Real Answers from Real Pilots

Best time to try to begin the program?

Okay, I’m 24 years old. I am VERY interested in beginning the process to become an airline pilot. My question is if I plan on moving across the country in 9 months should I wait until after the move to even begin trying to get into ATP? Is it smart to start the program on one side of the country and try to continue/finish on the other side?

Matthew,

It’s one thing if you move unexpectedly for reasons you can’t control, but
if you know now that you will be moving, then I would wait to begin
training until after the move. The reason I say this is because each phase
of the program contains a specific amount of flight time. If you move
during a critical time during one of those phases (just before a check
ride), you open up a can of worms, so to speak.

Examiner availability is limited. Check rides are scheduled several weeks
in advance. The instructors and the students work together as best as they
can to be ready for each check ride on time. Rescheduling a check ride is
not that simple. It could be several weeks until an examiner has an
opening. That would mean that you would have to pay out of pocket to stay
check ride ready.

Plus, from an instructor’s standpoint, it’s important that the same
instructor conducts at least 90% of the training during each phase.
Typically, your primary instructor is the one that gives you your
endorsements to take the check ride. If you moved during the middle of one
of the training phases, the new instructor then has to somehow figure out
how to test your proficiency on everything else you have learned up until
that point while they are trying to teach you new stuff. This goes back to
what I said earlier about each phase containing a finite amount of flight
time. The program is designed to get you through as quickly and efficiently
as possible. It is not always easy to spend time refreshing your knowledge
and skills on things you should already know.

Lastly, since you mentioned that you are 24 and also “VERY interested,”
I’ll leave you with this…you have PLENTY of time. I started when I was 25
and I ran into a delay because of something completely outside of my
control. It ended up putting a 10 month hold on my flight training. How
anxious do you think I felt when I was waiting tables during those 10
months??? Long story short, I got through it and now I am 29, flying at a
regional.

Take this time to get some, if not all, of your written exams out of the
way. Here’s all the info you’ll need to get started.
https://atpflightschool.com/faqs/acpp-prep-written-knowledge-tests.html

Tory

Matthew,

Not to get into your personal life (and there’s no need to answer) but why do you have to move in 9mos? The reason I’m asking is if you started now, completed the training in 9mos. You could in theory start instructing and be placed anywhere and then simply move to your new home/location after. Just throwing that out there?

Adam