Real Answers from Real Pilots

A few questions about a pilot career

Ever since I was a little kid I had an enormous interest in all things flying, helicopters, airplanes, Microsoft Flight simulator, anything that had to do with flight. As I became a little older at about age 15 I looked more into training programs and if I would want to begin a career as a helicopter/airline pilot. I decided it was unreasonable and I should start looking at business careers, a more “normal” career. Nearly five years later here I am at age 19 with a semester of university under my belt at BYU studying business management/entreprunuership. My interest in becoming a pilot or even an airline pilot as a career has grown. There are great training programs around me that I would be able to take advantage of if I wanted. I have a full blown flight simulator at home and love learning about ATC communications and aircraft videos. I absolutely love traveling, and the perks and benefits of being a pilot that you guys mention seem like something that I would see as benefits as well. I’ve been trying to look at the negavtives of the job, and I think the only that has me on the wall is being away from family frequently. I see my age (I turn 20 in January) as an advantage since I have flexibility and won’t have a family for quite a while meaning I can devote lots of time and sacrifice flexibility in my early years of being a pilot. I know I would love to fly, I’ve always dreamed of it and every aspect of it gets me excited. I guess I’m wondering if you guys think becoming a full blown pilot is a good career choice for me and what are the different aspects of beginning training at age 19? I know it’ll be a few years before I’m able to become any type of airline pilot because of training and age requirements. The financial side of it wouldn’t be an issue, my parents would support me in anything I would want to do and I would be able to repay them at a later date. Thanks for any thoughts or advice you have based on my situation! I’m excited to learn more about the aviation industry!

Hello Jonny,

My first recommendation is for you to finish your education. If you truly aspire to be an airline pilot you will go much further with a 4 yr degree than you will without. Now before we get too far ahead of ourselves it says “Suid Africa” next to your name. Since you’re attending BYU can we assume you have a student visa or do you have resident status. The reason I ask is because to instruct and eventually fly in the US you need to be a citizen or have resident status. If you have either than it’s simply a matter of choosing a flight school, building time and getting hired. The regionals in the US are currently experiencing a shortage so getting hired is relatively easy. If you are not you still have to get trained but the career path outside the US may be very different and I recommend you contact carriers in your country.

Now as to whether this would be a good career for you with all do respect I don’t know you so that question is one only you can answer. What I can say is I am a pilot and love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else. It sounds like you have a passion for aviation and are aware of some of the possible negatives. These are decisions only you can make for yourself.

Adam

Thanks Adam I appreciate the advice. I am actually a US citizen living in Utah, I went and lived in South Africa for two months and my dad is South African, so I just use the username Suid Africa since rarely anyone uses the same name. I’m 100% US though. Again I appreciate the advice, I was looking at another thread from someone in college as well. I definitely intend to obtain a 4 year degree, and it looks like that’s what most everyone would say to do because it will help later on down the road. That brings up another question, there are multiple universities that have flight programs that are connected with SkyWest. Of course I’ll look at the pros and cons of different options, but what are my options and what might be best? Obtain a 4 year degree in business or some other field, then go through training at ATP or some other training facility, or would a viable option be attending one of the universities (ex. Utah State, Utah Valley, Southern Utah) and enrolling in their programs? Again thanks for the input and insights

Jonny,

There are many fine aviation universities. My problem with them is I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket. While I have no doubt you have your heart set on being a pilot, things change and so do people. It’s ALWAYS a good idea to have a Plan B (not to mention when you become a senior pilot with a great schedule and tons of days off you might want to have a side career. One of my best friends at Hawaiian is a BYU grad and he does tons of IT and Real Estate on the side).

Obviously I’m a fan of ATP (that’s why I’m on here). I simply feel there’s no better or efficient route to the airlines. The training is second to none, as is their reputation and they have many agreements with many Regionals in the country (incl SkyWest). There’s also no substitute for their guaranteed Instructor position. No matter where you train you will need to build time after. ATPs instructors start right away and build time fast. You could start at ATP and potentially be at SkyWest in around 2yrs.

That my .02 :slight_smile:

Adam

Jonny Hubert,

I JUST GOT ACCEPTED INTO BYU FINANCE! GO COUGS!

Also Adam, do you know Ryan Pettit!!! That is one of my dad’s really good friends!!!

The name Ryan Pettit sounds really familiar. Did he instruct for ATP?

Im not sure, but I think he flew for ExpressJet???

I am pretty sure we went through flight school together, which means that Adam went through with him, too.

Small world.

Chris

What are some positives and negatives about the pilot life?

Nathan,

On the negative side, you can be gone on the road a fair amount and when you are junior at a company you will often work weekends and holidays. Take a look at our “Schedules” section for a better idea of what we do.

On the positive side, we get a fair number of days off per month, get to see the world, have great benefits and pay and most importantly, have the best office view ever :slight_smile:

Cameron,

Ryan is the pilot I was referring to above. Me and Ryan have been friends for years. We upgraded at ExpressJet together and he one of the reasons I’m at Hawaiian. One of my best friends in the World!

Adam

I heard your description of Ryan and I knew that was him. Our family is heading over to the Big Island in two weeks, and we were going to try to meet up with Ryan for a day or two. Small world haha.

Very small! I’m sure you’ll all have a great visit and I’m certain if Ryan can meet you guys he will. Most gracious guy on the planet!

Adam