Honestly don’t know where to start

Hi my name is Onolina. I live in Salt Lake City, UT and just couple months ago I got this drive and passion to want to become a pilot. I’m not 100% sure whether I want to do private or commercial but all I know is that I’m confident I want to become a pilot. I am 27 will be 28 at the ending of the year. Anyways, I have a couple questions that I kinda want to ask anyone who has experienced or have answers for me maybe. I feel like I’m at a road block because I honestly don’t know where to begin.

  • So I am 3 hours (credits) away from receiving my bachelors in sociology. The university I went to allowed me to walk early but I didn’t receive my bachelors yet due to being short 3 credits which is most likely one class.

  • Also I am way over 250 lbs and I know there’s that requirement that we have to be 250 lbs and I am 6’1 and 335 lbs at the moment.

  • I don’t know where I need to look for pilot school… the nearest ATP school is about 45 minutes from me and I’m not sure of driving 45 minutes to classes would be worth it because I do have a 2 year old that I hate being away from… would going to another program that is closer better even if it takes longer?

I honestly just don’t know how or where to start considering these things I have to do. Which should I complete first/focus on or do you guys think that I’m able to do all at once? I would love all the opinions from anyone who is experienced these and know the timing with flight schools and the schedules and stuff. Thank you in advance!


  1. Major airlines want a 4yr degree. If you’re 3 credits away it would be foolish not to finish. Not even sure why this is a question for you?

  2. The height weight requirement is for weight and balance in the airplane and its a hard gate that must be met. Further pilots are required to have and maintain FAA First Class Medicals. Your height and weight puts you at a high enough BMI that your medical could be deferred for sleep apnea tests. If you want to train with ATP you’ll need to get the weight down.

  3. A 45min drive each way isn’t really bad. What’s more concerning is your reason for not wanting to. Pilots by definition fly AWAY from home and do it often. Training (and then instructing) for ATP will mean some very long days and even a few weeks when you will not be home. After that on average pilots are gone 15 days a month. You need to really decide if this is something you can or even want to do?

  4. Finally you don’t mention any flight experience. Until you’ve actually gone up in a small plane you won’t know for certain if this is something worth pursuing. I suggest you schedule a lesson at your local flight school and give it a try before you do anything else.




Adam took care of your main questions.
There is a thread on here with a few other prospective students working on losing weight and get in better shape. Like Adam mentioned, being/staying healthy is key to having a long career in aviation (keeping your medical).
To jump into the culture and get many of your questions answered while having an awesome support network I would look into joining your local aviation communities. You have dozens of options but some of the biggest would be Women In Aviation, The 99s, Female Pilots Sticking Together (FAST), Aviation Career Mentorship (On FB), and this forum, just to name a few.
These groups are great at helping answer your questions, finding your path, and provide in-person, and online support / guidance.

All the best,
Chris F


  1. You need to actually finish your degree to be able to say that you have one. Airlines will just ask if you have the degree or not, not how many credits away from one you are.

  2. You will need to get your weight down to being consistently less than 250 to train with ATP. I am not a doctor, but I can tell you that the FAA could subject you to additional testing due to your weight.

  3. You need to really consider if this is the right career for you or not. As pilots, we spend significant time on the road and away from our families.


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Thank you all so much for your replies. I truly appreciate you guys taking your time. The main reason why I wanted to post what I considered roadblocks (whether small or big, if it makes sense to others or not) out on here is because I wanted to start my conversation somewhere. These were the thoughts/questions I had and just needed a little push in the right direction. Yes, I have not had any type of hours for flying and don’t think I need it to set my heart on being a pilot because my heart is set. I know no one who is or was a pilot so that’s why I ended up on here. From your answers, I gathered that I need to focus on getting my weight down first and foremost, and while doing so I can finish my courses necessary to complete my B.S. I will research and call around my area for closer flight schools + ATP so I have a better understanding of my timeline and figure out my schedule from there. I believe everything will fall in place. Thanks guys!

Thank you so much Chris F! I will make sure to look into those female groups. Being a mom and wanting a career for myself is so hard. But I appreciate your reply! Thank you very much!

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