Real Answers from Real Pilots

When should I start

Hey Everyone!

Im currently 15 years old almost 16 and currently a sophomore in high school. Im looking into becoming an airline pilot in the future. However I have zero flying experience.

The question is should I start flight training now? If so what should I do to get started and some tips on starting. Also right now finance can be an issue to so can i get flight training without spending lots of money?

If I wait and hold off my flight training, are universities especially the aviation ones will still accept you ?

Thanks for your time in reading this and giving me some feedback!

-Kevin Xu

Kevin,

At 15 the best thing you can do is focus on school and do well. I do recommend you look into your local CAP (Civil Air Patrol). It’s very inexpensive to join, they have some great programs and you can actually earn your Private with them for next to nothing. Beyond that as I said focus on school, do well, continue to college and earn your degree and then you can focus on flying.

Adam

Adam,

Thanks for the response. Speaking about colleges and degrees, are there any good programs that allows you to get your BA and flying experience at the same time?

Kevin,

There are quite a few aviation universities that will allow you to complete both concurrently. Embry Riddle, ASU, Kent State are some of the best known. Opinions vary but I’ll give you my take. Aviation universities are expensive, REALLY expensive and definitely not the most economical route. More important I’m not a fan of putting all your eggs in one aviation basket. While I have no doubt you aspire and can have a very successful career as a pilot sometimes things change. People loose interest, find they don’t really enjoy flying (or have no aptitude for it), sometimes there are medical issues, the list goes on. Thing is you can be a pilot with a degree in accounting (or medicine, or law, or art, etc) BUT you can’t be an accountant with an aviation degree. I personally recommend people major in something other than aviation as a Plan B. That said the choice is yours (and your parents) so do some research and make your own educated decision.

Adam

Adam,

I am also a high school student looking to become an airline pilot. I have spoken with a pilot from Delta, and he told me basically the same thing that you said, to have a back up plan. You do not have to answer this if you do not want to or do not feel safe doing so, but I would like to know your story of how you became a pilot, so I can have a better understanding of what I may need to do.

Jonathan

Jonathan,

All of our stories are available in the “Biographies” section.

Chris