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How To Become A Commercial Airline Pilot?  
User currently offlinemusicalmartian From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 7 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3798 times:
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Hey everybody. My name is Nick and this is my first post. I am 25 years old and have a degree in music from Kent State University. I have 4 years experience in the teaching field but have come to realize over time that it is not for me. I have wanted to be a pilot since I was 2 years old, but I foolishly let my parents talk me out of it when I graduated high school and did not want to break their heart at the time and change majors. What is the best option to become an airline pilot? I have no experience with real planes, but have flown RC. I am an amateur photographer (although nothing like some of you, amazing stuff!), and have read every book or watched every documentary I can on flight since I was a little kid. Would my best option be to?

Go to a flight school like Pan Am or Delta and get my license/ratings.

Go to a 4 year college like Kent or Embry-Riddle and get an aeronautics degree. I am enrolled in the KSU flight tech program for fall 2013 and will do this if it is the best choice.

Go to a local airport like SkyPark in Wadsworth or another and get my license/hours that way.

Or is there a better choice?

Thank you! Look forward to hearing from you.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineairtran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3705 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3748 times:
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I'd do it one of two ways, take out a big loan and go to a school like ATP, Aerosim or one of dozens out there, and be done with everything in 6 months. Then you have to instruct, and instruct, and instruct.

Or, you could do it all at a mom and pop FBO, get your ratings, and instruct, and instruct, and instruct.

You already have a four year degree, so no sense in going out and getting another. I would look for a school that is reliable and has instructors with availability. You want to do it all as quickly as possible so you can start instructing and build that time.

Good luck to you.



Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlinesan88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 115 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3731 times:

I'm in the exact same situation as you, I've come to a point where I want to do it as well and have the same questions. Any Anet insight would greatly be appreciated. Thanks  


sit on the Captain side when you fly into SAN
User currently offlinemusicalmartian From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3485 times:
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I agree with you both. Trying to figure out how to afford it will be the hardest part for me, but I cant imagine doing anything else. The benefit of the 4 year degree is scholarships plus its easier to afford 8 grand a semester than 64 grand at once but the time aspect of it sucks.

Thanks for the advice!

Nick


User currently offlinewoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1049 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3485 times:

A lot of it is dependent on your personal situation. Do you have a family?

Sign up at jetcareers.com and research there as well.

Are you set on working solely an airline or how about corporate flying? Airline pilots are not the only pilots out there.

Network network network.

If you have a job now see what you can do to fly and work. As if you are set on flying for an airline you want to get into an airline with as little or no debt as possible. I.e. don't need flight school debt while making 20k/ year as a New hire regional pilot



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlinemusicalmartian From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3479 times:
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I do not have a family or any real bills outside of student loan payments. Airlines would be great but it does not really matter to me, I'd fly for an airline, corporate, heck even the Goodyear blimp. I plan on working while I do this if at all possible. I am just looking at the best options. Aerosim, or ATP would be awesome but I do not know if I can afford it. I am going to give them a call in the morning to find out about different options.

Thanks!


User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1611 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3477 times:

Save a lot of money! Personally, I don't know if I would take a big loan out to do it. You never know, you might hate it! You're also taking a big loan out to get a job that might not pay well for a long time. It's a long, tough road made longer by the new ATP rule requiring 1500 hours to fly for an airline.

Since you don't have time in real airplanes, definitely go out and take some lessons and see if you like it.

Good luck! You will get lots of different advice covering the whole spectrum of experience here but in the end it will come down to what you want out of it all!



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3461 times:

In my opinion, here are the options in order of decreasing desirability and order of increasing cost.
- Get into a cadet program.
- Go to a good "mom and pop" school. Often better flying skills at the end and more personalized instruction.
- Go to an integrated school. While it is tempting for the lower hours requirements, this typically costs more and takes longer.
- Go to a university with an aviation program. You already have a degree and airline entry requirements typically just say "any degree". Don't waste your money or time.

A good mom and pop school, and I always recommend SunState Aviation in Kissimmee at this point, will get you from zero to CPL Multi in 13-16 weeks. CFI and CFI(I) is an extra 4 weeks or so. If you perform well and work hard at SunState, you have a decent chance of getting hired as a CFI by the school when you are done.


Note: Go to a school with good weather! In Florida, for example, you very seldom lose days due to weather. This is not the case in, say, Michigan. If you're doing an intensive program with 7 days a week in the air, you don't want to lose days.

Second note: Study your theory before you start, and keep studying all the way through. Even if you fly 4 hours a day that still means a lot of hours to study. Use them. If you do zero to multi CPL that means three written exams and four oral exams in less than four months.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 6):
Save a lot of money!

Yep! Zero to CPL is a $50000-60000 exercise including housing.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 6):
It's a long, tough road made longer by the new ATP rule requiring 1500 hours to fly for an airline.

That's a US rule so you can still work for an airline somewhere else.

[Edited 2013-07-09 21:09:59]


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3449 times:

Keep teaching, take lessons on the weekend. If you work your butt off you could have your private by the end of summer break. You'll be in much less debt which will be huge in your first couple years as a broke CFI/pipeline patroller/etc and your next few years as a broke regional/135 fo. It might take you a year or two but flying through all seasons in the midwest will make you a much better pilot than going to an "academy" in FL.

You already have a degree as mentioned. Don't waste your time with another in aviation. I know of no airline that requires an aviation degree.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
That's a US rule so you can still work for an airline somewhere else.

It is, but the only way to get into most cadet programs is to be a resident of that country, or have tons of bribe money. The other desirable expat jobs are being taken by people with far more time than 1500 hours.



DMI
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7212 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3354 times:

Quoting woodreau (Reply 4):
Sign up at jetcareers.com and research there as well.

Yes. Great place to get even more advice for something like this.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 6):
Since you don't have time in real airplanes, definitely go out and take some lessons and see if you like it.

This is a must. I say complete your PPL before you make any drastic changes.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
Get into a cadet program.

None in the U.S. seldomly there are some in other parts of the world like the Middle East which take 0 hour guys from out of their country but you have to be on the ball when the apps come out and lucky.

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 8):
Keep teaching, take lessons on the weekend. If you work your butt off you could have your private by the end of summer break.

THIS! ^ I would call you crazy if you did not at the bare minimum get your PPL first by flying on the weekends and keeping your job. You need to make sure you love it, and love it tons because at the end of the day with 300-400hrs and CPL you will be lucky to be making over $25,000 a year being a CFI and then making the same amount flying an RJ when you get to 1500hrs. You must go and get your PPL first. Make sure you love it, you want to do it, and can handle it.

      Also. When getting your PPL you will need to get your medical certificate. Get a First Class Medical! Make sure you are able to pass a first class medical and you don't have any issues such as medication or color blindness which would possibly keep you from being a commercial pilot.

So to sum it up. No reason spending money on ATP or going to a four year school again if A. You don't absolutely love flying. B. You can pass an FAA first class medical.

So I would say there are two options for you. (maybe three)
1. Keep your job. Fly as much as possible on days off, weekends, etc.. at local FBO. Maybe try to find a job in an area with good weather like Arizona or Florida so you can fly often. Get everything up to a CFI then instruct. Takes time but usually the best way and cheapest
2. Go to a place like ATP take out a large loan only after getting your PPL. Just fly fly fly get your CFI and move on from there.
3. You are 25 I think you could still enlist. Only do this if you have a real desire to serve your country and put your life on the line but I believe the Marines have a deal where if you are enlisting for the sole reason to fly for them and you do not pass flight school and flight exams you may be discharged. I believe in other branches if you don't get into flight school you would then have to do other matters.

Talk to lots of pilots. Figure out if this is what you want to do. Flying is not just a career it is a lifestyle. You will be surprised how many airline pilots these days say they wished they did something else and flew as a hobby.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlinee38 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3195 times:

Nick, I agree with everything that has been posted with just a few additional comments:

First, you stated, "I have no experience with real planes . . ."

Absolutely, I recommend you go out to a Fixed Base Operation (FBO) at a local airport, make an appointment with a Flight Instructor (CFI or CFII), tell him/her what your interest is, and without a question of a doubt, get a couple of orientation rides in a small plane (like a Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee, etc) to see if you like it. As a flight instructor, I met quite a few folks who watched airplanes fly over while laying on the beach and thought to themselves, "Wow, that would really be neat to fly an airplane." Then, when they actually did so, it wasn't quite as thrilling or appealing as they expected and they moved on to other endeavors. (At least they were honest with themselves, and you have to be honest with yourself as well). If a couple of orientation flights is enjoyable to you and you think you would like to pursue it, then then next step would be to begin your flight training from a good instructor--Private Pilot License, Instrument rating, Commercial rating, Multi-Engine rating, and so on, all the way up to ATP (Airline Transport Pilot certificate).
Nick this would be a big commitment, fairly expensive, and we're talking about accomplishing this over a period of years, not a few weeks or months. Don't quit your current job!

By the way, flying RC is not the same as flying a real airplane, nor is flight simulator on your computer.

Second, since you already have a degree from Kent State University, I don't see the need to go back to college for another four years. A career in aviation does not require a specialized degree. Employers in aviation careers, in general, just want to see pilots who have exhibited the commitment to obtain a college degree with a well rounded education. I think your music degree would be just fine.

Finally, you might speak with an Air Force, Navy, or Marine recruiter. It's been many years since I've visited with an Air Force recruiter, but at one time, you had to begin Flight Training by the time you were 27 and a half years old. I know you are getting close to this and there may not be time to complete everything to enter military flight school by that time, but it would be worth your time to chat with a Recruiter to determine if the military route is even an option. I don't know what the current requirement is for pilots, how many years commitment they require after completing flight training, if you would complete flight school then sent to a control room somewhere to fly an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or what. Make sure you ask a lot of questions. Recruiters have "quotas" to meet, and I have heard stories where recruiters told people things like, "We don't have any openings for pilots, but we can get you a slot at Navigator school. Being a Navigator is just as good as being a pilot."

flymia (Reply 9) said, "Flying is not just a career it is a lifestyle." This is very true. It can also be very expensive earning all your ratings. Make sure this is something you really want to do. Also, there are widebody Captain positions at the major airlines where the pilots earn a lot of money. The other 99 percent of pilots flying out there do not. Do not pursue a flying career for money. It HAS to be because you enjoy it very much.

I wish you well with this, and as flymia (Reply 9) said, talk to a lot of pilots--private, corporate, airline (passenger), airline (cargo), crop dusters, all sorts, Nick.

e38


User currently offlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 2184 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3046 times:

There is also the military. You get a ton of high quality hours, great pay and benefits, and airlines snatch up military pilots like candy; the biggest catch is it's extremely competitive. This is the route I want to take.


Go coogs! \n//
User currently offlinemusicalmartian From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3029 times:
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I want to thank everybody for all of the great advice. I am going to go on a checkride in the next couple weeks to get a feel for it before making a final decision. I have been doing a lot of thinking and have decided at this point that I would enjoy the domestic carrier/corporate role more than flying international routes, but I am definitely up to the lifestyle change. I have tried to go the military route but I have been turned against that idea by recruiters. I have near perfect vision (no glasses/contacts) and got a 94 on my ASVAB last year but I am not really too sure what the best path for military flying would be. I have been working hard to get in shape though should I go that route. I do think I will complete my PPL first before doing anything drastic.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2999 times:

Quoting musicalmartian (Reply 12):
I have been doing a lot of thinking and have decided at this point that I would enjoy the domestic carrier/corporate role more than flying international routes, but I am definitely up to the lifestyle change.

You might initially not have a whole lot of choice. As you gain experience you will have more choices. I would advise you to get out of your comfort zone and do as many diverse things as you can.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
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