Real Answers from Real Pilots

Timeline advice

Hello all!
Ive been following the forum for a little bit and figured I would make my first post. Im looking for some additional advice. My situation is as such, I am currently in the military (not aviation). My retirement will be in mid 2025 at which time I will be 44. I am currently working on my ppl and want to take it all the way (regionals through majors). My question is would it be most beneficial to work on my ratings over the next 3 years, slowly accumulating time or fast track through an atp type program when I finish my military time? Is there a benefit to attending atp at that point besides the hiring and interview agreements in place? Will I get preference from regionals going through ATP?
Thanks in advance and hope everyone has a great day!


That’s a tough one. While my first thought is if you’re over 40 you need to start training ASAP, most people find it very challenging and expensive to train part-time AND earn ALL the licenses and ratings you’ll need. Most get frustrated or simply run out of funds. If you can finish your PPL ATPs program will only take 5mos and your chances of success are far greater. Factor in their Regional agreements and Tuition Reimbursement and I’m thinking that’s the way to go.


Thanks for the reply!
I was definitely planning on having my ppl and then start the program while on my retirement leave to maximize the time. Those regional agreements I believe are key points for sure!

Welcome to the forum. I agree with Adam as well. Since you’re already working on the PPL go ahead and finish that. You’ll have to be diligent about keeping your knowledge and skills fresh over the next couple years. Or at least freshen up with a flight review or a few hours with an instructor before transitioning to ATP. You will need to come in with 78 hrs total and 8 hrs cross country PIC so factor that cost and experience in to your timeline (I’ll post the link below for all the prerequisites). ATP is the fastest, most efficient path to becoming an airline pilot. The fixed cost is something that sets it apart as well as all the all the tuition reimbursement programs. Plus upon graduation and acceptance of a CFI position, you’ll be hard pressed to find a school with the flow of students and number of hours available to fly every month. When you start applying to regionals, having ATP on your resume is an advantage. They already know you’re good at time management and will be able to handle accomplishing a heavy task (both knowledge and stick and rudder skills) to a deadline… exactly the kind of thing that shows future success in their 121 training environment.