I want to start the process to become an airline pilot but I want some advice. I’m already 39 years old and that means I already have economic responsibilities to take care of. Seems like I can still do this or 20 years which sounds amazing.
My question is… are there any programs that you recommend that will either minimize the costs of school or allow me to work and make extra money while on school? Is that something that’s recommended? I also would like to know if you have any advice about what to look for in a school to make sure that I get the best chance to succeed. I live in Houston but I’m willing to move anywhere for the right opportunity to do this.
Thank you all for your time.
Problem is you have conflicting goals. You can of course keep working and train part-time at just about any local flight school. The problem is that will take you forever and at 39 you don’t have forever. I started ATP when I was 39 and the primary reason I chose ATP was the time factor. There simply wasn’t (and still isn’t) a faster route. Training part-time for my Private before that had taken me almost 2 years. I’m currently a Capt at a Major airline (making a heck of ALOT of money) and had I not gone with ATP I’m certain I would not be. In fact I’m not sure I’d be a pilot at all based on my past experience. I completely understand the responsibility aspect (I had 3 small children, a dog and a mortgage) but frankly either you want to do this or you don’t.
Thanks a lot for the reply. I really want to do this and I agree about the time. Maybe I didn’t explain myself very well. I just want to make enough to live while I do it. By no means I mean training part-time. I mean working part-time to make enough to cover my basic expenses. I don’t know… cleaning the planes at night, UBER, something.
If you are going to train at ATP, it will not be possible for you to work while in training. Many have tried, almost all have failed. The program is already highly accelerated, you need to be spending all of your spare time studying.
Talk to the finance department at ATP, some people take out an extra monthly stipend as part of their loan to help cover living expenses.
I can’t speak to other schools or programs. Some may draw the time out and that may allow you to work part-time? I’ll simply leave you with the caveat at 39 IF you want to have a career you need to get going, time is a factor and ATPs program is a proven accelerated route.
Thank you all. I will call tomorrow to have a better understanding of all the options. I really appreciate the help and the advice. I’m just worried about living expenses… that’s all. I’m sure there has to be a way.
I seem to recall a very famous quote… something about where there’s a will…
@agustintrujillo7 ATP may not be the route for you. Consider a Part 61 school, continue to work and fly 3-5 times a week when possible. Won’t be 6-9 months for a CFI like ATP, but could be 12-15 months.
I’m 38, and this is the route I’m taking and it’ll cost a little less.
The key words in your response are “could be 12-15 months”. It “could” be, but it could also be 12-15yrs or ANYTHING in between. The thing is you simply don’t know. What I do know is training on your own 5 days a week can be very challenging without a VERY clear plan and if it’s 3 days it will not be 12-15mos. Futher the longer it takes the higher the price tag goes. I recently met a young man who’s been working on his Private for over a year and has spent close to $20k. Here’s where you should use the word “could” as in it “could cost a little less” but it very well may not.
Listen, I’m not trying to knock you or you plan and I honestly hope it works. I also understand the need/desire to keep the income flowing. When I joined ATP my wife thought I was crazy and irresponsible and threw me out. It was huge sacrifice and put a tremendous strain on the family. Thing was (again) I had tried the local self paced route and it didn’t work. Hope it does for you but I’ve seen too many horror stories to support it.
I too, tried the self paced route and did not have a good outcome. It took much longer than expected and cost more than I was told it would. Buyer beware on these types of programs.
Rodney I hope it works out for you.
I was struggling to find financing for ATP so I decided to take the local flight school route to get my Private while working on the financing. I started last Nov, changed schools do to not liking how the first few lessons went, got the most available instructor at the new school and scheduled 3-4 times a week and I’m getting ready to do my night cross country tomorrow. Have I saved some money this route? So far Yes, If I was able to secure the financing and joined ATP last Nov would I be a CFI right now looking at a year or less left to the airlines? Also Yes.
It was a good plan until the Mid Atlantic area had 15 Spring and Winters after my instructor took off for holidays, then the C172 i was flying was going in for maintenance, then it was vacation time for my instructor, then the chief flight instructor wasn’t available for Prog Checks at times and next thing I knew my Check Ride "shoot for’ date went from May to July to October to I’m currently hoping for December.
I hate to say it, but the issues you describe are absolutely standard for small flight schools. They are some of the many reasons we suggest staying away from them.
Oh I knew and expected it to take a bit longer but that was fine since I had to get the finances set up for 6-8months of no income. I just wanted to give him some real world almost in live time how great it sounds and see the reality of it.