Should I relocate before or after ATP?


In a couple of years I would like to start a second career as a pilot. I have zero experience flying. I currently live in NY but I would like to move to South Carolina or out west to one of the following states Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas (most likely Nevada or Texas). I know that ATP is probably cheaper there then over here in NY. My question is should I move first to where I want to live and then start ATP school or do ATP school here and then move to a location to be close to the regional airline that hires me.

While I will have nice pension from current job, I would like to live in a area where the cost of living is not as high as it is in NY. Also I’m trying to save enough money so I get enough flying hours after 9 months at ATP and get hire by the regional airline immediately after completing the 9 months at ATP. I think many you have mentioned here before that 500 hours can get me hire by regional. Currently how much will it cost to fly a plane for 3 hours (plane fee and gasoline)?

Again, thanks to all who are here answering wannabe pilot questions.


ATP’s program costs the same on Long Island as it does everywhere else in the country. I personally would wait to move until I was hired by a regional and was going to settle in for a few years, but that is up to you.

You will not be eligible to be hired by a regional airline right after you complete the program. The regionals require 1,500 hours of flight time to hire a pilot. The vast majority of people build that flight time by instructing. So it will take you about two years to get to the airlines. check out this timeline:

There are some jobs that you can work with 500 hours, but they are usually less desirable jobs than regional pilot jobs, thus most people instruct until they reach 1,500 hours.


1 Like


At 500 hours you can interview at any of the regional airlines partnered with ATP to receive tuition reimbursement, but you won’t be hired until you meet all of your ATP flight experience requirements.

Flight schools list their hourly rates online. Hard to say since prices vary by region. That said, I would advise against building your own time. It’s expensive and doesn’t provide a comprehensive learning environment. Building time as a CFI is what I would recommend.