AirplaneGeeks 366 Getting Your Air Transport Pilot Certificate

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

Strategies for getting your ATP certificate, a new VTOL aircraft offers an equity stake via crowdfunding, F-35 operational testing and a close-air support match up with the A-10, Skytrax rates the world’s airlines, inflight WiFi prices going up, and a retired Google executive receives an award from the Aero Club of Northern California.


Don Sebastian is President of Aviation Consulting Services Incorporated. He was our guest on Episode 336, back in February of this year, when we talked about the airplane pre-buy process. Don has a variety of aviation experiences and no shortage of opinions, so we asked him back, this time to talk about getting an Air Transport Pilot rating.

We talk with Don about different strategies to obtain an ATP rating. The cost today is not like it was in the “old days,” and prospective flight training students are different than the generations of the past, but Don believes there are ways it can be done without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Don Sebastion

Don Sebastian

Don has a number of certificates from the FAA. They include Air Transport Pilot certificates for single engine and multiengine aircraft, a commercial certificate for helicopters, and a Private certificate for gliders. He’s also a flight instructor for airplanes, holds two ground instructor certificates, and has an A and P mechanics certificate for airframe and powerplants. He also has a parachute Jumpmaster license from the Parachute Club of America, which has since been renamed the United States Parachute Association.

Don has performed over 2,000 pre-buys and flight tests. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, testifies as an expert witness, and has eight lecture tours under his belt. Outside of aviation, Don contributes his energy to a variety of community and charitable activities.

Don produced the document Getting the ATP Rating which contains biographical information and great photographs,  as well as advice and links to online resources for those considering an Air Transport Pilot career. These are some of those resources:


XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

A group of experienced aviation professionals has formed XTI Aircraft Company to develop a six-seat aircraft called the TriFan 600. It’s powered by two turboshaft engines that drive three ducted fans. The VTOL aircraft can hover and transition to horizontal flight by rotating the wing-mounted fans horizontal to vertical.

XTI Aircraft is using crowdfunding to raise a portion of the total investment required. This is now possible because new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules allow startups to “test the waters” before a stock offering.

Update in XTI Aircraft Company Earns SEC Qualification, January 21, 2016:

XTI Aircraft Company (XTI) today launched a formal stock offering and is accepting investments to support development of the revolutionary new TriFan 600 aircraft. This 30-day opportunity to invest is not only open to those who have expressed interest in investing in the company, but to all investors around the globe. Shares in XTI may be purchased at

Note: Airplane Geeks makes no investment recommendation with respect to XTI Aircraft. We are only providing this information to inform our audience. Carefully consider your own situation before making any investment decisions.

A-4 Skyhawks support F-35 operational testing

Partner countries buying the F-35 each have their own operational tests. The Royal Netherlands Air Force test of the F-35A includes A-4 Skyhawks, F-16s, and a KDC-10 aerial tanker.

The F-35 vs. the A-10 Warthog, head-to-head in close-air support. It’s on.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is to be retired due to budget constraints, with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter taking over the close-air support mission. Some think this is a fine idea, and others don’t. The two aircraft will participate in comparison evaluations starting in 2018.

The world’s worst airlines to fly with

The Skytrax World Airline Star Ratings classify airlines “by the quality of their front-line product and staff service standards.”  Topping the list as the world’s worst airline is North Korea’s Koryo Air.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Prices Jump as Demand Surges

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo has increased prices for WiFi significantly in the past few years. Gogo says increased demand is causing some congestion, but also that demand-based pricing is normal in business.

Retired Google VP Alan Eustace, holder of world free fall record, awarded Crystal Eagle award by the Aero Club of Northern California

Alan Eustace’s 135,908-foot leap broke the world record for highest free-fall parachute jump, and the Aero Club of Northern California is presenting him with an award.

The Shoreham air display crash

Listener John Eckersley sends us an update on the Hawker Hunter crash.

The Airplane of the Week

KC-130 BOB

Photo by David Vanderhoof

After getting trolled on Twitter, David presents the KC-130 Marine Battleherc: a history of Fat Albert, BOB, and Look Ma No Hook.

The Australia News Desk

Grant is back and the boys are gobsmacked by Alan Joyce’s $12 million salary. They’re pretty sure their morals would get corrupted for that amount of money!

Still with Qantas, they’ve painted A380 VH-OQH to support the Wallabies rugby union team (Grant tries to explain what that means):

Getting into the computer games, the RAAF C130J sim at Richmond was used to take part in the global event Virtual Flag 2015:

Keeping to the Hercules theme, a Coulson C130 tanker arrives at RAAF Richmond for NSW’s fire season:


Meet Lou Briasco, 33 Years At The Castro’s Michael Bruno Luggage Shop

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase

Grimes Field Urbana Municipal Airport

Worst Place to Be a Pilot (2014)

Worst Place To Be a Pilot Season 1 Episode 4

Civil Aviation Authority – Standard Passenger and Baggage Weights [PDF]

Lady Dragged Off United Airlines Flight for Refusing to Put Dog in Pet Carrier

August 1985: The worst month for air disasters

Listener Photos

Listener Ted Corgan tells us he “recently saw and toured one of the exact airplanes that was featured in Air & Space Magazine. Aluminum Overcast, the EAA’s B-17 in Eileen Bjorkman’s article entitled “Learning to Fly the Fortress,” was flown to Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, OH, for its Aviation Days event in early June of 2015.”

Also, “I took the exciting opportunity to walk—or perhaps more accurately, climb—through the historic aircraft. The experience further heightened my respect for those who have served our country with it and those who keep it airworthy today, and also deepened my appreciation for the engineering marvel that is the B-17.”

Ted Corgan, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

Ted Corgan, nephew Zach, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


5 thoughts on “AirplaneGeeks 366 Getting Your Air Transport Pilot Certificate

  1. Don Sebastian

    After being interviewed on this program. The next morning, jumped into the hotel van to ride to the airport (BNA) Nashville TN. The crew for Skywest Airlines were with me. Asked them how they got their pilot jobs. Both said the bought a single engine airplane, got their 1,500 hours. And got their multi engine ATP with Skywest. Said Skywest is desperate for pilots, and a single engine ATP will get you in the door.✈️????????????

  2. Errolwi

    Great to hear David in full flight again!
    For a connection to the ‘other’ country down under, the A-4K shown in the Edwards AFB photo (Bu 155069 N147EM) is ex-Aussie. It was with the Royal Australian Navy before RNZAF service (and conversion from A-4G to Kahu). Before that, it was the last A-4F built for the USN, and saw service with VA-155 over Vietnam.

  3. Biggles

    Believe it was Max from the West, who mentioned a friend who started at Emirates as an B777 FO with less than 1000hrs…. Unfortunately this is not correct info and presently not possible. Requirements are higher.

    Until a month ago the absolute min was 2000hrs on min A320 or B737 or 2500hrs on any other jet above 20T. Just now the requirements have come down to ATPL (min 1500hrs), including minimum modern turboprop experience; e.g. Dash 8, ATR, etc… Nobody is flying at the company right now with that kind of experience.

    As a A380 check airman for the company, I believe I do have the right info….

  4. Pingback: 39 – The Rest of the Prebuy | The LogBook Podcast

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