I have a question for all airline pilots

FuturePilot

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To all Airline Pilots:

Hello, my name is Nicholas Maxwell and I live in Parker Arizona. I am 14 years old and I am getting close to my second semester in the 9th grade at Parker High School.
I would like to be an airline pilot; it is my all time dream. I have wanted to be an airline pilot most of my life! I would like to direct this question to all of the airline pilots out there, what do I have to do to become an airline pilot. I mean what courses in High School do I need, college, and how do I get a commercial license. I know different ways of getting there but I have never had the advice of a real airline pilot, I mean I have been directed to web sites, teacher, parents, friends have given me advice but really what do they really know about how to achieve that goal...
So if anybody could help me out I would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much

Sincerely
Nicholas Maxwell
Future pilot:)
 

SWA/FO

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Hello,

You need to keep at it no matter what! Never give up. Never compare yourself to what your friends are doing. example: all my friends had new cars in high school with after school jobs while I was saving all my money for flying lessons/college. At the time it was very tough to stay focused, but I managed to hold off from following them.

I'd say get all the math and science classes you can take in High School.

There are a lot of great aviation colleges out there (that is what I did, I learned to fly while attending college) Embry-Riddle is good but expensive, University of Illinois, Purdue, Southern Illinois University, Western Michigan University. All these schools are great for leaning the professional way to fly. I'd say get a degree in something that will compliment your flying such as business or computer science etc... I have a degree in Aeronautical Science which is useless outside of aviation...this is just incase you are not able to fly for a living someday, you will have something to fall back onto.

If you want to send me a private message then maybe we can talk more. (my wife is wanting me off the computer).

I'd love to answer any of your questions, because I was in your shoes before. As hunderds of guys/girls on this board were.

You have come to the right place (this board)!
 

xhercdriver

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Nicholas--

I can only echo what SWA/FO has said about courses: you need a good foundation in math and physics, and then later calculus and engineering (you don't need to get heavy into engineering, but some understanding of mechanics and fluids will be useful).

Although it's possible to get "flying jobs" without a college degree, I'd strongly recommend you get that degree. There are "flying colleges" like Embry-Riddle where you can fly while going to college--what a deal!

Also, you owe it to yourself to check out all your options, and a big option folks sometimes overlook is military flying. Check into the Air Force and Navy ROTC programs (or even the Naval or Air Force Academy) and also your home state Air National Guard units. The military provides some excellent training, and a chance to fly high-performance aircraft at a higher "level of responsibility" quicker than in the civilian world. The airlines usually consider a military background to be a strong qualification for an airline flying job. The drawbacks are that you'll owe the military anywhere from 6-10 years "payback" for pilot training, and the programs are pretty competitive, so you'll need a pretty strong high school and college record to qualify. But by all means get some info now, so you won't be looking back later saying, "You mean I coulda gotten the Air Force to pay for my college and training, flown F-15s for 10 years and THEN got a job with Delta? Wish I had known that..."

Good luck. It won't be easy, but it will be fun.
 

Lindy

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During high school you should take the courses enumerated from the other posters. Additionally, does your high school offer a "sharing" with a local community college? I have seen where you could take classes at the community college and it will count towards your graduation requirement. If so, many community colleges have at least one class involving aviation -- Private Pilot Ground School. It would be a good way to "get your feet wet."

Most importantly, GO TO COLLEGE. The competitive minimums require some type of 4 year college degree. It doesn't make you a better pilot, it is just a hoop that the major airlines require. And, in times like these, a degree is something to fall back on and utilize.

It is a long road and do not ever waiver in your commitment to flying. There will be days where your friends are having fun and you need to stay in and study and be focused. And once you are a pilot, working that first job, there will be events that you can't make because of your schedule. Stay focused and stay flying.

If you have any additonal questions, please contact me via private message.

And, is Parker anywhere near Cochise? I know the Cochise has an aviation (two year degree) program. Much cheaper than Embry Riddle and the courses from the associate degree usually transfer!!

One more thing, when you turn 16 , trying applying for a job at the local Fixed Base Operator. That is a great job to have, get paid, and be around aircraft.

Good Luck
 

chase

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Civil Air Patrol

Nick,

You can also look into an organization called the Civil Air Patrol. It is a way to get introduced to flying (& some militarisms) that won't cost you anything but time. They usually meet once a month but have other activities scheduled throughout the months. It does allow young people to be mentored by older aviators & without expending too much cash. There are always lots of contacts with civilian flying organizations with these folks also...if there is one thing that you can take from all these suggestions is the importance of developing as many contacts/people involved in what you want to be doing, as possible. I also sent you a private message with some more detail that goes along with what SWA/FO said & others. Good luck,

chase
 

TWA Dude

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Re: Civil Air Patrol

Nicholas:

Just a few additional thoughts.

The military option is obviously the least expensive, but the colleges with in-house flight programs are the most expensive. The quality of flight training can be good or bad no matter where you go. As an alternative to a collegiate flight program you can seek instruction on your own at local airports. It's much cheaper and usually much quicker since you're not encumbered by a semester system. The web site Beapilot.com can show what options are nearby wherever you end up going to college. Of course you need only be 17 to obtain a Private License and 18 for a Commercial, so you may even get a head start. You can easily get your Private during a summer month. The Commercial license is quick, however you'll need your Instrument Rating and some flight time beforehand, both of which take additional time.

One thing many aspiring pilots don't think about is your non-school record. I know you're not driving yet, but when you do guard your driving record carefully! Airlines do extensive background checks on all pilot applicants and past jail time or driving tickets can be disqualifying. One speeding ticket won't sink your career, but several make the airlines think you're reckless. And of course DUIs are very bad. And of course avoid drugs, as you'll be tested repeatedly.

An aviation career is unlike most. Most pilots are far happier doing their jobs than even the most satisfied desk-jockeys. It takes a lot of effort to make it to the airlines but it's worth every moment.

G'luck
 

Tim

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Do not be discouraged. It is not difficult. Don't stress too much about the high level math and/or physics unless you plan to join the military. From a civilian side just graduate high school anyway you can and get enrolled in one of the above mentioned college programs. Don't get hung up about which one is best etc., they will all do the job.

Once your in college (which seems like it is so far away, but isn't) just hang in there. If you truly love flying, it will come easy. You will want to study etc. Meanwhile you will watch as some of your friends start falling behind and eventually quit. It just isn't for everyone, and that is not bad, it is better to realize it in college then 10 years and 75k in loans later. Just sit back, do what you think is right, and stay focused! It is within reach of anyone who wants it. We aren't all astronauts or 4.0 students, just regular people who love to fly. One more thing, it is worth it, considering I'm at home on a workday putting up Xmas lights.:D
 

Blasted

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Nick,

You've got some really good advice from the guys on this forum. I am going to reiterate some of the same. Number one, work hard in all of your academics and strive to really excel and understand things of a mechanical nature. I can remember well being in your shoes and wanting to fly. I built model airplanes often, even radio controlled ones, learning about flight control surfaces and how an aircraft flies. I crashed model airplanes, but love the hobby and still fly them. I also read almost every issue of FLYING magazine and joined up AOPA because it was a very informative publication and often has articles on basic flying skills and techniques. EAA is another organization that has an EXCELLENT monthly publication on the "mechanical end" of flying. One guy wrote to never compare yourself to your friends as far as them buying car and spending their money on other "extraneous things." That's also fantastic advice too. I got a job scooping ice-cream at a local ice-cream store before the age of 16 so that I could earn up money to pay for flying lessons in highschool. Basically, my entire 2 week's check would go toward paying off my flying account/lessons at the local airport. I was able to solo at 16 and get a Private Pilot Certificate at age 17. I would bet that MANY of the other folks on this board did something very similar in highschool. Another option might be to get a job refueling airplanes...just a thought. It was great to fly when others were still just driving...of course it was a different story trying to get my friend's parents' permission to go with me. And one last comment here, LIVE A CLEAN LIFE. Absolutely NO DRUGS. There's zero tolerance for this sort of lifestyle or behavior in any part of aviation. Demonstrate your maturity, live a life a maturity, and develop a track record of success. Everything else will start to come naturally. Aviators are a unique group of people, we set the bar a bit higher on personal integrity, skill, and leadership compared to the average "joe" on the street. It's because of discipline and hard work that we're able to achieve this.

COLLEGE IS A MUST in my opinion, and most everyone else's opinion on this board too. I went to Embry-Riddle and had a great time flying airplanes AND getting a degree at the same time. I agree that the downside is that it might be a tad expensive...but you'll start to learn that nothing in aviation is cheap. DON'T be discouraged though. An area where you might also want to look into is the Air National Guard, while you're attending college. One of my buddies did this while he was in college, it gave him a tiny bit of extra coin (served one weekend a month during drill), and was able to position himself for a competitive interview flying F16's when he finished up his degree. He now flies F-16's for the Guard. Once you get that slot, you'll start finding opportunities opening up left and right. I would recommend getting a job IN THE FLYING SQUADRON though, as opposed to doing an external job though...just a small piece of advice. This allows you to meet the pilots on a regular basis, and them to get to know you. But I don't want to diverge too much from your original question with details.

KEEP FLYING as often as you can. Once you earn one certification, the next step will be your instrument rating....all those magazines you've been reading will help you understand what that's all about. After your instrument ticket, go for your Commercial Certificate. After that, I'd recommend a CFI and CFII. This is a culmination of EVERYTHING that you've learned about flying, regulations, airspace, weather, and aerodynamics. This could very well be the toughest checkride that you'll take...only because you still have very little experience and you have to rely on your academics and understanding of what you've learned to be successful. You have very limited experience to look back on for examples. After this, you'll be able to start earning a limited amount of money to help offset the cost of your flying. I earned my CFI as part of my last course at Embry-Riddle. I instructed for about six months before going into Air Force.

I chose to go military for additional flight training. I could have gone civilian, but I wanted very much to fly fighters, serve my country, and get the best training in the world. I was fortunate enough to be at the top of my class when I gaduated....something that I'll attribute DIRECTLY to my strong civilian flight background that I had been working on since highschool. I also considered the Marines too. I believe that the Marines offer fantastic opportunity to develop yourself personally, be elite, and offer challenging leadership opportunities. I opted against this because I didn't want to be elite and experience challeging leadership opportunities flying ROTOR wings...a considerable concern in the USMC flight program. You can count on almost 2/3 of the guys flying rotor wing. If this is for you...THEN GO FOR IT! You can't beat 'em for camerderie, esprit-de-corps, and discipline.

After my stint in the Air Force...almost 9 years, I left to go with the airlines. It takes a bit longer to get to the airlines if you go military, but the training is fantastic, and is substantially cheaper if you don't mind spending the best years of your life serving your country as an officer and aviator. A personal choice that I will never live to regret. My resume now includes combat experience, and reflections of opportunity living in many different places in the world. Although civilians also are top notch aviators (especially in their exposure to very specific and focused training regiments in advanced regional jet equipment), many of my non military friends are envious of the opportunities that I've had serving in the military. Again, a personal choice.

And now we come full circle....I'm back on the street after getting to the airlines. I'm STILL learning about aviation...namely how volatile the industry is. You can be on the street with little or no warning we're finding. Always try and be in a position to experience set backs...it's part of being a professional aviator. Have a back up plan...if you can. My back up plan is....hmmmm...well, ahhhh.... hmmmm....well I haven't gotten that far yet. Like I said, I'm still learning. Ha, ha... Maybe I'll go work on my R/C airplanes for a while as I try and develop a game plan.

Best wishes!!
 

Jboss

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Nick

Everything that's been said by the other posters is true. Flying for a living is challenging and incredibly rewarding, not to mention fun! Do your best in High School, and definitely go to college. Your college major is not important in my experience. Sure, a degree in Aeronautical Engineering might help, but having a degree in History or English certainly won't hurt. I'm a big liberal arts proponent. That is, I think more would-be pilots should consider getting liberal arts degrees - it's a very horizon-expanding education. And it worked for me (English major, although I still can't spell).

And one more thing. The best piece of advice any pilot ever gave me was to ignore all the rumors, especially concerning hiring at the airlines. Hiring practices often make no sense at all. You'll hear that X airline hired somebody with 2000 hours of turboprop time, then you'll hear some pilots swear that airline X won't hire anyone with less that 5000 jet. Makes no sense, does it? That's because an airline, like any business, is going to consider the "whole package" when they are considering a pilot. Hours and experience is very important, but so is the applicant's overall personality. That's why airlines conduct extensive interviews. And don't be discouraged if and when you don't get offered a job after those first few interviews. Sometimes certain people just don't "fit" into a given airline's corporate "culture".

Good luck buddy. You'll have a lot of fun, I'm sure.
 

Draginass

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Nick -
All the above is great advice. You are doing EXACTLY the right thing now by getting you "ducks in line" and mapping out where you want to go after high school. You are probably light years ahead of your contemporaries in getting a head start on the rest of your life. An aviation career is a lot of really hard work to get established, but then you reap the personal and financial rewards later.

I was about your age when I decided that I wanted to fly airplanes in the Air Force, and at that time I'd never even flown in an airplane! The Air National Guard is a great way to get the best possible training in the shortest time possible, as well as the best experience flying high performance airplanes with great people, AND serve your country. Look into USAF or Navy college scholarship programs. They pay your tuition and a monthly living stipend. It's also a great job to fall back on in the event of economic downturns and furloughs in the industry (like is happening now). Regional and Major airlines look very favorably on military pilots when hiring. Competition is tough to get those pilot training slots, but you've already got an advantage on most of your contemporaries - you sound very mature and focused. Military pilot training was the toughest thing I've ever done in my life, but the reward of getting those silver wings pinned on you at the end was worth every drop of sweat that went into them.

If you go the civilian route, I would HIGHLY recommend that you go to a college that has a well respected avaition program. You'll get very good focused training as well as a college degree and secondary skill to fall back on temporarily in case everything doesn't work out perfect timing-wise. One of the best programs I've seen is at the University of North Dakota (of all places) in Grand Forks. Great facilities, new airplanes and a very good academic and flying program. Check out this web site from American Airlines mentoring program. It lists most of the major aviation related degree programs along with web links and aviation scholarships:

http://www.aapilots.com/public/flash/mentoring.asp

To reinterate others advice:

1. Very good grades
2. A college degree
3. Absolutely NO DRUGS nor alcohol problems
4. Absolutley NO PROBLEMS with the law
5. Congenial personality
6. Take care of your health. Stay in shape. Get any small problems taken care of before they become big, career threatening ones.
6. As clean a driving record as you can get. A minor ticket or two won't hurt you, but things like reckless driving, DUI, serial speeding tickets WILL hurt you VERY badly.
7. Financial responsiblity - live within your means

Like we used to say in military aviation - "He who wins is the one who makes the fewest gross errors." That same axiom applies to life as well.

I think you're well on your way to a great career. Good luck, my young friend.
 
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UPS Capt

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Nice to see a kid who has goals set already and is willing to work and ask questions to achieve them. You've gotten good advice from others and there's not really much more I can add.

Keep your nose clean (stay out of trouble)! Work on getting good grades. Without a doubt, get a 4 yr college degree. Hang out at the airport and try to get a job fueling, washing airplanes or any other work they'll let you do. Read everything you can get your hands on about flying. And, above all...stay focused and don't let anyone or anything deter you from achieving your goals!!
 

Boz

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Good Luck Nick...

Hi Nick,

As you can see all the great posts that have responded to your question. They are quite right. I am just writing you to wish you good luck. In this crazy business you are going to encounter highs and lows. But every pilot I have met has become a pilot because of there sheer love of flying. It is this simple love of flight that makes this job not feel like a job. Just think what else you would like to do everyday as you get up to get ready to goto make a living. I can honestly say I feel like I have never worked a day at my job becasue I love it.

Keep in mind there are going to be a lot of challenges that you will have to tackle one by one. I remember writing down each goal I needed and one by one systematically trying to achieve it. It is very important to stay focused and look over those goals every few weeks. This was my way of checking my progress.

Wether you go the military or civillian route, they are both going to get you ready for the airlines or corporate flying jobs. Just do your research and it looks like you are the kinda guy that is way ahead of the game already. So keep it up!

The guys that posted here have hit on every theme and I think you get the point by know. Stay fit, stay smart, stay focused, when the tough gets going remember why you are doing this? The love of flying! There is no better feeling then to achieve that first solo, or attaing your private licenese....maybe Basic training will be tough but again you muct focus on the goal you have set for yourself. You are on the right path and I hope you continue down it. Don't let the bad influences that sometimes enter our enviornment get ahold of you. So again, study hard and one day I am sure we will pass in the terminal.

Good Luck Buddy!
 

VaB

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Nick,

You've been given some great advice and all those things are true.

I will however add one thing that you must do. Have FUN doing what ever you wind up doing. Take time to have some fun, heck have alot of fun. Stay out of trouble the best you can, but don't sit at home every night with your face in a book. Like I said, alot of great advice as been thrown your way, but it's not rocket science, it's just flying a plane. Good grades are important, but you don't have to be a physics major and be on the honor list out of college to become a pilot. I'm living proof, my grades in high school were crappy, I went to a 2 year business school, and wound up in the navy flying jets off carriers. I wound up getting my 4 year degree while in the navy and got good grades, but had fun the whole time. So as we said in the Navy "Work hard and play hard".

Good luck
 

Michael Knight

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I'll try not to repeat much of the good advice you have received already. Just wanted to add my 2 cents for ya where I can.

I agree with JBoss in the value of a liberal arts degree, I think it is indicative of a well rounded education. If you go to a military academy or ROTC you will fulfill science and engineering requirements by taking the few classes they require (usually stopping at the calculus level and some science).

For the most part it doesn't matter what you major in. Grades are important so I'd pursue a major that you are sincerely interested in; you will most likely earn better grades in a major that you care about. This is true if you go the military route as well. I know several history and philosophy majors that have been at the top of their class and are now flying jets. They will be competetive for the majors when they leave the military.

I said "for the most part" because if you go military and later on decide to go to Test Pilot School or want to go the Astronaut route you would need one of these engineering, physics, math type degrees to be competetive. So, if this doesn't apply to you... study what excites you. I'm a Women's studies major myself <grin>.

If you go to one of those civilian flight schools like Embry Riddle or Western Michigan you should be able to get a scholarship to pay for much of it if you do the military thing (ROTC). Might be a great way to get the best of both worlds except you'd still have to serve your time to your country which means it'll take you a little longer to make it to the airlines.

Stay the course! Most of us were in your shoes before. I still remember a friend in my high school always telling me that I could be "his wingman anytime." I'm a product of the Top Gun era and he wanted to fly Navy and I wanted to fly Air Force. Things changed, he didn't follow through mostly due to the paperwork hassles to get into the service. Me, I changed ROTC's a few times and ended up a Marine which was exactly where I wanted and needed to be. I don't know where the time has gone. You will have lots of good times in front of you... driving legally, college, college football roadtrips, flight school,... I'm off in la la land now... bye

Mike
 

AlbieF15

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Another thought

First of all--I think I'm the only jerk on the board without some cool graphics by my profile. I'll do my best to find an F15 pic or something to throw in there...

If you are typical, right now girls are about 1/3 of your interest, and your career and flying goals are #1. The average guy will find a bride (hopefully first and last...but I digress) sometime between the time he is 18 and 26 or so. Usually, either in college or in the next couple years after graduating...

Here is some important gouge: Marry the right woman! You need to find a gal that is CONFIDENT enough in herself to accept you being gone (either military, commuter, or major means lots of time away from home). If you have a pretty young thing that just can't be happy unless you are home every night, you or her (or both) are just going to be miserable.

I'm not advocating marrying a female pilot, but I will say that you need to meet someone who, like you, has her own goals, dreams, and plans. Then she will be much more understanding in the sacrifices you have to make.

By the way...I've been married to my one and only wife for over 12 years, and she's seen me through combat, countless deployments, my various upgrades, and my adventurous transition to the airlines. I'm glad I had a partner through all of the ride! However--I've seen some buddies either give up their dreams (or their 1st wife) when they just couldn't work things out.

Stay focused, have fun, and good luck!

Albie

PS to all the previous contributers--How come it takes telling a 14 year old kid to bring out the "good" side of our jobs? It seems like 90% of the board is just bitching--glad to see some "half full" glasses for a change!
 

SWA/FO

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I was just thinking the same thing! With all the happenings going on in aviation, it sure is nice reading all these positive responses.

Its great to see young blood coming up the ranks!! Keep your dream alive, my friend!
 

Tweetybird

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Nicholas,

And I also agree with pretty much all of the posts. This should give you that "warm fuzzy" that we're not leading you astray. I must add two comments:

1. I was a T-37 Instructor Pilot for 4 years in the USAF. The T-37 is the first jet student's currently fly in the Air Force (it's being replaced). I loved that job, and am returning to it for a while due to the current situation we face on our planet! Many times I saw a gung-ho shinny new officer right out of college/the academy get discouraged right off the bat when they made mistakes in the jet. It was due to many reasons. One of which was that they were generally Type "A" people (Type A = nearly always positive, correct, motivated, stubborn, and good at what they do). Often when these folks ran into a slight bit of trouble during their initial flying training they would beat themselves up so much that their performance would drop drastically. I used to always tell them, "Pilot Training is like a roller coaster ride. Just put your hands in the air and keep screaming!" What I meant by that is that one MUST stay motivated and not get down when things don't go your way (and they won't always go your way no matter how good you are). We always looked for these type folks and had to work to adjust their thinking to match that of an aviator. As a pilot you can't stop in mid air to abuse yourself just because things haven't gone your way. Save that for the ground. O.K, so this point is long, but I'm trying to say you'll have rocky roads while enroute to your goal (both flying and otherwise). Work through them!

2. You stated that your parents and teachers really don't know what you need to do to reach your goal. I know what you meant to say, but as a "33 year old – old man", please hear me out. Your teachers and parents have a great deal of knowledge on how you can reach your goals. I'm sure they're bringing you up to be an outstanding citizen and person. You need to listen to what they have to say man. Many pilots here have told you how important it is to keep your nose clean - and THEY'RE RIGHT! I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, but without my great parents I think I'd probably be dead right now.

O.K. Nicholas. Enough of my ranting. As you can see, we all love our chosen profession and care dearly about whom we hand it over to. I want you to know that I can't imagine having a job that's more challenging or more enjoyable. Flying is absolutely awesome! It sure sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. I wish you the best of luck in all you do. I'll leave you with a quote I try to live by:

"A Superior Pilot uses his Superior JUDGEMENT to keep himself out of situations requiring he use his Superior skills."
 
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MLBWINGBORN

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Nick..

I am the exact opposite of most of the previous posts..

I am the first person in three generations of my family to make it out of High School..I have no college..non-military...Im too tall...Too old..Ive got less than perfect eyes,ect ect..

I had been told by a family member that the only way i would get near a jet would be to drive a fuel truck..

To say that my parents were less than supportive of my desire to fly would be a gross understatment..

But...Regardless of what was going on in my life one thing never changed..I loved airplanes..And i WAS going to be a pilot..Period..

So..One of the first things you have to decide is this.....Do you really,really love to fly?...Do you really want to be an airline pilot?Think about it..Your honesty with yourself may be the key to your success!!

I assume that you do..

Now that you have heard about flight schools,college,the military and every other path to the left seat of a jet...Let me tell you a little about mine..

On my last day at a well known flight school in Florida i had met a guy that had put together every cent he could to go to the school..I told him i would give him all my left over can goods if he could come and pick them up...After waiting for over an hour later than i had agreed to, i put the can goods in the dumpster and drove to the rental office to turn in my keys..As i drove out of the parking lot i caught sight of him jumping over the side of the dumpter to get the cans of food..I thought to myself "that guy really wants to be here"....

After leaving flight school with a pocket full of tickets,
I managed to drive to every airport with a flight school in every state between Florida and Virginia..No luck..I tried for two months in Virginia to find a job...I finally heard about a guy that owned an airport that knowbody would work for...I called this guy for a week straight and went to his office several times..He finally agreed to see me...We met at his airport...He walked into the lobby and asked who i was and if i could fly a C152..He pointed at one and told me to preflight it and i would give him dual in it when i was ready...

A soft field takeoff,power on stall,simulated engine failure,A low altitude transistion from a power off landing to a soft field landing to a full stop..All in one turn around the pattern..

I park the plane and he gets out and slams the door and walks off..Not a word..
I go into the lobby and there was a C-210 aircraft manual on the counter..I was told to be back there at three to take up a sight seeing flight in the 210 and to go check myself out in it..

I got ten bucks per flight hour on the Hobbs..Five for ground school...I had no students..But i had a job...A job that knowbody wanted..
I got my ATP at 310 hours...Airplanes,Tractors,and Packards..I washed them all..

The guy later told me he gave me the job because he thought that was the only way i would stop bugging him..

I went to one of three airports everyday for three straight years..I never missed a day..During those three years i taught a bunch of people to fly,chased forest fires,towed gliders,flew traffic patrol,hauled sky divers,and every other thing you can think of with a piston powered airplane...And ate an awful lot of peanut butter and tuna fish on wheat..

One day a guy was sitting on a bench at the airport and as i walked in i offered to buy him a Coke..He said make it a Cherry Coke and i had a deal..We got to talking and the next thing i know he tells me about a guy thats flying freight at night and hes looking for pilots...He writes down a number and tells me his name and hands me the number...My first 135 job..Flying night freight in a piston single over the mountains in winter...But i had a job...A job that knowbody wanted.. But a priceless job that taught me the true meaning of IFR..Ice..CG..Trim...Fear..and many other things..

After getting my ATP i took a job during the day driving a van to DCA/Washinton National Airport...My plan was to post my resume on every door on the airport..In every pilot lounge..On every desk.. Picture this..A guy walks in the pilot lounge at Signature Flight Support wearing a bus drivers uniform...Wades thru the group of corperate pilots fighting over popcorn and the WSI machine...And drops his resume on every table..Five days a week..Yep...Thats me...

No..I didnt get a job as a result of doing all this...I got the respect of someone who watched me do this day after day..Someone i didnt really know..Until later...

Some time later i get this call from a guy. He asked me if i wanted to take a ride in a Learjet...He needed to move one for some paint work and asked if i wanted to go....
Anyway..Remember the Cherry Coke...Turns out the guy was a Learjet pilot...Next thing i know im sitting next to the guy i had bought a Coke years before and he is letting me fly a Lear 35..My first jet time..

Years later this same guy would call me up one day and offer me one of the best jobs ive ever had...Not bad for a .50 Cherry Coke..

I guess what im trying to say in my own,long,drawn out way is this..

Dont be afraid to take a less than perfect job...What you may learn might be priceless.

If you really want the job..Dont be afraid of bugging people..

Be kind to everyone you fly with..Sooner or later it WILL be returned to you..

You have to love flying more than anything in the world..Otherwise the price will always be too high,the pay too little,the sacrifices too many..

Never,ever forget that the world of aviation is very small..The upper reaches of aviation are even smaller...Your reputation will always be questioned by your peers..Its part of the job..

Last..But not least..Never,ever give up..No matter what..DO what you have to do to make it happen..And make it happen now..Not tomorrow..

Oh..One last thing...

The guy i told you about that jumped into the dumpster after the can goods..

Well..Almost eleven years later to the day he and i were sitting together in the front of a Boeing 737-700NG..I was flying my first leg after IOE as a First Officer...He was the Captain writing my first line evaluation...

Yes..Its a very small world out there..

You have much to look forward to..No matter what path you choose,I hope you choose to enjoy every minute of it..

I have..And still do..

Be well..

MLBWINGBORN
 
M

MachPi

Good info and words of encouragement all around.

Let me put one thing on the other side of the scale, though. Being an airline pilot can be very rewarding, and most of us get paid for doing something we love to do. Plus, you eventually get more time off than you might know what to do with.

But be aware that that time off comes at odd hours throughout the month, which means it's much more difficult for pilots to do anything that has a set schedule than people who have classic 9 to 5 jobs. For instance, it will be hard for you as a pilot to go back to college later to try something else, or make a commitment to, say, be the coach of your own kid's soccer team.

What I'm driving at here is that you need to be sure that professional flying is what you want to do with your life. It sounds like you are, and that's great. But if, sometime between now and graduating college, something else piques your interest, sit down and take a hard look at what you want to do with your life before you make any decision that's hard to take back.

I'm a professional pilot, and I enjoy my life. My brother is a marine biologist who flies for fun, and he enjoys his, too. Make sure you know which kind of life you'd rather have.

Good luck!
 

skydiverdriver

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
869
Total Time
5000+
Wow. I feel better just reading some of this stuff. All great information. For the guy that asked if Parker is near Cochise College, it is not. Parker is on the Colorado River on the West end of the state, and Cochise is south, near the Mexican border. I went to Cochise, and it was an excellent program. I don't think there are many community colleges with their own airports on campus, and you cant beat the price compared with the big schools. Get that degree, try the military, if that doesn't work, get a good job to pay for flying and just never quit. I like the part about marrying the right woman too. It's a strange career, but it's also a job you hate to love. Its a great ride, and welcome aboard. Good luck to you.
 
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