As I will be working on my ATP rating soon (passed the knowledge test with thousands of others last year), I have found myself at a loss when people ask about it, as just happened again yesterday. I imagine the same is true for anyone who has an ATP but doesn't fly for the airlines or even a jet at all. Mostly I just want it as a milestone, personal achievement, that kind of thing. I have no aspirations of flying for the airlines. Non-pilots really look stumped when I try to explain what it means, so I don't bring it up (my wife brought it up last night). The conversation usually goes something like this: - So you're going to fly for the airlines? - Well, no, I just want to have the rating for professional development and to learn new skills. - Wow, that must be fun flying jets though. Is that expensive? - Well, actually I don't have to fly jets at all, I'll be taking the checkride in a small twin-engine piston, propeller aircraft. - But that qualifies you to fly for the airlines? - Well, no, not directly, it's kind of a basic certification blah blah type ratings blah blah... - But you said it was the "Airline Transport Pilot" qualification [puzzled look]... At that point I just resolve that if it comes up again, I will try to distract them with a laser pointer or something. Maybe I'm looking for some kind of comparison that the average person can relate to. Anybody have a good one?