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Guest B1900 Mech

Im thinking about becoming an ATP and have a few questions

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Recently, I have been strongly considered becoming an ATP. Im in high school right now and Im definately going to college after, so I'm still a good 7 years away at least. When I get to college, I was thinking that a mechanical/engineering degree would be great for a resume and useful in the business, but I'm concerned that if I were to ever want to move up to the corporate level or another industry my options would be limited? Should I study business instead? Or would my experience as a pilot be enough to help me get up into the corporate level?Also, I know seniority plays a big role in scheduling, but would the airlines allow me to take certain days off for religous reasons (only about 4-7 particular days a month)?Thanks for your help.

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Well let me be the first to tell you that what you have a degree in will mean SQUAT by the time you finally settle into a career. Employees love to see a college degree- doesn't generally matter where you go to school either. If you knock them dead at an interview, almost nobody is going to turn away a strong canidate because they graduated from UCONN instead of Yale. I know alot of Yale grads who are struggling like everybody else...The exceptions to this are generally educational, or other specialized degrees. If you want teach, or be a doctor, you obviously have a particular track you need to take.Also, if you want to ever get to upper management in an investment firm, or bank, or similiar- You probably want an MBA, which is a master's degree and it doesn't matter what your bachelors is in anyway.And of course there are plenty of career choices which require specialized training, but not necessarily a degree. Stockbrokers for example- you need licenses, and if you can impress your local Merril Lynch executives with alot of drive and passion, you could probably land a job and have the licenses paid for by them. I have no degree, but LOTS of IT training, and make a comfortable five figure salary. My best friend has a biomechanical engineering degree from Westpoint and pulls in over 200k as an insurance executive. As for the choice you are looking at- An engineering degree from a decent school will leave you with virtually unlimited options.If I were you, I would look at a school that can give you the engineering degree, and the flight training.Keep this in mind- A college degree is simply a piece of paper that tells people you know how to apply yourself and accomplish something. It is a way for employers to tip the odds in their favor that the person they are hiring is not a lazy, lying slacker. Yes, you will learn stuff in the process, but honestly college prepares you about as much for the real world as your college girlfriend prepares you for marriage :)

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Hey,I thought about becoming a pilot for years, but because of the expense (In the UK anyway) and I choose to study law, history, politics and psychology. My careers advisors werent helpfull, when i told tham that I wanted to become a pilot thay looked at be in a patronising way and suggested I "do somthing more acheivable." When in college i met new friends who had the same desire, and like me not alot of cash, we spoke to each other, shared internet links to flight schools and found out that actually, although expensive, it was possible.This made me feel good, but then bad. My friends who wanted t be pilots were on physics and maths courses, and I was stuck on "book" based subjects. I really felt that i had blown my dream. I still looked around on the internet though and found that physics and maths werent necessary I also atteneded a taster day at my local flight school, it included mock tests a mock interview and career advice, the staff, all experienced pilots with links to airlines were very helpfull and told me that a good grade in any college course was better than a bad one in physics. More to my delight thay said that my score in testsand the interview was good and i should seriously consider flight training. I signed up a few months ago, its only to 'express interest' in their course which takes your from zero hours to frozen ATPl. I have another year at college and after that i can send of the application pack the school gave to me.This very, probably too long message is to tell you that it doesnt matter what you do at college, just go for it, do your best and get in contact with as many flight schools as possible for advice.Best wishes,David Bannister

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So in other words, to get a job in the corporate side of an airline, the real world experience of flying and working in the airline is more important than a degree in business?

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Right now I am getting a degree in Aviation Management so that if I don't continue to fly then I will work in the industry somewhere.

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>So in other words, to get a job in the corporate side of an>airline, the real world experience of flying and working in>the airline is more important than a degree in business?I don't think anyone here said such a thing.>I know seniority plays a big role in scheduling, You bet it does so if your seniority is fairly low you may not have much choice which exact days of the month will be your days off.Michael J.

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A few more points to add to the excellent advice given here.I attended a flight school and most PIT (Pilots in Training) took aviation mechanics and aeronautical engineering as their 'main' courses and did their flight training as well.I am not a licensed pilot; but I believe that a good understanding of physics and aerodynamics is important. If you are able to grasp these concepts; then your actual college degree/major is not that important.I have a friend who has a masters in biochemistry; but works as a IT consultant because he is such a 'geek' with technology (ie, he does what he feels passionate about).I think this is most important; as it will drive you to succeed and I believe that if you can show this in your initial meetings with the flight school, then this will help greatly.If you plan to stay in the aviation industry and move onto the business side of things, then you would need some sort of business background. An MBA would greatly help in this, and you could possibly end up (after your pilot career) in management at any number of flight schools or private flight providers (like NetJets). A lot of people think an MBA is just "common sense" and not really needed; but you would be surprised how un-common common sense really is. I think the biggest benefit you would get out of an MBA is the knowledge in 'how' business is transacted; not the 'what'.If your schooling is in engineering, then you can be in charge of maintenance or support operations. I personally like this kind of 'hands on' approach, and for me this would be it -- although I really don't see myself doing much else than flying if I had a license :)I can't speak with much authority on the scheduling part; but from the few pilots that I talk with, seniority is very important in getting routes and preferred days off; although if its a religious thing, then the airline might be obliged to give you the days off.Good luck, and I hope I didn't confuse you much.

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Thanks for the advice. It really helps.

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Thanks for the advice. It really helps.

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My two cents...if you get your ratings and manage to get your foot in the door for an airline flying career, what you got your degree in will mean zippety-doo-dah.BUT...The odds of getting there are far from a sure thing. An engineering degree gives you a terrific backup plan, and is a far better backup career option than an aviation science degree from Embry Riddle that, in absence of aforementioned flying job, qualifies you basically to pump gas at the local FBO for minimum wage whilst pontificating on the horrific state of the industry...If you want to get into airline management, then time and money spent on ratings beyond what's needed for personal satisfaction is essentially wasted...they want strong corporate managers, not jet-jockeys. If that's what you want to do, then a traditional business, finance, or management degree from a strong school plus an MBA is the best route. And you'll need considerable luck getting into that door as well. ALWAYS have a backup plan that you can live with...dreams do not, contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, always come true.Good luck.Bob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VSantiago de Chile

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Take my advice, Become a doctor or something that pays a good wage,Then you can do all the flying you want. This industry sucks for having a family life and being with the ones you love on holidays. Do not believe all the hype.

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Haha, that's pretty much the truth. I make WAY more than my professional pilot friends at this point, and I have no college degree. I do have specialized skills however...Take my aviation doctor, Doc Winter (He's pretty famous in the Northeast)-He has a tiny 20x10 (that might be generous) office built into the back of his hangar in Chester, CT. He is only available on crappy days or you have to make an appointment weeks in advance. He has a V-tail Bonanza you could eat off of, and pretty much flies whenever he wants. He can afford to. My brother has flown with him. The guy just lives and breaths airplanes. His relatively stress-free job just pays the bills. I'm sure the only time he gets stressed is when he has to reject somebody's medical certificate. I've heard that instead of doing that directly, he'll just tell them to get a second opinion.

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Ah! Thats the life:-) I think he has flown in to KHYA.

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Well you have the right mindset about going to college and getting a degree. Enjoy the experience of college, don't just go to get the degree. That's the track I went I have not regretted it at all (also try to do some traveling during the summer). In my airline's ground school people had degrees in all sorts of things. One guy had a degree in English but it was basically a poetry major. A couple of pysch. majors, poli sci, chemistry, and of course some people from Embry Riddle. My suggestion is to study what you love and then go into aviation. What you majored in means nothing to an airline just that you finished something that required effort.David

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First of all, we need to know just what you mean by "an ATP".The ATP is merely a license - you can get this without any college, as long as you meet the FAA requirements of age, experience, and (believe it or not, in today's world) "good moral character". There is, however, no reason to acquire this expensive license unless you intend to pursue the absolutely only career that specifically requires it - a command pilot position at an FAA part 121 air carrier; ie, a US airline. Granted it is true that, simply because they usually can (supply and demand), many other airplane operators such as corporate and even regional airlines tend to require a successful candidate to possess an ATP license, even though it is not required by the FAA. (It may be required by their insurance underwriters)In terms of becoming an airline pilot, it is a good idea to use college to establish the basis for a possible second career, one that could, if necessary, become the primary career later on, after a furlough for example. I would recommend that you major in something that:1. You like, and therefore would probably do well at in school, and:2. Has some real-world applications in terms of making money. Teaching certification is one example, and there are others.When I got hired by American Airlines in 1977, it did not really matter what your degree said (mine was a BA in Chemistry) but rather what airplane you flew in the military and how many hours you had. Today, it is pretty much the same, except for the emphasis on the military, which is pretty much gone.And yes, everything is determined by seniority - you will not be given days off for religious reasons unless you can either bid them off or trade them off.Someone in high school now is actually pretty well positioned for an airline career. While it is true that the profession has suffered from the "perfect storm" environment post 9-11, it is still a decent way to make a living, especially if you love flying. There will be, starting around the mid teens, a massive hiring boom at all airlines as the 1980's hires retire. If the retirement age is raised that may be moved back to around the late teens, but it is still coming. Best to be available with the experience and other qualifications to be hired in the first year or so of the boom, so your seniority position is good.Good Luck!Tony Vallillo

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Well I see that lots of other people have replied to your post, but I guess I'll throw in my two cents. I'm going to Central Washington University to get a Flight Officer degree, which is closely tied in with a local flight school to provide you with every license and rating necessary to get in the airlines, except your ATP certificate, by the time you graduate. There are also many aviation management classes available, and if you want you can even major in it although flight training is not part of that major. I've decided to minor in Business Administration as well to keep my options open, which I believe is what you are looking for too. Funny thing, while I was searching for colleges in high school I was pretty intent on becoming an engineer too, but at the last minute I met a few guys with careers in aviation who made me realize that if flying is what you're all about, why spend 4 years of your life studying something you don't care about as much? Majoring in aviation will not only allow you to take classes in things you would not normally learn much about in a regular flight school, it can also help you meet many great people who can help you get your foot in the door of the airline industry, a place where contacts are more or less vital. And whatever you do, don't go to Embry Riddle, I hear the girl-to-guy ratio there is pretty shabby ;) Hope this helps,-Scott

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Hi Scott,Interesting aviation program that CWU has. How much multi engine time do you end up with in the end? I noticed the price tag is quite high for the ratings: 53,470. Make sure it includes a lot of multi-engine time, because that is basically all the regionals care about.Also check out: www.atpflightschool.comhttp://www.aribenaviator.com/I went to ari ben and ended up with 220 ME hours. I also went from zero time to a MEI, CFI, and CFII in 6 months. Not trying to sway you or anything (the place does have its problems) just warning you about multi engine time. Plus all my ratings were 20,000 dollars cheaper. ATP is also a good flight school that is extremely fast paced. Also good call on Riddle, that place is a sausage fest that costs as much as an ivy league school.Just my two cents,David

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Hi David,Both of those schools seem like pretty good ones. Because of your post I'm actually now considering switching to a Commercial Pilot specialization at CWU, getting my instructor ratings at ATP, and taking the 100 hour multi-time building program at Ari Ben. So thanks a lot for making me rethink my well-placed plans :) I'm curious to know more about these programs, if you wouldnt mind sharing some info. Have you ever taken any of the ATP courses, and do you know how they can be so fast-paced while still giving you proper training? What were the bad sides to Ari Ben that you mentioned, how are their aircraft, and is there anything else I should know about? For the record, CWU is a great school and I believe that with it's longer, more in-depth program you graduate with a better knowledge of flying and the aviation industry than with other fast paced programs. However, CWU's instructor course is quite a bit overpriced and takes way longer than necessary, so maybe an ATP style program would be better. I know I want to get my Multi at CWU though, as we just got a brand new glass-panel Seminole, and from what I understand the multi training at CWU is better than most places. Most students here get their multi after 20-25 hours and a lot of mock engine failures on takeoff.-Scott

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How many failures have you had with your glass panels? I was just flying into Ellensburg yesterday over V25 and I lost my air data computer. So far I think the glass panels were the stupidest use of high technology yet.

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As far as I know we haven't had any failures, but then again I haven't started training in the seminole yet and neither have most of my buddies, so I might not have heard. But yeah, having most of your info on one or two big screens always seemed a little sketch to me. Even when flying our warriors I try to rely on our GNS430s as little as possible just so I wouldn't become completely disoriented if it failed on me.What time were you flying yesterday? I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and did a commercial flight over MWH, down to Pasco, then over to YKM and back to the burg. One of your JAL 747s was doing touch and goes just as I passed over the airport, about scared the pants off me haha. I got a pretty sweet picture of him passing underneath me though.And btw, I'm in the process of making 2m photoreal scenery for all of Grant County right now :)-Scotthttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/167374.jpg

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I flew a different warrior last night to Nez Pierce and it didn't go out on me so I've had maybe two failure free flights with the avidyne system.I was over in Ellensburg around noon. It felt like a 5 hour flight doing the DP to get out of the valley from Wenatchee then over a 1000' layer of clouds over the mountains.Those JAL guys are so funny to listen to on the radio because you will hear an american voice come on when they screw up a clearance badly enough. What is also amazing is that they come into the 747 with around 20 hours of previous time in a light twin. That would be a nice upgrade in aircraft.

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Hi Scott,Sorry for taking so long to reply I have been away from my house for a while. Ari Ben is a good school overall, but the planes go down for maintenance a lot. The school flies their airplanes 24 hours a day. During the day the planes are used for flight training and at night they are used for time building. Since you are more interested in the time building program I will talk more about that. Basically you will start flying around 6:00 pm and will keep flying until you or your flying partner is tired. Once you get used to night flying it gets a lot easier. The time building is done with two pilots with one pilot logging safety pilot time (don't worry it is legal and regionals do not care what time you have in multi's just that you have the mins). You fly from Fort Pierce, FL to any place in Florida and return to Fort Pierce to refuel and do the same thing again. There are some cool places to fly down there like Orlando, Miami, Key West, Jacksonville, ect. The problems with the school is associated with airplanes that are kind of beat up (not unsafe, just ugly). Plus they have G430's in several airplanes. Sometimes scheduling sucks when they bump you out of an airplane for no good reason. The days that you aren't flying are spent partying with other students and European pilots. I have flown a couple of hours at ATP in their Seminoles and diamond star. ATP's airplanes are in good to fantastic condition. With several Seminoles and all of the diamond stars being less than two years old. Overall ATP is much more structured then Ari Ben. ATP is ran like an Airline at an incredible pace. The pace is the problem with ATP if you do not come well prepared you will be overwhelmed. I think that two weeks is almost too short to get your instructor ratings for pilots in general, if you know your stuff and willing to put out full effort for two weeks it can be done without many problems (just stress). ATP and Ari Ben are places where you only get what you put in. Both are pretty much self study courses that require someone very motivated. ATP's environment is much more stressful, however they do as advertised and get you your ratings at a fast paced. Ari Ben is more laid back and with time building are completely hands off. After your five hour check out, you are free to fly where ever you want.You will probably have more in depth knowledge at an university if you do not study a lot on your own. Once again it is completely up to you what feels best. I always enjoyed studying aviation in my free time before I ever took my first flight and I never had a problem keeping up with the work load. Like my first post I was just trying to show you more possibilities, like people did for me. I you want more info just drop me a line, because a lot of what I wrote was very general.Also go here:www.jetcareers.comTheir forum has a place for ATP and Ari Ben.Good luck!David

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