Real Answers from Real Pilots

Is ATP the best route if you want to be a Corporate or Medical pilot?

I have researched thoroughly about becoming a pilot and think I would be most interested in working for a corporation or hospital. I also love the idea of going from zero hours to fully certified in 2 years and ATP seems to be the most affordable and trustworthy option for this. However, everything I read about ATP seems to be advertising working for the airlines after training.

Could I work for a regional airline after training, receive some tuition reimbursement, and then switch to corporate or medical? Are there any other programs you would recommend for my interests?
Thank you!

Jennie,

ATP definitely caters to creating airline pilots but that’s simply because that’s the most common goal for most pilots. Regardless of what type of flying you eventually want to do, you will require the same licenses and ratings and ATP without question is the most efficient route. Additionally to fly corporate or medical you’ll need to build time and since the Regionals are hiring like mad that’s a great way to build time and experience so why not?

Adam

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Hey Jennie,

Although ATP is geared more toward an airline career path, it is just as
good for corporate or air ambulance jobs. If you plan on attending ATP I
would stick it out to the end and get your CFI certs and teach. Teaching
reinforces what you’ve learned and builds a solid foundation that will stay
with you a lot longer than if you were to skip straight to a small
commercial gig.

Flying for a corporation will take time. A typical route would be to start
out right seat and then working your way over into the left seat. Every
corporate pilot job will require different amounts of time until becoming
eligible to upgrade to Captain.

As for air ambulance, those jobs typically require anywhere from 3000-5000
hours total time with about 500-1000 hours turbine pic.

So, it’s your choice. You could build time at a airline first, and see how
you like it and then switch to corporate or air ambulance. Or you could
build your time sitting right seat in a Citation as a corporate pilot. But
I would definitely instruct for at least a year.

May I ask why you’re interested in corporate and air ambulance? I’m curious
because I thought about those two options as well, but I’m actually very
happy I chose the airline route.

Tory

Hello again Tory!

That’s excellent info, thank you! I like the idea of switching around a little bit. I know I shouldn’t do that a lot because of the seniority aspect, but going from regional > corporate > medical would be amazing!

There are a couple of great articles about the pros/cons of corporate & medical: https://www.pea.com/blog/posts/5-non-airline-pilot-jobs-consider/
https://www.thebalance.com/cool-pilot-jobs-3960706

For corporate, I love traveling (which made me get into flying in the first place), so that’s what pulls me to the corporate route because of the fun destinations you get to go to. Also, the benefits are nice and it seems a bit more exciting than the airline route.
For medical, I would so enjoy getting to help people and feel like I am making a difference and it would also challenge me. I already would like to do some volunteering with charitable flying organizations, but getting to help full time would be the dream!

May I now ask why you enjoy the airlines?

Thanks again,
Jennie

I’m still very new to the airlines. So, I’m sure after a few years I may
feel different about it, but I mostly had a lot of misconceptions. My
biggest concern was boredom. So, like you, I considered REACH Air
Ambulance, corporate, and also cargo. Boredom is something we have to deal
with, but it’s not as bad as I thought. If it ever becomes a problem in the
future I could do what another mentor, Adam, has done and fly a smaller
airplane that flies shorter routes.

I mostly enjoy the responsibility. And the passengers are grateful for the
work that we do. It is a respectable role. I also got lucky by being in the
second class for Horizon’s ERJs. I’m bidding 12. The seniority is awesome!
I have so much control over my schedule. That is important to me. Lastly,
I’m making more money than expected. I was offered tuition reimbursement, a
signing bonus, a raise and I can pick up premium pay anytime I want.

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