Real Answers from Real Pilots

Characteristics of students who make it through the program

Going to flight school would pose a huge risk for me. I would have to quit my job (which would be almost impossible to get back) in order to have the time to go and possibly sell my house in order to pay for it. I don’t want to do that if I don’t have what it takes to become an airline pilot. What is a good indicator that someone will be able to make it through flight school and obtain a job with an airline?

Chantelle,

Flight school is a risk for anybody, just like any form of higher education is. There is always a chance that a person who seeks additional training will not do well, those risks are just part of life.

When I was a CFI the best indicator to me that a student would do well was a desire and drive on their part to exceed, along with a strong study ethic. A student has to want to do well for themselves to succeed, a CFI cannot instill that in them, just like a student has to be willing to put in the hard hours studying to do well. If you bring those two things to the table you stand a very good chance of doing well.

First things first though, have you taken an introductory flight? This is a short flight that introduces you to flying and is meant to help you determine if you really want a career up in the clouds. You can schedule one at ATP or just about any flight school. Start there, it will help you see if flying is right for you.

Chris

Chantelle,

My first question has have you ever taken any flight lessons at all or even been up in a small plane? If the answer is no I suggest you try it before entertaining the rest.

Adam

Thank you so much for your replies Chris and Adam. I’ve been reading this forum for quite a while so I know it makes you cringe when people say things like what I’ve said. Don’t worry, I’m not ready to do all that just yet. That’s why I’m on here, to help make sure this is the path for me before I make any life changing decisions. I’ve been doing as much self study and research as I can by watching YouTube videos and reading the FAA handbooks, but this is just a start. I have been considering this for a long time and know that I am no where near having enough information to take the leap.

To answer your question Adam, I have not had a flight lesson but I have been up a few times in a small plane as well as a helicopter.
My first experience in a small plane was in what I think was a Cessna Caravan while on safari at the Maasai Mara in Kenya. An experience that I highly recommend to everyone. It is the coolest thing to see all the animals and beautiful landscapes from the air. Anyways, the flight was a bit bumpy and at times felt like I was on a rollercoaster with all the sudden drops that caused my stomach to leap into my throat but that experience didn’t deter me from wanting to fly, in fact, it’s probably what sparked my interest in becoming a pilot. You really can’t beat the view from the sky.

My next experience in a small plane was in a Twin Otter DHC-6-100. I didn’t have much time in that plane however since I jumped out of it at 13,000 ft. And I took an hour long helicopter tour of the San Francisco Bay Area in a Robinson R44. Flying under the Golden Gate Bridge and along the California coast is also an experience that I highly recommend.
Anyways, I plan on gifting myself the introductory flight at ATP for my birthday this year. Knowing the types of small planes I’ve been in before, which flight do you recommend I take? Or should I do both?

Chantelle,

I would take the single engine flight. You will get the same experience and save a few dollars, which is always a good thing.

Chris

I’m with Chris. Do the single as that’s where you’ll be getting your start. BTW, Otters and Caravans are not small (just smaller) planes.

Adam