Real Answers from Real Pilots

Being a pilot & a mom

I am considering a career in aviation. My only concern is what my life would look like being a pilot and a mom. I don’t have kids yet but plan on having one in the next 5 years. Any pilots out there who can give me insight on what that life may look like with the experience you have working in the industry.

Joyce,

I know many many pilots who are moms but none who do so in the beginning of their careers. Training and building time under ideal conditions means approx. 2 yrs. Another few at a Regional to build experience, then upgrade right after and back to low seniority and lousy schedules. The beginning years as a pilot means a lot of sacrifice, long and inconvenient hours and hard work, so does being a mom. Not sure I’d entertain doing both.

Adam

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Joyce,

I would strongly encourage you to look at the “schedules” section of this website. Pilots are on the road a lot, that section will help you to see just how much.

Chris

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Joyce,

Although I’ve never worked as an airline pilot I have been a corporate flight attendant and an understanding living on the road. I wanted to chime in. True, flying in a small training aircraft while pregnant won’t be comfortable and isn’t safe. Once out of training and working for an airline I say you can have a family and be an airline pilot without worry. Being away from home and living on the road is tough with or without kids. A supportive co-parent will be the key to making the career work for your family!

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Hi! I’m currently a stay at home mom with a 21/2 year old and 10 month old. I am strongly considering going back to flying and flying for the airlines. I have the hours but will need to acquire my ATP and start out with a regional. My boyfriend (kids father) is happy to be a stay at home dad but he is not willing to relocate. We live in central colorado, 21/2 hours from DEN and 1 1/2 hours from COS. Is this crazy? Are my kids to young? How absent from my family will I be for the 1st year? At this point my end goal is Captain with a regional based in Colorado. Please any insight and advice is welcomed!

Emily,

What you’re asking is a VERY personal decision and one only you can decide. Logistically if you have the hours the Regional that hires you will include the ATP CTP as part of your newhire training. You’ll really only need to get current so that’s easy as is getting hired these days. SkyWest has bases in COS and DEN (there are others in DEN as well) but there’s no guarantee you’ll get either right away and that’ll mean commuting. The biggest issue will be the time away from home. As a new first officer you’ll have minimum control over your schedule and since most airline’s min days off is 12 (and as a new FO that’s what you’ll get) even if you’re not commuting you can count on being gone 18 days a month. That’s the reality and even as you gain seniority while you’ll get more days off, having a 5hr drive I suspect you wouldn’t want to do day trips even when you can hold them.

Again this is a personal decision and whether your kids are too young or not is obviously entirely up to you. I will tell you this from experience. I love my job and couldn’t be happier BUT not a day goes by I don’t think about all the school plays, little league games, holidays etc I missed. These are grownup decisions but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets.

Adam

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Emily,

To Begin with, I would strongly recommend that you take a look at our “Schedules” section and see how that would fit into your lifestyle. The three of us offer a pretty good array of what schedules are at the airlines.

As to being based in Colorado, take a look here: https://pilotjobs.atpflightschool.com/airline-domiciles/ as this shows you all of the airlines that offer bases in CO. If you do not want to commute, you will be locking yourself into working for only these airlines and hoping that they do not decide to move their bases at any time.

Chris

Adam,

Thank you so much for your honest feedback. I know that I would have regrets if I didn’t make this career move. So it looks like I’m Skywest bound initially. Any recommendations on preparing for an interview or even just applying? With regard to currency is it necessary to get current in a multi or can I save some cash and focus on instrument in sims and ATP written stuff?

Chris,

Thanks for the schedules. It really gives me a great idea of what to expect and I’m definitely wrapping my head around accepting commuting possibilities.

Thanks again,

Emily

Emily,

At a bare minimum I’d want to see a BFR and an IPC but to be perfectly honest the pilot shortage has turned things upside down. The Regionals need bodies badly. I recommend you call the Regional of your choice’s recruiting dept and tell them where you are experience wise and I’m certain they’ll tell you exactly what they want to see.

Adam