Real Answers from Real Pilots

Wanting to fly period

I’m 33 year old Indian female with aspirations to become a commercial pilot. I’m currently 13 credits shy from getting my associates. I understand for majors, one needs a 4 year degree, which I will totally work on. I’m going to get my private pilots license by next year. I’m currently working a comfortable job with great benefits. The thought of getting into tons of debt is daunting as well. However, I love airplanes and simply want to fly. What’s the best possible route to go for me? Thanks for all your feedbacks, much appreciated!

Priti,

Welcome to the forums. While you are certainly not older, you aren’t young by aviation standards either. I would recommend that you find a school that offers fast track training and can get you to your dream as quickly as possible. Accomplishing your ratings one at a time will take considerable time and is not an efficient way to get to the airlines. Take a look at ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program, it is the route that I took and it certainly worked for me.

Chris

Priti,

As Chris said working on a rating at a time can (and most often is) very inefficient. That said I understand it’s not easy to take 9mos off from life and commit to training full time. The kicker is we’re at a very unique time in the industry. The Regionals are hiring like crazy and even offering tuition reimbursement (something unheard of in the past) to help with that daunting debt. If you’re serious about become a Professional pilot I encourage you to see if there’s not some way to train full time. You’ll reach your goal considerably faster.

Adam

Priti,

Your question is not uncommon here on this forum and the answer that Chris, Adam and I usually agree on in your situation is to finish up the 4 year degree as quick as you can while you are already studying and then go through a fast track program that gets you to 1500hrs as quick as possible.
Now you also have the option of finishing the 2 year degree, enrolling at ATP and becoming a CFI, and then continuing on to a 4 year degree part time while you are building flight time…

Yarden

Hi,

I’m in a similar situation. I’m a 28 year old South African female…qualified as a Physio and nutritionist. My younger brother is a pilot and I’ve been up in a Cessna with him a few times and loved it. I’m debating whether to take a risk, hop on the band wagon and get into flying as a career, or stick with what I’ve got. My main concern is obviously the financial outlay and employability once I’ve got my commercial and instructors…is it worth doing at my age and is 4 years a realistic time line for achieving enough hours to be employable?

Kath,

You talk like you’re old like me! 28 is far from too old to begin a career in aviation. You don’t mention if you live here in the states or are still in S Africa? The reason I ask is if you’re living in the US AND have resident status you can be working as an instructor in 9mos and be at an airline in just over 2yrs. If however you’re still in S Africa, while ATP does have an International Training program, you would not be able to instruct or work in the US (until you received residency status) which could be a process and take a while. Obviously you could return and fly in S Africa but honestly I have no idea what the current hiring environment is or what opportunities currently exist over there. perhaps it’s similar, perhaps not?

Adam

Thank you!

Yay! This sounds so promising! I’m still in SA, with a British passport. I have chatted with the local flight school and they reckon it’ll take about 3 -4 years and will guarantee me an instructors position once I’m done. I know that many of the major airlines require a Bachelors plus experience - would my physio hold up on that or would I need to study something more aviation based?

Kath,

Again I’m unfamiliar with the European or SA airline requirements. In the US the Majors only want a 4yr degree, the field of study is unimportant. I recommend you contact the carriers you’d be considering (or check their websites) and check what they say.

Adam

Thanks Adam. :slight_smile: sure I’ll be in contact again soon.