Airline Pilot Forums

Airline Pilot Forums was designed to be a community where working airline pilots can share ideas and information about the aviation field. In the forum you will find information about major and regional airline carriers, career training, interview and job seeker help, finance, and living the airline pilot lifestyle.

08-14-2015, 07:24 PM
I'm currently a flight attendant at delta and am interested in transitioning to the pilot side. I don't have any prior flying experience and was wondering, what are the best ways to get started? I have done some research on flight schools like ATP but the $ is an issue. I have heard some about the national guard as a cheaper alternative and would love to hear more about it from someone who has the experience.

True newbie here looking for any and all info you have to offer about the process! Thanks

08-14-2015, 08:23 PM
Take a intro flt lesson and try to get a first class medical. Intro flt will let you feel how it is to be on the controls. Flying in an airplane and flying an airplane are two different things. Medical exam will let you know if your medically qualified to be a pilot. These are small steps and investments that might save you from a lot of headache and wasting money in the future.

08-14-2015, 09:35 PM
Betsy, if you were my daughter or son, I would do everything possible to talk you out of becoming an airline pilot. The return on investment is just not there, the job is nowhere close to what used to be, financially or quality of life, and if I had it to do over starting now, I wouldn't even consider it.

Have I done OK, well I've done fair, but I've come nowhere close to where I thought I'd be today and nowhere near what my new hire class at Northwest was told once upon a time. The industry and pilot prospects changed radically from when I started until now.

If you have a marketable degree use it, if not go back and get something you can sell, hard sciences or engineering.

Sorry, I truly wish I could say otherwise, but I can't.

08-14-2015, 10:56 PM
I have heard some about the national guard as a cheaper alternative and would love to hear more about it from someone who has the experience.

True newbie here looking for any and all info you have to offer about the process! Thanks

That would be the way to do it, so you aren't taking a huge financial risk (possibly the rest of your life), and if you become an officer other opportunities should open for you. If you become a pilot in the guard, you will have no problem flying for an airline, not to mention you won't be so dependent on it, to pay back loans or whatever.

08-15-2015, 09:31 AM
Just to add a bit to texavia and to give you a realistic view on time and investment.

1-2 years to get all your ratings including CFI. Yes you will need your CFI that is the only realistic way to get your 1500hrs fast. Price for flt school can range from 45k to 100k +. based on if the program is only flying based or involves a degree. (ATP should cost around 55k-65k all said and done)

1-2 years instructing (CFI) to get to your 1500hrs because you will only walk out with maybe around 215hrs flt time from Flt school. All this while hoping your students don't get you violated and instructing your life to a person you recently meet.

Ok congrats you got the 1500hrs and a job with a regional carrier. (Yes there is no bypassing that but then maybe with the way things are going it might change or you might get a corporate gig). Regional pay is around 24k to 35k before tax first year and can go up to 55k by 4 to 5 years. More then likely you will not be based at home so get ready to spend on a crash pad and other essentials. Oh and don't forget about that Flt school lone unless your one of the lucky few that have the cash up front.

4-8 years in a regional then you might get a opportunity for the major airlines. Where you will take a slight pay cut to become a first officer because you already made captain in the regional airline you worked for unless you get hired from a regional first officer position to the FO position in the majors then you might make more rather then taking a paycut.

So about 10 years to make some descent money while making sure you will still be medically fit for that first class medical.

This is the reality of a pilot. Only thing I will say is it is definitely the best seat in the house.

08-15-2015, 02:23 PM
I had a friend just get an estimate from ATP. 80k. A fellow pilot in my new hire class had been a Delta flight attendant. I think this pilot spent 3 years getting ratings and instructing while still an FA, then 5 years as a regional FO. Recently got hired at United. Said person had a ton of connections and volunteer time. Good luck! The job ain't what it used to be, but its still a great job!

08-15-2015, 03:42 PM
Whatever you decide to do, DO NOT pay everything up front. Flight schools go out of business all the time. If you really have an interest in flying, research "flying lessons" on YT, then set up an intro flight. If you decide to pursue it, set aside 2-3x/week at least until you solo. It is very important to fly often enough to set the hand-eye coordination and to get used to situational awareness. Keep up with book studying too though, because the cockpit is the WORST place to learn. If you decide to pursue this, a home PC sim set up can help a lot too.

The problem with aviation is, once you've sunk a significant amount of cost and time, it is VERY hard to stop if you change your mind. Also, you will need a degree to move through this field. You should also check out AOPA flight training, the 99's and Women In Aviation. It ain't easy, but for someone starting out, things have never been better. Personally, I'm fed up.