Hi all! I’m 17 and in my senior year of high school. I seriously want to become a pilot and I’m sure you guys are tired of answering kids’ questions all the time, but I still want the comfort of knowing that someone who has gone through or is in the process of is answering them honestly. Does it make more sense to attend a 4-year university and obtain a degree, then attend a flight school? Or does it make more sense to attend an aviation university (Bowling Green State University in Ohio), and get my start there? I am also a Pakistani-American, and quite honestly a very very small part of me still feels that I will be at a disadvantage as far as getting hired with a carrier goes, is this a legitmate worry I should have? Thanks so much!
First and foremost get the whole Pakistani discrimination thing out of your head. Airlines hire professional well-trained pilots with a wide variety of last names. If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident you’re fine.
I always recommend people stay in school and earn their degrees. While this might not be the fastest route to the airlines I believe it’s the best and most secure. You’re in “school mode” and it’s best to continue your education while you’re young and have good learning/study skills. Many people want to delay school but many also find going back very challenging. Now while an aviation degree program may seem a good compromise, the good ones are VERY expensive and you’re essentially putting your entire future into aviation. While you may be 100% in your mind you want to be a pilot, things happen (medical issues, change of heart, etc) and there’s not much you can do with an aviation degree. It’s always a good idea to have a Plan B. Get a degree in something you enjoy and might consider doing if you don’t end up flying or simply want a second career in the future. These are things best discussed with your parents but that’s my take.
Please check out the FAQ section as your first question is answered in depth there.
As to your second question, I have flown with pilots from all sorts of different backgrounds and nationalities. Racism is absolutely not tolerated in the industry, you should be just fine.
Are there any Indian pilots you have flown with? I am just asking because one of my family friends in 1996 was a CFI and completed all of his ratings and because he was Indian he did not get accepted into any airline. Also he was a US citizen.
Yes, I have flown with many Indian pilots.
I know MANY Indian pilots and many who’ve been at the airlines for decades. With all due respect it’s much easier to blame a lack of success on something like ethnicity vs accepting the fault is ours alone. I promise you there were other issues.
Btw my FOs last name on Saturday was Patel.