Real Answers from Real Pilots

American Airlines Cadet Program Application

(Nicholas) #1

Has anyone here applied to the American Cadet Program? I am curious what the process was like and how long each step took.

American Cadet Academy


I could be mistaken, but in light of the fact the program was only introduced less than 2mos ago I don’t believe you’ll find many people who have gotten much further than the initial application. If you yourself have applied, please feel free to share your experience.


(Nicholas) #3

I didn’t realize how recently the program was created, but that explains why I can find any information about it. I finished the application last Saturday. I will make this a running thread with updates about how long each step takes so that people in the future can have a timeline to expect.


Agreed, I will be very curious to hear how this program actually plays out.

(Dakota) #5

Hey Nick,

I applied for AA Cadet almost a month ago, and haven’t heard anything back from them. I spoke with another guy that applied when they first unveiled the program and he said he went through the video interview process within 7-10 days, then he was invited to Dallas and flew there to interview. Surprisingly, 3-4 weeks later, he received notification that he wasn’t accepted into the program. His only guess as to why he wasn’t accepted was that he was in his mid-30’s and they might be looking for younger candidates. He was in the initial wave of applicants and they have over 2,500 now I’ve heard, so I am sure the process is taking longer now. Keep us posted on your experience!

(Nicholas) #6

Wow that’s crazy it’s been that long for you. And it doesn’t look good for me if that’s really why they denied him I’m 31

(Dakota) #7

Have you heard anything back yet? I think he was like 36, and who knows if that’s why he was denied. That’s just what he was guessing.


That would be a lousy reason to deny someone but I wouldn’t be discouraged in the least. As we’ve said the Regionals are hungry and flow -thrus are rarely the fastest route to the Majors.


(Nicholas) #9

I agree that would be a lousy reason but anything is possible. The main thing I am looking at this program for is the fact that they help with getting financing. Although if it doesn’t work that is fine I will find another way. Honestly their regional carrier piedmont has a better program because they reimburse you for flight hours but you have to be an instructor to apply to it. I don’t have a crazy amount of debt but I already know Sally May wants a co-signer and I would rather avoid that if at all possible. And I’m sure that any other providers would want one as well



I wouldn’t be surprised if the lenders with the AA Cadet program required co-signers as well. These are large, unsecured loans, banks want to make sure that they will get repaid.


(Jenn) #12

I actually did apply to the AA Cadet program. I interviewed and did the aptitude test (whew, that thing is kind of crazy!) this last Tuesday and Wednesday. Things progressed fairly quickly between each step (Video interview 3 weeks after assessment questions and then I heard about the in person interview about 2 weeks later) and I am due to hear back within 1-2 weeks if I was accepted. I am 33 and brought up questions about my age a couple times during the encounter. From what I could tell, that part didn’t seem to matter much to them. It was overall a very pleasant experience. If I get denied, I agree that I won’t be too discouraged, but I am excited about the opportunity. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask away and I will do my best to answer.

(Dakota) #13

Hey Jenn,

Good luck! I am sure it was a great experience to interview in Dallas. May I ask when you applied, and how long it took to get a response from AA Cadet? Many thanks!

(Nicholas) #14

Are you talking about the questionair in the application or is there an actual aptitude test they ask you to take after they review your profile?

(Lindsay R Davis) #15

Hey All!

Nicholas, thanks for asking this question, I have been wondering the exact same thing and havent found much info on the web or this forum because it is such a new program. Especially since I applied a couple months ago as well, now I am awaiting my in person interview on July 24, 25.

Dakota, I applied and after a week of not hearing from them, I emailed them (May 29th) directly asking when I would hear back after applying the week prior. I received a response later that day mentioning I was on a list for the next video interview invitations. Received another email that day inviting me to complete video interview, completed on June 5th. June 14th, received my email about moving on to 2 day interview in Dallas. Wasn’t available for first interview dates (June 26, 27th) so now my interview dates are the next months interview session, mentioned above.

Chris, all of the main flight programs I’ve researched, ATP being a main one, have banks that require co-signers and suggest applying for the loans asap to get approved asap. Alternatively the AA Cadet Academy program website says you can only apply to one bank only when you get accepted into the program and do not need a co-signer. I am not sure if that means AA and the bank have an arrangement or not. But like Nicholas said it would be nice to get a loan without a cosigner.

Jenn, since my interview in Dallas is in a few weeks i would LOVE some more info from you on what all you have to complete. I will be excited to hear if you made it into the program and to hear about your journey through in the future.

I did receive an email at some point mentioning they were looking to select 200 people for the program this year and more next year.

(Terra) #18

How many questions are there on the web interview?



First of all congrats! Obviously not everyone gets accepted so that’s a great accomplishment. While I’m clearly partial to ATP you have to realize that ALL these new cadet programs are simply a means for the airlines to lock you in to committing to them very early in the process. The pilot storage is real and the airlines are scrambling for bodies. This is not a pitch for ATP but with the current hiring environment unless they were making you an unbelievable offer (which it doesn’t sound like they are?), I’d be hesitant to lock myself in to anything. If your heart is set on American, trust me they’ll be actively recruiting for years and many pilots at other Regionals get the call before the flow-thrus.
You won’t be looking at going to a Major for at the very least 5yrs from now and that is a lifetime in this industry. I’d think long and hard before I’d commit.


(Lindsay R Davis) #21

Jenn, My interview went pretty great I think! They said they would let us all know within a week. There were 9 of us in my group of in person interviews.

Also there is no commitment required for the AA Cadet program. I asked and you don’t have to fly as a CFI for the school that you train with, you don’t have to fly with one of their regional’s or even AA. It seems like AA is hoping that all the help and connections will be advantageous and that the cadets will want to stick with AA throughout the process. They did help create the loan that they said most everyone has had no issue getting approved for and you cant have a cosigner.

I feel your decision though Jenn, I am still not sure if i want to do the AA program, ATP or even go through the military route, more specifically Air National Guard.

(Jenn) #22

Thanks, Adam. Honestly, I think the program only differs in the fact that they make financing easier if you need a loan. Apparently the cost includes all the training you need, even if you need more flight hours than the average student. Not quite sure if that is a reality or you are just dismissed if you cannot keep up. There are no promises of employment or promises of anything, really. I figured if I go through this program (I hesitate to call it a cadet program as it seems a bit different) I would at least have more ability to network if I head to Texas where American’s hub is at. The cost isn’t really all that different once you consider that the 87k includes all the gear you will need. ATP is lower, but you buy your gear. Please know this is the best I have come up with in my numerous attempts to do research on both and may have inaccuracies. :slight_smile:

Adam, what would you do if it were you? Aren’t I looking at the very least 5 years from now for the majors either path I take? I would appreciate any knowledge you could add as you are light years ahead of me in regards to what it takes and what the industry is looking for.

@lindsayrdavis, that’s great! I thought they were all wonderful. You will have to keep me updated with what you decide and which school you have picked!



Obviously I’m a fan of ATP and frankly I don’t know all the details of the AA program but here are a few thoughts. The AA program is more expensive, takes twice as long and you’ll have to move so my question is why? What are they giving you that’s worth the extra cash, time and a move to swing you that way? Don’t get me wrong American Flyers is a fine school and has been around for a while but this “career pilot program” is a new concept for them. Their niche has always been getting you your PPL, Instrument rating and online CFI renewals. Now that there’s this pilot shortage EVERYONE is jumping on the bandwagon to “get you to an airline”. Fact is years ago when I decided to become a pilot I went to American Flyers and after discussing my goals, they sent me to ATP. ATP created the professional pilot program and has been successfully training pilots for the airlines for over 30yrs and has had over 500 students hired in the last 12mos alone.

Jenn these are grownup decisions and you have to do what’s best for you but again I’m missing the answer to the question why?


(Lindsay R Davis) #24

I was accepted into the AA Cadet Academy! Also just received my first class medical today!

If i selected the AA Academy with American Flyers i would attend the Dallas, TX location! Is that where you would go as well?

With American Flyers we were told training will take 6-8 months to complete and then we can instruct for American Flyers if we chose to do so. There is no required commitment to fly with any AA affiliated airline, or flight instruct for American Flyers, BUT we are guaranteed interviews with all THREE of their regional airlines when we have accrued our 1500TT hours.

I think they are both great programs (ATP & AA Cadet Academy) and have their own pros and cons. It doesn’t hurt to apply to AA Cadet Academy and see if you get selected and then make your decision either way.