Real Answers from Real Pilots

Where Should I Start?

Hi all,

I am current a 21 year old, completing my senior year in accounting. Accounting has been great, however, I have caught the aviation bug, and want to pursue it as a career. So I have decided to start flight training upon graduation. Here is the deal, I have been able to make it through school without an ounce of student debt. With the cost of flight school, would it be beneficial to loan the money and go through an accelerated program? I am in a predicament, because I have landed a solid entry-level job that has a base of 50k+bonus. At that amount I would be able to afford training, but it would be much slower. Please be very blunt with me! I am not currently to familiar with the aviation industry, so I would appreciate all insight about both options. Thanks!

Cody,

My first question is what caused you to catch the aviation bug? Have you ever flown a small plane? If the answer is no than you really haven’t caught anything other than thinking flying is cool and I strongly suggest before you entertain a career change you go flying. If you have then we can continue the conversation.

As far as whether you should wait obviously it’s entirely up to you. The biggest thing to consider however is unlike accounting and virtually every other career aviation a) depends heavily on seniority for almost every aspect of your life and b) has a VERY finite career length as mandatory retirement is 65. What that means is the sooner you start the sooner you start building seniority and a higher quality of life. Second pilots at the top currently earn $300k+. What that means is every year you wait that $50k you’re making now is costing you $300k later that you will never get back. You’re an accountant but when you start looking at that high salary including 401K contributions that $50k starting becomes less attractive. That all said you have to do what sounds best for you but that’s my take.

Adam

Cody,

In the airlines, seniority is king. The pilots that get hired at the youngest ages are the ones who end up being the most senior pilots, flying the biggest aircraft and making the most money.

If you try to pay for training as you go, it will end up costing you much more money in the long run as your training will be so spaced out that you will spend time relearning the same things and it will take you many years more, thus costing you more money. While an accelerated program will mean incurring debt, it will get you to the airlines much faster and potentially enable you to make more money in the long run. I understand being adverse to debt, but there are times when it can be a good thing and I feel that this is one of those times.

Chris

Hi Cody,

First, take an intro flight to be sure that this is something you really
want to do. If it is, then my advice would be to do an accelerated program
and know that you have a solid degree to fall back on if things don’t work
out. Self-paced programs take too long, and they could end up costing you
more. Also, acclimating yourself to an accelerated training environment
will make the transition to the regionals smoother because you’ll already
have a good work ethic and study habits.

Tory

Yeah, I have a friend who is working on his commercials right now. I have been able to take along for roughly ten hours. At first, I actually disliked it because I got some nausea, but that has gone away.

Thanks, you hit the nail on the head. I am more than fine with debt if it is a form of investment. Are you pretty familiar with ATP flight school? They caught my eye, but it seems to be a little suspicious to me!

Cody,

All of the mentors on this website went to ATP and if you look at the logo on the top left of this page, you will see that the website is sponsored by ATP. That being said, we are not here as salesmen for ATP, we just like to share our experiences and help other future pilots find their path.

ATP has been in business for well over thirty years and has trained literally thousands of airline pilots. All you have to do is look at the “Placements” page on ATP’s website to see how many ATP pilots have recently moved onto the airlines. On this website, you can check out the “Student Experiences” section to see what current students are saying about the program.

Chris

Cody,

Suspicious how? ATP has been successfully training pilots for the airlines for over 30yrs and has 40+ locations across the country. Thinking if they were doing something suspicious someone would’ve called them on it long ago. I’m also thinking they wouldn’t have partnership agreements with virtually EVERY Regional airline in the country.

Adam