Cruise Speed To The Airlines

My name is Wyatt, for as long as i can remember I’ve looked up at the skys and dreamt of becoming an airline pilot. My love for aviaton started in '06 at the Reno Air Races and now I’m in a position where I want to start pursuing this dream of flying commercially.
I’m currently 21 years old with my PPL, along with my tail wheel and spin endorsements with an accumulated 100 total flight hours. In 2020 I graduated with my Associates Degree in Welding Science and Technology and currently working as a Welder to fund my training as well as save up for ATP flight school. I also have 18 completed credit hours towards a degree in business finance that I have completed online while working full time.
I am a natural over thinker and research things to death before making that leap, so I have some questions and concerns about doing this.
From a financial standpoint I will be coming into the program with alittle over $43000 saved to cover living expenses over the 2 years for attending the program and working as a CFI. I intend to pull the $73000 loan out as well. I have no other bills, does this sound feasible? Will I be able to afford to finish my degree online in a timely manner while working for the regionals with a 73000 dollar liability? Will it hurt my career if I stay at the regionals longer in order to finish my degree? What should i expect my quality of life to be while working for the regionals for 7-10 years with these financial and educational commitments?
I have some business courses completed already and those credits do transfer to Embry Riddle World-Wide. Along with the credits I’ll obtain after completing my ratings it appears that it would put me close to the halfway point to completing a 4 year degree in Business Aviation. Are there other online colleges or other majors you guys would recommend? How many regional airline pilots complete their degrees online? What are the risks of doing this? Am I compromising my self by not getting my degree first?
Out of the 70 training centers i have selected 3 that I would like to attend. One choice is Las Vegas because its close to home, my other preference is Phoenix Mesa because of how big it is and the affordable student housing, and my last choice is Baton Rouge because i have family I can bunk with 20 minutes from the airport for free, the only con to Baton Rouge is that it is a smaller facility. What do you guys recommend?
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to getting feedback from the accomplished pilots that you all are, that were once in my shoes.
Best Regards,


LOTS of questions so let’s dive in:

  1. Id say you’d be coming in this better than most people do financially. The majority need to borrow $100k plus and have other debt. You’re not accounting for income while you’re instructing or possible Tuition Reimbursement if you’re hired early by a Regional.

  2. With the credits you have and additional for your licenses and ratings you should be able to complete your degree with minimum time and expense provided you put in the time and effort. That said we have no way of knowing what you’re capable of?

  3. Chances are you won’t be able to leave a Regional until you get your degree so that question is kind of moot but if you can and don’t move on that would be foolish.

  4. Most people are out of the Regionals in 4-5 these days. If you did stay that long you’d probably be fairly senior with a good quality of life. The beginning years are tough for everyone.

  5. Riddle is a great school but they’re also very expensive. The are many other programs available. The internet is a great resource as well as the ATP website.

  6. Alot

  7. You could be a lousy pilot and never complete your training, you could get your hand caught in a garbage disposal (one of my personal greatest fears), you could interview very poorly and never get hired, you could go celebrate after completing your training and get a DUI, Covid Megatron Omega could strike and lock us all down for years and eventually lead to a zombie apocalypse, another 9/11, Biden gets another term, the economy could continue to tank and the country goes into another depression, Russia and China could nuke us, aliens could strike like in Independence Day (but this time Will Smith smacks them), a giant meteor heads to Earth but Bruce Willis’ shuttle doesnt slingshot fast enough, Skynet becomes self aware but Arnold kills Reese before he can hook up with Sarah, etc etc etc etc etc

  8. Personally I believe everyone should finish their education first unless they’re over 30 but that’s a personal decision.

  9. We all recommend you select the training center that works best for you. There’s zero advantage to a bigger location. The airplane and Instructor to student ratio is the same throughout. Don’t over think this.




Welcome to the forum, let’s get to your questions.

  1. You have a large amount of money saved, as long as you are frugal with it, you should be fine.

  2. I would imagine that you would be able to afford to finish your degree, but of course everybody’s situation is different.

  3. You might very well need that degree to get out of the regionals and onto a major. So no, it will not hurt your career, but you will want to finish that degree as soon as possible after getting to the airlines.

  4. In today’s environment, I do not think that you would need to work for a regional for 7-10 years, hopefully it would be a few years less. The quality of life at a regional can be very good. Take a look at Hannah’s schedule to get an idea what those schedules look like,

  5. In your situation, an aviation degree from Embry Riddle would be just fine.

  6. I have no idea how many regional pilots complete their degrees online, but it is a substantial number. I see no risk in doing it other than to make Sur eyou actually complete the degree and do not get side tracked.

  7. I would pick the training center that is most convenient for you and not give it any other thought.



I agree with everything that has been said already. Nice work with your research. We really do appreciate it when people make the effort.

The only thing I’ll add is, as someone who appears to enjoy efficiency, consider taking the written tests ahead of the program. It’s isn’t required, but it will save you time to focus on other things. Get Ahead By Taking FAA Knowledge Tests Before Starting ATP / ATP Flight School