Zero to Hero options

I’ve been looking around for all the different avenues that one can obtain the mythical 1500 hour mark. I looked at many programs from different schools and I think that at the moment ATP is my number one candidate.

I however came across one flight school that had an interesting program but I find it a bit confusing. It has 3 options for getting the 1500.

Option one was the CFI route. Nothing different there. They will hire you (according to them)

Option two is going from zero to CPL and Crew Resource Management at 250 hours. At that point they will place you as a SIC with Southern Airways Express until you hit 1850 hours with them (that’s the contract)

Option 3 is the confusing one. What the picture shows is not the same as what it says right underneath. The picture says that they will give you an interview with Skywest, however it then says that you will fly with Skywest as a SIC.

Am I missing something there?

I didn’t want to link the flight school since this is an ATP forum but my curiosity is killing me so here it is.

Airline Direct Program | Epic Flight Academy | Southern Airways Express


First off there is nothing mythical about the 1500hrs. It’s simply the requirement to fly for a 121 scheduled airline.

I went through Epic’s info and honestly I was less than impressed. First off you’re right, it is confusing, but if you dig into it you’ll see there’s really only 2 options. The CFI route to 1500hrs and their Direct Entry. The difference is the SkyWest route you interview and hopefully get hired after flying for Southern till you build the 1800hrs, the non-SkyWest route you don’t. That’s all. Honestly I’m not really sure why they list them separately, but that’s a question for them. I’m also not crazy about the fact they list the bare minimum flight times for each rating and license. People frequently don’t complete their training at the FAA minimums. Schools that list the mins know you’re going to go over and will gladly charge you accordingly. Finally I don’t see any success stories? While they might be less expensive than ATP, they’re definitely not cheap and it begs the question does the program work?

ATP has been successfully training pilots for the airlines for over 35yrs and have produced literally thousands of successful airline pilots. I encourage you to do your research but to me it’s a no brainer on this one.



I took a look at Epic’s programs. Yes, Southern Airways Express is an airline, but not in the sense that we traditionally think of as an “airline” job. They fly small, 9 passenger, Cessna 208s. This does raise some questions about the quality of the flight time being built. To my knowledge, that airplane does not legally require a second pilot, so I question the validity of logging the time spent as SIC on an airplane that does not require a SIC. Now others with more knowledge will probably chime in, but it sounds a bit off to me.

Yes, any new pilot hired at an airline will fly as SIC, but with Skywest (or any other regional), that will be on an airplane that actually requires a SIC. But Epic does not have any lock down on Skywest, the airline is looking for good pilot candidates, period. ATP has had a partnership with SkyWest for as long as I can remember.

I really take issue with the publishing minimum flight times, the vast majority of people are simply not that good. I sure wasn’t.

Feel free to link to whatever you wish, this is an open forum.

First off, I think you should base what flight school you decide to go with more off of the quality training you will receive than the opportunities for time building. I understand you want to take it all in to account but you’re really “putting the cart before the horse”. Focus on getting the best quality and most efficient training. Then once you’ve successfully completed your training, you’ll have plenty of options for time building.
At ATP vs. Epic there will be different pathway programs set up of course, but which school has more airline partners than ATP? What atp doesn’t have is an alternative to flight instructing for time building. The reason why, airlines LIKE HIRING CFI’s. It’s one of the best time building jobs you can do.
With all this being said, I’m not totally familiar with Epic. Their program could be great or it could be full of bologna. The marketing looks suspicious in the least. As mentors here, we can speak for our experience starting with ATP and getting us where we’re at… it works.


Honestly, them not showing the actual numbers and showing their direct entry program in a confusing manner makes me not trust them. All I can think of is “That else are they not saying?”


As far as the SIC time building. Im not a pilot and I know nothing of aviation but this is what I found on google.

“According to a [2009 FAA legal interpretation], when the certificate holder elects before IFR flights not to use the autopilot system, two pilots are required by Part 135. Thus, an SIC may log flight time. This is one way that airlines like [Cape Air], [Tradewind Aviation], [Mokulele Airlines], [Hageland Aviation (Ravn Alaska)], or [Air Choice One] are able to operate single pilot airplanes with both crewmembers logging flight time.”

Your Guide To Logging SIC Flight Time In ‘Single Pilot’ Airplanes | Boldmethod


Yes, that is correct. I would not want to have to explain that one in a regional airline interview though.