Real Answers from Real Pilots

Best type of IFR training

Hi there! New member here. I’m 36 years old, doing IT for the DoD currently, but my degree is in Aerospace Engineering. I am getting tired of the cubicle life, and I’m thinking of changing careers to become an airline pilot. I’ve heard that China is hard up and is offering fat paychecks for people who don’t mind moving. I want to see the world, but due to some sensitivities surrounding my job, they frown on going to certain countries. I love traveling and flying, even super long distance, and with the exception of figuring out what to do with my 6 year old son who I share custody of, I think I would like the airline pilot lifestyle.

I already have my PPL with around 200 hours total and over 100 hours cross country and own a Cessna 150. I don’t have the money/time to go to a place like ATP, so I’m going to do my training locally and pick up jobs as I come across them. My question is, since the airlines are my goal, what type of IFR training should I take? My local FBO has some 172’s with older King avionics stacks and steam gauges, but there is a flight training outfit ~1.5 hours away (by car) that not only has a Redbird sim, but they also have a 172 with G1000 glass panels. Would the G1000 benefit me in any way, or should I stick to training locally? I’ve considered adding an IFR GPS to my plane, but it’s an older 150 without the standard 6-pack layout, and frankly I don’t think the investment would be worthwhile.

Since I need to keep working my current job for now, I am expecting a 3-4 year window before I have enough time to apply to the regionals. I’m also not sure what to do about multi-engine time, but there’s plenty of time to stress out about that! I have the FAA Instrument Flying Handbook on order and plan to start training in the next couple of weeks once I do more research and check out a few places. This seems like a great place for advice!

Joel,

I don’t think it really matters whether you learn on the older airplane or the newer one. You will need to learn the old way of doing things anyway and quite honestly I think that builds a good foundation.

Of course the time with the newer Garmin wowuld be nice, but I wouldn’t drive that far just because of that.

Chris

Joel,

I’m with Chris, either way is fine. While glass is really nice it’s a much easier transition from round dials to glass than visa versa. If you did all your training with a G1000 and suddenly found yourself hired into a 6 pack that would be ridiculously challenging.

At some point you will need your multi rating and some multi time as well. There really are very few jobs for pilots without and it’s a requirement for an ATP which you will need to fly for ANY airline including the Regionals.

On a final note while it is true China is desperate for pilots and the salaries they offer WERE very high compared to the US, that has changed. There’s a pilot shortage here as well which has forced the US carriers to raise their salaries considerably which is why the Chinese are having an even tougher time recruiting pilots.

Adam

Thanks for the advice. Yes, the fact that starting airline salaries are rising here in the states is what’s winning me over. I’m near IND so I’m looking at Republic, and it looks like they’re starting around $60k, which is doable. Better than the $20k I heard about a decade ago, at least! My plan is really more of a rough outline; I’m going to do my IFR, Commercial, then CFI then re-evaluate where I’m at.