Real Answers from Real Pilots

Private Before ATP

Last time I posted here I received some excellent advice and information, so I want to thank you all again for your time and effort.
I’m in a bit of a situation here where I could use some more of that good advice lol.

So I was getting ready to place my deposit in the next month or so, looking to start with ATP in the beginning of the new year (waiting to get out of a lease), and start studying for my written exams. I recently spoke with an instructor at a local flight school (they actually have three locations), and to obtain my private before enrolling in ATP would cost roughly 9k.
This caught my attention for several reasons.

The big reason is to be able to go into ATP with at least some confidence and knowledge. I know I have a strong work ethic and will do whatever it takes, but going into something as fast paced as ATP without any experience worries me a bit. I know ATP‘s fast pace preps you for what is to come at an Airline, and I love that. I suppose just going into something like this with a little experience could be really be beneficial and give me an idea of whether or not I’m cut out for this.

For example, I did three internships with different law enforcement agencies prior to getting hired where I’m at now. Those internships helped me develop some skills I needed to be able to jump into a career already running. I guess I’m looking at the private as an internship before I jump into the big leagues with ATP. I would just like to get your thoughts here.

Thank you,

Max

Max,

The only reason I ever recommend anyone get their PPL first is if they’re unsure if aviation is really for them. As you say it’s potentially a good internship should you want to get your feet wet or aren’t sure about your abilities.

That said many people struggle to complete their training at local schools due to many factors and we’ve up wasting a considerable amount of time and money. If you’re certain you’re ready for this then I’d advise against it. If not then at least maybe start your training, perhaps solo and then possibly evaluate how the training is going.

You’ve decided ATP is the best place to do your training. If that’s a fact then why not start there from the beginning?

Adam

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Max,

While all of us earned our PPL outside of ATP, I offer you this. While ATP’s program is fast, it used to be faster. The program has been extended from 6 months to 9. More specifically, the private pilot phase is 12 weeks long. I feel like that’s the perfect amount of time to earn a PPL. Not too long. Not too quick.

As Adam said, if you’re not sure if aviation is right for you, then earning your PPL outside of ATP makes sense. If you know that this is what you want to do, I recommend starting and finishing at ATP.

Tory

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Max,

To chime in with my colleagues here, local flight schools can sound great in the beginning, but at the other end of that journey is usually cost over runs, delays of all sorts, and many other issues. I got my PPL from a local school, it took twice as long and much more money than it should have.

If you are not 100% sure that you want to be a pilot, you might want to consider getting to the solo stage at a local school, then making the jump.

Do keep in mind though that ATP’s program is designed for new pilots without any prior experience or knowledge. ATP takes over 1,000 pilots a year form “zero to hero”, people just like yourself. ATP’s private program is twelve weeks long, with flying or studying everyday, that is a nice amount of time to obtain a PPL.

Chris

Thanks guys, I really appreciate all of the input. I’ve had the opportunity in the past to join a friend in for a flight and I do know that this is for me. I don’t have any doubts about that. I think now that I’m getting closer, I’m just honestly getting nervous! Equally excited, but just nervous.

I’ll be sure to post along the way. Everyone else’s post about their journey through ATP has been awesome to read through.

Best,

Max

Max,

It is completely normal to be nervous about such a large change, I know I sure was when I started out in the program.

Please do post along the way, we love hearing how people are doing and the potential students behind you really value the insights.

Chris

Max,

If that’s the case I’d seriously consider starting with ATP day 1. There’s a concept called the Law of Primacy (you’ll learn about during your CFI training). It basically states what we learn first sticks with us the longest. Its a strong argument for starting off on the right foot. Further while many people do get their PPLs elsewhere, there’s no question those who do all their training with ATP have greater continuity and an easier transition.

Do what’s best for you but I’d give it some thought.

Adam