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Old 02-01-2006, 03:44 PM   #1  
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Exclamation College Student wants to become a Cargo pilot were do I start how do I Start

OK here is my story I will be finish in the summer at a city college with a AA degree in science I know its not a university degree, or a avation Degree, but its a degree, I can add to my resume, i also have a diploma in computer repair and networking, im tired of the IT industry outsourcing us to china philippines, india, so my second carrer choice is Avation Cargo.

Im not going to the military because I dont want to get stuck there, I talk to a military pilot, they say miltary pilots are very comfortable there and dont have any plans on leaving for a long time because they can build alot of hours and have a better chance of getting hired when they get out, they have it real good flying without paying for it.

I live in Los angeles and can stay long beach with family I just want to know were I should start anyone opinion, because its going to be one big decision with alot of money im going to invest, there are so many option out there with flight school there everywere, the best place I found so far was ATP because their in Long Beach and they offer Airline Placements anyone got any other option in the LA ares

Thank Jason
Old 02-01-2006, 04:44 PM   #2  
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The route to cargo and the airlines is essentially the same in the beginning. There are VERY few possible shortcuts, but many people will likely try to sell you one for a great deal of $$$. There are NO valid shortcut programs in the LA area, so if you're going to hang out there, here's what you will need to do. Anyone who says anything different is going to try to sell you an expensive training program.

Self-evaluate:I am OK with math?
I am OK with technical things?
I am a good people person, who is ASSERTIVE?
I am I in good health?
Do I have a decent driving record (NO DUIs)?
Am I free of any criminal convictions? (MINOR stupidity in your distant past might be ok)

If you answer no to any of the above you will probably spend a lot of $$$ and go nowhere.

Find an Aviation Medical Examiner
Get a FIRST CLASS medical (not a 2nd or third)

Flight school. Check out the internet, and go visit several in your area. A school with a 141 program MIGHT save you a little money. The training you will need is:

Private Pilot ($8000)
Instrument Rating ($6000) MS Flight Sim is a useful practice tool.
Commercial License ($15000)
Commercial Multi-engine Rating ($3000)
Cert Flight Instructor CFI ($3000)
Instrument Instructor ($2500)

The prices are very rough estimates, and will be higher if you do a lot of your training in a twin engine aircraft.

CFI Now you have around 300 hours total time (TT) and 15 multi-engine (ME)and can get a job as a flight instructor (CFI). To get a job at the next level you will need about 1000 TT, and 100 ME. The TT will come within 12-18 months as a CFI. The ME time may be harder, but you can buy it ($$$) or get a ME instructor license and get a job as ME instructor. I believe ATP does a lot of your initial training in a twin, so you might already have 100 ME.

Night Cargo At this point you can get a job flying "night cargo". This will be single pilot, night, bad weather, mountain flying, in small old, worn out airplanes with a high FATALITY rate. The pay is miserable, there are NO benefits, and you work constantly. This is probably not what you had in mind as a career destination...however if you like it you can eventually move up to 2 pilot mid-size aircraft (mostly propellor) and you will make a marginal income with some benefits, but nothing great.

Regional Airline. When you have reached 1500-2500 TT and 300-500 ME (within 1 year, if you survive), you can work for a regional airline. You will start in either turboprops or regional jets (RJs)and after 3-5 years become an RJ captain. This is much safer and more comfortable than your previous aviation jobs. Better money, work rules and time off. After a couple years as an RJ captain, you can apply to a Major airline...

Major Airline. Now the confusing thing about major airlines, is that this includes all the BIG cargo operators (UPS, FEDEX, DHL, ATLAS, etc) who operate large turbojet aircraft. These operators work just like passenger airlines in many ways and have good pay & benefits. However they are just as competetive, probably more so today, as any passenger airline when it comes to pilot hiring. If you want to work for any major airline (cargo or pax) plan on excelling in every way during your aviation career. You'll need a 4 year degree to get to this level also.

One possible shortcut is to skip Night Cargo and go from CFI directly to a Regional Airline (I did this). You will need some opportunity to work as a multi-engine instructor to do this. Be advised that a "Commercial Pilot License" really does not qualify you to do anything other than to work as a flight instructor after you get your CFI ratings. There are a few possible shortcuts (does your dad own a private jet?), but for most of us the path I described above is the reality. Good Luck

Last edited by rickair7777; 02-01-2006 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:46 PM   #3  
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you will need a 4 year degree, and do yourself a favor and don't even think on an aviation degree, they should not be called degrees.

also, note that "cargo pilots" landed those jobs and took them, but they could have just landed passenger jobs and take them too, is just luck ( or lack off) the don't be tunnel vision on cargo. besides you will have to have for the commuter for a few years before.

I am assuming that by cargo job you are refering to ups, fdx ,astar or abx....every single proffesional pilot out there who doesn't work for them or for a mayor wants to work for them , specially fdx and ups ( and a lot of pilots employed by mayors wished they worked for them too).

you are worried about are we, not just about the main line flying going to regionals, but also foreing ownership, wich this administration is dying to approve. talk to any merchant marine and he can tell you all about how foreing ownership has screw things up for them.

finally, don't do it. really, go be a dentist or a PA and then buy your own plane. you are still at least 8 years away from an interview with a mayor and thing will probably get worse ( in terms of quality of life , pay and benefits).

don't do it.
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:35 AM   #4  
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As mentioned before, without a BS degree, your options are limited once you try to progress past the regional level, wether it be haulin trash for one of the regionals or boxes for a FedEX feeder or whatnot. I can't tell you how manycaptains I've flown with at ASA who were desperately trying to finish their BS, so they could move up the career ladder. Most of them simply didn't have the time anymore, due to work or family commitments. Don't shoot yourself in the foot- GET THAT BS NOW, before your life takes over.

Secondly, are you single? Is your vision 20/70 or better? Then why the heck would you not consider the military? If you're starting off now with zero or low time, you're going to spend a minimum of 3-5 years before you get a decent paying job (unless you're lucky or network very well- anything is possible then). You're going to spend countless thousands to get yourself to a position that pays somewhere between 16-25k first year. You're going to eat Raman Noodles for a long long time, and debt will be your new best friend.

Maybe you're wealthy or your family is and this dosen't matter. I don't know. But if I had the chance (and 20/20 vision!) I'd go the mil route! Your flight training is FREE, they pay you a good salary, and you have some really good times. I know, I was enlisted in the Marines for 4 years, it was a blast. And you don't have to go hardcore, either. Join the Air Farce and you'll be living the life of a drunken frat boy for the next 8-10 years! And then you can jump right into the majors! Why not skip the 8-10 years of toiling at the CFI level, the crappy Night Cargo level, the decent Night Cargo level, and all the headaches that accompany it?
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:15 AM   #5  
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I know you don't want to go military, but it would allow you to bypass the night cargo and regional part of this flying thing.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:04 AM   #6  
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I too want to fly cargo, and I was curious, what else do the airlines look at aside from hours and degree, would a double major look better, how about clubs and the like? Do they even look at that stuff, or do they not really care about that.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:21 AM   #7  
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to be called for an interview they only look at hours,recomendations and any minority status.
if you do any voluntary work , once you are at the interview and if their application ask anything like that or if you have a chance to talk about it, it obbiously looks good, but you are still at least 8 years away from any major ( cargo or pax) interview. the club thing , if you are in a leadership position , is something you can also put on you application if it asks, and then you can talk about it if given the chance .

those things are very minor, but everything helps the intervier get and idea of who you are anfd how you'll fit in the company.

again you are still too far away to worry about that, your first thing should be to finish you 4 year degree( not aviation related unles is engineering or something that sows you have a brain) and get your insrtuctor rating to start building time. once you get to the regionals and/or cargo feeders and start building PIC turbine multicrew time you can worry about that.

for now, get your degree , build time and start networking.

( I still think you should be a dentist)
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:34 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by NE_Pilot
I too want to fly cargo, and I was curious, what else do the airlines look at aside from hours and degree, would a double major look better, how about clubs and the like? Do they even look at that stuff, or do they not really care about that.
In aviation, as in most industries, knowing someone always helps. Doesn't mean your uncle has to the CEO, but just a current flight ops employee who can vouch for you. This applies at any level. With that being said...

CFI, Night Cargo, Commuter, and regional airlines look MOSTLY at your aviation qualifications. A 4 year degree is very helpful at the regional level, but being too qualified might not be good at the regional level. If you have an MD, JD, and MBA, you'll probably decide that regional is too much BS and too little pay compared to what you COULD be getting with all your degress and experience. They may not want to waste the $$ to train you when they suspect you'll quit in 6 months.

At the Major level, all the qualified applicants are more than qualified to fly the airplanes (look at their minimums!) so it comes down to largely human factors and things that set you apart from all the other applicacants. Do you knwo someone? that will likely get you an interview, but unless you uncle is the CEO or chief pilot, you still have to stand on your own merits at the interview. These are some of the things that could set you apart as an exemplary individual: Military rank and awards, advanced degrees, Instructor Pilot/Check airman experience, Olympic/Pro/College athlete, leadership of any sort (at the adult level), successes in other fields, amateur athletics, author, interesting/challenging hobbies, volunteer service, etc. Anything that shows you are a dynamic, interesting individual. Being a big union guy or big political activist might not be what they're looking for, however.

Last edited by rickair7777; 02-02-2006 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 02-04-2006, 04:19 AM   #9  
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Thumbs up

To answer some of your questions

Im OK with math so so at Algebra, and really good at geometry
I am great with technical things computers radios electronics
Im in good health I exercice run, and lift weights im 6'2 215 going for 195
NO DUIs no tickets I have been driving since i was 16
I have NO Criminal convictions
Single no kids
I wear Glasses and contacts but plan to get eye surgery this year im allitle farsighted but not require to drive with my Glasses or Contacts

I know you don't want to go military because because of the 8-10 years of traning then go looking for a job i rather spend 10 years building my life buying a home a car.

When I have the money and time to start flying, I will
Find an Aviation Medical Examiner
Get a FIRST CLASS medical

Once im Qualify to work for Night Cargo, Regional Airline or Major Airline it really does not matter were the job is, as long as they pay Livable wages, im able to commute coast ot coast, or work in europe you have to make sacrifice

Once I get my AA I will want to go stright to flight school and im sure i would have any time to get a 4 year degree

Originally Posted by greedyairlineexec
finally, don't do it. really, go be a dentist or a PA and then buy your own plane. you are still at least 8 years away from an interview with a mayor and thing will probably get worse ( in terms of quality of life , pay and benefits).
don't do it.
You know I was thinking about becomming a dentist i guess that may be my
3rd choice carrer. 1st computer IT, 2th Avation flying, 3rd dentist ill think about it.

greedyairlineexec I guess I will have to do some voluntary work, big brother or something, I dont know anyone in the avation industry after I get my degree If I start cargo ups fedex dhl i will probably have to be a co-pilot I mean thats how you start off right
So if I work my ass of in college and get my BA, MD, JD, and MBA but they only want to pay me to start as much as someone with a AA degree

Why do most Pilot Training Flight School offer people Flight instructor jobs after there finish traning, that one thing I never want to do.

Any know or how to find out the Statistics, on how many pilots job are needed by city and state, and most important how many pilots per year retire every year Statistics from the year 2000 from the Regional Airline or Major Airline. I email the FAA about 4 times with 4 different email address about this and got no reply

Also I forgot to mention im African American and I never seen a black male pilot at the airports LAX,JFK,MIA I know there are many black pilots, but I travel alot, I only have seen black female pilots, and other minoritys pilots mostly female, the only black pilots I ever talk to are the ones online, and they told me their are more female pilots and other minoritys pilots, than black male pilots.
Old 02-04-2006, 07:59 AM   #10  
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No matter who you are or how hard you try it is still a long and hard road. The pay is low and getting lower. There are few short cuts and the odds are against career success. I would become a dentist.

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