Real Answers from Real Pilots

Correct Commercial Airline Path?

Dear Pilots,
Hi my name is Dylan Whaley and I live in Eastern North Carolina! I have been wanting to become a major airline pilot for quite some time now and I’m sure it is what I want as a career. I am a junior in high school and have the option of graduating a semester early next year because I have most of the required credentials! I have been interested in attending ATP flight school. My question is: Should I attend ATP starting next spring and spend 6-9 months there and then get my 4 year degree and become a part time flight instructor at the same time to stay consistent ? I also was thinking about going to a community college for 2 years then transferring to NC State. Or should I attend ATP while getting my 4 year degree in nC State since they are near each other? I have talked to pilots and they have all told me it is better to get all flight training out of the way as quick as you can because timing is crucial when applying. If I completed flight training FIRST, I would then get my 4 year degree and the flight instruct while getting degree? That way when I was done getting my degree I would be able to apply straight out! What are your guys’ thoughts? I’m open to any suggestions.

I have similar case I want to do my aerospace engineering degree but I want to know if I have to start with flying…

I’m finishing aerospace engineering in may then starting ATP in June. That’s the way the majority would do it.

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Dylan,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the introduction! To attend ATP you will need to either attend two years of college, have two years work experience, or have your Private Pilot’s license, so as it stands right now you would not be able to attend ATP next spring, this is not a bad thing. My advice to you even if you were eligible to attend ATP right now would be to go to college first. Right now you are ins school mode and it is just easier to stay that way. Whether you go to a community college first and then transfer or go straight to NC State doesn’t matter, just make sure to get a four year degree in something that is not off the wall like basket weaving. The regionals do not require a degree, but the majors absolutely do, so you might as well get one now.

You will not be able to attend ATP while you are a college student, ATP is a full time course that requires you to be available all day, five days a week. There is a tremendous amount information that is passed to you in a short amount of time, trying to attend even a single college class would be really tough, if not impossible.

As to instructing, even if you were to become a CFI next year, you would find that it would be difficult to instruct while taking classes. No student is going to want a part time CFI and again, your college grades would suffer.

I understand the desire to get up in the air as soon as possible, but keep in mind the old adage of “Slow and steady wins the race”. Go to college, do as well as possible and finish your degree as quickly as possible, then go to an accelerated flight school. Biting off one chunk at a time really is the best way to do things and seems to have the best success rate.

By the way, where in eastern Carolina do you live? I used to live in Moyock in Currituck County.

Chris

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Helpful!