Real Answers from Real Pilots

Advice for Flight attendant interested in becoming a pilot

Hi everyone! Would love some advice on becoming a pilot and my particular situation. I never thought about becoming a pilot til I started working as a flight attendant and a lot of pilots asking me why don’t I go to flight school. I would rather not quit my job and continue to work while flying and Going to school. So I guess I would have to look into a part 61 program. Now how much harder is it to get a job going that route vs a part 141 program like ATP? I know it is going to take longer and I am no spring chicken at 38 years old. I know it is possible to still do it at my age but I need to hurry up. One of our new first officers started from nothing at my age and is now at Southwest at 50 (he did spend 10 years at Skywest) but he went with a school similar to atp in Florida. Just wondering how likely it is to work and be able to get all my ratings and flight time? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Thanu,

Welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

Let’s clear up a bit of confusion, there is no advantage to a part 141 school, in fact ATP is a part 61 school. While 141 schools advertise reduced time to get a license, the reality is that they have a bunch of FAA requirements that end up making the program take longer. I got my private license at a 141 school and thought that the process was very reflective of a government program, full of ridiculous requirements.

I have seen many flight attendants go from the back to the front of the airplane, something they almost all seem to struggle with is knowing when to quit being an FA. I fully understand the need to continue working while flight training, but once that is complete you really need to quit working in the back and dedicate yourself to being a pilot. There is absolutely no benefit to being a current FA when applying to the airlines to be a pilot.

On the subject of training while still working, you can certainly do that, but be aware that it will take you YEARS longer to get to a regional airline than it will if you are able to quit your job and focus solely on flying. If you left your job today and went to flight school full time, you could be airline eligible by the time you are 40. If you continue to work, the time frame will be greatly expanded and really depends on how often you are able to fly. It should also be pointed out that if you want to fly for a major airline you should plan on getting your four year degree if you don’t already have one.

To build your 1,500 hours you will likely need to flight instruct, which is a full time position at just about any flight school out there.

You are by no means too old to enter the profession, but I wouldn’t wait much longer to take the leap.

Chris

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Thanu,

I second everything Chris said. I just want to add some airlines will allow you to take a leave of absence and maintain your seniority number so I would look into that. As he said, there’s no reason you can’t train part time but be aware it will not take longer, it will take ALOT longer. To quote you “I need to hurry up”. If you’re serious, I’d bite the bullet and do it.

Adam

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Chris and Adam,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and advice. Ideally I would be able to take a leave or quit, but my job is kind of like my security blanket. Plus I like having flight benefits. lol I just talked to someone who is a United flight attendant, who attends ATP. I’m going to pick his brain a little bit, but he told me he drops most of his trips. I could drop a lot of mine too, but I would not be able to drop everything. Would ATP be doable, if say I work 12 days a month and dedicate the rest to flight instruction? From reading the board, it seems like it is a Monday-Friday program, but if there is some flexibility, I would love to go to ATP. It’s just months that I have reserve (every other month), it is 12 days of reserve (four 3 day blocks, so one block a week). Thanks again!

Thanu

Thanu,

Honestly I don’t see that happening. You do need to train full time at ATP Mon -Fri and while you have the weekends off that’s for study and needed rest. This is accelerated flight training. It’s challenging and requires your full attention. If you over tax yourself you may very well find yourself unsuccessful. You’ll be given assignments and have skills that MUST be completed on time. If you get stuck on a trip and have to delay training or a checkride that’s on YOU.

If you’re serious about becoming a pilot than you need to be committed.

Adam

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Thanu,

I am with Adam on this one, I don’t see how it would be possible for you to attend ATP while working a job. I completely understand your desire to, but it just isn’t feasible. You could always get your private first (outside of ATP) to see if you really like flying, then go to ATP. At some point, you will need to take the plunge.

Chris