Real Answers from Real Pilots

“Climbing” to New Heights (featuring Kyle Pounder)

I had the pleasure of meeting one of our very own, @Kpounder during my GEG layover today!

For those that haven’t been following Kyle’s journey, Kyle joined us in September of 2017, trained and instructed at ATP in PAE, finished his 1500 hours at a local flight school in Spokane and is scheduled to begin First Officer training at Horizon almost exactly 4 years since joining the forum.

Although I am partial to the E175 :grin: I am excited for Kyle to join our ranks in the Q400. Kyle chose the Q for the convenience of living in base (which I totally recommend).

Side note, I would also like to congratulate Kyle and his fiancé, Brittany, on their engagement! Kyle recently proposed just two weeks ago and their wedding is scheduled for February of next year. Very very happy for you guys! I wish you guys all the best!

Here’s some more highlights from this afternoon:



So cool that you two got to meet! Thank you for posting and congratulations to Kyle.


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It was great to meet up and hang out with you this afternoon, Tory! We’ll have to get back to the climbing gym again sometime and see if we can tackle some more challenging routes.

It was great not only to meet a mentor from the forum but also a captain at the airline I’m about to start training for. So it was nice to get a bit of insight into the culture and what to expect. Definitely can’t wait to get started there! (And to get married in a few months! :smile:)


Hi @Kpounder, Congrats on your engagement as well as the next step in your aviation career. I am hoping that I might be able to talk with you offline about your time at PAE and Spokane instructing. I am currently down in Denver (KAPA) about to wrap up my CFII & MEI with ATP. My wife and I are both from Spokane and spent the previous 6 years in Seattle before we moved to Denver for my training. We have been debating either moving back to Seattle to instruct at ATP (PAE) or moving back to Spokane to instruct at a local school over there.


Hi Nick,

I honestly enjoyed instructing in both places. I started at ATP in PAE because it was available and I had just finished my training there. I actually lived in Spokane first, moved to Everett solely for ATP, and so coming back to Spokane when I had the chance was a nice homecoming for me. I instructed for almost 3 years exactly. The first 8 months or so was with ATP from October 2018 to May of 2019. I’ve been instructing at a flight school at SFF ever since.

Assuming you’re starting around 200-250 hours when you’re all done with ATP (maybe you have more if you’ve done some flying outside of ATP), I can tell you you’ll probably get to 1500 in about 2 years at an ATP location like PAE or TIW, and maybe a little over 3 years instructing here in Spokane.

If your main goal is to get to 1500 hours as quickly as possible, I’d recommend finding somewhere in the Seattle area. Either ATP in PAE or TIW or I think there’s a couple other flight schools at BFI and RNT. You’ll definitely get more students and opportunities to fly in the bigger city environment. If you and your wife have a stronger desire to live in Spokane, the flight school I’ve been working at for the last 2 1/2 years is honestly a great place to work. The flying can just get kind of slow at times, especially in the winter.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions or anything!


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Thanks for the quick response Kyle. This is the exactly the information I was looking for!

If all goes as planned (said the naïve pilot) I think I might end up following a pretty similar path as you. The ideal plan would be to initially start instructing with ATP at PAE, as I feel being familiar with ATP’s operations would help me starting out as a new instructor. My wife and I’s end goal is to end up back in Spokane, so depending on how everything is going we may end up moving back to be closer to our family as I finish up the rest of my time. Of course all of this really depends on ATP’s waitlists once I wrap up the program.

Appreciate you taking the time to respond to me Kyle.