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View Full Version : Recommended route?


marz7490
05-08-2015, 04:04 PM
Seeking some advice!

I am looking to get going on my flight training and I would like to go through it as quick as possible, but, at the same time I am seeking the best training possible that will hopefully result in the career I am seeking. That being said, I am starting on my PPL at the local airport to see how things go but I keep reading about these career based academies, (ATP, AeroSim, etc.) I hear good and bad things about these schools but I also hear some benefits. My biggest concern comes with being able to focus on MY training.

Honestly, what I am looking for is advice on my personal situation. I am now 24 and flying is something that I have always been obsessed with, and for as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a pilot. When I graduated high school in 2008 I thought about going to Embry-Riddle but instead I jumped at a job offer in the automotive industry. Here we are almost 6 years later and I am realizing that aviation is my calling and that I would like to follow my dream of being a pilot. On the brighter side of things I am in a MUCH better position to fund my training.

Obviously there is no right or wrong way to do this but I am hoping to hear everyone's input on what's the suggested route to take in order to make an educated decision.

Known options:
1. Locally achieve all necessary licenses, get an instructor job and build time.

2. ATP, AeroSim, etc.

3. Go to Embry-Riddle, Purdue, UND, other aviation focused college.

As mentioned before, I am hoping to hear from guys that have been in a similar position that can reflect back on personal experience.

Thanks in advance!


Adlerdriver
05-08-2015, 04:18 PM
Marz,
Not to try to blow you off but......It's deja vu all over again. I'll bet there is at least one of these types of threads every month if not weekly sometimes.

Spend some time using the search function and/or just scroll down a little on this section of the forum. There's some stuff on page 2 as well.

If you need more info after that, 'mon back.

Flyhayes
05-08-2015, 05:15 PM
Get your Private Pilot Certificate locally.
Doing so will allow you to continue working as you dip your toes into aviation. From there you can reevaluate as necessary.


marz7490
05-08-2015, 06:03 PM
Marz,
Not to try to blow you off but......It's deja vu all over again. I'll bet there is at least one of these types of threads every month if not weekly sometimes.

Spend some time using the search function and/or just scroll down a little on this section of the forum. There's some stuff on page 2 as well.

If you need more info after that, 'mon back.

Thanks for the response. Definitely expected something along those lines. Believe me, I've searched pretty far back in a lot of different spots. My initial thought was that ATP was a "pilot mill" but just recently it's been suggested more than a few times from guys within the industry which is why I'm seeking opinion from someone that has either gone through the program or is currently in it.

Get your Private Pilot Certificate locally.
Doing so will allow you to continue working as you dip your toes into aviation. From there you can reevaluate as necessary.

Seems like the most logical route and one that I am starting on. Thanks a ton for your input.

bedrock
05-08-2015, 06:13 PM
The only thing to be wary of when getting your PPL at mom & pop's is aircraft and CFI availablity and training environment. It is a really good idea to fly 3x a week for the first 20 hrs or so. Of course, you have to be absolutley sure you are ahead in your academics. I've had a few students who were great at flying 2-3x a week, but not so good at studying. That is a huge waste of time and money, because no conscientious CFI will solo you before you've passed your pre-solo exam.

Personally, I think it's great to learn to fly in a low traffic class G or E airspace and then during x-country get exposure to towered airports and controlled airspace. A lot of the career pilot schools start you off at towered airports which will retard your progress at first, simply because it is info overload. Also, don't forget Sport Pilot where you can just plain learn to FLY and then add on all baggage. Some of the local FAA FSDO's run seminars on various interesting aviation topics--get on their email list. Start small and build up.

marz7490
05-08-2015, 06:23 PM
The only thing to be wary of when getting your PPL at mom & pop's is aircraft and CFI availablity and training environment. It is a really good idea to fly 3x a week for the first 20 hrs or so. Of course, you have to be absolutley sure you are ahead in your academics. I've had a few students who were great at flying 2-3x a week, but not so good at studying. That is a huge waste of time and money, because no conscientious CFI will solo you before you've passed your pre-solo exam.

Personally, I think it's great to learn to fly in a low traffic class G or E airspace and then during x-country get exposure to towered airports and controlled airspace. A lot of the career pilot schools start you off at towered airports which will retard your progress at first, simply because it is info overload. Also, don't forget Sport Pilot where you can just plain learn to FLY and then add on all baggage. Some of the local FAA FSDO's run seminars on various interesting aviation topics--get on their email list. Start small and build up.

Thanks a ton for your input. Greatly appreciate it.

JamesNoBrakes
05-08-2015, 08:24 PM
#1 Figure out if you want to be a pilot, or whether you want to be a commercial airline pilot, which means going where people tell you, lots of time spent in airports, only being paid while actually flying, etc. This can be great for some people, or for others realizing how long they have to work at it at the lower levels earning little a huge awakening when they realize it's not commercial license and then on to 747. There is often a good 20-30 years in between there. There are many jobs and opportunities in aviation outside of commercial airline pilot, there are many jobs and opportunities in aviation outside of being a pilot that would keep you in the industry, and there are many jobs that can fund a healthy flying-hobby.

#2 Don't believe ANYONE who says you need to get licenses and certificates RIGHT NOW or REAL FAST. This is the same line that's been played for the last 30 years. It's a crap shoot either way and it in no way increases your chances, it just gets those people making the claims a more secure cash flow.

#3 Be honest with yourself and your instructor. There's no shame in "not getting" something and needing another instructor or to repeat things. At your age, you are a better judge of your instruction than a younger guy. Don't let them short you experience or learning. Also realize that much of it depends on you. Depends on your motivation and ability to do things on your own. You can cut costs hugely by studying on your own and learning what you need to know. Most of us get better with this with experience, but the best students stay on top of it from the beginning.

threeighteen
05-08-2015, 09:18 PM
If you're considering ATP, check out American Flyers first.

I've done time at both, as well as at a local FBO and I think American Flyers is probably one of the best bets out there. Definitely the most professional flight school I have ever dealt with.

marz7490
05-09-2015, 01:28 PM
#1 Figure out if you want to be a pilot, or whether you want to be a commercial airline pilot, which means going where people tell you, lots of time spent in airports, only being paid while actually flying, etc. This can be great for some people, or for others realizing how long they have to work at it at the lower levels earning little a huge awakening when they realize it's not commercial license and then on to 747. There is often a good 20-30 years in between there. There are many jobs and opportunities in aviation outside of commercial airline pilot, there are many jobs and opportunities in aviation outside of being a pilot that would keep you in the industry, and there are many jobs that can fund a healthy flying-hobby.

#2 Don't believe ANYONE who says you need to get licenses and certificates RIGHT NOW or REAL FAST. This is the same line that's been played for the last 30 years. It's a crap shoot either way and it in no way increases your chances, it just gets those people making the claims a more secure cash flow.

#3 Be honest with yourself and your instructor. There's no shame in "not getting" something and needing another instructor or to repeat things. At your age, you are a better judge of your instruction than a younger guy. Don't let them short you experience or learning. Also realize that much of it depends on you. Depends on your motivation and ability to do things on your own. You can cut costs hugely by studying on your own and learning what you need to know. Most of us get better with this with experience, but the best students stay on top of it from the beginning.

Thanks for the thorough response, very helpful. I am definitely in this for the long haul. It's a goal to be a pilot but I've always wanted to get into aircraft sales and leasing so I feel like regardless if I don't end up being a professional pilot this could help with that career path.

If you're considering ATP, check out American Flyers first.

I've done time at both, as well as at a local FBO and I think American Flyers is probably one of the best bets out there. Definitely the most professional flight school I have ever dealt with.

I've heard of these guys before! Do you have experience with them personally or at least a specific location?

Thanks again!

threeighteen
05-11-2015, 06:35 AM
I've heard of these guys before! Do you have experience with them personally or at least a specific location?


Yes, I did about 10 hours or so at their Addison location in Dallas. I thought it was a great learning environment.

With any program at any flight school, make sure you have your written exam(s) done before starting the program.

kingsnake2
05-11-2015, 07:38 AM
As a cross between an expensive four year school like Embry Riddle and a faster flight school, you might consider a community college such as Tarrant County College (http://www.tccd.edu/courses_and_programs/program_offerings/aviation/professional_pilot.html).

I have attached a brochure on them. Anyway, its a two year degree, so a good stepping stone for further education, but also earns all your licenses and ratings through CFII in a two year period.

(I'm not sure if the attachment is showing, but you can PM me if not)

TheWeatherman
05-11-2015, 04:42 PM
Option number 1 is definitely your best option. There is no rush, the pilot hiring climate is going to be great for years to come (unless there is another 9/11 type event).

Option 1 gives you the best chance of getting all your ratings without going into massive debt. Keep the job you have right now and fly a couple nights a week after work and during the weekend. When you get all your ratings and want to go full time CFI to build hours, then quit your job.

You don't want a massive amount of debt when you start the low paying years working for the regionals. A significant amount of your pay will go to paying interest on your loans.

Would you rather start working for the regionals in 3 years with $50,000 - $100,000 in debt, or 5 years with no debt?

marz7490
05-12-2015, 05:32 PM
Option number 1 is definitely your best option. There is no rush, the pilot hiring climate is going to be great for years to come (unless there is another 9/11 type event).

Option 1 gives you the best chance of getting all your ratings without going into massive debt. Keep the job you have right now and fly a couple nights a week after work and during the weekend. When you get all your ratings and want to go full time CFI to build hours, then quit your job.

You don't want a massive amount of debt when you start the low paying years working for the regionals. A significant amount of your pay will go to paying interest on your loans.

Would you rather start working for the regionals in 3 years with $50,000 - $100,000 in debt, or 5 years with no debt?


Thanks a ton for your response! The only thing I see when looking at the numbers is that it doesn't seem like training at a smaller local operation would save that much money. ATP, American Flyers, US Aviation, all of these guys seem to be in the $55-$75k range for roughly 300 hours + ratings through MEI.

It seems like you'll spend roughly the same at my local FBO if not more. At the very least it seems like one of those Part 141 schools will land a CFI job a little easier and perhaps provide a gateway to an interview. The other worry I have is that a college education will be pretty much standard by the time I'm at 1,500 hours. Should I be taking classes with one of the schools that offer a college program in conjunction with their training so I don't end up at 1,500 hours 2-3 years down the road and then need to pursue a degree!

As always, everyones insight is greatly appreciated.

TheWeatherman
05-12-2015, 07:09 PM
Well, what I was trying to say is to get your ratings while you are making money at your job, and pay for them with any disposable income you may have. Do not quit your job and shell out $70,000 out of pocket to get them. That is what I meant by choosing option 1.

Others with more experience in here can tell you that the "pipeline" thing ATP and some other flight schools tout is very overrated. All you get is an interview, which you would have probably gotten any way just having the min credentials.

CFI Jobs are not hard to find these days, so that should be a minimal consideration.

Flyhayes
05-13-2015, 07:28 AM
It seems like you'll spend roughly the same at my local FBO if not more. At the very least it seems like one of those Part 141 schools will land a CFI job a little easier and perhaps provide a gateway to an interview...

Remember that the advertised prices are based on the minimum hour requirements. If you go to one of the pilot mills, what will you be paying per hour for overages? These overages can add significantly to your costs.

threeighteen
05-13-2015, 01:23 PM
Remember that the advertised prices are based on the minimum hour requirements. If you go to one of the pilot mills, what will you be paying per hour for overages? These overages can add significantly to your costs.

ATP is $450/hr for overages in the seminole. That's more than double the local rate here for a wet seminole + instructor.

glenny6
05-21-2015, 07:38 AM
It looks like you've evaluated your options and that's a good thing. Have you considered military?

When I was at Women in Aviation International conference in March each airline gave a brief and Delta told us who they consider to be the "most competitive" to be offered an interview. They listed 1. military and 2. a graduate from a well known flight academy. That doesn't mean that they don't hire folks from other paths because they definitely do that and plenty of Delta pilots have different backgrounds. Do you have a college degree? I'm pretty sure that most majors will require that you have one. That being said, if the military isn't an option and you can afford the time and money to go to ERAU or similar school I think that's a great option for you.

I don't see any bad options that you listed, I just put in my 2 cents since you asked. Good luck!

galaxy flyer
05-21-2015, 08:16 AM
USAF, The Original American Flyers

GF

TheWeatherman
05-21-2015, 11:09 AM
Military is a very big step and is not for everybody. If the only thing you want to join the military for is to get your ratings, please do not go this route. I don't want you in my military.

marz7490
05-22-2015, 09:03 AM
It looks like you've evaluated your options and that's a good thing. Have you considered military?

When I was at Women in Aviation International conference in March each airline gave a brief and Delta told us who they consider to be the "most competitive" to be offered an interview. They listed 1. military and 2. a graduate from a well known flight academy. That doesn't mean that they don't hire folks from other paths because they definitely do that and plenty of Delta pilots have different backgrounds. Do you have a college degree? I'm pretty sure that most majors will require that you have one. That being said, if the military isn't an option and you can afford the time and money to go to ERAU or similar school I think that's a great option for you.

I don't see any bad options that you listed, I just put in my 2 cents since you asked. Good luck!

Thanks for the follow up! Military was always my dream route but I think I might be too old to get into the flight program with the AF, USN, etc.

Glad you brought up college because I actually didn't go to college out of highschool, started working right away instead. Looking back, I think that was a smart play since there are lot more options out there for education and I've also been able to save in order to pay for this dream!

Brings me to my next set of questions after researching for the past few weeks.

Most recently I've been thinking of going the Utah Valley online route to go with my local flight training.

Keeping that in mind, I've looked into some similar programs and have recently come across the Liberty University which works with some Cessna Pilot Centers.

Anyone have input on either of these?

Thanks!

PRS Guitars
05-22-2015, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the follow up! Military was always my dream route but I think I might be too old to get into the flight program with the AF, USN, etc.

Glad you brought up college because I actually didn't go to college out of highschool, started working right away instead. Looking back, I think that was a smart play since there are lot more options out there for education and I've also been able to save in order to pay for this dream!

Brings me to my next set of questions after researching for the past few weeks.

Most recently I've been thinking of going the Utah Valley online route to go with my local flight training.

Keeping that in mind, I've looked into some similar programs and have recently come across the Liberty University which works with some Cessna Pilot Centers.

Anyone have input on either of these?

Thanks!

You're 24 right?

You are absolutely not too old for the AF. You just need to start (UPT) by 30. You do need a college degree. In my opinion the degree should be your number one priority right now, and NOT in Aviation.

dckozak
05-27-2015, 06:02 PM
This is covered a lot on these boards; get a plan that involves college first or in conjunction with flying. Lots of opinion about aviation degrees (or not), particular universities and debt. Read it all and consider the ramifications of any decision. The important thing is, have a plan, execute it, don't stumble and stay focused. ;)

marz7490
05-29-2015, 02:01 PM
Thanks again for the input guys. Ultimately landed on knocking my private out this summer and started on it last week with a longtime Delta pilot at my local airport. Looks like we'll be up 3-4 times a week and we'll move right into the instrument pending on how things go this summer. From there I plan on working on my degree this Fall term which will either go with the flight training or I'll work on finishing my degree in business.

I'll definitely post about my progress as this forum definitely helped with my decision.

Thanks again guys, fly safe!