On the edge, and about to make the jump

Hey guys, my names Ben and I currently work in the oil and gas industry. Being a commercial pilot was the first thing that I wanted to be growing up, so much so that my dad would take me to the airport to watch airplanes. Then 9/11 happened, and then my young mind went a different direction. I just turned 28 and the thought of becoming a commercial pilot came back to mind in the last couple of months. I love traveling (specifically international), and I write this while sitting at the airport for my flight to France on a 777-200. I’ve traveled the U.S pretty extensively by car primarily, which is why I prefer international now. After doing quite a bit of research, it seems it would be best to get flight school knocked out first, then get my associates while building hours, get my 1500hrs, go to a regional, and then continue by getting my online bachelors while working at a regional. I’m currently looking at ATP in Southern California or U.S aviation academy in the DFW area. I will of course be visiting both schools, do a lesson, and get a FAA medical before jumping too far ahead to ensure I’m in good health to become a pilot and make sure this is the right direction for me. If all this all checks out, I’m pretty open to having a home base in SoCal, Seattle, Denver, DFW, Miami, or New York, so I won’t have to commute hopefully. Financially this is a tough decision because I currently have a pretty good paying job, but in a very cyclical industry and in the long term it’s going to be a rough road. Any advice, opinions, or help is greatly appreciated.


Sounds like you have a good grasp on the whole process. I’ve never heard of US Aviation Academy, but every flight school in the country is now offering “professional pilot” programs due to the demand since the pilot shortage. We’re not here to sell you but training pilots for the airlines is what ATP was created to do 30+ years ago. They have 40+ locations and ATP doesn’t use old 152s or Senecas (btw USAA doesn’t mention anything about how those planes are equipped avionics wise?). ATP placed over 500 pilots at Regional airlines in the last 12mos. While USAA talks about their SINGLE relationship with Envoy (vs ATPs multiple), there’s no reference to any placements.

Again not trying to sell you but just offering a few things to look at. I think going up for an Intro at both is a great idea and should give you a better “feel” for the 2 schools.

Let us know how it goes.

BTW, I have to ask? You say you just turned 28 and 9/11 was 17yrs ago when you were 11. Was it fear that turned you off aviation and what has changed since?


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[quote=“Adam, post:2, topic:16204”]
BTW, I have to ask? You say you just turned 28 and 9/11 was 17yrs ago when you were 11. Was it fear that turned you off aviation and what has changed since?
[/quote] Yes sir, that fear at that time is what turned me off from aviation. I appreciate your advice and I will reference it once I go visit both schools. The benefit to ATP is my family lives in the same city that the school is in, so rent is one thing I wouldn’t have to worry about while attending the school which is a huge plus. Not that I want to move back home to do this, but it is one less thing I won’t need to worry about while going to flight school, so I’m up for it. I do have some college credits already so I should be able to get my associates in 1.5 years or so, possibly less.

I also have purchased the following: 2019 Far/AIM, aviation weather, and Airplane Flying Handbook (Federal Aviation Administration): FAA-H-8083-3B on amazon and will be reading those in my spare time to try and be ahead of the curve.

I was informed that they’re free on the FAA website but having the hard copies is nice.


Definitely some interesting reading but if you’re not actually training much if it will be out of context.



The only issue that I see with your plan is that it is it is going to very difficult, if not impossible, to work on any college while building hours as a CFI. Being a CFI is very demanding, no matter which flight school you work for. I think you will find that you either have to take it very slowly, or you will have to wait until you are finished instructing to work on your college.


Do you mean in terms of having to work 8-10hrs a day and going to school on top of that or?

Yes, I mean working full time as an instructor and trying to go to school. Something is going to suffer.

I agree, it’s going to be challenge, but most likely not more difficult than what I do now. Current work schedule is 80-110hrs per week in all elements performing hard labor, for two consecutive weeks then I get a week off, and rinse and repeat. I’ll get more into detail later, currently boarding my flight.

Scheduled two discovery flights at two different flight schools for when I head home at the end of the month. I will let you guys know how it goes.