Real Answers from Real Pilots

Is it too late for me?

I’ve been in the aviation maintenance industry for 18 years and am seriously considering becoming a pilot through ATP. I’ve been up through the ranks from mechanic to manager and have been engine run / taxi qualified since 2007 and an instructor since 2012. I know I can be a good pilot, my only concern is “starting over” with a family of six. The starting pay for a pilot is peanuts compared to what I’ve been making the past 10 years. But, I think I would love flying. What other factors effect getting hired at a major airline; bankruptcy, driving record, credit score? Can anyone shed some “real light” on it please.

Thanks.

Joshua,

You don’t say how old you are but assuming you started around 20, you’re late 30’s-early 40s. Def not too late but you do need to get cracking. Even though starting pay has come up considerably there’s no doubt you’ll be taking a pay cut for at least the first 5yrs or so (9mos training w/no pay, plus another 2 as an instructor min pay, plus another 2-3 as a Regional FO). However there is the potential for greater rewards later. Only you can decide if it’s worth the sacrifice for you and your family?

As for the other questions the airlines don’t like bad driving records or bankruptcies. The Regionals are somewhat desperate so you shouldn’t have a problem (unless we’re talking DUIs) getting to a Regional. The Majors are a different story. While none of those things are immediate disqualifiers they are frowned upon. It’s usually a matter of how long ago you had those issues AND how have you been since.

Adam

Joshua,

All of the factors you mentioned affect your ability to get hired as a pilot at an airline, especially a major airline. Don’t forget that to get hired at a major airline you will need a four year degree as well. Airlines look at the total package, hours of experience, education, prior work experience and of course your record.

Chris