Real Answers from Real Pilots

Building flight time through bush flying etc

I think it would be a fun experience to move to Alaska for a little bit and do some bush flying or some scenic tour flying, etc to build hours before I head to the airlines! Would ATP still be the best option or would going through a different school for private through commercial be a better value?
The timeline on the website says you will be a CFI in 9 months, yet it takes you around 2 years to complete minimum hours… is this strictly building your hours through training others during this 15 months?

Jennie,

First off I don’t believe (if you compare apples to apples) there’s a better value in flight training available than ATP. Second yes the extra time is to build the required mins (1500tt, ME, Instrument, CrossCountry and PIC). Now, if you left out the part in your post that says “before I head to the airlines” then we could have a different conversation. IF you strictly wanted to do bush flying in Alaska as a career and never fly for an airline then sure. You wouldn’t need the multi or CFI rating. But that’s not what you said which makes ATP almost a necessity. Why? Because if you look at the Regional airline requirements there’s other stuff besides just 1500hrs. The FAA doesn’t require an airline pilot to just have 1500hrs, they require airline pilots to have their ATP license and that means there are Multi Engine requirements, Instrument flight time requirements, PIC requirements, X-country requirements and night flying requirements. Some of those things could be difficult to obtain bush flying in Alaska. So you go to Alaska for a year and a half, return with your 1500hrs single engine without the rest and can’t get an interview. Would you then try and get your multi, instrument and night hours by going back for more instruction, getting the ratings and then renting a plane? What happens if you get to Alaska and can’t find a gig or simply don’t like it? Then what? You’ll have your 250hrs and your CPL and have no chance at a job flying because you have no ME or CFI ratings. OR do you go to ATP, graduate WITH your multi engine requirement ALREADY met along with a good portion of your Instrument time, maybe instruct for a few months to meet the rest and then go to Alaska and fly for a year? This and we haven’t begun talking about you applying to an airline with 1500hrs of all single engine bush flying and no experience in controlled airspace, complex aircraft etc.

Totally your call but I like options.

Adam

Just what I needed to know. Thanks, Adam!
So say I did the “instruct for a few months and then go to Alaska and fly for a year” route. Would ATP still provide me with airline placement after my year in Alaska?
If so, how long would I still be eligible for this after graduating?

Jennie,

ATP works with a number of Regional partners and arranges interviews and Tuition Reimbursement for it’s instructors. However, after you leave you’re on your own since ATP can no longer attest to the flying you’ve been doing or the quality of your work. Fortunately this country (in fact the world) is experiencing the greatest pilot shortage in history and it’s forecast to continue for many years to come. Get your licenses and ratings, build your time and satisfy the min requirements and you should have no problem getting hired by the Regional of your choice.

Adam

Jennie,

In order to be eligible for reimbursement/airline placement you have to be
a CFI with ATP when you interview and you must remain as a CFI with ATP
until you reach 1500 hours. At that point, you would then begin training
for your type rating and ATP rating with the airline.

You can only have two of the three things that you’re after before you get
to the regionals. Either flight instruct and interview for tuition
reimbursement. Or flight instruct with no reimbursement and then fly bush
planes.

I strongly suggest that you flight instruct for at least a year. You’ll be
surprised by how much more you’ll learn and retain. Retention is key.

Tory