Real Answers from Real Pilots

How do you know piloting is right for you?

Hi, my name is Noah and I am very interested in becoming a pilot, preferably an international pilot. How would I know that it would be the right thing for me? Would it be the fact that I love to fly and would much rather be on a plane than in a car? Or would it be that my favorite part is taking off, landing and the sheer fact that I love to travel?

Any bit of information would be useful!!

Noah,

First and foremost go for an Intro Flight. You can ponder the career day and night but until you’ve actually flown an airplane you won’t know (and no sitting in the back flying to Disneyland doesn’t count).

Go fly!

Adam

Adam,

Thank you for the response and how would I do that and who would you recommend?

Thanks again!!!

Noah

Noah,

If there’s an ATP nearby they have an excellent Intro Flight program (see here: https://atpflightschool.com/programs/intro-training-flight.html). If not Google your nearest flight school and give them a call. Let us know how you make out.

Adam

I second Adam here, go take an introductory flight.

Also, spend some serious time on this forum looking at our “Flying the Line” and “Schedules” sections, plus asking us questions. This is a great, completely free resource that is available to you, use it.

Chris

Chris,

Thank you so much, I actually looked into it more and I read the ATP link that Adam sent me and I signed up for my introductory lesson. Now I took that very seriously and took notes on everything that sounded important which resulted in me getting a 10 out of 12 on the quiz, but I only missed the two questions because I didn’t know how many miles a nautical mile was equivalent to. After the quiz, I did some research on that so I can perfect my knowledge of aviation. According to my research, a nautical mile is equivalent to 1.15 miles. I am very happy with how my knowledge of aviation is slowly improving.

Noah

Adam,

Thank you for sending me that link. As I was saying to Chris, I signed up for my introductory lesson and I took that very seriously. Considering that I took notes on everything from the throttle to the empennage to the six-pack. I am very pleased with my improvement in aviation knowledge.

Noah

Noah,

I am glad to hear that you signed up for the flight, keep us updated.

Chris

Chris,

Sure thing!!! What do you think about the Air Force? They have an airplane that I am highly interested in flying, and that would be the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, mainly because that would be the closest thing to flying the Boeing 747, for now. They would also help for college classes which will definitely be needed to even be considered to fly a 300 million dollar airplane.

Noah

Noah,

The military is a great thing. You’re serving your country, highest level of training and you get to fly some of the finest (and coolest) equipment out there. BUT, if you talk to anyone who’s served they’ll tell you joining to become a pilot is not a good reason. First pilot slots are not guaranteed. You MUST have a degree and do exceptionally well in school. There are height, weight and physical requirements and most important most pilot slots require an 8 year commitment AFTER you get the slot. While I have the upmost respect for anyone who serves and if you truly have the desire to do so you should by all means look into it, again it’s a very serious LIFE commitment and not to be taken lightly.

Adam

Noah,

If you can get the Air Force to put you through flight school, I say go for it. Just make sure that you are actually signing up specifically for a pilot slot and not just a generic slot.

Chris

Adam,

College is expensive, especially with flight school right after that. The Air Force would help me significantly with the tuition of college. What would you suggest? How did you get where you are now?

Noah

Chris,

I would like to eventually become an AMAZING pilot. I would like to be the pilot that everyone claps for and recommends to their friends and family. I would like to fly for Delta, hopefully internationally. Talking to you guys is REALLY helping me out because I wanna get straight to piloting but also get to become one of the best.

Noah

Noah,

I’m not saying not to join the AirForce, I’m just saying it’s more than just flight training.

Adam

Noah,

I noticed you never said your age. Please know that the Air Force has very strict requirements for flight training. As stated prior there are height and weight requirements but, there is also an age requirement. There is a waiver for your age but they want a VERY valid reason for obtaining a waiver. They are also very selective in who they choose to send through training. If you are young enough and can get into the Air Force Academy that would probably be your best bet. Also, know that unless you are at the top of your class, you don’t get to choose your air frame. Please know that I’m not trying to crush your dreams or anything but, I’m telling you this from personal experience. If you just want to be on the plane I could recommend some great AF careers that you could help you achieve your aviation goals. Let me know if I can help.

Jeremy

P.S. if you’re into big planes, look up the C-5 Galaxy. It’s the C-17 big brother

Adam,

Yes sir, before the Air Force I was HIGHLY interested in becoming a Green Beret in the Army so I was prepared to embrace the suck. I have always liked flying since I was a little kid I loved being on airplanes. So I have decided that was a better option for me.

Noah

Jeremy,

I am currently 17 years old, I am 135 pounds and about 5’8", and I know that I’m not at the top of my class but I am very smart and I can learn ANYTHING that I put my mind to. I am willing to do anything to accomplish my goals to become an amazing pilot. What do you suggest I do?

Noah

P.S. you are totally right about the c-5… IT’S HUGE. Honestly, I’d be happy with any of those options.

Noah,

If you are serious about being an Air Force pilot I would suggest looking at trying to get accepted into the Air Force Academy. You are plenty tall to be a pilot but you would need to get your weight up. The comment about being at the top of your class was in reference to choosing the air frame you wish to fly when your in flight training. Getting accepted to the pilot training program is one thing but, getting the desired aircraft is another. You could always go reserves and try and get accepted into an squadron that flys the plane you want to pilot. You will know going into flight school exactly which plane you will fly instead of hoping you get the one you want. The military is a life changing commitment and you should keep that in mind when considering going that route. In the amount of time they will require you to commit to them, you could get a degree, go to flight school, and possibly be at a major airline. You are at the perfect age to get everything done and go to work at an airline at a young age and have maximum amount of flight time before retirement. Not trying to change your mind or anything just keep all factors in mind when your making your decision. Best of luck.

Jeremy,

You made a really good point I could be doing what I really want to do in the same amount of time, but on the money side, I don’t have 200,000 dollars to use for schooling.

Noah

Noah,

That still doesn’t make entering the Air Force the thing to do. As many have said, that is a whole life commitment that should be made because one wants to serve, not to get a free ride.

Chris