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ATPL online and self-study whilst FT job. How much time?

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ATPL online and self-study whilst FT job. How much time?

Old 10th Aug 2020, 11:52
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ATPL online and self-study whilst FT job. How much time?

Hi everyone,

I am a PPL holder and I would like to continue my studies since, as most of us in this forum as per what I have read by now, I would love to fly as a way of living rather than as an (expensive) hobby.

I am 32 years old (too late for some I presume?), and with the current and upcoming unprecedented crisis many people could think is non-sense to pursue a career in aviation, but at least I want to try it and put all the effort and passion in this challenge, ideally achieving it one day of course...

My main doubts (I have plenty of them...), is how much time would be needed to self-study the ATPL theory by myself, whilst working full time in a demanding job, with few spare time except for weekends, holidays, etc. Is it reasonable to achieve in 2 years' time? I fear that after 35 maybe is too late to be considered for a commercial job position, although I guess it will all depend on how the pandemic/economic crisis evolves, which is a huge unknown at the moment.

Many thanks in advance for your replies.

Last edited by Aviator172s; 10th Aug 2020 at 15:49. Reason: typo in title
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 14:27
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Some advice...

I'm in Australia and work at a University based flight school delivering Aviation theory, so I couldn't advise on how long it would take under the EASA system.

What I would advise though, is do NOT get yourself into debt. You don't want to be crippled with loan repayments with extremely slim job prospects at any age, let alone being well into your thirties.

I think you may need to broaden your thinking when it comes to career choices. Even when jobs do start appearing again, it's going to be an employers market for a looong time. That's bad news for T's & C's for Pilots.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 14:29
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de minimus non curat lex
 
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You were asking similar questions in April. The study time is in the region of 800 hours and the clock starts when you take the first sitting. From that point 18 months to successfully complete the exams.
Before commencing, obtain your Class One Medical.
Junior Birdmen have a difficult path to tread....keep the day job until 2024+

Read and digest the postings made after your last 2 posts.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 16:26
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35 definitely isn't too late to start a (30 year) career in aviation.

But if you think it is then yeah, you should definitely give up.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 00:51
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Hi there

It took me pretty much 2 years exactly to pass EASA ATPLs distance learning whilst working full time (9 to 5 job). That’s timed from taking out the course to passing the final exam.

I could have done it in 18 months at a push, however I felt that the pace I used helped to learn the subjects fully and not just the banks. I also recommend planning in some down time / hours building to keep things slightly less soul destroying :o)

Friends of mine made the jump well into their 30s so you’re not too late, and time is on your side wrt the hiring situation.

Best of luck
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 09:49
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This is a really hard question to answer because it is quite subjective as everybody is different.

One of my colleagues did all 14 exams and study in 6 weeks (he took time off work) whereas I did mine over 12 months whilst working full-time. I didnít have much of a life during that time: studying for a couple of hours each evening and then at the weekends- it was quite a stressful time but I put lots of effort into the study and I was the same at school/uni. There were others who did it over the same time period and put half the hours in and still passed.

It can be done in the time states but itís dependant on the type of person you are as to how stressed you are willing to get/how much free time you have/want to have.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 10:10
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I went for my first PPL lesson on my 41st birthday and got offered an airline job a few days after my 43rd birthday, so you are not even nearly too old!

I also had a full time job during atpl study but it was manageable. Because I was older, I wanted to get everything done ASAP for fear of being too old to be hired. I did the ATPLs in 3 sittings over 6 months. It can be done, but it's an almighty slog. If you have a partner or kids, you really need them to support you by giving you the space and time to study everyday.

My advice is hit the banks and hit them hard. If you get stuck on understanding something, search the topic on YouTube. I made the mistake of reading through the theory books before starting the bank, and in retrospect that was a waste of time. In my opinion, everything you need to get a 90% average can be found in Aviation Exam or more recently ATPLGS.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 10:15
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I enrolled into ATPL CBT theory course in July 2018, but due to some other studies I needed to take some training related to my current occupation, I didn't start actually comprehending the material until late Autumn (Oct-Nov). At that time I had just turned 31. I did my first sitting at CAA in Jan 2019 and completed my last sitting in Feb 2020. I am working full time at the job which is demanding, but gives some flexibility (i.e. I can control when to give myself some slack, and where to work harder, this way I could accomodate some of the studies during the workdays).I had to regularly (2-3 times a week) wake-up at 4:30 or 5 AM to do 2-3 hours studies in the mornings before going to work. I could spend 1-2 hours on weekends, sometimes. Also I had a couple of business trips in between, which I could use as a short sprint to work and study without family time (ii.e. 1 or 2 weeks studying every evening for 1-2 hours). So It's all doable within 1.5-2 years with full-time job and family, but it really depends on Your status, self-motivation, discipline and ability to absorb large chunks of information. So You'll need to assess Yourself. But I may give You a couple of scenarios, which You may face (or may not, depending on various factors). When I was starting up the course I anticipated a more exciting path, than it turned out to be

Scenario 1:
Working at Your day job before lunch time, You are so excited that You've started this ATPL theory course. You think, about how exciting it will be today's evening to start reading this new material in the CBT, after all You are so fond of airplanes, etc. The day is over, You head out home, pretty tired, because of the challenges You faced at work. Your wife and kid meets You with a smile on their faces as they haven't seen the Dad the whole day. Now the 4-year old kid wants to play with his Dad, so You decide You can spend some quality time with Your child, and then do some studying after he goes to bed. You have a great time, but also have to overcome some kid's stuff like "I don't want to go to bed" or "I don't want to brush my teeth" or "Someone, carry me to the bathroom, I don't want to walk" and others. By the time the kid is asleep ~10:30PM You feel that it's time to do the studies. But You are physically and emotionally tired, so this airplane stuff doesn't seem that exciting any more at this point. Spending some time watching movie series with Your wife and sharing a beer feels much more appealing. So You decide You'd watch an episode for an hour then got to sleep, wake up at 5:00 AM - study hard before going to work. But no beer, because even a pint will make an early wake-up impossible. Now, You've had a good time, You set an alarm clock for 5 AM, and finally resting. The alarm clock rings at 5 AM, and You are so underslept wishing You went to bed earlier. This is the point, where You have to put all Your discipline together, get off the bed and got study the course. And again, at 5 AM with sleep deprivation, the stuff about number of fire extinguishers to be kept on the flight deck, or cycle through performance tables to find a fuel consumption for small twin-jet will not be as exciting as You anticipated . Then You need to go to work and completely switch the context to something different. It will be especially harder, because You only slept 5 hours. The next day You will probably skip the studies, because You actually need to get that sleep (or maybe not, if You already accustomed to not sleeping much).

Scenario 2:
You need to go to a business trip to the place You have never been before for a week or two. On one hand You are so fond of travelling, on the other You see a great opportunity to study, since away from family and other responsibilities. You start really excited at the airport going through the material, and it seems it's now really great - You are rested, have plenty of time and the information is grasped really quickly - You are doing great progress. After flying 10 hours You get to Your destination. Jet lagged, lack of sleep, You try to keep the schedule of doing work dring the day and studying in the mornings and evenings, so You may probably skip dinner with Your colleagues, or keep it tight to return to Your hotel room early. By the end of the business trip You are so tired of all of this, that even a thought of opening Your laptop and launching CBT makes You sick. Probably a good time for a break .

It doesn't mean this will be like that for You and I am not saying that these scenarios are something difficult to overcome. I am sure people doing integrated training or doing military air force training are under much more stress and pressure and time limit.
The caveat with modular approach and scenarios I've put here is that there will be nobody there who pushes You through and motivates You to go on. You will be on Your own, and when the pressure and exhaustion starts to build-up, Your brain will start playing games and You may feel, this is not as exciting as You thought it should have been. I found much more pleasure studying during vacation at 11 AM well rested and nowhere to hurry, than night studies You will need to push Yourself to wake up early, or study late when You read a line, but do not understand what it means, so You have to reread it again, and mentally wake-up Your self. IN other words, due to having a job, You will be left with the times for studies at the periods when Your body and Your brain are not in the best performance condition. So maybe You will have to master some energy management, to make sure You are ready at the appropriate time.
I'm not trying to scare You away But You asked if it's reasonable - The answer is yes it is reasonable - Just be prepared, that as You have a full-time job, You will have to make some sacrifice to pass all of it - it'll be either family time, sleep or job. You will need to find a balance and have strength to stay on track. I found it, and it went all well

As per Your concerns. You will always have them as the future is not known. ATPL theory is relatively small price in comparison with all the other training stages, but it is the most time consuming (i.e. the flight training can be done pretty quickly with full dedication, but unfortunately it is less possible to speed up the studying of all the material from theory - it just takes time). But going through it You will have a chance to reconsider Your direction again and again and watch the world situation changing, so if You have budget to allow this with no much sacrifice, I see not obstacles to go for it. There are more money consuming stages in You path where You will be able to make a final go/no-go decision.

Good luck to You

Last edited by s4ex; 11th Aug 2020 at 11:40.
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Old 17th Aug 2020, 14:19
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parkfell

Thanks parkfell. I have read many things and posts during this time, including those made after my last 2 posts. I am asking this again and being more specific since I would be very happy to know your opinions, given the fact this is a new time in aviation and in many fields.
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 14:47
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I am currently working 40+ hours a week plus I am getting my MBA. I go to class twice a week from 6:15-9 PM every Tuesday/ Thursday. The best advice I can give is work on your time management. When you get home, leave work at the door. When your home focus a few hours on studying, if you can. You wouldnít believe the amount of studying you can get done if focus for 2-3 hours at a time. By 8 PM youíll feel like youíve accomplished so much.
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 15:45
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theexpandingman

hi really happy to hear that you got the job at 43.I am 36 and doing my ppl.could have finished by this year but due to covid training was on pause for few months,hope fully will finish by feb or March 2021.after reading your post i definitely have some hope as I want to go commerciall.
thanks
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Old 11th Dec 2020, 11:39
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Just a thing to consider you'll now be looking at the 2020 EASA syllabus/Learning objectives....

30s is not too old, I'd place that as a benefit myself!

Go for it, in my opinion things are going to recover faster than many believe there will be a huge surge of pent up demand, if you pay attention to the likes of the big budget airlines you'll see many are positioning themselves for this, so yes do it and don't spend too much time over analysing and listening to peoples predictions you'll go mad, many on here think they know, they don't and few really do and in fact there are a few here constantly sprouting negatives trying to appear wise, way before covid existed...also realise it's common human behaviour for people to think that current conditions never end good or bad .... you only live once weigh up the risks and decide!

Best of luck!
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 09:12
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Start with your ground school studies (distant learning) once you hold a Class One medical.
By mid 2021 a much clearer picture will emerge of hopefully restrictions & tiers reductions.
The clock starts to run at the first sitting of the exams. 18 months.
Personally I would start with the ‘hardest’ exams first. Navigation for most? The ATO learning provider might have a more cunning plan, but that might require increased time & effort once the clock has started just depending on the ‘batting order’ (a cricketing expression for our colonial cousins).
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Old 14th Dec 2020, 17:13
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Get on the old syllabus if you want to save time and study effectively. Negative reports are coming in regardinf ECQB with some students being at a total loss.
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Old 17th May 2021, 14:22
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Average

theexpandingman

What was your atpl average?
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 07:51
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How did you get

Originally Posted by Aviator172s View Post
Hi everyone,

I am a PPL holder and I would like to continue my studies since, as most of us in this forum as per what I have read by now, I would love to fly as a way of living rather than as an (expensive) hobby.

I am 32 years old (too late for some I presume?), and with the current and upcoming unprecedented crisis many people could think is non-sense to pursue a career in aviation, but at least I want to try it and put all the effort and passion in this challenge, ideally achieving it one day of course...

My main doubts (I have plenty of them...), is how much time would be needed to self-study the ATPL theory by myself, whilst working full time in a demanding job, with few spare time except for weekends, holidays, etc. Is it reasonable to achieve in 2 years' time? I fear that after 35 maybe is too late to be considered for a commercial job position, although I guess it will all depend on how the pandemic/economic crisis evolves, which is a huge unknown at the moment.

Many thanks in advance for your replies.
WHat did you do and how did you get on?
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 19:02
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Originally Posted by F1l1p3 View Post
WHat did you do and how did you get on?
Still studying on my own in spare time, but with no big progress. Summing up hours for the time building and for pleasure/learning but theory part is still pending...
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 19:12
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Originally Posted by Aviator172s View Post
Still studying on my own in spare time, but with no big progress. Summing up hours for the time building and for pleasure/learning but theory part is still pending...
I'm on the same boat... Unsure whether to invest the time in the ATPL so I don't have to do any theory again or just do the theory for each rating as I go through them.
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Old 15th Mar 2022, 21:59
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Originally Posted by Aviator172s View Post
Still studying on my own in spare time, but with no big progress. Summing up hours for the time building and for pleasure/learning but theory part is still pending...
Don't fly any more until you've passed the exams. You're not doing yourself any favours. Book your first few exams for a month or twos time and you'll suddenly notice a few found sense of purpose. And for God's sake get your CBIR!
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Old 16th Mar 2022, 11:09
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Originally Posted by F1l1p3 View Post
I'm on the same boat... Unsure whether to invest the time in the ATPL so I don't have to do any theory again or just do the theory for each rating as I go through them.
Unsure because of current global situation, age, compatibility with your current FT job..?
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