How to explain the ATP rating to non-pilots?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RussR, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    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?
     
  2. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The only thing about getting ratings you don't need is that each rating also ups the level of standard you are held to. For instance with my gear up, had I had a PP, everything would have been over at the scene, however, since I held a CP, a 709 ride was required. There are also examples of rules violations where a PP gets a talking to while an ATP gets a 120 day rip.

    Here's something to consider, ask your insurance guy how much of a break you get when you get an ATP. I bet it's zero.

    As for skill and safety, there is no reason you cannot hold yourself to ATP standards and learn all of it without getting the rating. One thing I learned about carrying pieces of paper around, they all come with liability equal to their privilege, if not higher. If you have no intention of ever gaining from the privileges, it doesn't make a bunch of sense to expose yourself to the liabilities.
     
  3. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    it's like a "master's" pilot license......ie master electrician.
     
  4. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Which does what for you when you're a lawyer?:dunno:
     
  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    dun know....maybe he'll pickup more chicks....? :lol:


    so....try and explain what one can use a commercial ticket for. :rofl:
     
  6. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    "It's like I'm a black belt in Six Sigma. It doesn't mean **** in the real world. It's just something to put on a business card."
     
  7. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Utility jobs, the kind I take. Pipeline, photography, Ag, bush, ferry, light pax and freight....
     
  8. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    PPL = BS degree
    Comm/inst = MS degree
    ATP = PhD in pilotage

    Why questions are the best. Why did I get a PhD? Why not?
     
  9. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    hey......I did that too. :mad2::goofy:
     
  10. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    PP = highschool football
    Commercial = college ball
    ATP = the pros
     
  11. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ^^^ better ^^^

    But he said he's not getting paid, just for the rating so -- 'pros'......
     
  12. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    "In aviation there are different levels of certification just like many other career fields. The Private is the basic which lets me fly a plane. The Commercial allows me to get paid to fly the plane(for small things like banner towing, aerial photography, etc.), and the ATP is what is required for airline pilots. As you go up in levels the requirements get bigger and more stringent. Why would I get it and not fly for the airlines you ask? Because I like to hold myself to the highest standard. But enough about me, let me buy you another drink."
     
  13. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    This is what I don't get, what is the linkage between the rating held and the standard one holds themselves self to? There is none I can see.:dunno: I know a guy who has several jet type ratings on his PP for jets he has owned and flown, flys them to as high of a standard as anyone I have ever met.
     
  14. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Not really true. Other issues are factored in.

    Actually it matters. From my experience in helicopters the insurance companies offer substantial discounts on insurance if the PIC has an ATP, even if the operation doesn't require it. Same is true on airplane 135 operations.

    For my personal policies (part 91) yes it made a difference.


    Then again some people like the satisfaction of proving they meet standards rather than just saying they do.
     
  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    This is how I would explain it as well.
     
  16. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I would consider an ATP = PhD in IFR.
     
  17. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    That sentence wasn't meant to be the least bit serious. As for the linkage between ratings and standards...who knows? Better yet who cares? If he wants to get the ATP just to get it...more power to him
     
  18. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have an ATP,did a little charter work. Really got the rating for my own satisfaction. Once you have the rating,any further ratings ,such as sea plane has to flown to a higher standard.
     
  19. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    It's more like a DSc since you can do more than teach/do research with it.
     
  20. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wasn't aware that PhDs were limited to teaching and research.
     
  21. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the responses, though maybe I wasn't quite clear on what I was asking.

    It's not whether or not getting an ATP is a good decision, and it's not trying to explain the hierarchy of ratings.

    Instead, it's really a more basic question - explain to a non-pilot what an ATP certificate IS. It doesn't qualify you (in itself) to fly for the airlines. It doesn't (in itself) let you fly jets. It's required for the airlines but won't get you hired by itself. The words are "airline transport pilot" but many people take the checkride before they've flown anything the public would remotely consider an "airliner". "So you qualify as an airline pilot when you've only flown a 4-seat two-engine airplane?" Well, yes, no, not really, sort of...

    By way of explanation, I'm trying to think of another occupation that most people would be familiar with where you can get an advanced certification in something but getting that doesn't actually qualify you for employment in that field, directly. I'm sure they're out there, I just am trying to think of one. It's different from being a master plumber, for example, because you could be a plumber, have your own business, etc (I assume).
     
  22. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    PPL = med tech/therapist
    Comm/inst = intern/MMed
    ATP = licensed MD

    Best I can do.
     
  23. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Nope, med tech/therapist would require CPL.

    PPL = person posting medical advice on Facebook in meme form.
     
  24. TMetzinger

    TMetzinger Final Approach

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    Actually, an ATP is like an MD, without the boards or the license to practice. Or like a JD without the bar exam and a license to practice.

    It says - this person has passed through the pilot education system and has achieved the highest degree that system offers. Before that pilot can go "practice" professional aviation, he must complete addtional tasks:

    Residency - type rating and flying for a regional or 135....
    Board Certification - the 121/135 checkrides
    Continuing education....

    Make sense?
     
  25. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That's how I explain it. And I work with lots of folks who got their JD and went on to do non-lawyer stuff. And passing the state bar is a good analogy for getting a type rating. Just as some folks get hired by a firm before they pass the bar, some folks will get hired by an airline before getting type rated.
     
  26. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Works for me.
     
  27. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    Just tell people what ATP stands for and that it's the highest rating you can get. With it you could be a B777 captain for United if you also got type specific training. That'll answer most their questions. If they want more info then answer and suggest they take an introduction flight.
     
  28. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    Isn't there an old joke about

    Q: "How do you know there is a pilot in the room?"

    A: "He'll tell you".


    If you don't go around telling people you are an ATP, you likely won't need to explain it.
     
  29. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    So obvious a point I missed it.
    :)
     
  30. Neil Rubin

    Neil Rubin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Can you explain a little more how, if at all, having a commercial rating or ATP would affect enforcement proceedings? Suppose one gets an ATP, but has never held a medical certificate above a third class and has never been paid to fly. Is such a person going to be treated the same as if they only had a private certificate? What other factors are taken into account?
     
  31. Dave Siciliano

    Dave Siciliano Final Approach

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    I could have skipped getting an MBA also; don't know if it would have changed where I wound up at all, but I'll tell you, I learned to think, write and present myself differently in that course.

    In my case, my insurer made my coverage easier to get and gave higher liability limits if I got my ATP and a class II medical (only difference in the class II from three was eye exam and having to be 20/20). 25 hours in the Citation and I could be PIC with very good liability limits, otherwise, more dual and lower liability until I had more time in the plane.

    I've had a commercial since getting rated and always thought about the ATP but just didn't need it. This pushed me that direction. If one isn't going to fly transport category aircraft or for hire, certainly can see passing on it, but if you are, there's certainly a lot of great information. It shows you've mastered a lot of things others simply haven't.
     
  32. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    You must take into account the situation, the pilot, what capacity was he acting in and how cooperative he is in the investigation.

    You are correct, an ATP with a 3rd class medical that flies privately will not be held to the same standard as an ATP in a 121 operation.

    Again, many factors are involved.
     
  33. bbridges51

    bbridges51 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Agreed.

    +1
     
  34. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually, you might be onto something. Just say "The private pilot certificate is like a B.A. Degree, the Commercial is like a Masters and the ATP is like the Ph.D. of flying."

    A lot of people pursue higher education degrees for personal reasons beyond working in that particular field.
     
  35. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dang...should have read the whole thread first!
     
  36. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    yup......:D

    P iled
    h igh
    D eep
     
  37. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    But if I don't, how will they KNOW that they are supposed to properly feed my ego? I've tried the big aviator sunglasses, the big aviator watch and a shirt with epaulets but that doesn't seem to get me quite the amount of respect I expect. Maybe I need an AOPA hat with a set of military pilot wings on it...

    :D

    Nah, my friends know I'm a pilot and know that I'm always doing SOMETHING, so it's a natural question "Hey, Russ, flying much lately? Working on any new training?"

    That's my favorite response so far. I think most people could understand that. Thanks!
     
  38. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wasn't going to quibble before, but actually ATP is a license(or certificate if you prefer) very similar to the license to practice medicine, or a bar certificate to actually practice law.
     
  39. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's like a license to drive the regular bus as opposed to the short bus.

    Rich