My plan -

I am 16 and want to be a pilot. It is an amazing career and is just intriguing to me. So what I want to know is if I go to ATP (commercial pilot course) and pass everything get all my licensees to be a commercial pilot. Attend Embry-Riddle online and get a 4- year degree (while at ATP). Then go to Mesa Airlines to try to achieve my pathway to United Airlines. Then eventually go to United Airlines and fly the 787 or the 777. Will that plan be the best way to become a pilot for them. If not how can I improve the plan.
Thanks in Advance!

P.S. When I go into United Airlines can I go straight into a Boeing 777 or a 787 or do I have to fly and smaller plane first?


ATP requires applicants to have two years of college or work experience before joining the program. With that in mind, I would suggest that you go to college first, then to ATP to get all of your licenses. Planning beyond that right now is really just speculative.

You will most likely start on the smaller airplanes at a major. Everything in the airlines is driven by seniority and the large airplanes like the 777 are very senior. Think about it, if everybody could start on the 777, not many people would want to fly the smaller airplanes.


Now there’s a smart kid with a great career plan, wish I would’ve done that!

Thank you so much!!!

Hey so I saw in an earlier post (that I can’t seem to find) where Chris warned against being totally against specific aircraft at the regionals. I was wondering, does flying a Dash-8 look just as good as flying a E175? I figured since one is a jet and looks more like a mainline aircraft it could possibly be more attractive to the airlines, than a small prop? Obviously I have a LONG way to go before I even reach that point (and the Dash-8 will probably be retired by the time I make it) but I was just wondering. Thanks in advance!


This is a subject that Chris and I disagree on. Personally I’ve seen plenty of turboprop guys get hired at Majors with no issues but Chris believes there’s more value in the larger jet. There are many reasons pilots choose or end up at one Regional vs another and if the Dash is the only aircraft your Regional flies or is available at your base I don’t see why that would work against you? Chris I’m sure will give his take.


Adam is right, plenty of turbo prop guys and gals make it to the majors. I do feel though that regional jet flying exposes the pilots to conditions that are more more similar to what they will encounter at the majors. Things like swept wing, high altitude, flying south of the border, and so on come to mind.

Either way will get you to the majors, but I can tell you that my most recent sim partner came from a turbo prop and he really struggled with learning how to fly a jet.