Real Answers from Real Pilots

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I’m 18 and I’m currently working on my four year business degree. I plan on graduating college around 2024 or 2025. After college, I’m going to attend ATP flight school to earn my flight ratings. One of my concerns is time. I’m afraid that I will be behind the hiring wave and have low seniority. Any advice would be appreciated.


You’re 18 and your plan is to finish college and then go to flight school. I honestly can’t think of a better one. I’m not sure which hiring wave you think you’ll be missing but the fact is no one know for certain when the next one will start, when it will finish, how long it will last or when the next after that will be? That’s why they call them waves, because there’s always another but you don’t know when? Regardless of when you’re ready good pilots will always find a path. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes not but it’s really not something you can control. What if you were 6 years older with the same plan and you were ready to get hired now during the pandemic when there’s not much hiring? You’d keep building your time until you were hired would you not?What if there’s another pandemic? What if there’s another economic crash? 9/11? etc… Trying to predict this industry is like trying to pick winning PowerBall numbers, it just can’t be done.

And ok so what happens if you did miss the next wave and get hired at the bottom? Would you no longer want to be a pilot? If that’s the case you really might want to rethink this whole career because there are zero guarantees you’ll catch the next wave or that they’ll even be a another wave. Or would you be glad you got hired and work your way up just like every one of has? Hopefully it’s the latter.

Divine flying can be very challenging. It requires alot of skill and knowledge to be successful. If you want to be afraid of something perhaps be afraid of not doing well. That at least is something you have control over by stepping up and putting in the effort. That’s far better than worrying where you might be on some seniority list you might be on depending on which airline might hire you depending on what the economy might do and how that particular airline might decide to expand and those new markets might do well…


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Pilots are mandated to retire before the age of 65, so there is a steady stream of retirements. I think your plan sounds great and is exactly the route that I took. I understand the desire to get to the airlines, but there are other concerns in life and quite honestly, most flights students do better when they are a little bit older.


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The time you spend in college the next few years, enjoy it! You need that four year degree for the majors and you’re building yourself a solid backup plane in case the industry hits another rut. You’re still making progress towards your end goal. ATP will still be there ready for you when you are, and the demand for pilots will only go up in the years to come!


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Thank you so much Adam

Thank you so much Chris

Thank you so much Hannah

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