some guidelines on a website. Exceptions are possible.

Chris

Hello Dusty,

As far as the medical goes that’s entirely up to the FAA. If your vision is in fact correctable to 20/20 I see no reason why you should have an issue? BUT, I am not an AME so I can’t say for certain. This is why ATP requires you to obtain a First Class medical prior to training, so you don’t waste a whole lot of time and money. I recommend you contact your local AME for a consult and see what’s what.

You could of course do your training part-time at your local flight school but ATP’s Career Program is a full time program. The program was modeled after actual airline training and that requires consistent daily training.

Adam

Thanks Guys! I appreciate the responses! I’ll look into an AME to see what’s possible.

Anytime. Feel free to come back with any other questions you might have. Good luck.

Chris

Going along with ATP’s training schedule. The 100 Day and 180 Day schedule is that based off calendar days or business days? Just trying to pre-plan my schedule for how much money to put away for living expenses prior to starting since the 180 being calendar days is ~6 months but business days makes it ~8 months.

Also I see you and Chris always recommend the 40 ME for potential ATP CFIs. Does that effect certifications at all being SE certified with ME credit vs being a ME certified first? Such as do you have to CFI in SE for a certain amount of time before transitioning into being a ME CFI?

Hey Tom,

They’re essentially business days since you’ll generally have weekends off (so the 180 day usually takes about 9mos). As for the 40hr program it’s not really a “certain amount of time” more as you’ll do your primary training in the single and then get the multi as an add-on rating. For example you’ll do your Instrument training/rating in the single so when you take your multi check ride you just need do some approaches in the twin and the rating carries over.

Adam

Adam, Thanks for the quick response. That makes a little more sense and slight more relief that there is a bit more time in there since its business days. As far as the ratings that works and definitely seems like the better way to go since I plan on getting the chance to go to standardization for the CFI job.

Tom,

You will definitely get a better deal if you stick to the 40hr ME program. There is no difference between the 40hr ME program and the 100hr ME program once you start instructing.

Yarden

Yarden, Thank You for your response!

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Ok, now I’m confused about how long the 180 day program is supposed to take.

That makes sense with weekends off. But if I’m reading it correctly, the Airline Career Pilot Program page says that that the 180 day program takes 6 months in several places:

  • On the timeline
  • In the tuition reimbursement section (item 1)
  • The Programs Compared table does say weekends off but the Housing Option ($200 per week) is $5200 (or 26 weeks)

The financial aid page also estimates housing costs for 26 weeks, so I will run out of funds from my student loans if I use ATP’s financial estimate but the program actually lasts 3 months longer?

Matt,

I apologize for the confusion. The 180 Day course is INTENDED to be completed in 6 mos and when I went through the program that’s what it was. BUT, apparently ATP has softened their stance, now the training is generally done 5 days a week vs 7 AND people often need a few days here or there so for many it’s been taking up to 9 mos or so. HOWEVER, if you’re anxious (which you should be) and work hard (which you should do) there’s no reason to get done in 6 mos. Cool?

Adam