Advice on Path to Take

Greetings. I’m brand new to this forum and I’m looking for some advice on the best options. Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what the end I’m looking for, which makes the path more difficult to visualize. Hence, here I am - looking for advice from seasoned pilots.

So, from what I have seen on this forum, I am not the typical person seeking for advice. I’m 46, a colonel in the Army, and about to retire in the next 18 mths. I’m trying to prep for my next stage in life (flying in some capacity). I hold CML Airplane (ASEL, AMEL) / helicopter certificate, and Airplane CFI, CFII, MEI. I have around 4600 hrs TT, 2600 PIC, 2000 ME Turboprob (King Air), around 1800 PIC (FW) and roughly 1900 (RW).

I have the hours needed for my ATP, and (if I had my ATP, maybe would be possible to jump straight to majors - I don’t know).

So - As I see it, I have different options and I’m not sure the most beneficial:

  1. Pay for my ATP-CTP, take written, get ATP (reimburse with VA benefits). Would need to do this if I wanted to apply directly to a major, corporate or some other positions.
  2. Go to a regional and get ATP through them.

The catch is that I’m in a postion right now where I won’t be flying much - so thinking maybe I should go do a refresher course in the King Air a few months before making the jump/interviewing… or even maybe get a type rating in a citation or something. I have about $13K to spend on training that I can get reimbursed through the VA - I’d like to spend it wisely and set myself up for the best options.

I look forward to your advice - thanks in advance.



If I were you, with the time you have, and the fact you could use your benefits to pay for it, I’d probably go for the ATP-CTP. I think you have a decent shot at a Major, problem is on the application they will ask “Do you have your ATP?”. If you answer NO, there’s a good chance that’s as far as your application will get. If however after you apply to a few Majors you don’t get any interest you can always go straight to a Regional and you’ll have saved some training by already getting the ATP out of the way.


I don’t see anywhere if you mention your currency. Every single military pilot I know who went directly to the majors was very recently current in their flying. If it had been anywhere close to a year (or more) since flying, then they needed to spend a few months to a year at a regional. This would solve your problem of the ATP-CTP as well.


I haven’t sat on any hiring boards, but one thing comes to mind.

Have you talked to any majors yet? It wouldn’t hurt to pick up the phone and see if any of them would be willing to give you some candid feedback about whether or not it would be worth your time to get your ATP on your own. You might be able to avoid using your VA benefits altogether if it seems unlikely that a major would hire you as is. In that case, a regional would pay for the ATP training. If you decided to take the regional route, I would bet you wouldn’t be at a regional for very long either.


Thanks for the advice. I think I will try that tomorrow and see what happens. I’ll let you guys know what I find out.



I think that you will need to go to the regionals for a short sting before you can go to the majors. A King Air is a small airplane and is obviously not a jet. The majors will want to see either heavy time or jet time. I have seen several pilots with backgrounds like yours, they all seem to go to the regionals for a year or two, then move onto the majors.


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