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Arklight1

About Becoming an Airline Pilot

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Is there a such thing as a kind of "sponsorship" that an airline might do, to help you pay through flight school? I live in the US, and most of the airlines only hire former military pilots. If I can help it, I don't want to join the military. Also, say that British Airways or some other airline offered such a program. As a US citizen, could I fly for a foreign airline? Thanks!

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Nope. . . There are Loans that you can get from banks and what not that will help you pay for your schooling. Ofcourse youd have to pay them back.Id suggest you to do more research on various flight schools in the US that will take you from 0 time to a right seat with a regional airline. But as far as an airplane sponsering a pilot. . . you wont ever see that. Sorry, many more people out there that are 1)a better pilot, and 2) who dont need financial assitance. Might I suggest you check out Westwind School of Aeronatics (PHX - 35-40grand program), ComAir Academy (MCO - 40-45grand program), PanAm International (All over the US, based in South FL - 50-65grand).As for flying for a foriegn carrier, yes it is possible. And there are thousands of US Citizen pilots flying for foreign airlines. British Airways isnt one of the biggest who hire out of Country pilots. Air France is very rare aswell, especially due to the fact that the government still owns part of the airline. Cathay Pacific, and other asian airlines have the largest # of american pilots in staff. Its possible yes, but its gonna cost you much more to get the foreign lis that are the equivalent to the US lis.Best of luck

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In addition, the military now supplies less than half the pilots hired these days. The majority now come up through civilian programs.

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but still, the airforce still provides the best training you can EVER have, thats where im going and airlines are still more willing to hire a military pilot than a civilian one because of that training, if all else fails, find a good AFROTC course at a college, the one im soon to go to will pay for my college, when you finish the course in about four years, if you decide to join the airforce you will be put in as a 2nd lieutenant, for my case that is.

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Personally I would reccommend staying away from the military if possible. I spent quite a bit of time in ROTC (in fact I was cadet of the year) and flying billets are few and far between. Not to mention if you sign the Air Force contract (your Junior year of college I think it is) and don't get a billet for UPT then you are screwed becuase now you have to give the Airforce time out of your life that you could have been spending going through a civilian flight program and building hours. The military certainly isn't a bad idea in terms of patriotism and benifits but it is A LOT different then what you see on T.V. (Wierd hours, on call a lot of the time, tough on families, low pay, etc..). After spending time in AFROTC and finding out about the flight "slot" situation I left the program and concentrated on school. In fact, I actually ended up joining the U.S. Army and becoming a Ranger (want to talk about an interesting military life, WOW! lol). The military flight selection when I was trying to get a slot in the mid to late 90's was based on your G.P.A (grade point average) in college, extra curricular activities, reccomendation from your ROTC Commander, and your performance in the ROTC program. We had about 45 guys apply and 3 made it in. My friend was actually turned down because he only had a 3.5 G.P.A as a Mechanical Engineering major and the 3 guys that made it were also Engineering majors but all had at least 3.83 G.P.A's. Certainly a rigirous selection program! But that doesn't mean that if it is your dream to become a military pilot you shouldn't go for it!! However, don't try to become a military pilot because you want to be an Airline or Corporate pilot later....join the Armed Forces becasue you want to be in the MIlitary and you want to serve your country.To put it in perspective, military flight training is on average roughly 2 yrs in length (not counting WOFT in the U.S. Army). In 2 yrs time at a civilian flight trianing facility you could have finished all of your ratings to become a professional pilot and been employed as a flight instructor for around a year (depending on the length of the flight program). I'm not sure what the Air Force and Navy/Marine time contract lengths are for pilots now but I believe the Air Force is around 8-10 yrs (less for Navigators).Personally, this is what I would do...and am in fact doing as we speak! Find a flight school where you like the instructors and the training methods are conducive with your learning style. See if they have a program that is set up as a package where you sign up for ALL of your ratings (not including ATP :)I hope I helped you out a little!Shane

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>>$40,000 cash lying around,Is that how much it costs? It's alot of money, yes, but the military guys I was talking to were making me believe it was almost $100,000! In a way, that's a big relief. I guess I'll start saving as soon as I get a job again :). Thanks everyone!

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$40,000 is about what I have seen for most flight schools' Professional Flight Programs. Keep in mind that this IS NOT the amount for schools such as Comair Aviation Academy or Pan Am International Flight Training Academy. Comair is around $45,000 I believe not including a few things here and there (Headset, uniform etc..). The school I will be attending, Pan Am IFTA, is quite a bit more then the others but that is for various reasons. You don't have to go to the most expensive school to get quality training. These are a few of the things I looked for when I was choosing a flight school:1. Professionalism - Do the students wear uniforms? Is the curriculum (sp?) structured? Do the instructors have high expectations of the students or are they just there to build hours?2. Is the school FAR 61 or FAR 141 - FAR 141 requires Flight Instructor standardization, instructor checks, and I also believe requires standards on successful student completion ratios for flight programs (ie, the percentage of students that pass their flight checkrides and written exams).3. Aircraft fleet - Are the aircraft new (older aircraft have higher downtimes, higher downtimes = less avaialbe aircraft)? Are they equiped with the latest avioncs such as GPS, etc.. (most newer regional airlines and majors use "glass" cockpits, the sooner you start getting experience with advanced avionics the better).4. Flight times for the program - Are the prices quoted based on FAA minimums or are they based on what the average student completion time is (FAA minimum for a FAR 141 school is 40 hours (I believe) for your PPL, HOWEVER, the average student completion time is 50-65 hrs., etc...)? *Example* - Is the $40,000 dollar price tag going to turn into $50,000 because it is taking some extra time on a few subjects? *NOTE* - Averages are just that, averages, you could spend less time or more time learning certain subjects.5. Airline/Corporate Flight affiliation - Do certain airlines or corporate flying businesses look to the school as a reliable source for competent responsible dedicated pilots?6. Location - Where is the flight school? This deals directly with amount of flying days per year. If the flight school is in an area where it on average rains 6 months out of the year am I going to be able to even fly or are "we" going to be grounded due to extreme weather for most of the year?7. Cost - What makes this $40,000 flight school better then "the $40,000 flight school across the street"? Why are some flight schools $35,000 while others that offer the same certificates are $60,000....what does the $60,000 flight school have that the $35,000 flight school does not have?8. Living expenses (ext. of location) - What state is the flight school in? Am I going to have to move across the country to attend? What does it cost to move across the country? What is the "cost of living" in the state I will be moving too? If I move "there" am I going to basically double my living expenses? If so, how am I going to pay for it if I am enrolled in a full time flight program and don't have time OR am not allowed to work?The above is a basic run down of some of the questions I sought to answer when I made my decision. There are more but I can't rememeber all of them at the moment. Basically, the cost of the flight school is just the beginning. There MANY things to consider when choosing a flight school not just the monetary repurcusions (sp?) involved.The BIGGEST questions can only be answered by YOU:Do I have the dedication to complete a Professional Pilot Program once I start it? Am I free of social engagements that may interfere with my flight training and ground school? Am I willing to endure the countless hours of study required to take on an endeavor of this magnitude? Am I ready to complete college (If you haven't already. Most if not ALL airlines require a college degree to be hired) to become a professional pilot?Hope some of this helps you out :)Post back here if you have more questions :)Shane

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One more question: which ratings do you earn? Do you get PPL, Multi-engine, ATP, etc. Also, what kind of education do they require you to have to enter such a program? 2 years of college, 4 years etc. Thanks, you've been really helpful!

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As far as ratings go here is a rundown of them that you will more then likely earn in a professional pilot program:1. PPL2. Instrument Rating3. Multi Engine Rating4. Commercial Rating5. Certified Flight Instructor6. Certiflight Flight Instructor Instrument7. Certified Flight Instructor Multi Engine8. ATP - Can ONLY be taken when you have reached 1500hrs. total time. Your ATP doesn't come for quite a while. You need 1500hrs before you can take the flying portion of the ATP exam. You can do what is called a "Frozen ATP" which means you can take the ATP written exam and pass that before reaching the 1500hr requirement for the flight test. For entrance requirements into an actual Professional FLight Program the requirement is usually 18yrs of age and a Class 2 or Class 1 medical certificate. However, to be eligible for an airline job you must be 21yrs of age at date of hire. Some airline that I have researched however, have thier age requirements set a little bit higher...some 24 some 25. Other then that your TT (total time) and multi engine time is VERY important.To usually be hired by a Regional Airline the applicant must have at least some college (2 yrs, etc..). For Major Airlines the requirement is usually a 4yr degree. You can go check airline jobs online and almost all state, "college not required but preferred", take some advice....No college degree, no airline job.If you find a Flight School you like post the link here and I'll help you research it....I have researched just about ALL of the very good one :)Once again, post back here if you have more questions :)Shane

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The schools I've heard of are: Embry-Riddle (probably expensive), Comair, and Pan Am flight academy. There are some local ones offered at Western Washington University and I'll look into those more as well. Thanks!

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Embry-Riddle is a good school but it is very expensive and not a dedicated professional flight school. I would look into ones located near you, or Comair or one of the other ones you hear a lot about.Shane

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Ever since I can remember the only thing I wanted to do was fly. Naturally I wanted to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force.When I was in my final year at school the RAF careers officer (actually a retired Harrier pilot) paid a visit to my school. I told him I was interested in flying. He took one look at my grades and said I was eligable to apply for an RAF Flying Scholarship. I would have to attend the RAF's Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at RAF Cranwell. If I passed the tests the RAF would begin training me in light aircraft whilst I was still at school. As soon as I finished school I would be guaranteed a place in pilot training.The first hurdle was an interview at the local RAF Careers office which I passed without too many problems. Three months later I was at OASC. Interviews, medicals, flying aptitude tests... etc. LOTS of tests and exams.After the tests had finished all the candidates were called in one by one for a review with the senior officer (a Wing Commander).I was told that I "more than met the required standard" but my legs are 14mm too long for aircrew.I later found out that British Airways runs a pilot sponsorship programme. To be eligable you must be aged 18-26, with A-Levels (an non-compulsory higher academic qualification in the UK) at grade C or above in two core subjects (ie maths, physics etc). I figured that if I could pass the RAF tests then I should be able to pass the BA tests. Your average Boeing or Airbus doesn't have ejection seats so the length of my legs shouldn't be a problem.If you were successful in getting on to BA's programme they would pay for you to go to a BA approved flying school in order to work your way up to a UK Commericial Pilot's License. BA would also send you to a flying school in the southern US (or possibly Australia) during the UK's winter months.Once you had the CPL BA would make you a formal offer of employment. Once accepted you would be assigned as a first officer to either the 737-3/4/500 or Airbus A319/320 fleet. You would have to spend a year at BA's flying school, working through ground school and simulator, working up to your type rating. During this time you would also have the opportunity to ride the jump seat of BA's scheduled flights to get some "flight deck experience".Once you achieved your type rating you would finally get the chance to crew a real scheduled flight. You would be paired up with an experienced training captain, and on your first flights you would simply be an observer - watch, listen and learn. As time goes on the training captain would give you more and more responsibility until finally you would be a proper first officer.Of course, if at any point in the programme you failed to meet the required standards, dropped out, or refused BA's offer of employment, you would have to pay BA back all the money they had spent on you.I went to college for a year to get the qualifications I needed. Finally in September 2001 I was awarded 3 A-Levels: Pure Mathematics at grade C, Discrete Mathematics at grade C, and Physics at grade A.I'm sure I don't have to remind you of the other thing that happened in September 2001. BA suspended its sponsorship programme.That means that short of robbing a bank, there's no way I can afford to become a professional pilot :-(I'm currently planning to join the Royal Marines. I'll be starting at RM Commando Training Centre after Christmas.

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My $0.02.Spending $40-$50g to get your ratings is a BIG waste of money in today's environment. You can spend $15-20g at a local flying school and get the SAME ratings as you would at Comair, PanAm etc. The regionals are just now starting to hire again (ASA, ACA, etc.) and they do not care where these ratings come from (no matter what Comair or PanAm tells you). Comair and PanAm amaze you with their placement statistics, but if you look closely they're the ones hiring their own students back as instructors (this is Comair's magic 95% placement number).You need around 1200 hours of total time, of which 200 needs to be multi-engine time. The cheapest way might be to buy a used Seminole, Seneca, or Baron and fly the crap out of it. Sell it when you are done (if you buy a 20yr old twin it should not depreciate that much if you put 500hrs on it - provided the engine was low time to being with).Get a job flying as quickly as possible to build up hours - instructing, hauling checks, towing banners. One advantage of the Comairs/Panams is they have placement people who look at these for you. The best way is to hang out a busy local airport and meet people. It's who you know in this business.

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Actually Chickenhawk there is quite a bit of difference between flying at a local flying club and going to a professional flight school.1. Newer aircraft/Updated avionics - Haven't seen many little flying clubs equipping there aircraft with GPS, have you ;)2. Part 141 (inst. standardization, flight checks, etc..)Some even use a combo. of 141 and 61.3. Dedicated maintenance facilities (lower down times for aircraft)4. Most of the schools have contracts with regional airlines to make getting interviews a little bit easier.5. Classes in CRM ;)Shane

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