Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

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  1. #1
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    Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    What would you recommend the quickest & easiest way to get your Pilot's Licence, 1,500 hours, and a career with An Airline. Such as American Airlines, Delta, U.S. Airways, Southwest ect. I was checking ATP's flight school and College's with Aviation Flight operations, do the airlines have preferences ?

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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Quote Originally Posted by jcabral View Post
    What would you recommend the quickest & easiest way to get your Pilot's Licence, 1,500 hours, and a career with An Airline. Such as American Airlines, Delta, U.S. Airways, Southwest ect. I was checking ATP's flight school and College's with Aviation Flight operations, do the airlines have preferences ?
    Airlines don't care where you train, but please don't be fooled into thinking you'll be flying for any of those airlines you've listed with 1500 hours.

    You could count on something along these lines as a pilot:

    0-200/300 flight hours: Flight training = $50,000-$120,000 cost
    300-1500 flight hours: Flight Instruction/Banner towing/Pipeline Patrol = $20,000-$40,000 dollars a year income
    1500-3000/5000 flight hours: Regional Airline/Cargo Pilot = $19,000-$38,000 a year for 3 or 4 years
    5000+ flight hours: "Major airline" (One of the ones you have listed) = $45,000 a year and up.

    Plan on it taking at least 5-10 years to even get to the point at which you can interview for a major.

    Or, join the military, serve your country and get all of your flight training paid for.
    Oooor, do something totally different and have a happy life and make money.

    Source: I am a pilot on one of those steps, currently waiting for my FOL and a happy career change.

  3. #3
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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    @ Gmonie if you enlist in the Military not as in Aviation Flight Operations. Can you still attend their Flight School & get your training paid for?

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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Quote Originally Posted by jcabral View Post
    @ Gmonie if you enlist in the Military not as in Aviation Flight Operations. Can you still attend their Flight School & get your training paid for?
    Enlisted don't fly planes. in the Army and you have to be a warrant officer to fly helicopters. however a lot of Air Force bases have areo clubs that offer flight training for cheap.

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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    My opinion is go to a Flight school that offers employment after you get certified. You'll get hours as a flight instructors

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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Quote Originally Posted by jcabral View Post
    @ Gmonie if you enlist in the Military not as in Aviation Flight Operations. Can you still attend their Flight School & get your training paid for?
    If you are in the military (active or national guard), you can use the GI Bill to pay for up to 60% or so of your flight training.

    Truthfully, if you want to be a career pilot you have to really love flying and all the things that come with being an airline pilot, both good and bad. You're away from home A LOT. If your a single guy, this could be great (lots of friendly flight attendants ) but if you have a family it can be brutal. The pay is pretty bad too, especially starting out (you will not make more than $25,000, and probably much less, your first year as a first-officer at a regional airline). All things considered, its not for everyone. Many of my friends think I am crazy for leaving the airline industry and moving to the other side of the mic. On the other hand, more of my friends are jealous I have gotten this opportunity to do something else.

    To each their own, but I will not be sad to leave an airport as an airline pilot for the last time.

  7. #7
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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Go to a cheap but reputable flight school, fly as an instructor for a bit, and then apply to be a First Officer at the airline of your choosing. Being a pilot isn't as glamorous as you may think at first. Expect weird hours and low pay, but enjoy it while you can. I know quite a few pilots for a famous little airline with a couple of 9 passenger Cessna 402s (yes, you know the one), and what you make of it really determines your future in the field. Dedication will get you from the right seat of some scrappy prop plane to the left seat of a big beautiful jet, but only when you're truly ready.

    Side note: Perhaps a third of the pilot's I've talked to over the past few years are either trying to become controllers, or wishing they were!

  8. #8
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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    GMonie's right on, it takes years to get to the "majors." Between September 11 and the increased retirement age to 65 for pilots, most guys getting interviewed for majors right now have well over 10,000 hours if they are coming from the regionals. It's a good time to get into the industry as hiring is going to be going strong for 5-10 years, but you will spend several years working in the regionals or corporate flying before even getting a call to interview for the big guys. ATP's "zero to hero" program is probably your best bet time/moneywise, follow up with your CFI and instruct or get commercial gigs to get your 1500, then find a regional with the quickest upgrade time - while turbine PIC time isn't a requirement for anyone but WN, it is very difficult to get interviewed for anyone without it. Also keep in mind that the new ATP rating requirements could add a solid $30k to an already expensive training journey if the regionals don't figure out a way to incorporate it into their new hire training, which they're working on. Now is a great time to get started, but it will still be a solid 8-10 years to get from 0 time to mainline carriers - I'm still trudging through myself! Good luck

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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Thanks for the information everyone. I have two options that I have come across ATP Flight School https://atpflightschool.com/airline-...PI4aAmlk8P8HAQ Or Letourneau University Pipeline Program through American Eagle.LeTourneau University Partners with American Eagle Pipeline Program - YouTube judging from what you said skwatc the best way is through ATP. Would live to go to Letourneau but the cost I am worried about.

  10. #10
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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    If you are at all worried about cost and debt, stay far far away from flying. It took me a few years, but I finally put down the airplane shaped crack pipe and got back to atc. Best decision I ever made.

  11. #11
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    Re: Best Way to Get a Career As an Airline Pilot

    Yeah, if you're looking for efficiency, the ATP thing is great. I know that the students there tend to be somewhat "greener" at the commercial mark than someone who spent more time really absorbing material and moving at their own pace, but you'd still have 1000 hours on your own gigging or instructing to gain knowledge and confidence. I know that several regionals (Repub, SkyWest to name a few) have programs with ATP that offer incentives for employment.

    Honestly, the cheapest way (which is what I ended up doing) is to buy an older, cheap-to-operate IFR certified plane that can get you through 95% of your commercial SEL. Takes more time, and it's sad that flight training has become so expensive that buying a plane or partial-share is cheaper, but at least you get a solid ROI when you sell. Or take nhstadt's advice and run away as fast as your legs will carry you!

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