Real Answers from Real Pilots

AA Cadet Academy

(John P) #21

Thanks for the thoughtful reply!



You certainly are persistent I’ll give you that. I have to say for someone who claims to be considering ATP you really don’t give them much credit and it really sounds as if you’re sold on AA which is just fine and dandy. I’m not going to pick your latest response apart piece by piece but there are a few things that simply scream for a response.

“Not sure what the criteria was”. That’s probably the truest statement in your post. You don’t and neither do I but I do know a few things about airlines. We would all like to believe and sleep better if we believed that safety and quality was the driving force behind every decision every airline makes. Unfortunately that simply ain’t true. Btw, why would AA select ATP for their Envoy Cadet program? AA owns Envoy? As I said I don’t know their reason for selecting who but I’m willing to bet it was more related to costs, logistics and financing.

Your Tex A&M/Pitts analogy is seriously flawed. You’re argument is based on where you live vs the industry you’re in and/or the degrees and education sought. We’re talking about reputation and recognition WITHIN the airline industry, not simply how many people in your town have heard of the school.

Yes AF has been around since 1939 and as I said they’re a fine school. But how long have they had a “professional” pilot program. For that matter how long have they offered multi-engine training? I mentioned that before and you managed to skip over that one. AF has done an outstanding job over the last 80 years doing what they do best and that’s PPLs and IRs. That’s what they’re known for. You quote the 1939 origin but did you actually READ their history? They talk about their expertise in Instrument and Recurrent training but make no reference to any professional program or instruction. None. The pilot shortage hit, everyone and they’re brother jumped on the “career pilot program” and here we are. The fact is while they have a proven track record of doing preliminary pilot training they have never in the past had a professional pilot program. That’s not false information, it’s fact. It has nothing to do with size or how long they’ve existed. If they had people who have gone from Zero to the airlines why wouldn’t they offer at least a single testimonial? Because they haven’t, yet.

Could you please direct me to the post where a mentor said “you should never work for a 135 operation because they’re all shady”. As for the logging time Chris was unaware of a rule change, immediately acknowledged it and apologized. Where did he get upset and how would that “unnecessarily limit someone’s options”?

Hopefully we can end this back and forth as it really is getting nowhere. People have a choice and we do our best to offer our take from our experience in the industry. Last time I checked this was America and all are free to chose what they like. I did my homework back in the day and chose ATP and it was the right decision for ME. Perhaps AF will emerge as a comparable or even better option but that remains to be seen.


(John P) #23

Hey Adam,

The post I was referring to was in the same thread where Chris said,

That’s a pretty broad brush. He did qualify that as an opinion (“if I were you…”) but to write off a whole segment of the aviation industry seems a little reckless and overly dismissive. The only reason I care, or even bring it up in this forum, is that I bet half of the people on here don’t have a concept of what business aviation (Part 91 or 135) even looks like. But not only is it a valid, it’s sometimes preferable to a lot of people who are concerned about the lack of flexibility/variety in 121 jobs. Like you said, this is 'Merica. A chicken in every pot, and a G650 in every hangar, right?

I give ATP lots of credit. If for no other reason, they seem to be the only “off the street” training program where you can get financing without being in a college program. I haven’t drank the kool-aid with ATP because I’m a little leery of their angle (get as many students in the door as possible). And I’m skeptical of the AA program…they certainly have an angle also, although it seems to be that they’re really just running a pilot program (no pun intended) as 60-100 pilots a year isn’t going to plug the hole they have in their bucket.

You don’t have to agree with me. I don’t expect you would ever stoop that low. I’m persistent because…I care. I’ve invested a lot of time in this journey, and while I wait for my time to come around I’m enjoying sharing what I’ve learned (and trolling you a little bit.)



Ok that’s a fairly broad stroke (I believe Chris meant to be cautious because there are in fact some shady operators but that goes for every segment of our industry) but it also isn’t what you said “I saw mentors (plural)” or quoted “you should never work for a 135 operation because they’re all shady” now is it? And while there are some very fine operations and it can be another avenue for a career there are by far more horror stories than 121 operations and I know too many pilots who’ve been burned.

Why would I ever stoop to a “troll” (your word not mine)? Believe what you like but I’m actually trying to help vs someone who by definition,“deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community”. I’m sure your mentors would be proud.

Peace out. I’m done.




Over the years on this forum, we have seen numerous people come on and post about this or that 135 operator and how great they are, only to later find out that things weren’t what they were cracked up to be (of course people usually email this and don’t post it). Just last week a former forum member texted me that he was leaving AmeriFlight (a company you mentioned) because he was barely flying, living in a company provided apartment that only gave him a couch and no private room, plus breaking many other promises to him. And when he gave them his two weeks notice, they fired him on the spot. This person also let me know that they much touted AmeriFlight to UPS pathway program is really a sham that not a single person has actually made it through yet.

This is just one of many, many examples I have of part 135 carriers playing games and not living up to their promises. Is this to say that all part 135 carriers are like this? Of course not, but the stories are so frequent that I feel that it is safe to recommend students stay away from the 135 path.

Part 91 is a whole different arena, if you want to wash airplanes, book rental cars, empty lavs and occasionally get to fly the airplane when “the principals” are not on it, then it is a great way to go. Again, are they all like this? No, but a heck of a lot to them are.

My purpose as a mentor on this forum is to provide accurate information and mentoring. As such, I recommend against going to a 135 operator because of the great preponderance of stories that I have heard and witnessed over the years. Very rarely does somebody tell me how great these jobs are. In contrast to this, flight instructing is a proven way to build hours while also sharpening your skills, in today’s environment, it is consistently the fastest path to the regional airlines.

In regards to American Flyers, I never made the statement: "they’re using small flight schools that don’t have a track record of producing pilots”. That is not at all what I said. To begin with, I rarely use contractions. Secondly, I said “they are using relatively small flight schools as partners that do not have track records of expeditiously producing pilots.” I absolutely stand by that statement. AF is relatively small compared to ATP, as are their other partner schools. I was using the word “pilot” in the sense of “airline pilot” as that is what we are all here for and while AF has produced many a private pilot, they are not known for advanced certifications. But more importantly, I said “expeditiously”, which you dropped from your quote, totally changing the meaning of what I was saying. If you are going to quote me, do it correctly.

Then you go on to tell me to broaden my circles, I can assure you, they are broad. My family has been flying airliners continiously since 1940, both of my grandfathers flew for TWA, my father flew for the airlines for 42 years, all of my uncles fly and I have been flying and remained involved in flight training since 2002. I know pilots from all walks of life and have seen what works and what does not.

You mentioned that we are paid to “push the ATP way”. That is completely false. We have absolutely no financial incentive here for a student to sign up for ATP. In fact, we have full discretion to recommend other schools when appropriate and we often do, so that is another completely false assumption from you.

Nobody is bothered by your participation. What bothers me is that you post as though you are an authority on these matters when in fact you are not.


(John P) #26

Wow. And here I thought we were winding this whole conversation down. I clearly hit a nerve with you, or challenged your authority, so my apologies. I don’t claim to be an authority, and while I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people in the industry, I’m pretty skeptical of people who self-identify as authorities or experts.

But yet again, you’re basically saying that I’m wrong because you’ve texted with a bunch of people who hate Ameriflight, and that it’s beneath you (and any self-respecting pilot) to empty a lavatory. (By the way I’ve never seen a pilot empty a lav, that’s usually the purview of ramp guys even in 91 or 135 operations.)

Glad that your path has worked for you, but it’s not the only valid path.

This is the view from my office window. I meet and talk to a lot of pilots every day who chose a different path than you. Some of them are certainly working to go to the airlines, but not a great preponderance of them. Some tried that route and decided a life of shuttle buses and Red Roof Inns (their words, not mine) wasn’t for them. They’re very happy flying medium and heavy jets, and they get paid just fine for doing so.

One of my airline pilot mentors (the WN-CP whose opinion is less valid than yours) said something to the "commonalities of all [professional] pilots:

  1. Most, not all, love flying airplanes
  2. All love telling people that they fly airplanes
  3. All love griping about their jobs and how poorly they’re treated
  4. All love telling everyone else how much better their job is than anyone else’s

I’ve experienced that firsthand, and for whatever reason I still find myself daydreaming about being the one flying the plane rather than being the business guy keeping them in the air.

So, I’m not an expert. Maybe one day I will be. But then again, maybe not. I’m reminded of a an old proverb: “An expert is a fool away from home.”



You twisted what I said, completely changing the message behind it so yes, that bothers me and yes I will absolutely correct that. You can be skeptical all you want, but my experience in the field does make me an authority, expert, mentor, whatever you want to call it. I have been helping people become airline pilots for well over a decade and feel very comfortable in that role.

Yes, my path has worked for me and it has worked well. There are other paths, many not involving the airlines, but if you pay attention to the name of this website, it is “Airline Pilot Life.” This website is designed to help people become airline pilots, we will share our knowledge about other avenues when appropriate, but all of the mentors on here are airline pilots, the site is designed for people that want to be airline pilots, and that is the vast majority of what our students want, so yes, the answers on will be skewed towards the best way possible to be an airline pilot.

I am glad that you know and talk to a lot of business jet pilots, I think that is great. If you want to go down that path, that is fantastic and I wish you the best with it. I do find that most of the business jet pilots have never flown at a major airline and their perceptions of such are usually wrong, along with their pay being significantly less. I rarely ride on shuttle buses and have never stayed at a Red Roof Inn. By the way, very few, if any of the business jet pilots you have spoken to are flying “heavy jets”. That is an actual term in aviation, so it would be best to use it appropriately.

I have never discounted your Southwest mentor’s advice, although I will say that I never tell anybody how much better my job is than theirs, I would find that to be an incredibly arrogant thing to do.

You seem to have several mentors that you really trust, that is a great. As you seem to disparage much of the information that is dispensed on this website, I would suggest that you focus on your own private mentors and stop “trolling” this website (your words).

Best of luck.

(John P) #28

Thanks Chris. One thing you’re a little off on is the heavy jet issue. While you’re partially correct, 135 operators are typically not flying planes that bear the callsign HEAVY (which is for anything with Max TOW < 300,000 iirc), in the industry, business jets are broken into ~5 categories: turboprop, light, medium/mid-size, super-mid and heavy. A heavy jet would be the longest-range jets like a Global, Falcon 900, or a G650. So…I am using the term correctly.

Not exactly a technical term (like the heavy callsign), it’s probably intended to stroke the egos of the owners of these $50Million+ jets (and perhaps the pilots that fly them).

I don’t want to be known as the village troll, and I am on this site to learn about being an airline pilot. I’m sure you’re a nice guy in real life. So, no hard feelings and I appreciate you sharing what you know and what you’ve experienced.



I learned something today about the business jet world, but you are using the term correctly for the business world, not the airline world and not how the FAA or ICAO classifies airplanes. If any Falcon pilot referred to their airplane as a “heavy” in a room full of airline pilots, they would be laughed out of the room.