Real Answers from Real Pilots

Research Stage - Beginner's Questions

Hello,
First off, I would just like to thank Christopher, Yarden, Adam, Chris and everyone else who is involved in this forum. The information and input from you all is incredibly beneficial. Greatly appreciated!

Now to my questions. So I am currently a college student and have recently been researching a career in aviation. I have flown before (in high school) and loved it. But I have a few questions regarding a career in aviation, ATP, and some general things.

  • Would you recommend a career as an airline pilot to people (or if it’s any easier, to your own children)? Why or why not?
  • What are the major drawbacks and benefits to such a career?
  • What is the most rewarding part about your job? Why?
  • How frequent do the classes run at ATP? I know there are 40 locations across the U.S. but when you decide you want to attend, what is that process typically like?
  • How much prior knowledge should someone have before attending the school?

Thank you all very much,
-Austin B.

1 Like

Austin,

Some good questions so let’s dive in:

  1. Yes I definitely would (and I do). I love my job and nothing beats loving what you do for a living. That said it’s not for everyone. It does require a lot of hard work and discipline as well as a certain level of skill and intelligence. But if someone has the desire I would absolutely recommend it as a career. On a personal note my youngest son has expressed interest. I’ve had him up a few times but he lacks the discipline at this point in his life. Maybe when he “grows up” some?

  2. Biggest drawbacks in my opinion is the initial expense (while definitely worth it) can be scary or even unobtainable to some. Also the time away from home and family can be difficult but that’s about all I can think of?

  3. Aside from the fact I enjoy flying airplanes and traveling, I love the fact my job is always different and challenging. Even when I flew interisland to only 5 airports, the conditions would change and you’re always striving (or at least you should be) to do better. There’s always something to learn and if you do get into a rut you can change aircraft or destinations whatever. You also get the opportunity to fly with different crews. Some you’ll like, others not so much but again that keeps it interesting. I love the fact I actually look forward to going to work vs 99% of the people I know who don’t fly.

  4. ATP has classes starting twice a month depending on if you have your PPL or not. When you’re ready typically you’ll contact admissions and submit an application for financing (unless you’ve got the money, then you’ll need to give a deposit). Once your approved you simply need to select a location and a start date. Prior to that you’ll need to obtain your First Class medical. Fairly simple.

  5. ATP only requires you to have some flight experience, if you don’t you need to take an Intro flight. Other than that there’s no prior knowledge required. You just need the desire and the ability to work hard, ATP will provide the rest (*however, we often recommend prior to starting you complete some or all of the FAA Written exams. While it’s not required it greatly lessens the work load. This should be accomplished a few months prior to starting training as the exams do expire).

Hope this helps? I’m sure others will offer their take.

Adam

Austin,

I do highly recommend this career, but only to people who don’t mind being on the road a lot. I have found the job to be very rewarding and interesting. I personally like the interactions that I get to have with various people throughout the course of my day. I also really enjoy the amount of time off that the job provides, plus the ability to travel the world while getting paid to do so.

The industry has really improved in recent years and pilot contracts have gotten significantly better along with it. Pilots are making good wages again, which is always a plus and many of the contracts are mature, meaning that they provide good work rules and pay and benefits.

Great! Thank you Adam and Chris for your input. I appreciate it!

-Austin B.

Austin,

If flying is something you want to do for a living, there is no question here…

I always knew I wanted to fly for a living but the option was not available to me when I was living abroad. But the moment that I saw ATP’s program, I left everything that I was doing at the time, signed up, booked a flight to PHX and started flying.

So far, the most rewarding part about the job is that there is always something to work towards. You start flying, you work towards soloing…then you work towards the checkride…then you work towards building your 1500hrs…then getting hired at a regional…then you get through training and you start flying…then you get a line…upgrade…and so on and so on…
I think it is great that your career is always going uphill, and never really stagnates and becomes routine.

Yarden

Thanks Yarden! You make some great points. Uphill trajectory is definitely what I want in a career.

Thank you for your valuable input,

-Austin