Counting down the days…

New member on the forum and prospective/future ATP student (Ogden, UT). Like many others, it’s taken me 10 years of sitting at a desk to finally realize what I truly wanted to do. I grew up around the aviation and aerospace industry as my grandfather was an engineer with a contractor for nearly 45 years (was a chief engineer on the F-14 program back in the day), my father followed in his tracks, aaand then so did I, though not as an engineer. It’s certainly had its ups and rewarding moments over the last 10 years thanks to the opportunity to support some incredible DoD programs, but my dream has always been to fly.

Coming out of college I scared myself out of going the military route with the uncertainty of getting a pilot slot and I kick myself for it sometimes…but here I am with the means and opportunity to step away from the corporate lifestyle and into my dream job of flying airplanes (thanks to an incredibly supportive fiancé/soon to be wife). Also a friend who flies for WheelsUp who absolutely loves his job and helped talk me through some of my decision process.

Few questions/general curiosities I don’t see discussed much on here…

  1. Don’t see many Delta/Endeavor pilots or even cadets chiming in often. Would love to hear from any who might be active/lurking on here. Delta would be my dream job if I choose the airline route.
  2. Majority of the conversation around education tends to be “do I need X degree”…well what about those of us starting later in life with multiple degrees or advanced degrees? Any benefit to that? I’m guessing it’s minimal, if anything, maybe just an extra checked box…
  3. Having a friend at WheelsUp has given me a pretty good secondhand view of what it’s like at the big/“major” part 135 operations. Would love to hear from anyone who works or has worked for any of the big part 135 charter carriers (netjets, flexjet, WU, etc), and particularly anyone who’s flown both 135 and 121.

Really appreciate all of the info everyone shares here on the forum. I don’t think I would’ve come to the decision I have without it. Lookin forward to sharing the skies with all of you one day!

Rob,

Hopefully others with the experience you’re looking for will chime in but here’s a few quick thoughts:

  1. You really won’t see many Delta/Endeavor pilots on here even though ATP had produced many. Thing is you have us mentors, but the vast majority of other participants on here are people like you seeking advice. Once people complete their training and move on we rarely hear from them as they’re off to bigger and better things. Again perhaps someone will chime in but it doesn’t happen often. Regardless the route is pretty much the same for all of us.

  2. Nope, really won’t help. The airlines simply want to see a 4yr degree to demonstrate your ability to complete the task, anything above that might make for good conversation but beyond that really won’t help. Airlines want skilled, well trained pilots more than anything else.

  3. No disrespect, but I wouldn’t call Wheels Up a “Major” operator. That said Hannah did some 135 work before SkyWest and Serge is currently flying for NetJets and comes on here fairly often so they can give you better perspective on that. That said if your goal is Endeavor/Delta then there are more direct paths than 135.

Adam

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Rob,

Let’s get to your questions…

  1. We do have one pilot on here that is just starting at Delta, so he might be able to provide some insight, but for whatever reason we do not seem to have any other Delta pilots lurking on here. That is okay though, they wear double-breasted uniform jackets and one simply cannot trust any pilot that dresses like a tugboat Captain.

  2. Your assumption on the extra degrees is correct. Anything beyond a bachelor’s is nice and is icing on the cake, but it really will not do much to help you stand out in the interview process. The majors are looking for flight time and plenty of it, that is the dominant factor in selecting pilots.

  3. Hopefully Hannah will chime in here, she is our resident former corporate pilot.

Let us know how else we can help you, I look forward to following your progress through your training.

Chris

Rob,

Sounds like the guys answered your first two questions throughly so I’ll just chime in on question #3.

I hit my 1500 hours during Covid and was fortunate to get a job at FlyExclusive flying the CJ3. They are roughly #5 in size (compared to competitors like NetJets, FlexJet, etc) for charter operations with 86 aircraft and growing monthly. I started ATP with my sights set on becoming an airline pilot. Now that I’m at Skywest, I have perspective from both the 121 and 135 side.

The big differences:
Scheduling- part 135 is block scheduling. I had 8 days on 6 days off. So longer blocks of days away but more time at home as well. It repeated like that non-stop so I could look ahead and see if I had Christmas off two years down the road. Also, no reserve! Part 121 you bid for your schedule and it’s based on seniority. So you can anticipate reserve when you’re junior, then a crappy jr line holder schedule and an improved one when you’re senior. The trips range from locals to four days and everything in between.

Pay- Part 135 you’re paid a flat daily rate plus per diem. So a four leg day or a one leg day is all paid the same. Typically wages are much higher initially but over the course of a career, 121 earnings far exceed the 135 side. Part 121, you’re paid by the hour unless it’s below minimum daily guarantee, plus per diem.

Flexibility- Part 135 is mostly home based which means everyone is a commuter. You can literally live anywhere and get positive space tickets to get to work. Part 121 you can live anywhere but it’s up to you to get yourself to base on time. Some locations are much more difficult to commute from than others and it’s all standby travel.

If you have some specific questions, let me know!

Hannah

Well I could’ve swore I had responded to this but I guess not…

Just wanted to thank each of you for your input/responses. I’ve spent a fair amount of time poking around these forums and the 3 of you consistently provide valuable feedback, insight, and advice (along with some others of course).

Really excited to start this new chapter, can feel the senioritis kicking in at work

Rob,

Trust me, if you’re about to start this forum should be the last thing on your to do list! :slight_smile:

Keep is posted.

Adam

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Rob,

I am glad that we could play some small part in this career decision. Please let us know any way we can help you.

Chris

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Rob,

Congratulations on taking the leap, trust the process and you will be rewarded. Please keep us posted along the way, but remember training comes first. The forum will be here during any milestones you may accomplish. :slight_smile:

Brady

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