Real Answers from Real Pilots

Process of becoming a pilot

After reading some posts by people, I saw things about ATP and PPL. I just want to know what exactly both things are and when you should take that course(?). And also is it ok if i go to a flight school during my high school years or should I go to the flight school after I graduate college?

Sunwoo,

The PPL is the Private Pilot License and is one of the most basic licenses that a pilot can get. It allows a pilot to fly small airplanes, but not for compensation. The PPL is also the first step on the way to higher ratings.

The ATP rating is the Airline Transport Pilot rating and is the highest rating that a pilot can obtain, it allows the pilot to fly airliners for compensation. This license requires numerous other licenses to be obtained first in addition to 1,500 hours of flight time.

It is of course okay to go to flight school during your high school years, but I would not recommend it. I feel that it is best to focus on your studies in high school and then college before beginning flying. After your academic education is complete I recommend attending a fast paced flight school that can help you get all of your licenses in a short period of time. It has been my experience over the years that students do best when they can fully focus on one thing at a time, ie education then flying. I find that it is also less expensive to do things in this order as there is less retraining involved.

Feel free to ask any other questions that you can think of.

Chris

Sunwoo,

As Chris said the PPL is where you start and the ATP is your last license (although its often said a good pilot is always learning). There’s a whole lot of training between the 2 in the process of becoming a professional pilot. As for the training during high school personally I think it’s fine and could actually be a good idea. While I agree with Chris that it’s better to do the bulk of your training as one continuous process, there’s nothing wrong with gaining some experience if you so desire. It also gives you the opportunity to see of this is really something you have a passion for and want to pursue. The only thing I would caution against would be getting your PPL and then just stopping because that would be kind of a waste. If you have the resources to get the PPL and maybe go for a flight a few times a month or more to keep sharp then that could be a good thing. Your call.

Adam