Real Answers from Real Pilots

Dream to Fly

Hello my name is Chander Bhardwaj
I lives in New Jersey age 31, education 2 yrs collage. I am owner operator of 18 wheelers for last 9 yrs. I always wanna to be a Pilot and but for some reason I came into trucking industry. I am planning to join ATP in 2019. Would it be a good move for me? I can’t wait to fly. This is my dream.

What would you suggest me that become an airline pilot or a helicopter pilot. What is a difference between both of them income and life style? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Chander,

Your story is very interesting to me as there are so many similarities to mine. I was in the restaurant business but not very happy. On whim I decided to go to Truck Driving school and during the training I was reminded of how much I loved flying (I had gotten my Private license years before). While flying is obviously very different than long haul truck driving the regulatory aspects are very similar since the FAA is technically part of the DOT. Anyway when I made the decision to fly I actually started flying helicopters first which was awesome (I’ve actually been looking at getting my add-on rotary wing license). Unfortunately when I started doing research the career opportunities flying rotary wing vs fixed is very poor. The top jobs are corporate, TV news and law enforcement and those go to the military guys. The other jobs (sight seeing, oil rig ops) are out there but again there simply aren’t that many. When you look at fixed wing we’re talking the airlines who are facing the largest pilot shortage in history and are hiring like crazy. That’s what I made my decision based on and again while I love helicopters it’s really tough to do well so I went the airplane route.

It’s your decision but for me it was the right one and I’ve done well in a relatively short time.

Adam

Hey Chander,

I came from a transportation logistics background before I decided to
become a pilot myself. I worked in an office, but I am somewhat familiar of
the kind of money an owner-operator can make. I want to make one thing very
clear. Even though trucking and aviation are under the DOT umbrella, the
two are VERY different. During a flight instructor’s first two years,
income is between $25-$35k at the most. $40 if you get help from a Regional
to repay your loan. More info on that can be found on ATP’s website. That
is significantly less than a first year driver making double. I know there
is a difference between intrastate and long haul pay, but still…if this
is really what you want to do you need to prepare yourself for reality.

After a flight instructor has flown enough hours to become eligible to fly
for a regional airline, pay increases to $40-$50k. After about 4-5 years at
a regional, pay jumps jumps well above 6 figures at a major.

Unfortunately I can not tell you if this would be a good move for you. You
either want to do it or you don’t. Same for flying airliners vs
helicopters. Fly whichever one you want. I don’t have a lot of knowledge
about helicopters except that helicopter training typically costs more than
airplane flight training.

Tory

Thank you Adam for your reply. I will start it 2019. Please suggest me one thing I have 2 yrs of collage but didn’t complete my degree form India. What should I do for major airlines requirement?

Thank you Troy for your advice. I understood that I have to make some income sacrifice in the beginning. But at least I can accomplish my dream. Could you please tell me the work schedule of regional pilot? How many days in a week or in a month?

Chander,

If you want to work for the major airlines, you will need a four year degree. You will not need one for the regionals.

You will need to contact various colleges and universities in the US to see how to best continue your education.

Chris

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Chander,

My schedule is posted in the “Schedules” section of the forum.

Tory

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A degree could be in any field or just in aviation field?
Can I do my part time degree while I am regional pilot?

Chander,

Yes your degree can be in anything you like and yes you can do it while working at a Regional.

Adam

Chander,

You can get a degree in anything you’d like. The major airlines just want
to see that you have one.

Yes, you can finish your degree online while at a regional. Just make sure
the online college you choose is accredited.

Tory

How can I start my pilot carseat if I live Vancouver Washington

Davyd,

Work and study hard, do well in school and after you graduate you can begin your flight training.

Adam