Real Answers from Real Pilots

I have the money and time to go to ATP but I have a few fears

Like I said, I have enough in my retirement account at my job to retire, pay for school, and focus. I love everything about aviation, but I fear there might be things I won’t grasp so easily. Mainly radio communication and reading airport maps, I say that because right now I’m on the outside looking in and I can’t figure it out on my own to save my life lol. Is there a lot of people who have failed to understand this part of the program? Another thing is, after you complete your training and become a CFI is it really possible to gain a lot of hours? Can I really get from zero to 1500 hours in 2 to 3 years?

Tremaine,

I would in now way expect you to be able to handle radio communications or read aviation maps now, that comes with years of training and practice.

There are people who have failed out in every phase of the training, but that is the same with training for every profession. Not everybody is going to make it, that is just the way it is. That being said, ATP has about a ninety percent success rate with students completing the program.

Yes, it is most certainly possible to build the 1,500 hours in two or three years, it is routinely done.

Two things for you, first make sure you check out the thread about age in the FAQ section, because age is not just a number in aviation. Secondly, have you taken an introductory flight yet? It is really important that you do so before committing yourself to changing careers like this.

Chris

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Tremaine,

All people learn differently and have strengths and weaknesses. That’s simply life. As you said you’re on the outside looking in and you’re trying to make sense of things you really know nothing about which frankly is kind of silly (would you listen to a conversation in Japanese, not knowing Japanese and expect to be able understand it?). That’s why there are flight schools and flight instructors and why you can’t just read a book or watch a video and go fly a plane. To get a driver’s license for a car you can show up, take the test and get your license. The FAA REQUIRES you to receive instruction because these are not innate skills and the knowledge required is beyond common sense. Cut yourself some slack and maybe do some reading (the FAA has a TON of free material you can download (https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/). Do some reading and that might help some but inevitably you will need instruction.

Take a look at the ATP website and you’ll see literally HUNDREDS of pilots who are successful every year. ATP’s been training pilots for the airlines for over 4 decades, if they were lying I think they’d be busted by now.

Adam

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Thank you so much for the great information, I have taken my discovery flight a few months back and loved it. I have wanted to be a pilot since I was younger. I’m 37 now if I make it to the regionals at 40 I’ll be one happy goose.

Thank you so much for the awesome info and advice, I don’t have a college degree but I’m no dummy… i will completely immerse myself into studying and focusing on flying.

Sorry my first reply was for Chris and the second was for Adam, you both are my heroes and look up to you both

Tremaine,

While I appreciate the compliment we’re really just a couple of guys who love what we do and are just paying it forward.

Btw, while the Regionals don’t require a degree the Majors do. There’s a lot of movement in the industry these days and while there are no guarantees, you could find yourself in a position to move up but not be able to because you don’t have one. Just something you might want to think about in the future.

Adam

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Thanks brother, just making it to the regionals is good enough for me lol. Spirit and JetBlue don’t require a college degree so if I end up at either airline I’ll be a happy goose. Maybe I will do online college if need be.

Spirit and JetBlue might not say that they require degrees, but the reality is that they do. They are both major airlines and getting a position with them is highly competitive.

Thanks brother, hopefully I make it to a decent regional airline…i will take online college if need be…but as long as I’m a pilot I’ll one happy goose lol

Tremaine,

Honestly I felt the same way. In fact I never thought I’d make it to an airline at all and when I was hired at ExpressJet I was beyond happy. BUT, when you start seeing ALL your peers moving on and making double (and triple) what you are there’s a good chance you’ll change your mind.

Adam

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