Real Answers from Real Pilots

Check-list order before starting

(Johan H Perez Lundqvist) #1

I am wondering if anyone could give information on what order to complete the four tasks I have to on my list before starting ATP:

  • Intro-flight
  • Medical Exam
  • Apply for TSA approval (I am not a US citizen)
  • Apply for financing

Are there any rules saying that I have to have my TSA approval or the medical before the intro-flight? If not, I think I would like to start with the Intro-flight. Any advice would be great.

Thank you,



You say you’re not a citizen so I’ll assume you’re a permanent resident because if you’re neither you can’t train with ATP. Assuming you are you’ll need TSA approval before you go up. ATP is a flight school and as such technically an Intro Flight is considered flight training and that can’t happen with TSA approval. After that I’d go Intro flight to make certain this is really something you want to do. After that I’d save the medical for last unless you have some concerns.


(Rob S) #3

Actually you don’t need TSA approval for discovery/intro flights. I’m a permanent resident and checked this out when I did a discovery flight through a local flight school and also another through ATP and I didn’t need the TSA approval for that. But you definitely will need it done before any actual training can start after that and plan for a few months to get that done.



My bad but since it takes a few months I’d definitely get the process started.


(Johan H Perez Lundqvist) #5

Thanks! So buy a few months, do you mean like two or more like six? How long did it take for you and when did you do in?


(Rob S) #6

I think initially it was about 2-3 months from start to finish but I had all my background information ready to go, like all addresses for last 5 years and employment history and they didn’t need any further info from me.

You also need the school to do part of it so you might want to contact Admissions as not sure if they will do their part before you are enrolled or not.

I’d focus on your medical first anyway, as if that needs to be deferred for any reason that could take many many months.



Again I’d only do the medical first if you have any concerns or know you might have some issues. Since you can do the Intro that’s critical because know of this matters if you go up and hate it.


(Johan H Perez Lundqvist) #8

Thanks Adam. However, I am thinking that I should try and get pre-approved for the financing first, since if I can’t get that done then nothing would matter either. And then intro-flight followed by medical and TSA approval.

Thanks again for your input.



Totally your call and frankly all are required. Thing is this, if you don’t get approved, you can try other banks, co-signer etc… Medical issue? Get a deferment or a SODA. TSA, unless you’ve got some skeletons you should be fine but again takes time. BUT, if you go up and toss your cookies or are terrified then that’s really that. Again your call.


(Johan H Perez Lundqvist) #10

Hi Guys,

So I have been pre-approved for both Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae and I have my Intro-flight scheduled for this Saturday at the Chicago location, hopefully the weather holds up.

At the end of my phone call when scheduling my intro-flight i was told to dress accordingly or professional (or something to that effect). I have been trying to look at threads here to get some clarification but have not found any. Do you guys know what I should be wearing?




While ATP has a formal dress code for training I don’t believe it applies to the Intro flight (You obviously don’t have an ATP polo nor do they expect you to shave off your beard if you have one). That said they want you to look like a grown up and I guess accordingly is a good term. Meaning nothing ripped, nothing offensive, any facial jewelry should be removed, shoes tied, and all clothes properly fitting. Things of that nature. I believe the idea is to see if you understand what “appropriate” means and can conform.




I would wear slacks and either a polo style shirt or button down shirt.


(Jason Francis) #13

Re: first class medical. I let my original first class medical from 2011 expire. I already completed MedXpress and I am now looking for a local examiner with availability. My question is: will I be starting from scratch, or will they just update my original? Or is it totally up to the Dr which route to take? Nothing significant has come up for me, hoping it will be easy but I sure am getting older! (43)

(Tory) #14


There is no “updating” where medical exams are concerned. The AME’s are required to conduct the entire test no matter if the pilot is renewing or applying for the first time. All segments of the test must be within standards for the respective medical to be issued. The AME can always require further testing to be done depending on the applicant’s medical history.

I suggest you call the AME’s office because only they can give you the most accurate answer. Plus, don’t quote me on this, but I’ve heard from a senior captain that applicant’s over 40 are required to meet tighter tolerances for blood pressure. If this is true, the AME can tell you what the acceptable range is.


(Jason Francis) #15

Thanks, yes I’ve heard that a lot of items are different after age 40. I’ll be making an appointment soon.



Every medical is treated like a new one. Just show up for the exam with the paperwork filled out. As long as you do not have any issues, you will be fine.




I’m sorry but I have to ask did you think they’d just say “ok you HAD a medical, you still feel good? Ok we’ll just change the date” and hand you a ticket after 7 years? I just got my medical yesterday and have been getting 2 a year for over a decade. NOTHING is updated as you could be 100% and literally be diagnosed terminal tomorrow. Each medical presents a new opportunity to lose it. Oh and don’t forget the EKG.


(Michelle Canaria) #18

Hi @rstorr,

Did you say it took 2-3 months to get the TSA approve you? I already have a start date of 4/15 and is trying to get the TSA approval but since my passport will expire before the estimated time of completion of the program, they want me to submit an updated passport. The thing is, I will go back to my country in February and will get my passport renewed there as it is a lot faster and cheaper. I will be back in the States by March 10 and is planning to submit the updated passport information along with the fingerprint then. With your timeline, do you think I won’t be able to make it on my start date of April 15? Will it matter if I already have a Global Entry/TSA pre check pass? I’m thinking that since they are from the same organization, they can just pull out the background check they did when I applied for Global Entry/TSA pre check.

(Johan H Perez Lundqvist) #19

Hi @michelle_canaria
Were you able to reserve your start date without having the TSA approval completed?

@rstorr when did you do your TSA process? I was told by ATP admissions that the process only takes about 2-3 weeks “nowadays”.



(Michelle Canaria) #20

@Johan yes I was able to reserve my start date without the TSA approval completed. I was told by admissions that if I’m not able to get the approval before the start date, we will have to push back my start date. Hopefully it will only take 2-3 weeks as I would hate to wait for another month to begin training.