Real Answers from Real Pilots

My Training Options


(Landon ) #1

Hello All,

I am trying to figure out the best path for me to get my training and to a regional the fastest and am hoping to get your thoughts on which option makes the most sense. So I am 26 with no college and have been working in my brothers’ two businesses since I was a teenager. I am now ready to make the jump into flight training and am unsure which route to take; here are the two options I have been thinking over:

Option 1 would be to attend my local community college which offers a professional pilot degree program and would take 2 years to complete - and then I would have to instruct for about 2 years in order to build my time. This would put me looking at about 4 years before flying for a regional.
Pros: Associates degree and flight training at the same time, school is partners with Envoy and offers a pipeline program, would qualify for R-ATP hours.
Cons: Cost is comparable but would be a little more than ATP. 4 year timeframe.
2nd option would be to go to ATP which would be a lot quicker (I would assume that working for my brother for 10 years would meet the 2 year progressive work experience admission requirements?) and get me hired at a regional sooner.
Pros: A lot quicker. Ability to earn tuition reimbursement through airline partnership programs. Envoy cadet program (my target regional airline).
Con: No associates degree after completion.

I suppose I could also obtain an associates degree first and then go to ATP for flight training, but I’m not sure that would be a better option than attending the community college program… Anyway, I apologize for the lengthy post, but I am having a hard time figuring out which direction I should go. Obviously I want to get hired as soon as possible, but I am also afraid of putting too much on my plate to work on 4 years of college while flying with a regional.

I would really appreciate any thoughts and guidance you all could give me - thank you very much!


#2

Landon,

First if you look up and to the left you’ll clearly see the ATP logo so we’re all obviously a little partial to ATP. That said I’m a little confused by your question? You start by saying “I am trying to figure out the best path for me to get my training and to a regional the fastest” and follow with you evaluation of ATP which starts with “Pros: A lot quicker”? You then state “I am also afraid of putting too much on my plate to work on 4 years of college while flying for a Regional” where you’ll only be working half the month and even when working will be hanging in hotels either between days or on Reserve but you’re not concerned and list as a Pro " Associates degree AND flight training at the same time"?. My advice is read your own words and think about them.

Adam


#3

Landon,

This industry is completely driven by seniority, taking an additional two years in flight training could have a huge impact on your career. I would recommend that you go to a fast-track school, build your hours and then work on your degree while you are at the regionals. Sure, it will be hard work, but many before you have done exactly that.

Chris


(Landon ) #4

Adam ,

I am fully aware that this is an ATP forum (lots of great stuff here too), but based on reading through the threads I know that your bias does not mean you and the other mentors here are close minded regarding other options if they make sense. I know I can post questions here and get honest opinions. If I am understanding your response, than the answer is in my own question and I should go to ATP and work on the degree while at a regional. I apologize for not being clearer in my original post, but I guess what I was getting at is whether combining flight training and a 2 year degree made sense in my case since I have no prior college.
Thanks again.

Landon


(Landon ) #5

Chris,

Great advice and I know that I have seen where others on this forum have done exactly that. I think I read somewhere that if you are a pilot at a wholly owned regional with a flow, you can flow into that airline without the 4 year degree. Have you heard of this or did I dream that up? Of course, getting a degree is still wise and is what I will do, was just curious. Thank you.

Landon


#6

Landon,

Right now the only regionals with a true “flow through” program are Envoy, PSA and Piedmont, which are all owned by American Airlines. If you participate in that flow through to American, you will not need a degree. Of course that is only to American, so it would really be putting all of your career hopes in one place.


#7

Landon,

I only mention the ATP affiliation to get that out of the way. We don’t receive any compensation if anyone signs up or not BUT since we all successful alum we obviously are partial.

The reason I told you to read your words is simply because it looks like you’ve done some good research and it sounds like you’ve really already made a decision but don’t see it. If you’re goal is to get a Regional fast (as it should be) and you’ve concluded going to ATP will accomplish that goal (which it will) then again what’s the question? Further, while I understand you may not know this, trust me you’ll have a TON of available downtime while flying for a Regional vs trying to earn a degree and your ratings. If the workload is a concern as you mentioned then again you’re better off waiting.

Now to butt in on Chris’ response, flows are great but you have to really understand how they work. The Regionals are hurting for pilots while the Majors are not. American is NEVER going to clean out and cannibalize their own Regional, they can’t. Does that mean you won’t flow? No but it does mean that AA will only take as many Envoy pilots as Envoy is able to spare which is why most flow-thru pilots take longer to get to a Major than those pilots who don’t flow. As Chris said without a degree you’re putting all your eggs in the AA basket and limiting your options. If AA has any issues in the future and hiring slows you’ll literally be stuck for however long they take while your friends are going to United, Delta etc. Having options is always a good thing in a fickle and volatile industry.

Adam


(Landon ) #9

Chris,

Exactly what I was thinking; as Adam said, it would be putting all your eggs in one basket and limiting your options down the road. Thanks for confirming that, glad I didn’t dream it up, LOL.

Landon


(Landon ) #10

Adam,

I see what you mean and I appreciate you pointing me back to my own words. Honestly, I have probably spent too much time thinking about both options and was wanting to get some final confirmation that the quicker route (ATP) was the best and most practical option.

Very interesting and helpful info regarding the flow and how it works. I have done some reading up on it and there seem to be varying time frames between getting hired at a regional and moving on to a major. Flow times are especially fluid it seems. I know nothing is a given and some never make it to the majors, but on average how long does it take to land a job with one?

Landon


#11

Landon,

I honestly don’t believe (or at least I can’t say with any confidence) there is an “average”. The quickest I know of is our very own Chris (but he’s “special” :wink: ) and I actually have a friend who had really given up but just got hired after 19yrs! Beyond that it’s literally everything in between. All you can do is work hard, network, pray, carry a rabbit’s foot, sacrifice a goat…

Adam


#12

Landon,

Outside of a flow through, I would say 5-12 years to get to a major, with even that being subject to change.

Chris


(Landon ) #13

Thank you both! Hopefully it doesn’t come to having to sacrifice any goats, but a family member of mine raises some, so I know where to go if I do :joy: