What to do before applying

I have a couple different questions about flying.

What do you guys do to keep yourselfs from getting bored on a flight? Also what are you guys not allowed to do in the cockpit to pass time?

Is there anything I can do before flight school, and during it, to make myself look like a more attractive candidate? Do the airlines only care that you have your hours from a credible flight school?

Do you have any opinions on getting all 1500 hours from a flight school or working for a small commuter airline (Mokulele)?

If you guys could guess, how much longer do you think the pilot shortage will go on for?

Thanks for always helping aspiring pilots like me out!

Hi Cameron,

Many pilots I know do some light reading but I’m not an avid reader (plus reading makes me tired which is worse than being bored). Me I usually use it as an excuse to look things up in the manuals. While some companies actually will list things not to do (music, movies etc), most just say you shouldn’t do things that will distract or prevent you from performing your duties. Much of the time there are things to keep you busy (sending position reports, checking fuel and occasionally plotting the course when you’re not on a “track”) plus on the longer flights we get rest breaks so it’s really not that bad.

Right now with the current shortage it really is a matter of building your time because the demand is so high. The airlines really don’t look at resumes as intently as other professions. It’s really a question of meeting their mins AND their corporate culture. You can have a great resume and all the time requirements but if you interview like a jerk you’re not getting hired and I think people forget that. Make sure you’re comfortable in an interview and just talking to people as a professional. As for what you can do to increase your ability to get hired I’d say don’t do anything that will make you less desirable. The airlines are still very conservative and the public has certain expectations as to how a pilot should look. Piercings and visible tattoos are still frowned upon and DUI/DWI’s are major career killers but far too many pilots don’t think about those things and end their careers before they even start.

Personally I believe flight instructing (while not everyone’s favorite) is still the best way to hone your skills. New pilots will do some wacky things and you must remain on your toes at all times or you could have a really bad day. That said some people don’t enjoy teaching or maybe aren’t particularly good at it. If you can get on with Moku there’s definitely nothing wrong with that.

While no one knows for certain it’s going to be a while. A friend told me United alone is looking at having 18,000 pilots by 2020 and Hawaiian (my airline) is looking to double the size of the pilot group in the same time frame. Things look very strong for the future.

Btw, you mention Moku, are you in Hawaii?


Thanks for the good info.

No I’m from Texas, but I know a couple pilots at Hawaiian and one from Moku who say it is a great way to get your hours. I have looked at the other small airlines and Moku is the one I’m most interested in. And who wouldn’t want to island hop for a living!

Good point :slight_smile:


Hi Adam,

Thanks for providing so much information. I’m looking to make a career change and have been researching options like crazy. I currently live in Hawaii and plan to go to ATP for flight school. I have a young family and if I get hired, would like to work at home to earn hours. Is it harder to get hired at a regional after working as FO at Mokulele to earn hours vs doing a standard flight instructor route? I have a friend who flies at Mokulele who said flying with them would provide better commercial crew experience. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Aloha Fletcher,

The Moku guys work hard that’s no doubt and they do get some excellent experience (whether it’s better than instructing is a matter of opinion?). If you can get a position at Moku you’ll have no problem getting picked up by a Regional and honestly that seems to be the most popular route these days at Hawaiian (if that’s you’ll goal). I teach newhire CRM and the majority of our newhires are either military or Regional guys who started at Moku. Whatever works best for you will be fine.