Real Answers from Real Pilots

Start Date and a Greeting

(Caleb Shearer) #1

Howdy folks,

I’ve been reading up on everything I can around here for a few weeks and figured since I have a start date I should go ahead and introduce myself. I’m a 26 year old college graduate (finally) pursuing the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I secured my financing and lined up all the other requirements and now have a start date of Feb 25th at the Conroe-North Houston location. Saying I’m excited for what is in store is quite the understatement. I have several goals I am striving towards leading up to my start date thanks to the information on this forum. I intend on knocking out all of the written exams before my start date and am already close to the point of scheduling my PAR.

I don’t have much more to say at the moment because any questions I’ve had have all been answered on this forum at some point. I may have some far looking questions (step 836 as Adam put it), but I think as I continue to read up on these and other forums that I will eventually find those answers as well. If not I know I can count the mentors and other students here for quality input.

In closing I really just want to say thanks to the pilot mentors and current students, specifically Adam, Chris, Tory, Tucker, Sergey, and Peter, for some absolutely invaluable content so far. This is an awesome community and I look forward to utilizing it and reaching the point where I can also help future students down the line.


Thank you Caleb. Feel free to ask anything and everything.

Oh and congrats to Sergey and Peter on your promotions :wink:


(Peter Banning) #3

Welcome to the board, Caleb! Thanks for the shout out. One of my favorite things about the aviation community is the willingness of most pilots to pay it forward. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience! Also, as you approach your start date, please feel free to ask any questions.

Adam, I’m only here to post Ric Flair gifs and pretend I’m talking to Tony Stark every time you post. Not all heroes wear capes. :grin:

(Tucker) #4

Welcome! Awesome to hear you are getting all that out of the way. If you need anything don’t be afraid to ask!

(Sergey Kireyev) #5

Congratulations, dude! Welcome to the family!

You have three whole months to get all of those writtens out of the way. You should be done in time with 2 weeks to spare :grin:

…why are you still reading this? Get to it!

(Caleb Shearer) #6

Well I took and passed my PAR yesterday and have started on the path to taking the IRA. Quick question for current and recently former students: How long did it take to study for each of the writtens in your experience and what were the tools you used besides the provided ones through King’s (for Private) and Sheppard Air? Thanks in advance.

Question for y’all at the major/legacy carriers: What was the jump like moving from FO to CA and did you switch aircraft to do so?


(Peter Banning) #7

The IRA was the most daunting one of them all, for sure. Largest question bank by a decent margin, and having not started instrument training yet - most of the concepts were very abstract. It definitely took some time. I used King Schools exclusively for the PAR. For the IRA, I used a combination of King Schools and Sheppard. You really shouldn’t need anything else.

As far as study time goes, it took several weeks for me to feel comfortable enough to take the IRA & FII consecutively. The rest of the tests became progressively shorter in study time. People complain a lot about the FOI because it doesn’t really pertain to aviation, but it has a tiny question bank, and the answers are all fairly unique in nature. Using Sheppard made it a cinch.

(Caleb Shearer) #8

Ah okay that is good to know, thanks for the quick response. In the emails I’ve received so far from ATP training it was described that the King’s School is only used for the PAR and that ATP students are automatically enrolled in Sheppard Air’s program for the rest of them. I will have to look into what they say about getting access to the Instrument course for King’s, as I did quite well with their program for the PAR.

As for the order, I’ve read that doing the FII and IGI consecutively after the IRA is the best course of action. Then moving on to the CAX, FIA, and AGI with the FOI rounding out the group. I’ve also heard that the order doesn’t particularly matter either, but if I can at least group the tests with similar concepts it would be better for memorization purposes.



I spent about two to three weeks studying for each written exam. I strictly used the King Schools prep series and was very happy with it (I purchased them on eBay).

When I upgraded to Captain, I switched from the 737 to the A320. I found it to be a large change as the thinking behind Airbus airplanes is very different from Boeings, so add that to the stress of upgrading and there was a lot going on. That being said, I made it through without any problems. I am still not an Airbus fan, but it is suiting its purpose for me.




It varied with the exams but I’m really a last minute crammer so it wasn’t long just intense.

As for the transition it’s often said there are no FOs, just Capts in training. If that’s the way you approach your time in the right seat (vs just biding your time) you’ll find the transition fairly easy. It’s really more psychological. This may seem corny but I will always remember my first flight as a Capt. I took a look to left and saw my own refection. It was then when it really hit home that it was all on me. When I upgraded at the Regional it was in the same plane. At my Major it was a transition from the ScareBus to the Boeing BUT I had started on the Boeing and already had the Type rating so that too was fairly basic.


(Tory) #11


I’m currently going through the upgrade process in the ERJ. I’ll share more details when I finish. But for now I’ll just say that I get what Adam’s saying about it being mostly psychological. The best thing anyone can do is be teachable. If you think you already know everything, you’ll get burned one way or another. If you lack self confidence, you won’t get signed off. Be somewhere in the middle and odds are you’ll do just fine.