Real Answers from Real Pilots

Best way to build hours and obtain my ATP

Good Afternoon,

I currently have my Private Pilot’s License, High Performance and Complex endorsements and 232 hours of flight time. I’m about 18 hours away from finishing my Instrument Training as well as my Commercial Pilot’s License Training and I’m flying about 4 to 6 hours a week. I’ll be doing the IFR 250nm Cross Country as well as the Commercial 300nm Cross Country soon. What would be a good way for me to get hired as a Pilot once I finish my Commercial Pilot’s License so that I can build my hours towards my ATP. Getting my CFI is an option, but I’m interested in the United Aviate Program. I also wonder if I’d be able to get into either an ATP program or a United Aviate Program since I’m already a licensed pilot, or would it have been better to start in either program with no flight experience. I’m in the Houston Texas area.

Jeremy

Jeremy,

Welcome to the forums, I see that you’re fairly new to the forums, be sure to check some of the FAQs that may apply to you.

For United Aviate, the program is new and we are all learning more about it everyday. What I can say is that in order to join and be in the eco-system of Aviate, they have requirements that must be met. For more information based on United Aviate at this time, check out their website (Career paths | United Aviate program). ATP did a Ride Report webinar with members of staff from Aviate which provides a nice presentation of the requirements and eligibility for individuals like yourself.

With you living in Houston, TX, AmeriFlight would be an Operator of Part 135, and a partner of United Aviate.

Brady

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Jeremy,
Brady gave you a great resource of information. I agree, where you are with your flight training and if Aviate is something you’re interested in, you could apply to some of those partner organizations. Boutique air would be your best bet right now as they only require commercial pilots license with instrument rating and 500 hours. Ameriflight would have to be a farther down the road as they require a commercial pilots license with multi engine land rating or ATP, and 1500 hours.
If I were you though, I’d see if I could get a custom program and start ATP at CFI academy. You can get all your CFI ratings and potentially hired on as an instructor afterwards. Then you could apply to Aviate. You would be working for a partner organization, have all your CFI ratings (which will help you be a stronger candidate) and have the choice of going to Ameriflight or a United express carrier upon completing 1500 hours.

Check out custom ATP Programs here:
https://atpflightschool.com/faqs/custom-airline-career-pilot-program.html

-Hannah

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Whoops, I was thinking AmeriFlight being based in Texas, totally overlooked the hours. :sweat_smile:

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Brady,

Thank you for the information and the link to the ATP Ride Report video. I was also thinking about ATP’s location at KCXO to get into a custom program to finish me up. I’m not sure about the financing options, but I’m sure ATP can help with that information.

Jeremy

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Jeremy,

If you read the Aviate info the only way you can be accepted at this point in your career is by building time or instructing with one of their partner schools or 135 carriers. While ATP may allow you to come in and complete your CFI training, you need to understand to get an instructor position with ATP will be challenging. There’s currently a slight backlog and more important the Career Pilot grads will get preference over you as they should.

Ameriflight requires 500hrs min and Boutique Air isn’t currently hiring. What that means is you’ll either need to earn your CFIs and instruct at a local school or find some other low time flying position like banner tow, cropdusting, traffic watch, etc.

Bottonline is EVERYBODY wants to “fast track” their career but there are no shortcuts.

Adam

Hannah,

Thank you for the information and advice. I was wondering about the ATP custom program as it would help me get my CFI ratings and build the hours I needed. I hadn’t thought of Boutique Air, and that’s a good option for me to explore. I may still go the CFI route with a local flight school. However, I was thinking ATP and a custom course may be a faster way to achieve my goal or getting 1500 hours. Thank you again.

Jeremy

Jeremy,
It will be a more direct path but as Adam said not a guaranteed one. Keep in mind as a custom student, you won’t get the same priority for hiring as the ACPP students do. With that being said, I still think it’s your best path as of now. Many companies are picking up hiring. Ameriflight looks to be hiring pilots but boutique air not quite yet. When they do, expect a flood of resumes. You’ll need to be as competitive as possible to secure an interview and I think getting all your CFI ratings and instructing for a bit is the way to go.

-Hannah

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Jeremy,

You’re correct, ATP is a much more immersive program but at this point all you’ve got left is your ME and CFI training (btw High Perf and Complex are not ratings, they’re endorsements) . You are correct about my bio. Difference is I only had my Private (because I never dreamed I could actually fly for an airline) and at the time ATP did not offer Private Pilot training as part of their training. You however chose to train elsewhere which is fine and your decision. While ATP does offer “finish up” programs which are excellent, I was simply saying if you were thinking of taking advantage of ATPs contacts and relationships as a means to fast track into the Aviate program, after completing the vast majority of your training elsewhere, that’s probably not going to happen.

Adam

Jeremy,

Welcome to the forums. ATP starts people generally with zero flight time, or with their PPL, although ATP is now offering custom programs for people in your situation. I would recommend calling the admissions department and speaking to them about what custom program would look like for you.

I would recommend getting your CFIs, it really is the best way to build your flight time.

Chris

Jeremy,

I too am from the Houston area (North near Conroe). Graduating college this semester and have my CFI/CFII. I’ve applied to several places and sent resumes everywhere (Boutique, Ameriflight, Etc.) and have about close to 600 Total time. By the time you have enough hours to be competitive at these places they might be hiring a lot but I have had no luck with any of them, and had to resort to a CFI job in Birmingham Alabama (literally the only school out of at least 20 I applied to that hired me even with close to 100 dual given time). If you are my age and can move like that then you shouldn’t have a hard time getting hired somewhere as a CFI. I’d definitely plan on instructing somewhere until someone else picks you up (if you don’t want to instruct for the full 1500). Just wanted to give my input on the current job market as I am a low time Commercial pilot with CFI ratings.

Hi Jeremy,

Welcome to the Forum!

ATP does offer custom programs, but unfortunately not a stand alone CFI Academy. Typically the most that we credit for a custom program would be your PPL and IR. Please give our admissions department a call at 904-595-7950 if you have any additional questions about custom programs!

Addison

The aviate program changed a lot and is nothing like what I applied to it before. So make sure you meet requirements first.

Best way to build? If you want your cfi, that’s cheapest.

If you want it quick, you can time share.

Currently time sharing to 500hrs, for a jump pilot job I am offered through family connections.

Moe,

While time sharing is another option to build time, I wouldn’t say it’s quicker. It’s just another option.

Tory