Real Answers from Real Pilots

Now it’s my turn to be nervous


(Jordan K Zeller) #1

Primary backstory:

Hey y’all, My name is Jordan; I’m 25, from Kansas City, Missouri, and I enjoy long walks around my house in the dark, and I always order appetizers when I go out to eat.

That’s supposed to sound like a dating profile, but now I’ll use this site for its intended purpose.
My first ever answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was that I wanted to be a pilot. Out of high school, I went to community college and eventually acquired an associate’s degree. I did two internships with The Walt Disney Company, and worked Airport Operations and Customer Service for Alaska Airlines.

I absolutely loved everything about Alaska Airlines and my work there renewed my passion for this industry. I’ve been studying flight schools for more than two years and I decided on ATP about six months ago. Somewhere along the way I got the impression I would be able to secure enrollment a month I’m advance, but when I called in June I was told I wouldn’t start until November 26.

I’ve read mixed answers on testing ahead of the program, but I was very worried about going into the program expecting zero income, so I’ve focused a lot of my time working full-time ever since I got to Colorado so I can save and make living without income a little easier.

For the last three months, I’ve casually been studying with King Schools and the self-study modules available in the ATP student portal. I haven’t taken any writtens yet, and I’m ten days from my start date.

The primary reason I haven’t rushed to the writtens is that I’m worried I’m not prepared enough. On this forum, y’all mention failure to prepare as the number one reason for repeat training. Now that I’m ten days from starting, I’m even more nervous that I’m underprepared to start.

In addition to any advice y’all are willing to supply, I’m also curious what do y’all do for health insurance?


#2

Jordan,

I am not sure where you heard mixed reviews on testing ahead of starting the program, we are all huge advocates of doing so. I am really surprised that you enrolled in June, but have not taken any writtens and only “casually” studied the other material available to you. You have squandered your time, time that could have been used to give you a head start on the program.

Prior to your start date, you need to have completed any of the material that ATP says you must. The writtens are not required to be completed before starting, but it sure helps.

Many people take advantage of the health insurance that is offered through the affordable care act.

A piece re of unsolicited advice, this is a professional forum where you are able to interact with professional pilots. I took one look at your post and almost deleted it as all I saw at first was the dating profile statement. I would also refrain from using “y’all” as it is not a word. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to act as such. These things matter in the aviation, or any professional, industry.

Chris


#3

Jordan,

I’m not going to beat you up (too much) as it’s 10 days prior and not much you can do but you definitely should be nervous. I would ask you to show me a single post on this forum that’s against taking at least some of your writtens prior to your start date. Not everyone does and most are successful but there’s no question it lightens the work load if you do. I do have to ask what you could possibly mean when you say “the primary reason I haven’t rushed to the writtens is that I’m worried I’m not prepared enough”? You go on with “y’all mention failure to prepare as the number one reason for repeat training”? Frankly I’m stumped by your post and simply hope you pull everything together.

As nice a story it is, answering “I want to be a pilot!” from when you were young really won’t impress the examiners (I wanted to be a Marine Biologist but guess what? I’m not). Everyone is different but 10 days prior to my start health insurance was the last thing I was worried about.

Adam


(Peter Banning) #4

Jordan,

First, I want to say that I appreciated the humor in your opening sentence. I enjoyed that much more than scrolling through another “I’m 25, am I too old???!?!???” post.

Second, “y’all” is absolutely a word, and while I haven’t heard anyone use it over the radios, I have heard instructors, DPEs, and 777 captains use the word in conversation and professional settings - in Colorado, and of course a ton here in Texas, where there are multiple ATP locations. Y’all will fit right in. The further south of the Mason-Dixon Line you go, the more you’ll hear it. :grin:

Lastly, while getting those writtens out of the way would have been truly invaluable, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of students do not have them completed when they show up, and the majority of students who enter the program are able to complete the program successfully. That tells me that it’s certainly manageable. That being said, with 5 months to prepare, you could have very easily completed a few of those writtens, and it would have helped you tremendously.

I certainly empathize with your nervousness, but the reality is if you commit yourself fully to the program and work hard, you’ll do well. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s really that simple for most people.

Good luck. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Pete


(Jordan K Zeller) #5

Thank you, Peter. I’m glad my attempt at humor landed well with someone. I had no indication that this was a professional forum, I thought it was for potential aviators to ask about experiences and expectations of those before them. This is just my place to document my journey for others to read and perhaps find something from it to help.

As for taking writtens prior to start, I have seen caution against too much study ahead as it will lack context, details may get lost, and rote memorization may not work for all students. The two largest proponents of waiting until the program to test were: the instructor with whom I had my intro flight; and the gentleman at ATP with whom I secured enrollment over the phone. I was assured that all of the required tests are built into the program, and I will not be behind if I do not test early. The instructor from my intro flight specifically said he prefers students that do not test ahead because he can help ensure the student’s success if they work at his pace. The gentleman with ATP told me exactly what I need to complete via self-study before I arrive, and I have completed every single bit and even some more. He even said it wasn’t necessary to complete the entire King Schools private course before starting.

It seems I have provided too much background on things that do not benefit this forum, and not enough for a point that matters. While I do appreciate Adam’s more courteous approach, I cannot help worrying about health insurance as it applies to my personal healthcare needs. I take a prescription which, before insurance, costs almost $2300 per month. According to the healthcare marketplace, I do not qualify for financial assistance to pay for health insurance premiums because I am expecting zero income for much of 2019, and I do not qualify for Medicaid because I live with other people who have higher income. I was hoping perhaps someone knew of a student-assistance program that has an affiliation with ATP similar to many four-year universities that help their students get healthcare while enrolled.


(Tory) #6

Jordan,

For what it’s worth, I didn’t complete any of the writtens prior to starting either. Looking back I wish I did. It would have saved me a lot of late night cramming sessions, but I didn’t, and I passed all of them no problem. If you work hard enough, you won’t have a problem either. Not much you can do about it now. And you’re right, you’re not behind, but you could have gotten ahead, which is why we encourage people to take them early. Nothing to lose sleep over.

Tory


(Sean Hoban) #7

Jordan,

I’ve been bouncing between employer-sponsored health insurance and individual insurance through the Affordable Care Act here in Colorado for the last few years so I might be able to offer a little help.

You’ve got a few options for health insurance. Since you’re 25, your parents can add you to their insurance. That’s an option until your 26th birthday. I don’t know if that’s an option for you personally, but that’s a general option based on your age.

If that’s not an option for you, and when you turn 26, Connect for Health Colorado is how you get help paying premiums from the Affordable Care Act as a Colorado resident. I suggest getting help from one of their enrollment assistants. You can find options for getting help, including walk-in, in-person assistance here: http://connectforhealthco.com/person-help/. You can also just go through the application by yourself online: http://connectforhealthco.com/get-started/new-customers/.

I’m guessing that you recently lost your employer-sponsored health insurance and so you’re going to be applying twice. Once for coverage for December and then again for coverage for 2019. You have until December 15th to apply to 2019, and you should have until November 30th to apply for December, assuming you lost your employer-sponsored coverage this month.

Depending on your income, you’ll either be eligible for Health First Colorado (medicaid), advance premium tax credits, or cost-share reductions. You can find out what you’re eligible for here: http://connectforhealthco.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IncomeGuidelines-English-06.2018.pdf

You mentioned that you think you’re not eligible for medicaid because you live with other people who have higher incomes. Are these other people your parents, spouse, or children? Do you file taxes jointly with them? Do they claim you as a dependent on their taxes, or do you claim them as dependents? If not, then their income is not part of your household income. Household income refers to you tax household - the people that you include on your income tax return.

Lastly, you can buy health insurance directly from the insurance companies. Kaiser, Bright Health, Anthem, United Health Care are a few options that come to mind. The only reason to apply through Connect for Health Colorado is to make your premiums cheaper by getting money from the government (medicaid, tax credits or cost-share reductions). If you don’t qualify for that money, then just buy from the insurance companies directly. At your age, my guess is it will cost you about $300 per month.

Good luck.

Sean


(Jordan K Zeller) #8

Thank you Tory. I knew at least some people don’t take them ahead of time, but the threads here make it seem life-or-death you must take them ahead of time. Now that I’ve been here a week I’m able to see things a little differently and I’ve asked around for more perspective.

Sean, I’ve also bounced from employer-sponsored plans to individual plans via the healthcare marketplace, but when I moved to Colorado, I didn’t have much luck with connectforhealthco.com.While determining cost-sharing or tax subsidies focuses on your tax household, the medicaid application asked about people I live with not in my tax household. I’ve since gone to get in-person assistance, and the agent there explained that they often have people who couldn’t get help via connect for health, but in many cases like mine, that is a website error. I was perfectly capable of getting a near-zero cost insurance plan using my tax credits. Similar to my last plan, my premium is less than $10/month, which I can definitely make happen.


(Young Song) #10

Hey Jordan, I think I know what prescription you are taking :stuck_out_tongue: For that you might want to ask your physician or pharmacist to see if there are other support programs they can put you on. I have heard of programs that help people on this medication.