Pilot Interest

Hello, I work for United as a ramper! Ever since a little kid I’ve loved airplanes and till this day it’s my passion. I love being a ramper being able to be part of the operation. I am currently super interested in ATP for the Long Beach location. I wanted to ask what anyone though about ATP wether it’s a good choice and if it could get me to a small regional airline such as Skywest then eventually grow and fly for United mainline on the 737. I want to do flight school as soon as possible and as fast as possible.

Hello Jose and Welcome!

I’m obviously a fan of ATPs and personally don’t believe there’s any better flight school out there. In addition to high quality training ATP also has agreements with an number of Regionals (including SkyWest) that will ensue you get an interview. You’re fortunate that you work at the airport and have access to many pilots. Don’t just take my word for it, when you see FOs doing their inspections ask them their opinions on ATP. I’m certain you’ll get some very positive feedback.

You don’t mention if you have a college degree or not? While it is possible to fly for a Regional without one, know that United will require it.


Adam, currently I don’t have an college completions except for my EMT certificate. How long did it take you to finish your program at ATP? And how much longer did you stay after as a flight instructor to finish all your hours to reach regional airline minimums to become a FO.


I will jump in here, but I am sure that Adam will respond as well. I had my private pilots license when I started with ATP. At the time the Career Pilot Program was a 90 day program, I completed it in exactly 90 days.

I stayed with ATP for a year as an instructor before moving on to the airlines, but keep in mind that the requirements were different then. Nowadays I would expect to instruct for 1.5-2 years before being eligible to be hired.


Hey Chris, Thank you! I sorta figured that it would be another 1.5 or 2 years to complete my hours. Just wanted to see what my timeline would roughly look like!


What airport do you work at? I wonder if you have ever worked one of the flights I was flying…

Yes, I do think that ATP is a good choice, that is one of the reasons that I volunteer to be on this forum. The company is very good at helping pilots get their licenses in a no frills manner at a reasonable price.

I am not sure what your educational background is, but I will share this with you. You do not need a college degree to get hired on at the regionals, but you absolutely will for the majors. The good news is that if you don’t have one now you can work on one while you are flying for the regionals.

What flight schools have you looked into? There is a thread under my “Flying the Line” category called “Questions for any prospective Flight School”. I highly recommend that you look at this list and use those questions when comparing various flight schools.

Feel free to ask any questions that you can think of. I look forward to working with you.


Always a good idea to look ahead :slight_smile:

Chris, I work in SBA we only work on United express planes for the moment but I did hear sometime next year or so we may be getting mainline specifically the 737 family or the Airbus a319 or a320. My college background isn’t that big. I completed my EMT course not to long ago, and that’s all I currently have. I’m currently 21 years old and I want to pursue to be a pilot someday. I live in California in the Santa Barbara area and we do have a flight program through a local college called Santa Barbars Business College. They offer you all your licenses and a 2 year associates degree in aviation for around 130K. I have been looking at ATP also because it is a lot cheaper. I’m glad that you mention that while flying for regionals (I want to fly for Skywest) I could work on my bachelors to eventually go with the majors. I’m sure speaking English and Spanish is a plus right?

Hey Jose,

I actually finished my training in 87 days (also had my Private). As Chris said the regs were different we first started (no 1500hr Rule) so I only instructed for 5 mos before I got hired.

I know many Regional pilots who got their degrees while at the Regional (oart time and or online). Requires some hard work and discipline but definitely doable.

While speaking Spanish is something you could list on your resume, and something that would help you if you were applying to be a flight attendant, it really has no effect on pilot hiring. English is the official language of not only the FAA, it’s the official language of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) aka the World. In fact if there’s any question as to someone’s English skills, they may be required to take a test. Again obviously not a bad thing but not really a “plus”.



To be honest about the associates degree, I would not spend much time pursuing it unless you intend on transferring to a four year school to finish the degree as soon as possible. Think of an associate’s degree as a half way to a degree certificate. I think you would be better off flight training, then finding a school that you can attend online while you are building your flight time.

I will second Adam on the English and Spanish, it really won’t do much for you in regards to hiring or flying. What it will do is make you a very valuable asset to your crew whenever you are on an overnight in a Spanish speaking country.


Adam, my first language is English but I also know Spanish very wel I’m fluent in both. I just figured it would be a plus to know both if I ever were to be international flights to Mexico or Central America. And I also figured that 1.5 to 2 years after ATP would be a good time gram to reach regional minimums as Chris said in the previous message.

Thanks Chris, I believe I like the idea of going to ATP and getting hired by the regionals then working as a FO for a airline and doing my online schooling to get a degree and then go to the majors. In the future I’d like to flying within the states but also fly to Mexico and Central America so then my Spanish would be a plus there.


Wasn’t implying your English skills were lacking (if that’s how it sounded I apologize). I was simply stressing as a pilot it’s English that matters. Speaking a second language is a great skill but doesn’t make you any more marketable.

I also agree with Chris’ 1.5-2yr estimate.


No worries Adam, this is great information. Thank you. I have another question, how do regional airlines places different pilots on different aircrafts? Like how does someone go into a CRJ 200 700 or 900 or the EMB 170:175? Does the applicant choose? Or how does it work?

Airlines have “bids” where pilots get to list their choices for the airplanes they would like to fly and the bases they would like to fly them out of. At United we have about four bids per year, this is your chance to change airplanes or bases. When the bid is runny everybody’s choices are processed the results are determined in seniority order, meaning that the pilot who has been there the longest gets first pick, then the next longest, etc.

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Hey Eric, thanks that made total sense. I work on the EMB 175 a lot as a ramper and if I make it to the regionals someday I’d like to start off on that aircraft. I appreciate the explanation.

Makes sense Chris, I think I’m going to go tour ATP at the Long Beach location and hopefully start by then end of this year or the beginning of next year!

Great, you must be excited :slight_smile:

Make sure that you call ahead before you go tour. That way you can be sure to have a guided tour by an instructor. At ATP locations there is always the distinct possibility that everybody might be out flying if you don’t call before you arrive.


Thank you Chris, Adam and Eric for your information. You guys have been great, I appreciate it!