How much does aeroclub reputation/relationships with airlines matter when trying to land a job?

Hi all,

I am starting my pilot training (just first month of PPL at a local aeroclub). The club offers all training up to ATP certificate but doesn’t seem to have any partnership with any airlines to place students after 1500TT. I am wondering if I should pursue all of my further education at an ATP school in order to increase odds of landing a job (which would require relocation, which would be difficult do because of personal commitments) or as long as I meet all FAA requirements, I will be able to compete with graduates of reputable ATP institutions? A little about me; 35 y/o with a technical degree and 13 years of work experience as a software engineer.



I think you will find that while the aero club says they can take you all the way through your training, the reality is that they probably have very little experience in any higher level training. The other issue that comes to mind is will they need a CFI once you complete their program? Is there a need for CFIs in your area? Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t.

That being said, if you have the flight time and qualifications, you will be competitive with any other pilot.

I would just give this aero club a real hard look over, talk to people that have actually gone through their program and are successful.


Hi Chris,
Really appreciate your quick reply. I feel like this a a tightly knit community. The club definitely needs CFI’s, I’ve heard they might not hire after 250 hrs though, more like 400. They have a large fleet of training aircraft of various models and many are free on the booking schedule while most CFI’s are booked for weeks out. We have a large IT base here in Boston area and many techies like to learn to fly as a hobby, I’ve even run into coworkers at the club, so there is definitely demand for instructors. I will try to hunt down their alumni who work in the airlines or at least find a CFI at the club whose students have become successful in the industry.



How do you plan on building the time to get to the 400? That’s a lot of out of pocket flying. As Chris getting hired these days is the easy part, getting quality training in a TIMELY fashion is not. I’d definitely seek out some former alumni who made the leap and see how much time and money they spent. Cheap is fine but when if it takes you an extra year than that value declines tremendously. Remember airline pilots have a very finite number of years they can fly. One year off the top end is easily $300k plus and I doubt you’ll be saving that much money.


I thought I could keep my current job while building those extra 150 hrs by renting from aeroclub or buying a trainer aircraft that wouldn’t depreciate that much and I could sell it a year or two later and just do weekend mileage runs for 10 hours or so per weekend once I get instrument rating.

I too am concerned about this 400 minimum hour requirement that your aero club says they want before they’ll consider you as their next CFI. I was dirt poor when I started flying. So, that would have turned me away from that club immediately.

You would rather give the aero club another $20k or buy, and sell, a plane to build 150 hours rather than put in applications to other low time flying jobs, including CFI for another school? Why? Sure, your suggestions will get you from A to B. I’m not your financial advisor, but I know the difference between a good plan and a bad one.

If you want to be an airline pilot then you need to train like one. You should focus on quality flight time, not quantity. You can start by finding a more career oriented school. If you decide to stick with the club, then I would come up with a better plan after CFI, if the club even gets you that far. You’d be better off flying traffic watch for those 150 hours. At least you’d be learning how to operate in a new environment.

Ideally, instructing is the best way to build time, but you already know that. Are there any other schools close by that will hire you as a CFI with less total time than the club requires? If so, go teach for them. Maybe consider training with them if they’re better equipped to do so.


There are two other clubs within commuting distance, with the current one being most conveniently located, but one of the other two provides a timeline and training cost for ATP program on their website, which makes me believe that their program might be more streamlined. Anyway, I will most likely stay where I am at least until I get my instrument rating unless someone thinks otherwise.

Here are the three clubs I am talking about., I am enrolled in the first one (bold)

It all really depends on your personal timeline and career priorities. If getting quickly to the airlines is a higher priority, going to an accelerated program will actually save you money in the long run when you consider the opportunity costs of lost income in your higher income earning years (we all have to retire at 65 without exception).
If I were in a position of having cheap rental aircraft at my disposal, I’d go to an accelerated program and once I had my instrument rating or more, I’d use the access to those cheaper aircraft to do some pleasure flying/time building. Upon reaching the CFI/CFII level, I’d offer up free flight instruction to my friends just as a way to get my hours on their dime outside of my ATP obligations. Anything to get closer to 1,500.

Many of my fellow students that have a few extra pesos in the their pocket have gone to local Part 61 schools, got checked out and add 2-4 hours to their logbook over the weekend. Heck, we have a student and a CFI that own and fly their own airplanes to school from time to time. Pretty sweet commute if you ask me, especially in a Piper Cub.

Hope this helps…


I would look for a lot more than just a cost estimator on a website. Check out the FAQ section for a list of questions to ask.



I just want to say at 35 you’re not old but you’re not young either. You may want to try and expedite that timeline a bit if your goal is really to fly for an airline.