Real Answers from Real Pilots

Pilot glut

So I’ve read a lot about this pilot glut forming which is a large reason why the pay for regional airlines is skyrocketing. I’m currently a freshman in college and am on a three year track to graduate with a finance degree. I plan to get my private pilot’s licence next summer (so one year before I would start ATP flight school) After i graduate I plan to attend ATP and spend about a year and a half there getting my commercial licence and building up flight time.

  1. Is there anything about my plan you would change. Such as is going a year between getting my private licence and starting ATP flight school too big of a gap? Will I forgot a lot of what I learned?
  2. I still have about 3 and a half years from now until I will finish my ATP flight school training. Do you still see the pilot glut as a problem in three and a half years from now or is it going to be a really short lived phenomena?

Scott,

Fortunately we do not have a pilot “glut”, in fact it’s quite the opposite, it’s a shortage and that’s a good thing (if anything there’s a pilot position glut). Now on to your questions.

  1. While a year isn’t that long, it’s enough time to lose a fair amount of your skills and knowledge (these are considered perishable skills). Totally your call but I really don’t see the point in getting your PPL prior to attending ATP. If you just get your PPL and do nothing else before your start at ATP you’ll still need to get your time up to 80hrs, so whatever time you may save it won’t be much vs getting the whole thing done with ATP. Factor in the fact you’d be doing all your training with ATP, learning their procedures which will dovetail right into the balance of your training and again I fail to see a benefit?

  2. All indicators are that the pilot POSITION glut (or pilot ANTI-glut?) will continue for some time and I’m fairly confident it will. There are of course no guarantees and things can change in a instant but personally I believe you’ll be fine.

Adam

Scott,

I got my private license during college at a small flight school and then had about a year off before starting ATP. I found that I did not gain anything from completing the private earlier. In fact, I felt that this route ended up costing me more money as it took so long as I was trying to balance college and work. In regards to your plan, it is going to be very hard to get your private during the summer months, it just isn’t enough time, especially at a small flight school. I think that there is a very good chance that your flight training could spill over into the fall, which will put you into the situation of balancing college and flying.

I would recommend that you finish college, then do all of your flight training at once. If I could do it over again I would do it this way.

Chris

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Thanks for the info Chris, I am relatively new to this website and therefore do not know much about it but are any of the pilots on here paid by ATP for their responses. Not that I think you are looking out for ATP’s best interests instead of the people asking the questions but it seems all the answers on this forum lead to ATP making more money in the end. Again this isn’t supposed to sound direct I am simply curious as to how this website is set up and who all the contributors really are.

From my understanding, the website itself was setup by ATP Flight School, but the “Pilot Mentors” are non-paid former student/instructors.

Personal Opinion If all they wanted was more money and business for ATP, they probably wouldn’t suggest waiting to go to ATP in a few years rather than sooner. I have also seen numerous posts where their suggestions were NOT to attend ATP but to look at other options, or even that maybe aviation wasn’t right for that person.

I can tell you that the less you fly, the more you will lose between flights, and I totally agree with them on this. My experience: I will be starting ATP in a few months, it took me nearly 2.5 years in total to get my PPL at my local flight school while working full time, I was flying 2x per week on average. Now included in that I had to stop flying for about 14 months at around 25-27hr just a few hours after soloing, but when I came back (with a new instructor) it took me another nearly 10-15hr before I was back to the point of solo. I didn’t finish my PPL until about 70hr (I think…my logbook is down in the car), and it cost me a lot more money than it could have. I totally understand the itch to get going, but at a young age I would definitely invest in the degree first. I personally am 32 with an AS degree, but I have had a nice 15 year career with the same company (counting part and full-time), I am free of all debt, have a savings/investments, some retirement, good credit, no dependents or spouse, etc., so I plan to pursue ATP now to get into the industry before I get much older, just works out that I’m in the right place for it at the right time in my life… besides the fact that I am extremely tired of my current profession.

Anyway, hope my long-winded explanation helps calm your anxiety about the site and the mentors suggestions. i’ve been on here a while and haven’t ever seen Adam, Chris, or Yarden give anybody bad advice.

James

Scott,

The pilot mentors on here are volunteers that give their time to help answer your questions. Adam, Yarden and I do this because we like mentoring new pilots and helping them to find their way. You are right in that we tend to recommend ATP frequently, we do this because we are former students who have found success because of our experience with ATP. There are people that are employees of ATP that do surface on the website from time to time, they are clearly marked with the tag “ATP Admin”.

Chris

Scott,

Nothing wrong with being direct. I’m a professional airline pilot who got my start as a student and instructor for ATP and give them much of the credit for my success. I receive “0” incentive to “lead” anyone towards ATP, nor do I receive any compensation if someone signs up or not. If you read through my posts I give both the pros and the cons of ATP and often give advice leading people in different paths and flight schools as well (in fact I probably question whether they should even be pilots at all more than anyone). The reality is I know ALOT of pilots, many of whom took different routes to the airlines and mine was in most cases more expeditious and economical. Unfortunately there was nothing like this forum when I got started and had to do my own research. I love my job and this industry and if I can make it a little easier for the next guy I think that’s a good thing.

Believe it or not the bias (if any) I have for ATP is due to the positive experience I had during training, as an instructor and now being able to participate on their forum. Besides, if I was a salesman do you really think I would’ve given you so much guff about “glut” :slight_smile:

Adam

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Thanks for the response all of you! That is how I assumed it was set up and just wanted to make sure. I really do appreciate all of you spending your time on here to help answer these questions as I have only begun my research in the past two months on being a pilot and know it is what I want to do someday, and you guys answering these questions help tremendously!

Hi Chris, I’m new to this forum. And I just want to say thank you to all mentors. I found this website is really helpful.

Anyway I have read couple post, a lot of students are getting the private liciense while they’re in college. Can I attend ATP with ZERO knowledge about flying?

Huy,

You absolutely can begin training at ATP with zero time. You do need at a minimum to take an Intro flight to make sure it’s something you enjoy. Many students will get their PPL prior to try and get a jump on things but it’s definitely not a requirement. I do think getting your PPL first is a good idea if you have any doubts whether or not aviation is really for you. It’s a smaller goal and a good way to get started and get a feel for what’s involved. If you’ve been up and you’re sure than again no it’s not required.

Adam