My name is Shayne and I am very interested in becoming a career pilot. I am 26 years old and I’m in good shape/healthy. I currently serve in the Army but I get out in a few months and now I’m trying to figure out what my next step should be as far as pursuing this dream. I have never been in any kind of trouble and I don’t have a degree but I do have 24 college credits from a tech school I went to before I joined the Army. Is they’re any advice ya’ll can give me that can lead me in the right direction to reach this goal? Thanks for the opportunity to be able to talk with ya’ll and ask questions like these.
Welcome to Airline Pilot Life - Start here first
Hello Shayne and welcome!
My first question is why aren’t you watching the game? Ok seriously let’s talk flying.
I am curious if you explored aviation in the Army? I’m in Hawaii and I know a ton of guys who started out flying helicopters in the Army and then transitioned to fixed wing (the Army’s the only branch that will let you fly without a degree). But let’s say you have and decided you want out. My next question always is have you ever flown in a small plane? This is kind of a pet peeve of mine so please forgive me. But, there are literally thousands of people who all say they want to fly but never have tried it. It like me watching Steph Curry thinking “that looks cool, I think I want to play pro ball”. Ok that might be a stretch but I think you get my point. Airplanes are very cool and the thought of traveling the world and getting paid is as well, but until you’ve actually tried it you really don’t know. Soooooo, my first bit of advice is if you haven’t been up, before you spend any more time or energy thinking about it you need to take a flight.
Now let’s say you have, you like it and you think this is something you’d like to do. Now is actually an AMAZING time to start your career. There’s currently a pilot shortage and the situation isn’t going to get any better any time soon. You mention college and it’s definitely a consideration but with the credits you have, you could start training, work as an instructor, get hired at a Regional all while working on finishing your degree part-time or online.
Hey Adam! Gotta be honest, I didn’t expect a reply so soon. But yes I have flown in all different types of planes. From little Cessna’s to c17’s to 777’s. At first I wasn’t crazy about flying but after my 2nd time on a plane I really enjoyed it. Plus I’ve always thought flying was really cool, since I was a little kid. But no I am not involved in any aviation with the Army. A couple years back I was applying to become a helicopter pilot but deployment and the birth of my child kind of put that on pause. No I won’t to pursue that route as a civilian.
Ok fair enough. Well then it’s a matter of making the decision to do it and then finding the best place to train. There are basically 3 most common routes.
Your local flight school. This is the way many pilots get started. It’s usually convenient and if money is a factor you can pay as you go. While there are many fine local flight schools most don’t have the resources to take you all the way. I initially got my Private like this and it took me 2 yrs. While I’m not Yeager, I’m no slouch either. The problem was I’d fly, the next week the weather would crap out, the week after the instructor was busy, week after the plane was out for maintenance and the next thing you know I hadn’t been up in a month and had to relearn everything. Not very efficient.
College/University. There are many fine college programs that will not only train you and you’ll get a degree. This is an excellent route. Some very professional training and if the program is accredited you can actually shave time off the required 1500 needed for your ATP which makes you hirable at an airline (1000 for BA, 1250 for AA). Down side is the programs can be expensive and also take considerable time for the degree.
Aviation Academy. These are professional schools that were created to very specifically train you to be a professional pilot. This was the route I took so I’m somewhat partial (because it worked for me). I did all my training at ATP Flight School. I chose ATP because they had a fantastic reputation in the industry (it was actually recommended to me be an instructor at another academy). The training was very professional and the highest quality. Very efficient (I completed all my training after my Private (Commercial, all Instructor ratings, Multi-engine, Instrument) in 87 days. This put me in a position where I could start working and building time in the shortest time possible. Additionally ATP’s partnerships with the airlines got me an interview with minimum time. All told I am a happy customer.
Ultimately the best route is the one that works best for you Shayne and gets you flying.
I guess what I am trying to get out of this is advice as to where to go as far as flight school, which you have answered. Because I am in the military I have my GI bill which is what I’m hoping can pay for me to get my training/schooling. Where is ATP located?
ATP has 25 locations across the country. As far as the GI Bill goes I know it’s available for certain ATP programs but not all. I’d recommend you check their website (www.ATPFlightSchool.com) to check if there’s one that’s close and also call to get particulars on their VA programs.
Let me know how you make out?
Sounds good. Thanks for all the advice Adam!
Feel free to ask any and all.