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Most efficient way to become an Commercial Airline Pilot

Asked by: 2351 views Commercial Pilot, FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, Private Pilot, Student Pilot

Hello everyone, I am honestly trying to find the most efficient way to become an Commercial Airline Pilot! I am 19 (soon turning 20) and originally got accepted into Embry-Riddle (around 2013) but didn't attend because of tuition cost. So as an alternative I decided to go to a local community college and have future plans to transfer to a local 4 year university for a bachelors of meteorology. I am so confused as to how to start my pilot career with 0 hours of flight time. Looking up different flight schools I came across ATP Flight School but I am feeling sketchy since I see so many people saying it gives you proper flight training but nothing is guaranteed except an airline interview. Also, financially I want to be sure before I just jump into loans and different things. Where would be the best place to start? And what do many airlines (regional & major) ask for? Any advice would be great! I know this is surely what I want to do and I also know becoming an airline pilot is not a quick thing. Thanks in advance!!

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2 Answers



  1. terrence on Jan 20, 2015

    Reporting from Kuala Lumpur,malaysia. Terrence here .obtained a private pilot licence in New Zealand before joining sporeairlines cadetpilotship in 1999.training up to 1.5 years in Perth ,Australia and ground course in spore.flew A310,b777,a340-500 and a330 before leaving for airasia x as senior first officer last two years .
    Ok now back to your case..I suggest u get at least a commercial pilot licence or just private licence to make sure you have an aptitude to fly and like it to be your career.joining an airline via cadetship is a plus without much financial burden or else get an instructor rating and try to find a job to increase your flying experience.
    If you have any questions, pls feel free to watsapp me on 60129074278.hope I answer your q.Good luck n Happy safe flying

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  2. Bob Watson on Jan 23, 2015

    The most efficient way, whatever that is, might not be the most practical way.

    First, think very long and hard about the economics of borrowing to finance your education. You could easily run up a debt of $100,000 in the process, which could limit your employment opportunities (in that you might not be able to move to where the jobs are or afford to live on the jobs you get out of school). It happens all the time and the schools have a bit of a conflict of interest in telling you the dark side of financing your education (because that’ll be your problem not theirs. Their problem is just getting you to pay the tuition). If an entry level airline job pays $1500/month and you have a student loan payment of $1000/month, how long with that work? In any case, do a little math before signing up for the all-to-easy-to-get-in and almost-impossible-to-get-out-of student loans.

    Since you “know becoming an airline pilot is not a quick thing,” it sounds like you have a reasonable expectation that it’s not going to happen overnight, which takes some of the pressure off of needing a loan to finance your education. You’re also enrolled in a 4-yr program, which is good. So, in that sense it sounds like you’re off to a good start.

    Some of the things I’d do if I were in your situation.

    1) Get a job at an airport. Pretty much any job to start, because this gets you in the environment where you can learn by osmosis and meet people who might be able to help you achieve your goal. Also, if you want to be a pilot, what could be better than hanging out at the airport all day/night?

    2) If you can work for someone who can teach you to fly, even better. Maybe an FBO will have an opening, maybe you’ll meet someone, who knows? But this will help you start getting your license(s) and building time.

    3) Be patient.

    4) Think about getting your CFI, etc. If you can get your CFII/MEI that’ll put you in a position to get more multi-engine flight time and be a more valuable instructor to the FBO (you’ll be able to take on a wider variety of students) and you’ll be honing very important skills, such as dealing with people, oh and flying skills as well. But paying for the time to get to a CFII/MEI can cost a lot (I haven’t added it up since I got mine many years ago).

    Which leads me to my last suggestion.

    5) Find out what short cuts will ruin your chances in an interview and cross them off your list of ideas right now. There are a few “too good to be true” ways of cost cutting that are frowned upon by the industry (and the FAA) so ask around (here and elsewhere) and just put those out of your mind up front. You’re investment is too big and too important to your future to send it down the drain by trying to cut corners. (And ask yourself, would you put your mom/wife/children on a plane piloted by someone who cut corners to get into the front seat?)

    The bad news is you’re starting from zero, so you have a long road ahead. The good news is you’re starting from zero so you haven’t had the chance to screw it up. Also, if this is what you love, then a long road is just an opportunity to do more of what you love.

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