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Old 03-03-2016, 03:28 AM   #1  
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Default Pilot cadet programs

Hello I am currently a flight attendant at Southwest Airlines who resides in Baltimore but I have always dreamed of becoming a pilot. I am 41 years old and I only have 25 flight hours towards a private pilot's license. I already have a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies. I have been looking at flight training programs which offer a direct path to employment. I found two programs and want to know which option looks the best.

Cape Air

PSA Airlines | Pilot Cadet Program

Do you guys know any other such programs available? If you have any advice or know about other flight training programs, I would also like to like your opinion.

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Old 03-03-2016, 03:49 PM   #2  
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Congrats on thinking of making the move to the cockpit Tiffany! I think the smartest way to approach this would be to pick a quality two year school that has FAA auth for reduced ATP mins (1250 TT instead of 1500 TT)( Since you already have a BA/BS, that takes care of almost all of the credits outside of Aviation classwork and ratings. So you could conceivably knock out PPL through CMEL and CFI in the space of a year if you work hard. Costs would be kept minimal this way, especially compared to a shake and bake outfit like ATP (plus the instruction should be better). Then you could either instruct (maybe at one of the academies like Transpac that has a steady flow of Chinese contract students) or do some other quick timebuilding job like aerial survey (this is what I do and it gets me at least 100 hours a month).

The cadet/gateway programs that you are interested in are simply paths designed to poach talent from college flight programs. Envoy has had such a program for awhile, and it also includes a pipeline path for instructors ( ExpressJet has their own program called AP3 that offers CJOs to college flight students, and ties into the Jetblue gateway program that you saw at Cape Air (Airline Pilot Pathway Program (AP3) | ExpressJet Airlines). My take is that none of these setups should be a deciding factor in picking a flight school. All of the regionals are hurting for bodies, some (Endeavor, ExpressJet, Commutair) have guaranteed interview programs with majors, and the AA wholly-owneds (Envoy, Piedmont, PSA) have flow. The point is that the jobs and career progression are there, so why get locked into one particular scheme or another?

As an aside, my best advice is to pick a program, figure out a plan, and stick with your timeline. I say this as someone who left a cabin crew job at a European carrier in late 2011 to burn the GI Bill on flight, got sidetracked by a disorganized community college flight program, got an MBA that further distracted me, and is finally now about six months from having 1500 TT and going to a regional. Enjoy the ride, but pick a good program, get it done on time, and profit. Feel free to PM if you have any other questions.


Last edited by uavking; 03-03-2016 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Add link
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Old 03-03-2016, 04:02 PM   #3  
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There are "gateway" programs that affiliate the colleges with airlines which infer a career path. This isn't quit ab initio model adopted by some of the reopen airlines in that the student is still stalled with the cost of training.

The university flight school affiliation may be worth something, but I'd caution you to do the math on what 250 extra hours would cost. In terms of time and tuition I think the university flight school option will be more costly when you pay tuition with no degree path.
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