Real Answers from Real Pilots

Future Pilot


(Emmett Jackson) #1

Hello,

My name is Emmett and I am interested in starting a career in flying. I always been fascinating about flying, but never had the opportunity/money to actually do it. I graduated from college last year with a degree in Economics. Currently, I work as an accountant, and have been for almost a year now. Accounting is okay, but I don’t see myself doing this and feeling happy with it for the rest of my life.

Last month, I started taking private pilot lessons at a local airport by me just to see if this is something I really want to do. I am about 5 hours into flight time…getting closer to that 1,500 hour milestone haha. Turns out, I really like flying and I want to pursue it. I want to stick in accounting about a year longer to save up and to help me get to the 80 hour requirement before starting with ATP. I have a couple questions:

  1. What is the difference between the 40 hour multi time and 100 hour multi time? Does this 60 hour difference help a lot in terms of landing a job as an airline pilot? What route did you guys take?

  2. The ATP flight school website promotes around $51K for the fast track program. Is this a fixed price once you sign up or are there additional costs for tests and supplies?

  3. How did you guys finance your flight school? $51K deep in loans is a scary thought. Was flight instructing enough the help you pay for your loans while you built time?

  4. As far as flight instruction, what was the most challenging/enjoyable aspect of it? Also, realistically, how much per month could I expect to earn as a flight instructor say averaging 80 hours a month. (Sorry if this question is too vague, I am just trying to see how much I should be saving up).

  5. After obtaining your CFI/CFII do you only instruct at ATP flight schools? Or does ATP have contracts with other smaller local airports, so that you can instruct in multiple locations? (I am currently looking at the Oakland, CA ATP flight school).

  6. How was working for a regional airline? What were some of the pros/cons for you?

  7. Lastly, as an airline pilot, how your social life outside of flying. Are you able to see family members and friends on a frequent basis?

Hopefully these questions can help other future pilots who had the same questions as well. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions, I really appreciate it!


#2

Hi Emmett and Welcome!

Boy you ask a lot of questions! But that’s good, that’s what we’re here for. First off I’m glad you started, many perspective pilots come on here and have never been up which I think is essential so kudos. Anyway let’s dive in…

  1. Difference between 40 and 100 hr multi? Obviously the answer is 60 hrs (duh) but does it make a difference? All airlines have hiring mins (the 1500hrs is a new FAA requirement) and for many it’s 100hrs multi (in truth more multi is always better). I know a ton of guys with a ton of time BUT don’t have the multi so can’t get an interview. Now, if you’re planning on instructing for ATP that’s not an issue since ATP does a significant amount of multi training so you should (no guarantees) be able to build the multi time there. But if you’re thinking of going another route (local flight school, banner tow, etc) then it’s best to get that 100 hrs. When I went through the program they only offered the 100hrs but I would’ve done it anyway because it was before the 1500hr rule and I was looking to get hired fast.

  2. Price Guarantee? One of my FAVORITE things about ATP is the price is the price. The website states clearly:
    The following additional costs are not included in your fixed price:
    •Examiners’ fees of approximately $4,200 ($4,800 from zero time) (paid in cash to examiner)
    •iPad, Headset, Flight Bag & other pilot gear that you will need (purchased separately)
    •Third Party iPad Apps
    but that’s it. There are no btws or hidden fees.

  3. Paying for Training? I took out a student loan through ATP. I then deferred payment until I was actually working for a Regional. While not the most fiscally responsible option I really had no choice with my other expenses.

4)Flight Instructing? Personally I found EVERY aspect of flight instructing challenging, but the most was the sad reality that not everyone can or should be a pilot and having to be the one to break the news to them. Not to get into social commentary but many people believe (because Barney and their parents told them) that they can do ANYTHING and the reality is that’s not reality. Enjoyable was when a student works hard and is successful. You get a great sense of pride. As far as income goes it can obviously vary. ATP quotes “up to $42k WITH tuition reimbursement” which I’d say is fair. Save up as much as you can because you’re first couple of years at a Regional will be pretty lean although it is getting better.

  1. Where to Instruct? Your CFI is your CFI and you can take it anywhere you’d like. That said I don’t know any other flight school where you’ll build the time as fast AND have the ability to build multi. ATP does considerably more training than most local flight schools. No ATP doesn’t contract out to any other schools and when you’re based at a specific location you’re expected to be available there fulltime.

6)Regional flying? I LOVED flying for ExpressJet. Tremendous experience, great equipment and crews. The pay is obviously lower than the Majors which is why most pilots move on. For me personally I was quite happy it was the instability. Regionals are contracted by the Majors and the contracts expire every few years. If there’s a lower bidder often the Regional may lose some flying which can result in furloughs and downgrades. It can be very volatile.

  1. Life outside of flying? EVERYTHING at the airlines is based on seniority. As you gain seniority you gain control over your schedule and therefore your life. In the beginning you’ll fly where and when the airline needs you to fly. You may even be based away from home which can mean a commute. You’ll have time off but probably not as much as you’d like and often not when you like. Things do improve with time.

Hopefully that helps some.

Adam


(Emmett Jackson) #3

Thanks Adam! That was a quick response! Very insightful! Sorry for loading a bunch of questions on you, I had been thinking about that stuff for years and finally had it answered haha. Cheers to a new journey, I’ll come back to this post 2.5-3 years from now and let you know I did it.


(Nicholas Houston Zahn) #4

How old do you have to be, even if all training is done, for airlines to look at you for a job/ consider your application?


#5

Nicholas,

The FAA requires pilots to be 21 to hold an ATP certificate. As airline pilots are required to have ATP certificates the minimum age that an airline will consider an applicant at is thus also 21 years of age.

Chris