Real Answers from Real Pilots

Starting A Pilot Career

Hey my name is Akeem Louis I am currently located in the British Virgin Islands (which is just east of Puerto Rico) I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. I need advice as it pertains to which flight school may be best for me, are there any airlines in the USA that offers work Visas or will I have to relocated to England? In terms of financing I have a local bank that offers student loan so I should be good in that aspect. I basically need advice on how to start my career as a commercial Pilot, especially with the sense that I may not be able to work in the United States. My home country airport is under developed only smaller aircrafts can be accommodated right now.

Hello Akeem and welcome,

Obviously I’m a fan of ATPs as far s flight schools go. There is no more efficient route to an airline career and the training is modeled after actual airline training which will help you throughout your career. As a non US citizen if you want to do any advanced flight training in the US you need to go through a fairly extensive back ground check first. You can work for US airlines but the work visa is on you to obtain. You really need to figure out what works best for you as far as where you want to spend your career? If you’d like to fly in the US then you need to start the background and work visa process. If you prefer to fly in England then there are other options. ATP does offer International training with an EASA conversion for your European licenses. There are also a number of European carriers offering Ab Initio programs that will take you all the way to the cockpit. You might want to look into some of those. I would.

Adam

hi, i’m from Boston,MA and i like to take my PPL,witch school does you recommend? Thanks, Manny.

Manny,

On this forum we all come from a background of training with ATP, therefore that tends to be the school that we recommend. However, ATP trains pilots to be airline pilots and thus does not offer the private license as a stand alone program. If you are only interested in obtaining your PPL then I would recommend that you visit your local airport and talk to the flight schools that you find there.

Chris

Manny,

Are you just planning on getting your PPL for recreation or do you have higher aspirations and just want to get your feet wet? If it’s the former there are plenty of flight schools in the Boston area. Find one that’s convenient and has reasonable rates. If you do aspire to be a professional (but aren’t 100% certain) I’d encourage you to take a few lessons and maybe solo at your local flight school and then consider moving on to a full time academy like ATP. While it may seem like a huge cash outlay, you’ll find in the long run in addition to receiving a higher level of instruction you’ll find it more economical and efficient.

Adam

Chris and Adam thanks for the reply, the idea is really to become a commercial pilot, as right now I can’t only focus on studying so I will keep my job and study after work. I am scheduling this to happen in three years from now so my steps will be PPL,CFI and CFII and hope by than I will find a job as a flight instructor and go from there ( not getting any young I’m 51, but this is my dream since I was a little just couldn’t afford to go on that direction earlier). With your experience do you think this makes sense?
Thanks again,

Manny.

Manny,

I have to be honest, I’m not crazy about your plan. First you’re missing a few steps. You need to earn your PPL, Instrument Rating, Multi Eng Rating, CPL, then your CFI’s. After that you’re going to need to build up to the 1500hrs required to get hired by an airline. Training and then instructing full time at ATP this would take you about 2yrs. Doing it part time will take you considerably longer than 3 yrs. I got my PPL at my local flight school (training part time) and it took me almost 2yrs for that alone! Mandatory retirement is 65. IF (and this is a BIG if) you could somehow get that all your training done part time in 3yrs AND build your time starting now you’ll be 55 when you get hired by a Regional leaving only 10yrs for your career. Not trying to dissuade you but if I were you and this was truly my dream I’d get serious and figure out how to train full-time.

Adam