Real Answers from Real Pilots

Wanting To Become An Airline Pilot

Hi,
My name is Henry; I’m 15 and I’m seriously looking into becoming an airline pilot as a Job. I wanted to ask you if it is worth it? Considering flight school and travel etc. I was thinking for a while of becoming a Chartered Accountant, but then started to rethink my decision because of the time factor. I want to do filmmaking and photography on the side and I’ve heard that pilots have a lot of free time. How long does it take to get your Commercial Pilots License? and how did the procedure for you work when you finished school?
Thank you for your time :slight_smile:

Henry,

Welcome to the forums. A few things here, only you can decide if being a pilot is worth it for you. I personally think that it is a great job, but not everybody might. I suggest that you spend some time on this forum reading our “Flying the Line” sections as they will give you an idea of what the job really entails.

Becoming a pilot because it offers a lot of time off is the wrong reason, period. Quite honestly, that is the wrong reason to chose any profession.

I think you should give some serious thought to what you actually want to do, then some research into the topic.

Chris

Hello Henry,

Since it’s your life and everyone’s situation is different, only you can
decide if being an airline pilot is worth it. There is a lot of information
about the industry online, including this forum. As you read more, you
should be able to get a sense of what an airline pilot’s job is like.

Since you’re only 15, I suggest you finish college before you start flight
training. It’s just easier that way and students with college degrees tend
to be more successful during their flight training. In the meantime, if you
haven’t already done so, schedule an intro flight to get a sense of what it
is like to fly a small plane. An intro flight is a good way to determine if
flying is a good fit for you.

All of the mentors on the forum went to ATP back when it was a 6 month
program. We all finished with our CFI, MEI, and CFII ratings. The program
now takes 9 months. If you decide to attend a local flight school, who
knows how long it will take. It depends on how much sacrifice you’re
willing to make. If you take your time, it could take years.

Once you have your Commercial and CFI ratings it takes about 1.5-2 more
years to obtain the minimum hour requirement of 1500 hours to be eligible
to fly for a regional. If hired, a regional will pay for you to get your
ATP certificate and type rating.

Tory

I could not agree more with that statement.

Thank you so much for getting back to me. Do I have to go to college and get a degree to become a commercial pilot?

Hey Henry, if you want to make it to the majors (i.e United/American/Delta/etc.), you will absolutely need a degree. At the regionals a degree isn’t required but if you go through the forum you will see that the mentors totally suggest getting a degree before starting your flight training. It makes things easier. I’m pretty sure one of the actual pilots here will tell you the same thing.

No degree is required for any pilot’s license. Like Moustafa said, it’s
only the majors that require one.

Tory

Hi,
When commuting out of your base for example, your base is New York and you end up in Hong Kong. Does the airline put you in a hotel until your next flight or do you have to ‘deadhead’?
Henry

Hello Henry,

No matter what the destination is for your last flight of the day, as long
as you are somewhere else besides your base, a hotel will be provided by
the airline.

Tory

Henry,

Whenever we are on the road for work, the airline provides the accommodations.

“Commuting” is done on our own time and as such we have to provide the accommodations.

Chris

Chris & Tory,
I also wanted to ask is it difficult to find a job straight out of flying school. I want to go to 43 air school and do my JPP (Jet-Pilot Program)?
and secondly what type rating should I do, Airbus A320 or Boeing 737-800?

Henry,

I have never heard of the school you mention, so I cannot comment on them. To fly for an airline in the US, you will need 1,500 hours, so that will not be happening right out of flight school. Most people build their flight time up by instructing.

Also, there is no need to buy a type rating whatsoever. Let the airlines pay for that for you.

Chris

Henry,

43 Air School is in South Africa. We are US-based pilots. I have no idea
what the current climate is like for obtaining a job after school in that
region.

As for which type rating you should get, you need to figure out who you
want to work for. Your decision will be based on what type of equipment
they fly.

Tory

Is being in college while also doing flight training a good way to go?

Nicolas,

Not if you are in flight school at ATP. The program is highly condensed and you simply would not have time for both college or flight school. There are other flight schools that will allow this, but they will take significantly longer to complete.

Chris