Real Answers from Real Pilots

Finish in less that 9 months?

(Jared Latimer) #1

Is it possible to finish the program (starting without private) faster than 9 months? Does ATP allow for students who are ready, and/or capable, to move faster? Is it just a discussion with your instructor?

I am curious as to how much, and in what way, preparation (All knowledge exams complete and significant learning module completion) prior to starting, factor into moving through the program. I know there are a lot of variables, such as scheduling conflicts, aircraft maintenance, and weather that can impact flying.



The short answer is probably not. The program was in fact 6mos up until a short while ago. Along with the pilot shortage the FAA is experiencing a shortage of examiners and that’s actually what forced the extension to a 9mos footprint. ATP had situations where students were ready for a checkride but were unable to get one or advance due to the lack of DPE’s and ended waiting around getting “stale” which was counterproductive. As a remedy the timeline was expanded to allow for more flexibility and lead time for checkride scheduling. From what I understand there are occasions when a student may be able to progress faster but that is purely based on luck with the scheduling process vs the amount of work and preparation put in.


(Jared Latimer) #3

That’s what I figured. I forgot about DPE availability.

I’m just waiting until July 9th, with 8 knowledge exams done (6 required + IGI and AGI), working through learning modules per training support. I’m going in with the mindset of “this is going to be tough, get ready”, but I fear I’m going to start, ready to go, but then it’s not going to move at the faster pace I was prepared for. I don’t know if others have experience that, or I’m just an over-achiever and I need to slow my roll.

(Tory) #4


Back when the program was 6 months, I knew a student that finished in 4.5 months, but he was already a commercial helicopter pilot in the military, and every check ride lined up perfectly. That was the fastest I had seen anyone finish the program. So, yes. It’s possible, but is it likely? Not at all. As Adam mentioned, there is a shortage of examiners nationwide.




Nothing wrong with being an over-achiever (I wish there were more) and there’s no need to slow your roll. I obviously don’t know you or your abilities but I feel fairly confident in saying you won’t find the pace of the training lacking. ATP takes what most schools do in 2+yrs down to 9mos which is no cake walk. Further there’s ALWAYS more to be learned and every individual topic can be further explored to gain a more in depth understanding than is required. While most students are always looking forward, there’s nothing preventing you from reviewing the past lessons. The fact is when it comes time for your initial CFI (where EVERYTHING is fair game) inevitably the DE will find your weakness. If in fact you’re “that good”, be the one applicant that doesn’t have any.


(Tory) #6


If you find yourself progressing quicker than the program’s timeline, I suggest you take some time to reflect and ask yourself, “How can I understand ______ better?” There is always room for improvement. Another suggestion would be to be proactive and start preparing for the next check ride. Just be careful. I would hate for you to get too caught up in focusing too much on the next phase. Don’t allow your retention to fade.




Plan on the program taking the full nine months. As Adam said, the program used to be a bit shorter, but the availability of FAA examiners (or lack thereof) has driven yhe program to be longer. That isn’t to say that it couldn’t happen, but I would plan on taking the full time. Also keep in mind that this is serious stuff that you are learning, taking a few months to let it all sink in is not a bad thing.




Trust me, nine months will be fast enough.


(Earv) #9

I just passed my MEI ride yesterday and I’m on month 11 of my 9 month program lol

(Sergey Kireyev) #10

While what everyone else has mentioned is the rule, a friend of mine is an exception: just passed his instrument checkride in a touch over 4 months. It came down to aircraft/instructor and DPE availability at his location. At the very least your prep will minimize delays. I’m doing the same… Which brings me to my question: what was the sequence of written exams that you studied for? How did you group your study/prep? Thanks for your help!

(Jared Latimer) #11

Thanks all!

Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about how I did all my tests.

(Cody Ash) #12

Thanks for the blog post man. And congrats on finishing everything.

(Sergey Kireyev) #13

Very nice! Well done, and I appreciate the pointers.

(Allan Amaral) #14

Hi Jared, I recently finished the program back in April in 5.5 months. It’s possible if you’re committed and your availability is open. My instructor and I flew at every opportunity and when we weren’t flying, I was studying. It wasn’t an easy 5.5 months and I had to put a lot of things in my life on hold, but the way I see it the sooner I finish, the sooner I start building hours, and the sooner I’ll be at the airlines. If you’re really committed to finishing faster you can do it but it also depends on your instructor’s/dpe’s availability, plane availability, and weather.

(Jared Latimer) #15

Wow! Congrats @allan.amaral47! Did you start with Private or 0-Hr? What location were you at?
My wife and I are going into this with the same mentality. While I’m in school, it is the priority, somethings are on hold and other responsibilities wife is taking for me. I’m not expecting to finish faster. I want to thoroughly learn everything, but I want to slow down if I don’t have too.

(Allan Amaral) #16

I started from zero time at the Long Island, NY (ISP) location in November. If you are working at it every day, flying whenever the weather is good, and know how your brain absorbs information you can get it done faster. You also need to stay on top of modules and written tests. I took the FIA and FOI with less than a day to study for each of them because of the way scheduling my checkrides went. You have to be ready for anything and be as flexible as possible. Best of luck to you!

(Chris Engelhardt) #17

I would certainly say it’s possible to get done under. There are two guys who started ahead of me and they are two months ahead of schedule but DPE availability is key. Look into when selecting a location, seems some might be better than others. Right now at RDU people are flying through as long as they can handle the speed. Instructors are very good at judging ones ability to absorb and progress. I’m starting my fourt week now.


I continue to be a bit amazed at this focus on finishing the program earlier than it is intended to be done. This isn’t truck driving school, it is flying airplanes and someday having hundreds of lives in your hands. Take the time to learn the information well and focus on passing each check ride, not beating some arbitrary, self-imposed deadline.

(Chris Engelhardt) #19

I would definitely agree, there is not a rush in my mind. I am taking this one topic at a time, private, then instrument and so on. You can very easily be overloaded and fall behind in just how accelerated it is to begin with. The big thing I find here is we have so many instructors it allows us to have a lot of one on one time. I would say that if you bust a checkeide and you’re a “ahead” of scheudle you need to SLOW down.

(Jared Latimer) #20

I am personally not focused on finishing early, my bad if I communicated the opposite. My only question was does it happen, just out of curiosity.
My focus is absorbing as much information possible, right now, and then practicing putting that information to use.