Ever since I can recall, I have always been fascinated with planes and the profession of holding a position as a FO and eventually Captain of a major airline. Over time, I have accumulated much knowledge on everything from the types of airplanes to mechanics and flight procedures through the Infinite Flight Simulator app. However, although this app and other softwares can greatly help a person in this field, I do realize using a simulator online is quite different than actually flying a plane. Anyhow, now a 15 year old and a freshman in high school, I have really decided full-heartedly that I want to pursue a career in piloting for specifically United Airlines. Due to this decision, I have spent probably too much time:) researching the many routes and requirements a person needs to become a major airline pilot, and have also come to a decision that I would like to take the civilian route. First, I will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Aircraft Operations or something related to that. But, I am still in the dark a little on how to obtain the training and mandatory minimum flight hours (1,000 I believe for United) to obtain a job for the airline. Can anyone who has experience with the civilian route please provide insight on the many possibilities of anything ranging from schools to regional airliners to time it takes to move up the ranks for me so I can deepen my understanding of the path I need to take? Once again thank you for the help.
First off you’re mistaken. While United (and the other Majors) all want a 4yr degree it need not be in aviation or related field (Mentor Chris is a United Capt and I believe he majored in business admin or something like that). As for the how’s I recommend you spend some time browsing this sight (this thread in particular https://airlinepilot.life/t/how-do-i-become-an-airline-pilot/10891).
Welcome to the forums and thanks for posting. While it seems you have a good grasp on the industry, let’s straighten out a few points.
While any flight simulation program is interesting to play with, it is really just that. The apps can teach a few things, but they also teach a lot of bad habits and are an extremely simplified version of what it takes to fly an airplane. I am not saying not to use them, just know that they are glorified video games.
What you do need to do is go take an introductory flight somewhere and actually go fly an airplane. It is one thing to think that you want to fly, it is quite another to actually do it. You can do this at just about any local flight school.
While you will need a four year degree for the majors, it does not need to be aviation related. In fact, we typically recommend getting a degree is something other than aviation so that you have a backup plan should flying not work out for whatever reason.
Most people that go the civilian route go to an accelerated flight training program like ATP, then flight instruct to build the flight time they need for the airlines. You will need 1,500 hours to be eligible to work at the regionals. For the majors, you will need several thousand hours and many years of experience at the regionals.
Let us know what other questions you have.
Thank you both very much. another question I have is you do not even have to have a degree related to aeronautics to be hired by an airline? Does not having one decrease your chance of getting hired by a major airline? Thanks.
As I said above, the Majors want a degree, an aviation degree is not necessary or advantageous. As a matter a fact I recommend against it. You’re 15 and are very determined to fly and that’s great but things change. There’s not much you can do with an aviation degree if for some reason you change your mind or things simply don’t work out flying wise. It’s always good to have a plan B.
Awesome, thanks both of you for the great information. Thank you for the help, bye!
The airlines do not care one single bit what your degree is in, as long as it is respectable. In fact, I would say that the vast majority of pilots do not have aviation degrees.
I’m 32 years old. I really wanted to be a pilot but the biggest concern I have that the FAA required 1500 hours. I want to go part time school, school part time because I have a family and I need to keep my full time job to pay my bills so and I’m not sure how long is going to take me to reach the 1500 hours, maybe when I’m 40? If so how hard to get hired by an airline when I’m 40? Also I’m from Iraq and I’m not sure how bad that could affects me.
I have been in this country for 10 years. I have a Bashelors degree.
Please let me know.
Thank you all.
Not sure why you think being from Iraq will negatively effect you? (Not trying to be snide, but your grammar and spelling will effect you more). As long as you have permanent resident or citizen status and can pass a background check you’ll be fine.
Now as far as training part-time and building hours that’s obviously entirely up to you. 40 isn’t old and you’d have no problem getting hired at 40 but that’s ALOT of lost seniority and lost potential earnings. Starting now you’d have a good shot at being a widebody Capt at a Major making the top end of the scale. Waiting the 8yrs there’s a good chance you won’t. We get people on here everyday with horror stories of taking years and tens of thousands of dollars training part time just to get their PPL’s. Not saying it can’t be done but chances are after a few years, an obscene amount of money and little progress you’ll probably quit. If you’re serious about this as a profession you should train like a professional.
I have to agree with Adam here on all points.
To begin with, you do really need to improve your English skills. It is an FAA requirement that you need to speak English clearly. I would suggest taking some English classes to better your skills.
Forty is not too old to get hired at an airline, but you will be really limiting your career potential. Training while working full time is never a good recipe, something will suffer, either your work or your flying performance. If you really want to be a professional pilot, you need to find a way to train full time.
Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it.
I speak really clear English and I can read well but when it comes to grammar and spelling I think I’m not that good and I didn’t know this will effect me really bad. I was told as long as I can speak clearly and read that’s all the matter and don’t need to spell %100, Not sure how truth is that. Also, I was told grammar and spelling will effect me really bad if I wanted to be come a police officer, I didn’t know it will effect me if I wanted to become a pilot.
Now, should I move on? Or what should I do please.
Thank you very much.
First you should stop saying “really bad” Seriously unless you’ve got an airline interview tomorrow you’ve got a few years to work on it do you not? So do that. Don’t be content with your current level, seek to do better. I will say that if Chris and I (or is it me and Chris?) simply telling you it may be a concern is enough to make you move on you don’t seem all that committed. Finally I’m not aware of any police requirement to be English Language Proficient but that is one for EVERY airline pilot in the World.
I think a few months of English as a Second Language classes would do you a world of good. In many areas you can take these for free. Check with your local school division as many of them offer evening classes for adults.
Adam: it is “Me and Chris”.
Thank you for the feedback and for your suggestion.
I hope I will be ready in a few months.
Again thank you,
Anytime. Let us know how else we can help you.
Reading about this topic got me a little concern. i will start atp school in September, and was accepted with them knowing about me being from another country and having English as my second language. I been here in the US for 15 years and i speak and can read really well, was even told by two different people from ATP that i spoke over the phone that language won’t be an issue.
But i will be honest, my grammar is definitely not perfect, is easy to write on a computer or cell phone where is very easy to correct my grammar on a few words i need. But if i have to write on a piece of paper without this tools i will for sure have a few mistakes. I am already scoring over 90% on my prep tests for the private written and haven’t had any issues with English, besides maybe a few new words i learned, and i know wont be an issue during ATP training, but what about with the airlines?
Will I have any issues to get a job because my grammar isn’t perfect?
You’ll be fine with the training at ATP and the Regionals need bodies so that won’t be an issue either. That said there are a number of Major airlines that will ask applicants to write and essay or fill out an accident report etc in order to verify your English competency. The good news is you won’t be interviewing for a Major any time soon and have quite a few years to improve your skills.
Thanks again for the quick reply Adam! Good to know i have enough for the regionals!
I don’t see you having any issues with getting hired at the regional level, but you will most definitely need to work on your grammar and punctuation for the majors. Simple things like writing “i” instead of “I” make a big difference and is something you can work on right now. Now don’t get me wrong, your English looks great, but it just needs to be improved a bit. Pay attention to how others write and maybe spend some time watching instructional videos online.