Real Answers from Real Pilots

Going to ATP

Hello all! I currently have a year left in the military and found I can get out 6 months early to start working for a career as a commercial airline pilot. I have zero experience and am wondering if my GI bill will cover some of the cost / how much I will need to pay out of pocket! I also heard it takes 2 years to get all of the flight hours required to become a commercial pilot. Is this true? Can I work as a flight instructor to build experience? ( I can travel anywhere for studies my last 6 months )

Hi Michael,

Great questions so here’s some answers.

  1. Unfortunately, due to the accelerated nature of ATPs program and the fact the GI Bill will only allow so much and year, other than covering your checkride fees (approx $8,000), you will not be able to use your bennies for the program (please visit www.ATPFlightSchool.com for this cost). While you may be thinking it might be better to train elsewhere and not have to take a loan or have out of pocket costs, the earning and seniority you’ll gain by training with ATP will more than make up for the cost.

  2. the training takes approx 7mos then it’s about another 1.5yrs of flight instructing to build the required 1500hrs so yes 2-2.5yrs is a real time frame.

  3. yes, flight instructing is the most common means of building time

Hope that helps.

Adam

Michael,

There are flight schools that accept GI benefits, but you will find that they often end up being more costly and can be very time consuming, often taking years longer than a fast paced program like ATP. If you do not yet have a college degree, I would suggest using your benefits for such as you will moist likely need a degree to make it to the majors.

It does take about two years to build the flight time needed to make it to the airlines. The majority of that time will be spent building time. Most people do this via flight instructing. Being a flight instructor is the tried and true way to build flight time and is really a way to sharpen your skills beyond the initial training.

Please take a few minutes to look around this website, especially the FAQ section. We are of course happy to answer any questions you may have.

Chris