Starting all from Scratch

I am sure a lot have asked but looking to possible change careers in becoming a Pilot I am not sure if becoming Regional Airline is better or corporate? but my concern is if i where to join ATP or are there other schools out there. I am just concern of leaving my income and going into a school and not be able to have income coming in or benefits. Has anyone delt with this issue and how did you handle this?

Hey Jason. I can relate to your post in a big way. I’ve been working a corporate gig for almost 10 years now, and I’ve decided to go for my dream job as an airline pilot. I have the same concerns as you and I’m interested to connect with people who are taking the same leap!

Yea I just dont know if to start small and just get my PPL or just go all in for ATP but I still need to pay my bills.

Man I hear you on that one. What I like about ATP or similar institutions is they’ve got a structured path. If you hook up with your local CFI it may take longer and cost more. The job market is strong, so going all in will shorten the time horizon to getting back to near what you’re making now. But to your point, them bills don’t go away. Do you live in Northern IL??

In Chicago

Hello everyone.

I am trying to do it while working full time and then some. It is not easy. For sure I would go the part 61 route though if I had to do it all over again. The other way around is a drag

Jason,

First please visit our FAQ section as we answer many common questions including the different routes.

Second you haven’t taken a lesson or decided if you even want to fly. You need not be concerned with whether you should go Corporate or Regional. TONS to do before that becomes a consideration.

Last, unless you’re living at home and just graduated HS the decision to quit your job and switch careers is something that EVERY successful pilot has had to deal with. There’s no question they’ll be sacrifice but this is literally the best time in history to become a pilot. Salaries are up and hiring is booming. That says there are ZERO guarantees you’ll be successful. The are grownup decisions that can only be made by you.

Adam

I understand that but not to have a income for 9 months is a long time… but i understand just like any career learning is important. I just don’t want to come to a point where I just spent 80,000 and there is no work but i don;t think that will happen as you say booming. Do you recommend ATP?

Jason,

If you look up and to the left of this page you’ll clearly see the ATP logo. ALL the mentors and most of the contributors on this forum are current or former ATP students. Therefore it’s safe to say we ALL recommend ATP. Not because we’re salesman (which we’re not) but we all were in the same place you are now, all did our research, all concluded ATP was the best choice and are successful grads of the program.

That said we encourage everyone to do their own research and make the best decision for themselves.

Adam

Jason,

Deciding to fly corporate to potentially save money from the cost of flight training is not what I would advise. If you want to fly corporate because you prefer that lifestyle over the airlines, then we can talk.

First, you don’t know that you’ll be able to save money on flight training. Self-paced programs without fixed costs can actually cost you more in the end if you go in without a clear vision in mind. Not only that, your instructor also needs to have the availability, and if the airplane breaks it needs to be returned to service ASAP. Self-paced programs can be good for those who need the extra time to assimilate the training and/or work on the side. They are not a guaranteed way to save money. With few exceptions, most actually spend more.

Second, corporate flying could mean so many things. The lifestyle depends on the company or aircraft owner you’re flying for. You could be home every night. You could also be on call and be ready to go at anytime. You could be flying right seat performing pilot monitoring duties. Or you might have a chance to upgrade. Generally, job security is not good. You’ll be the first thing to go if business tanks.

Now, some people prefer this lifestyle and that’s fine. I’m just trying to help paint a realistic picture of what it could be like.

As for me, I’m very happy with my choice. I feel much more comfortable with a seniority number. I know my schedule, I’m supported by a union (however not all regionals are) and I have great benefits. I prefer the consistency the airlines offer. Again, everyone’s different. I just want you to make your decision from more a quality of life perspective. The upfront investment might be more worth it in the end to take the airline route.

Tory

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Hey Guys,

Great feedback, appreciate the perspective. I’m curious, for those at the point where time building is the mission, do you know what opportunities may be out there in addition to instructing for the aviator that’s also working full time, or part time even?

Thanks.

Adam V

Adam,

Traffic watch, pipeline patrol, banner towing, jump pilot, to name a few. With a little networking you could find a corporate job that needs someone to sit right seat.

Time building isn’t all about time building. Quality flight experience is better than quantity. Instructing is the best form of “time building.”

Tory

Adam,

While there other ways of building time, nothing will sharpen your skills like flight instructing will. When you are able to teach something, it means that you truly understand it. Sure, the other ways will get you to 1,500 hours also, but flight instructing is by fare the best way to make sure your skills are as sharp as possible.

Chris

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For ATP do you normally have Saturdays or Sundays off?

Jason,

Yes, but it is not guaranteed and those who want to get ahead in the program often come in seven days per week. Keep in mind that weather delays can easily force your training into the weekend. Also, you will likely need to travel for CFI school.

Don’t even think of having weekends off as a new pilot at an airline, not until you have some seniority behind you.

Chris

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It will depend on your instructor availability, weather and many other factors in addition to your own desire to get ahead. For example, I’m lucky in that my instructor only has us 3 students so our flights largely depend on plane availability (usually not too much of an issue in Phoenix IWA). However, I come in 6 days a week, sometimes 7 if only to study with other students or get ahead in the program. Even gone as much as 16 days straight (don’t do that). However, I am now doing my final logbook audit for my Instrument rating which will potentially allow me to take my checkride 3 weeks early. If this carries over through Commercial (which I will try to do as well), I will go from credit private to CFI Academy in a little over 2 and a half months. More likely 3, but still. That’s a few extra months to begin getting that all important 1500.

well I guess ATP will not take you if you weigh over 250 so that sucks I am only 270 but I am 6’0 and 40.

I’m noticing everyone has pretty well said flight instructing is the beat route as far as tome building. Why exactly is that?

Jason,

That limitation is due to weight and balance restrictions with the airplanes. I encourage you to contact other schools as some might have different airplanes.

That being said, 270 and 6’0 gives a BMI of 30, which can cause all sorts of health issues that might prevent you from obtaining a FAA medical certificate anyways.

Chris

Kendall,

We recommend flight instructing because it is by far the best way to sharpen skills and to stay current. Boring holes in the sky towing banners will not do much to make you a better pilot, but teaching others how to fly will really help you to perfect your own skills and knowledge.

Chris