Columbus, OH as a base

Hello everyone, thank you so much for all the answers, so far finding the forum super helpful! Started with ATP at the beginning of the month and so far it’s intense but I’m enjoying it and happy to be in a program which is so career-oriented.

As I’m trying to get an idea of how things work, I had a couple of questions some of you could give me guidance on.
My girlfriend and I own a house in Columbus, OH with a nice, low mortgage payment, we like it there, and it would be nice to stay. However we would be ok with moving elsewhere if more beneficial. So I’m trying to figure out if CMH (or any of the driving-distance airports/cities) would be good as a base for me.
My long-term goal is to get to the majors and ideally don’t want to move again. Given that, should I be thinking with starting off a pilot career at a bigger city with a major hub?


You could choose to stay in Columbus for flight instruction but may need to be on a waitlist for a ATP location or find a local school. If you leave ATP, you would be giving up the opportunity to join one of the dozen of pathway programs.

As for regional carriers, Republic is the only regional with a base in Columbus. Endeavor has one nearby in Cincinnati. PSA and Air Wisconsin have bases in Dayton.

I’ll Post a helpful link for you below:

It’s at least 5 years away but, the closest bases for the legacies, United has a small base in Cleveland and delta in Detroit.



Nice thing about being a pilot is you can live anywhere. That said the only airline with a base in CMH is Republic so that means you’re kind of locked into them as a Regional and will def have to commute if/when you get to a Major. While the majority of pilots commute, I dont know any who recommend it but it’s def diable out of Columbus.

Regardless I’d stay put until you have a better idea where you want to end up.



I fully understand the desire to want to stay in Columbus. You might be able to do it with a regional, but with a major you will need to move, or commit to commuting to someplace near like ORD or DTW. I do not recommend commuting, but I did it for many years and got used to it over time.

Needless to say, you can stay in CMH if you are willing to sacrifice the conveniences of living in base.



There are two styles of living when you reach the airlines: commuting or living in-base. As the others have mentioned, Republic is the only base holder in CMH, while there are nearby base holders like PSA, Endeavor and others. Depending on the quality of life you desire, living in base your entire life may be more of interest than commuting for a specific airport/airline. I have a lot of friends in my workplace that commute from Florida to the northeast for work, they made it evident they weren’t going to move, but hang in there with commuting.