Real Answers from Real Pilots

Military to ATP?

Hello, I am currently in the air force and I have 3 years left until I separate. My goal is to be an Airline or Corporate pilot. I’m working on my Bachelor’s degree now and should have it completed before I separate from the air force. I would like some advice on which direction I should go in… Should I choose the fast ATP track to attain all my ratings or should I go slow with a local FBO? How competitive is the hiring on the Corporate side of flying? What are some of yall’s experiences at this point in your careers/decision making?

Kyle,

Interesting question “Should I get all my ratings quickly or go slow at with my local FBO”? While I sincerely appreciate you seem to be the only person on this forum who isn’t in a race to get trained as fast as humanly possible, I’m curious why you would think going slow would be an advantage? Do you think the longer you wait they’ll me MORE jobs or pay will be better? (because it won’t). There’s a reason while both the military and the airlines train their pilot’s daily and at a quick pace. These are skills that build upon eachother. Every skill builds on the last and there is ZERO benefit to dragging training out as any lapse of continuity is actually detrimental. I would also consider the 2 facts that a) pilot’s have a finite amount of years they can work and b) salaries increase with seniority. Every day you delay is one day less you’ll earn the top tier salary and those are days that once they’re gone are gone forever. But hey, I never tell anyone what to do, so if you want to take your time, take a step back before moving forward and spend extra time and money while losing income by all means.

There’s no question corporate flying (at least the really good positions) are very competitive vs the airlines. There simply are far less corporate gigs out there. Less jobs, more competition. Corporate jobs also are far more reliant on “who you know” vs what. The corporate network is small and is very much relies on word of mouth. The good news is the shortage has reached virtually all aspects of the industry but again it will depend greatly on your networking skills and ability. If you have friends flying corporate you’ll want to start exploiting those relationships sooner than later.

Adam

Adam,

Thank you for the great information! I wouldn’t say going slow in training is an advantage but from person to person it may be more practical. A huge benefit is maybe paying for the ratings one at a time instead of financing 60k+. I do understand your argument on seniority which is a point of view I never looked at before. To my situation I am 19, I am steadily working on my degree plus military experience, so am I right in thinking I have the luxury of time?

Kyle

Kyle,

So at 19 with 3yrs left you basically just got into the Air Force. At your age time is definitely on you side and there’s def no rush. That said I still wouldn’t drag my training out. As I said flight training relies on consistency. You can “package” or rationalize it however you like but flight training is expensive and regardless of if you dive in with both feet or drag it out it’s still going to cost X amount of dollars. Going rating by rating may seem more palatable but in the end it WILL cost you more. Again your call. It’s still funny to me virtually every one who comes on to this forum either wants the “cheapest” or fastest route. No one seems to be overly concerned with getting the best quality of training?

Adam

Kyle,

I would strongly advise against going the slow route, ever. In the airlines seniority is king and affects every avenue of your life. I am a perfect example of how every day of seniority matters, I was hired in March of 2007 at Continental and was never furloughed during the recession while people hired just a few weeks after me spent three years on the street. I am a captain now, whereas they are not. So literally every day can matter.

While at 19 you are very much on the young side, I would never take the slow route. If you want to be a senior captain at a legacy airline flying international flights, you are very much in a race against every other young person that is entering the field.

I am glad that you are planning on getting your degree as you will absolutely need that to apply to the majors.

Chris

Chris,

Between you and Adam, my eyes have definitely opened up to how the fast track is the better option. It seems its better to get my ratings all in one shot rather than drag it out. Thank you, both for your knowledge.

Kyle

Kyle,

Anytime. Let us know how else we can help you.

Chris