Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP to the Airlines

Hello All,
I am currently looking to begin my ATP Training beginning in September 2018. I had a few questions about the experience for those who have been through it. I am currently 30 years old so I would like to complete training and get to 1500 asap. I will be finishing a 4 year degree online. Now to my questions:

How many hours can you typically log while instructing?
Do they typically offer a position at the same location you attended or will you be required to relocate to get “guaranteed” CFI job?
Ive looked at Envoy and like the idea of their “Flow” program to American. If you flow through to American do you keep your level of experience because Envoy is WO or do you start back at FO year 1 ?
Thank you for the help


Good questions so let’s get you some answers.

  1. The average ATP instructor logs approx. 70hrs a month. Those who are eager will sometimes work weekends and can get up to 100mos. Keep in mind while everyone wants to build time fast, flight instructing can be tiring both physically and mentally. You want to provide your students with the same level and quality of instruction as you expect yourself so you may not want to strictly focus on “quantity”.

  2. When the time comes for you to instruct you will be given a list of available locations. You may or may not get the location you desire. You can request any location you like and if it comes available you may be able to transfer (just like the airlines).

  3. IF (and that’s a big IF) you flow you will start day 1 as a newhire no different from another pilot hired from anywhere else. ALL the Major airlines in this country have pilot unions and a union would never permit that. Also know that flow-thrus have lots of fine print and many pilots find they can get to a Major faster than the flows. A Major will never cripple it’s Regional by taking too many of their pilots.


When looking on airline pay scales they progress right to left then bottom to top by aircraft type. When you make the move from a regional to a major is it pretty much standard practice to begin on the smallest aircraft (ie far right side of payscale) and work your way left based on senority? how long is typical between upgrades as far as aircraft goes?


Bigger airplanes pay better which is why most pilots start on the smaller ones but not always. If an airline gets a new airframe or has some routes that are less desirable out of certain bases you may not find yourself in the smallest but that nothing you can predict or count on. As far as upgrade times go pick a number between 1 and 20 and the answer is in there somewhere. There are simply too many variables. Right now I’ve heard Delta MD-80 pilots are upgrading at their NY base in under a year while their 777 upgrade could easily take 15yrs or more. If enough pilots decide to take the upgrade and move on the DC that can change dramatically next month. When I got hired at Hawaiian the 717 was actually the senior aircraft. We got a new contract in April and the A330 payscale went up dramatically. Now that’s the senior aircraft with the longest upgrade time and FO’s can’t even bid onto it because there’s no slots. It’s literally impossible to predict.



Typically, new hires at an airline will start on the smallest airplane, but not always. When I was hired at Continental, several new hires were awarded the 757. Typically there is several years in between aircraft types, but it can be much longer, there are really just so many different variables at play.