Real Answers from Real Pilots

Motivation

What is one way you guys stayed motivated in your goal to be an airline pilot? Never for a second have I doubted flying is my passion and makes me happy. In the poor winter months in Michigan I haven’t been able to fly and I have been getting inside my head about possibly failing my medical and a whole bunch of outrageous things. I have tons of confidence but I haven’t flown in 3 months either. If anyone has advice on how to stay positive about this long tough journey I would appreciate it.

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Hey There,

I feel for you, I was planning to start in Feb, but been waiting for nearly a month for my Medical to get reviewed, Its been frustrating for sure, I live in CT and last flew with an Instructor on Long Island back in December when I finally decided to commit to this dream, I’m hoping to start in March, but have spent the last 5 weeks studying as much as I can, reading my jeppesen text and watching tutorials on YouTube, which is actually very informative. I’m almost 35, and I am very excited to start this journey, what helps me is thinking back on my last flight, and picturing the views and feelings of the airplane, the encouraging words I received from the instructor and his honesty about the program, the hard work, but the reward that comes from it. A strong passion and dedication to what you believe in helps me overcome the day to day wishing I was back up there. The winter days make it tougher for sure, but the encouragement and guidance from the people here has helped me stay focused, these guys really are great and help to keep the dream alive in tough times, stay positive, study what you can, take a walk a sunny day and look up and smile, you be back there soon. Best wishes from a fellow frozen friend.
Kris.

Matthew,

I never really had any problems staying motivated. I always knew what my goal was and kept pushing in that direction.

I am from Michigan so I feel that I can say this, you need to get out of there to do your flight training. The low overcast and cold temperatures make it a very difficult place to flight train. Find a place with good weather and your training will progress much faster.

As to your medical, if you don’t have any pending medical issues then that really shouldn’t be a concern.

Just try to stay focused on what your goal is and keep making steps in that direction, even if they are small ones. You could use this down time in the winter to pass your written exam or really ace the knowledge portion of the private pilot. If you have already done those then start studying for your instrument. Either way, keep moving towards the goal.

Chris

Keep up your hard work. We all have situations and finding the best way is difficult. I wish you the best. You’re gonna make it if you want it enough. Only you know and control that.

Thanks for the great advice. Just keep pushing through. It’s going to be worth it one day. Prayer doesn’t hurt either!!

Matthew,

Not to sound like a salesman but that’s another benefit of training with ATP. Once I made the decision to be a pilot and started with ATP the ride to where I am now literally never stopped. I went from ATP student to ATP instructor to Regional pilot to Major pilot. No time for breaks or doubt. I do have to say however flying is challenging and requires a level of dedication. If simply being not flying for 3 months gives you doubt maybe your concern is legitimate? I know pilots who were furloughed for years not months (I was fortunate to only be downgraded but that was a 50% paycut). Currently things are very good in the industry but things can (and do) change. What would you do if after spending tens of thousands of dollars in training and then a year or 2 building time there was suddenly a hiring freeze? Would you quit after 3 mos? 6 mos? a year? Not trying to beat you up but if you’re calling a 3 mos hiatus a “tough journey” you may want to think long and hard if you’re really up for it?

Adam

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Matthew,

I Just had this conversation with my father (45 year commercial/corporate veteran) here in NYC we have the same weather as you do. Last time I flew a cessna 172 with an instructor we had gusts at about 17KT. Its hard to get a feel of an aircraft in that kind of weather.

But here is something to motivate you about your local weather: The major airlines and lots of regionals prefer to hire a pilot trained where weather is challenging. Mostly because the pilot has received lots of experience flying in bad weather conditions.

Think about it - If someone has only flown in perfect conditions most of their training. That same pilot will turn green once they hit a snow storm or a patch of bad weather. But for you and I flying in that type of weather will be a breeze.

So, as for me I’m going to ATP in Clearwater for my training. But I will be returning to the North East to gain some hours flying in bad conditions.

Hope all goes well for you. And please don’t be discouraged. Continue your training and don’t let the METAR or seasons discourage you.

Jason

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You are showing another side Adam, you are stating possibilities that could be realities which is great. I wasn’t putting it into perspective. To be honest maybe I am just whining about not flying? I never doubted my abilities or passion for it. I want it just am ready for my big break, but who isn’t.

-MI

I am also going to take a deeper look into ATP, is it a part 141 school?

Thank you for that viewpoint Jason, they should want to hire experienced pilots. I will keep my spirits up and keep striving to see my dream come true.

-MI

Matthew,

No ATP is a Part 61 school. Not sure if you understand the difference but basically there’s no way ATP could offer an accelerated program as they do under Part 141. Part 141 has specific time requirements for every segment of every program whether the student can understand and accomplish the task in less or not. While there are some pros (less checkrides), Part 141 really isn’t very efficient and more lends itself to 4 year degree programs.

Adam

Okay I just know that airlines accept Part 141, can you explain how you went to ATP and eventually now fly for Hawaiian? I am confused on that process. Also, what is the main difference between 61 and 141?

Matthew,

ATP is a part 61 school, which is a really good thing. The part 141 program was designed by the FAA under the theory that it would help people get their licenses with less flight time and less money, but the reality is that like all things government it is a very cumbersome process to follow and usually ends up costing the student more money.

I got my private license through another school that was part 141, it took forever and costs several thousand more than they told me it would.

The ironic part about the whole part 61 v. 141 debate is that at the end of each program the students take the exact same FAA checkride and have the exact same FAA certificates.

I wouldn’t get hung up on this one. I recommend looking for a school that has a solid track record of placing students with the airlines, that is what really matters.

Chris

All those 141 “stage checks” sure felt like checkrides to me. :slight_smile:

Matthew,

The main difference is that 141 has a very specific syllabus that needs to be followed whereas 61 let’s the CFI customize the lesson to the student’s needs. The airlines don’t care one bit if your training was 61 or 141. That has never come up in any of my interviews.

Chris

Matthew,

As Chris said the airlines don’t care whether you trained 61 or 141 so long as you passed.

As I said, although it took some time the process was pretty simple. I completed my training with ATP and accepted an instructor position. ATP said tell us when you have your time and send us your resume and what airline(s) you’re interested in. I did and 10 days later I was called for an interview with ExpressJet (same day as Chris BTW). I interviewed and was in class 3 weeks later. I flew for ExpressJet for just over 8 yrs. and then applied to Hawaiian Airlines, got called for an interview 2 mos later. I interviewed with Hawaiian (which was actually a long process, there were actually 3 interviews). After the last interview I was emailed approx. a month later and offered a class date.

Easy as pie :slight_smile:

Adam