Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Questions About Being An Airline Pilot  
User currently offlineORBITJFK From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 150 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5753 times:


This is my first post. My dream career is to be a pilot. Could any pilots out there help me out with these questions?

- What are good commercial airline training colleges?
- What is a salary of say a captain of a small narrowbody (737, A319, 717), a large narrow body (757, MD-80), a wide body (777, 767, 747, A330)?
- What are the benefits of being a pilot?
- How much time away from home during a month?
- Best airline to work for?
- Best city to live in for an airline pilot?

Thank you!


19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1413 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5727 times:

I am not a pilot, but one way to be able to become a commercial airline pilot is by joining the Air Force or Navy, and become a pilot for them.

God bless through Jesus,


God bless through Jesus, Jeff
User currently offlineEldoylio From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 96 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5695 times:

Oxford Air training School is renound for its impeccable training.

They cover all aspects right up to commercial license, the only downside being is the vast expense.

They do however offer plenty advice on sponsorship and finance.

Q. How does an A340 gain altitude - A. With the curve of the Earth
User currently offlineBobs89irocz From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 632 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5628 times:

The pay scale at all airlines has huge gapes in it. A first year FO on a RJ can make $30k a year when a left seat 747 captain is making $300k a year. I know a right seat 737 USAir pilot making 90k a year. I know a left seat Delta 767 pilot making $280K a year. Also before 9/11 a 9 year right seat pilot in the 767 for united was making $160K a year. It all depends on the industry and what you make of your carrer.

You can really go get flight training anywhere you want wether is part 61 or 141 as long as your a good pilot and have your hours with a 4 year degree and medically and physically in shape you will eventally get a commercial pilot job somewhere. There are alot of good pilot training courses but it all depends on your money situation.

Embry Riddle University is normally also the first one to be brought up. Its in Daytona Beach, FL and is VERY expensive but a good school from what i hear.

University of North Dakota. Also a very good school but weather can stop you from doing a lot of your flight training through most of they year. I would be a good idea to go to a school in the South that way weather wouldnt be to much of a factor.

Texas State Technical College as a course called Aircraft Pilot Training Technology. VERY good course and isnt that much money comparred to everyone else. Its a 141 school and a 2 year degree and credits are transferable to other 4 year universitys. The whole program from Student pilot to MEI is close to $35k in a matter of 22 months. I almost went to this school but my student loans didnt work out. Now im at a part 61 school working on my Insturment ratting now and once i get to my CFII i will start my schooling at a local college, then eventually move to a university.

A good time table to set up from becomming nothing to a commercial pilot is a matter of about 6-10 years. Depends on YOU and MONEY. How good of a pilot you are and how well you learn determins how much money you are gonna spend.

User currently offlineSWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5590 times:

There's a lot of info and opinions on this type of stuff out there, try http://www.studentpilot.net or http://www.flightinfo.com.

I would advise against getting a degree in anything to do with aviation. It won't help you get a flying job (only your flying qualifications and personality will do that) and also won't get you any kind of job during your periods of furlough/unemployment.

User currently offlineMd11lover From Switzerland, joined Oct 2003, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5536 times:

Hi OrbitJFK, welcome to A.net. I would definitely have to agree with SWAbubba, about having a backup degree. Its exactly what i am doing, im currently a law student, although when i was your age i dreamt of being a pilot,and wanted to go to university for that. And I still do dream of flying one day. However, I have decided to be patient. I plan to start my training next summer, and although i know its still quite a while for me to become a commercial pilot, i think having an option of something else is very important. If you re keen on going to school, look into Embry Riddle. Its supposed to be the number one aeronautical university in the United States. Very expensive though. Good luck,


User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5500 times:

This page gave me alot of info when I wanted to find stuff out:

Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1621 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5489 times:

I agree totally with SWAbubba. What you study rarely has an impact on your aviation career, at least in the US.

I am a pilot for SWISS International Air Lines, just getting furloughed almost as I write this. This airline was formed out of the old Crossair and much of the former Swissair. Many Swissair pilots had degrees in engineering of some sort, but even that was not directly related to aviation. Many Crossair pilots had careers in something completely unrelated to aviation. One captain I used to fly with is a part-time construction manager. He works 60% for the airline and the other 40% at the construction site. And he is an excellent pilot.

I cannot say much about the salaries at the US majors, but don't think too hard about those because right now at least there is no chance to get into them. The so-called "regional" airlines are where the jobs are right now, with the exception of some of the low-cost airlines. I think that the days of the $300,000 annual salaries are going to come to an end anyway.

For my company I was based in a place which is not my home. So I was actually only home about 9-10 days per month. The other days I was at my crew base flying and of those 20 odd days I was in a night stop about 5 nights or so. Lately though because of scheduling changes we did basically only nightstops, so I was doing a lot of hotel time. Not a lot of fun, but I saw some cool cities in Europe. Plus you pile up the expense money, or "Per Diem" as it is called in the US.

Best airline..... ??? Probably the best airline to work for is the one which provides the best job security!! Right now in the US that would probably be Southwest.

Best City....?? Whereever you call home is the best city IMHO. Flying in and out of ZRH is not a lot of fun all the time but it is my home (at least my European home) and so for me it is the best city to fly from. If I flew in the States I would like to be based in any of several places: Minneapolis, San Diego, Washington DC or Orlando. These are places I like for various reasons.

Now the best question: What is the benefit of being a pilot?? What a question! We have the best office in the world!! Period. Need I say more???

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineORBITJFK From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5429 times:


Thanks for all of the replies. I do agree that most of the jobs are in the "Regionals" in the US. This is one reason staying in the US is not a priority to me. I'd move anywhere in the world to become a commercial airline pilot (with the exception of third world countries). Well thanks again! About how much is tuition at Embry Riddle?


User currently offlineMd11lover From Switzerland, joined Oct 2003, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5392 times:

I think with the Flight Program and all, you should be looking about 28-31 per year. I remember because i was very interested in going to Embry Riddle.



User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6811 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5350 times:

I would defiately say the best airline to work for would be Cathay Pacific. Where else in the world, can people of any nationality, with a mere 1500hrs and an ATPL join and immediately be a crew member of a widebodied airliner, with the chance to be in the right seat of an aircraft like the A330 or the 777 a couple of years after that? Probably nowhere.

User currently offlineSyncmaster From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 2082 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5303 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I just got back from the Annual open house of Embry-Riddle's. They were saying around $31k-$32/year. Although it is a lot, all of the students said the education there, compared to other schools, was unbelievable. I am applying to go there next year, and would highly recommend it. They also said the Regionals are were the money and jobs are now. The good things about regionals, such as Comair and ASA are they are owned, or very well connected to the majors, and most new pilots in the majors come from there respective regional carriers. Another place to look at is the Delta Connection Academy, they guarantee an interview with "an Airline", probably ASA or Comair.

User currently offlineSWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5173 times:

Be very careful believing anything anyone says when they're trying to sell you something. That goes for both flight schools and universities. Of course they're going to tell you how great things are there and how all their graduates have landed fantastic flying jobs. They won't tell you about how many people have declared bankruptcy or are still paying off loans ten years later.

To become an airline pilot you need to work on getting a 4 year degree and your commercial-multi rating. You can do this much less expensively at any number of places other than the big aviation schools.

I got my masters at ERAU, it's a good school but is overpriced for flight training. The most valuable part of an education for a pilot there is probably all the friends you'll make, networking can be extremely important at getting good jobs.

I'd recommend reading the flightinfo.com forums for a while and look at the different backgrounds of people there. There are lots of different ways into aviation, don't let anyone convince you that you've got to spend $100K to do it.

User currently offlineBahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1982 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5106 times:

DON'T spend $100K for a degree in ERAU. It is not worth it. If you want to do it the classical way, go and get your licenses and ratings and then teach flying. After 2 yrs or so of CFI job you can ether get on with regionals or fly cargo aircraft.

$30K/year for a first year F/O is a lot of money and consider yourself really lucky if you can get that job. Let's say that there are MANY regionals where you will make about $1200/month (before taxes).

I for one, decided not to go for that airline route. I will be doing my IT consulting that makes me enough money and then fly on the side (flight instructing is my love)..

Be careful about places like ERAU, Comair Flight School, etc. etc. where they say that you have a job after you graduate. Well, if they are not hiring, then they are not hiring..

Take care and good luck

Earthbound misfit I
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3176 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5003 times:

The more pertinant question is how much will you be making while building your time so you can get a job with a regional that pays next to nothing by the time your loan payments take their share. I hope you like ramen noodles  Smile

Consider the fact that nothing will be the same the next time the industry picks up pilots won't make the huge salaries that they used to make with the big ones. When I started college I thought I wanted to fly a 777 and make huge money. After 4 years I'm thinking that getting into a nice corporate department and going different places and flying different types of aircraft is more appealing.

User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4954 times:

"Another place to look at is the Delta Connection Academy, they guarantee an interview with "an Airline", probably ASA or Comair."

Unless they give you a written guarantee that you'll get a job, it's not worth much. I'd like to see some figures on how many of these interviews actually lead to a paid job.
I was in contact with the above academy, I simply wanted some information about their training, and after recieving letters about how good they are and this and that every 3 weeks for about 6 months I decided that they might not be so good afterall if those were the measures they had to take to get new students.


User currently offlineCessna172RG From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 750 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4903 times:

My college offers a direct hire program with Horizon Air where you can get a job flying in the right seat of a Dash 8 or a CRJ with less hours than they recommend on their website. Big college in a small town, a decent but expensive flying program, but I must say that our ground instructors are the best in the world! One man, from Canada, looks like Dr. Evil but is a sheer genius in the industry, another teacher, a lady who owned an airline in Alaska flying floats on a schedule and taxi service, another man who partook in the design process of the original 747, just for starters. The chief pilot is an ex navy Orion pilot, and he's pretty good.


Save the whales...for dinner!!!
User currently offlineFutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2642 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4834 times:

There are plenty of aviation colleges, as well as manyregular universities with aviation programs. My dream is to attenjd Purdue and major in their flight program. The salaries vary from airline to airline, from dirt cheap(starting at the regionals and some majors) to filthy rich(left seat of the heavies.) The benefits vary as well, Im not sure of them but I would imagine medical,m dental etc., not to mention free travel for you and your family as well as discounts on hotels and such. On average, pilots work 80hrs. a month(mind you this is flying time, you could spend 200-300hrs. total away I think). There really is no "best" airline, it all depends on you. Where you live, where you are willing to go, etc. The best city will vary too, do you like the coast? Mountains? Plains? You can also live in say San Diego, fly for HP and commute to PHX when you work. My uncle lived in Pensacola, Florida and was based out of DFW for AA when he flew Super 80s. He got tired of doing to and now lives in MIA and is an AA Capt. on the 757/767.

Basically it will depend on what you are willing to do, and how far you are willing to go. There isnt a doubt in my mind you'll make it, maybe someday we'll be flying a 737 or 7e7 across the U.S. together!

Be sure to ask as many pilots about it as you can, I would say 99% of pilots are very willing to talk to you and offer their help! Keep your range of opportunities open as the world of aviation is constantly changing and never give up!

Welcome to the forums!

Clear skies,

Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineBahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1982 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4783 times:

I don't know about the Horizon program that Central offers. But I 'll tell you that I have so many friends that are Central graduates and they are still CFI'in with tons of multi and total time.

Earthbound misfit I
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 7561 posts, RR: 76
Reply 19, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4718 times:

OK, here are figures from the other side of the world... Indonesia... Figures are USD per MONTH.

C402 Survey/Bush route pilots: 200 - 700 (There is 3000 on ONE company)
F28 F/O: 250 (1 bar), 500 (2 bar)
732 F/O: 500 (1 bar), 500 - 1200 (2 bar), 700 - 1500 (3 bar)
732 Capt: 1200 - 3500 (highest is Mandala)
733/4/5 F/O: 300 - 500 (1 bar) 500 - 1000 (2 bar) 700 - 1300 (3 bar)
733/4/5 Capt: 1300 - 3000 (Garuda)
MD80 Foreign F/O: 1500 - 2500 (Lion 2 - 3 bar)
MD80 Foreign Capt: 3500 - 5500 (Lion)
MD80 local F/O: 700 - 1500 (2 bar), 1000 - 2000 (3 bar)... Bouraq and Lion
MD80 local Capt: 1500 - 2500 (Bouraq).

In Garuda, the type doesn't really make as big a difference as there is abroad.
744 Captains here only make 7500 - 10,000 per month for example.

Plus, in a lot of cases you need to pay for your own rating to get a higher end salary for each rank/type.
C402 rating: 4000 USD
F50 rating: 10,000 USD
732 rating: 20,000 USD
733/4/5 rating: 40,000 USD

So, while living expenses here are cheap... sometimes the salary is still not worth the investment one puts in...


When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Being An Airline Pilot posted Tue Jun 15 2004 02:49:22 by UtilianPilot07
Whats It Actually Like Being An Airline Pilot? posted Mon Oct 20 2003 04:03:49 by Wbryce
Need Info On Being An Airline Pilot. posted Fri May 16 2003 07:33:46 by USAir330
Being An Airline Pilot - Good Career? posted Thu Aug 17 2000 21:09:52 by Flyf15
What's The Best Route To Becoming An Airline Pilot posted Sat Jul 15 2006 21:43:01 by BowflexBrennan
Normal Month For An Airline Pilot posted Mon Apr 10 2006 05:46:02 by CX747
Becoming An Airline Pilot! posted Sat Nov 26 2005 16:32:12 by Pilotdude09
So Easy To Pretend You're An Airline Pilot... posted Thu Dec 30 2004 15:28:03 by Pe@rson
Questions About UAE An-124 posted Mon Nov 8 2004 23:29:12 by JetBlast
How Hard Is It To Be An Airline Pilot? posted Tue Mar 16 2004 03:52:12 by Trijetfan1