Too early or just right? — SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program

Good afternoon,

I’ve just completed my first solo at ATP!

After the flight, I received an email from PSA Airlines about enrolling for their pilot cadet program. While that sounds great, I was really looking to enroll at SkyWest instead.

Their website says I can apply as long as I’m enrolled in one of their elite partners (ATP is one).

My question is this: is it too early to apply for Skywest’s Pilot Pathway program after only completing my first TOL Solo? I meet all of the listed requirements but I’m wondering if it’s better to apply when I’m further along in the ACPP.

Thanks for the help!

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Luke,

If it were me I’d be reluctant to sign up for any cadet program as things can and do change. While you may believe right now you want SkyWest, what if at the time you reach 1500hrs they’re not hiring or there are better offers out there? The Regionals have been cracking down hard on cadets who take bonuses and then go elsewhere. If you’re not looking to cash in then why the rush? This industry literally changes daily and you’re a good couple of years from the point where this will matter. Id focus on training and really nothing else.

That said it’s you career and your choice.

Adam

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Luke,

I would wait until you at least had 500 hours and all of your licenses. It seems way too early in a career to commit as far as I am concerned. You need time to learn the industry, talk to people ahead of you, etc. Right now I would focus on getting all of your licenses.

Chris

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Luke,

I would wait until you’re an instructor and not focusing on the flight training side of things. As Adam and Chris mentioned, things can change within programs and like many, that may include monetary value or terms regarding seniority etc. You have plenty of time to enroll into a cadet program, once you start receiving benefits, it can be difficult to repay them back if you fail to meet the terms of contract. However, you could interview at any time and not accept the CJO and reapply as you get closer if you wish. It doesn’t hurt to interview at multiple pathways and have options… be open-minded in this industry as it can change on a dime.

Brady

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Luke,
I hate to disagree with all the mentors but with the skywest cadet program, there are no commitments of any kind unless you sign a contract with them for tuition reimbursement. I don’t start my training with ATP until July but I am already a skywest cadet. It’s nice as they offer monthly workshops on Microsoft teams you can join in and hear current info. I wouldn’t accept the tuition reimbursement part of their cadet program, but it is totally fine to join now and get some insight on SkyWest! Also if you do end up going with SkyWest, your class seniority and other seniority benefits count from the time you started as a cadet - company seniority benefits like retirement contributions not like schedule bidding seniority…
Hope that helps!
-Steve

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Oh, sounds great, thanks! If SkyWest won’t penalize me if I change my mind later on, I’ll get on board with them and build seniority without signing anything until the proper time comes.

The mentors do have a great point though. I still feel as though it’s a tiny bit early but I could probably jump on board and see what happens.

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Absolutely agree in that it’s probably too early to have a full commitment to a company but skywest’s program doesn’t require a commitment unless you go for tuition reimbursement. The lady that runs their cadet program entrance applications deal is super helpful and can provide you plenty of info - you should receive an email from her shortly after applying.
Congrats on your first solo!

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Thank you, Steve!

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Steve,

Let’s agree to disagree on this one.

While you’re correct, as long as you don’t take anything you’re not beholden to anyone financially, allow me to offer you a scenario (which actually happened).

You enroll in the SkyWest program early on. Great. When you’re approached 1500hrs Envoy gets a new contract (better pay and a HUGE 6 figure hiring bonus). You decide to go for the bucks, decline a class date at SkyWest (who’ve been waiting for you for 2yrs) and accept a classdate at Envoy. A week before your Envoy class they say “sorry, we over estimated our needs for this quarter” and your class is postponed indefinitely. You decide to pivot back to SkyWest but guess what?..

Adam

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Luke,

When I went through the SkyWest cadet program, you flew out to either Denver or salt lake to go through an orientation. Luckily, I had finished the program and could focus on evaluating carriers and cadet program benefits. I still didn’t commit to any of the programs until much later.

Right now, your full attention needs to be on your success in the program! You don’t even have a private pilots license and you’re trying to secure your airline pilot future employment! That’s putting the cart wayyyyy before the horse! Focus on having a perfect checkride pass rate then apply to cadet programs if you so choose. If you’re distracted on the programs now and fail a checkride, well that hurts your future employment.

Besides, the “seniority date” they offer is simply class seniority not airline seniority! So in a future class of 50, the cadets get the first numbers and everyone else gets numbered based on birthdate or social security number, etc. It really doesn’t make that much of a difference! Maybe 10-15 numbers!

Hannah

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