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Thread: Young Aspiring Pilot Seeking Experienced Pilot's Knowledge

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    Default Young Aspiring Pilot Seeking Experienced Pilot's Knowledge

    I am looking for experienced pilot's opinions on the best way to reach my goal of flying for a small regional airline (Penn,ERA,ect). Eventually I would like to own my own flying operation.

    Currently, I am in the process of finishing up my PPL. Now comes the part I wonder about..what is my next best step(s)? I know about all the different licenses but which ones do I need? So far, the options I've found are going through UAA's Aviation degree in Professional Piloting, or going through a local flight school. I am looking at price and what I really need to get a piloting job. The Aviation advisor said all pilots in Alaska need to have a 4 year degree to be competitive for piloting jobs, is that a fact?

    Of course another issue is building flight hours..best ways?

    I appreciate any and all tips or knowledge you can give me.

    Cheers

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    Member alaska4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJon View Post
    I am looking for experienced pilot's opinions on the best way to reach my goal of flying for a small regional airline (Penn,ERA,ect). Eventually I would like to own my own flying operation.

    Currently, I am in the process of finishing up my PPL. Now comes the part I wonder about..what is my next best step(s)? I know about all the different licenses but which ones do I need? So far, the options I've found are going through UAA's Aviation degree in Professional Piloting, or going through a local flight school. I am looking at price and what I really need to get a piloting job. The Aviation advisor said all pilots in Alaska need to have a 4 year degree to be competitive for piloting jobs, is that a fact?

    Of course another issue is building flight hours..best ways?

    I appreciate any and all tips or knowledge you can give me.

    Cheers

    Just my opinion but, maybe you should contact the companies you mentioned. Although I don't think it would be a good idea to tell them you want to start your own business,LOL. Ya think?
    JOHN

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    I don't have a college degree, but would highly recommend one. I say that only because having a backup career when you fly for a living is a wise idea. Unless things have changed, I really don't think most operators care near as much about a degree as flight experience.

    If you do wish to go for a degree The UAA Aviation program sounds like a good idea. Coming out with an A & P would be a definite plus. Getting hours isn't easy. Some guys flight instruct to get there. What I'd personally recommend is just buying a low end (T-Craft, Champ, Chief, etc) and flying the heck out of it. You get a lot more hands on experience that way and come out with way more proficiency than you would with an equal amount of time instructing. Keep pushing your envelope as far as short fields, winds, etc. Make sure you get instrument proficiency. What the company check airman sees when he flies with you initially is going to carry more weight than the numbers written in your logbook.

    What matters most isn't how fast you get your first job, but that you don't bend any metal after you do get it.....Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    All good advice so far. Start on your instrument rating, eat, breath and live aviation. You will pick up a lot of knowledge about the job market by doing this. Try to remember as you build your time that it doesn't take much of a mistake to seriously jeopardize your career. Be serious about flying, try to gain as much experience as you can on your own, not just flying the pattern with a student. Opportunity knocks at the least expected time and place. Be safe and have fun. You won't get rich flying, but it is a great profession.

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    UAA has a good program and I have no ax to grind with them, however they are not the only game in town. Here are a couple of things to consider about UAA. First and foremost is cost. UAA is about the most expensive way to get the training you want. You will get the same certificates from a local flight school and save a whole lot of money. Another thing is time. I have not taken any flight training at UAA but have spoken to several people who have. It seems to take a very long time to complete a rating at UAA. From the folks I've spoken to when your flight is canceled for weather or some other reason you seem to go to the back of the line to reschedule the flight. I've spoken to students who only fly a couple of times a month while training for an instrument rating. I don't know how you could ever get a rating that way. Somehow they do but it can take up to a year! There is no reason you should not be able to complete an instrument rating in two months even if you have bad luck with weather and airplane maintenance.

    UAA will tell you that they are training "professional pilots" but I'm not really sure how much weight that carries in the industry. I would suggest you talk to the Chief Pilots at a few of the companies you mentioned and ask them. I know you think they will not let you in the door but it's worth a phone call to see if they will talk to you. If nothing else you should be able to talk to a Human Resources rep involved in hiring pilots. I suspect they will tell you that they like to hire college grads but what they really want are pilots with good knowledge, skills and judgment that are responsible and trainable. Here's a tip, get rid of all the visible piercing jewelry, cover the tattoos and don't call the Chief Pilot "Dude".

    You don't need to have an Aviation degree, most any degree will do. I would suggest something like business management. You can get your flight instruction at a local flight school. If you find an old time instructor so much the better. Check out Arctic Flyers at Lake Hood.

    Unless you have a rich uncle with an airplane you should plan on getting a CFI and instructing for a year or two. Since you want to fly for a regional you should also get a CFII. Having CFI does carry some weight with the industry. It's the hardest rating to obtain (with the exception of an ATP, maybe). Speaking from personal experience you will have a much greater depth of knowledge of everything related to flying after getting a CFI. While your instructing you can finish up that college degree.

    These are only my personal opinions, I'm sure there are those that will disagree with me. In the end it's your decision and your future. Give some hard thought to graduating with a huge student loan to pay back or dept free. Good luck.

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    everything so far is right on, my 2C would be get your degree in something other than aviation so if you lose your med. or just your job you can still find work. I havn't seen that an aviation degree make much diference. good luck Tom

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    A degree doesn't do much for getting a flying job here. In fact, I was talking with a friend, who is a Saab driver for Pen Air, told me I was better off without a degree because Pen Air likes to hire people who aren't going to be moving up to the Major's. As others have said, a degree is a good fall back. I find myself in a similar situation as you. My top idea right now is this http://www.uvu.edu/aviation/. It can all be done online, and you can do ratings where ever you like. I like it because you can still get scholarships.
    -Out-of-State for school, remembering why I love Alaska so much

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    The next step should be your instrument rating as soon as possible. The recent info in your brain will help. Plus it makes you a much better and safer pilot. Then you start building the required hours for your commercial.
    Degrees are fine, I have two masters and my wife has her Phd, Although none of those degrees ever really helped pay the bills or put food on the table.
    If I would have used all that money years ago to get my A&P and and pay other bills I would be a lot further ahead.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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    I completely agree with FloatPilot and would add...that you can obtain Commercial, Instrument and Instructor with little extra effort...The airplane doesn't care if you have a degree, but the MAJORS do...go figure...Best of luck

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    Thanks for all the great advise, greatly appreciated! Once I have have my PPL,IFR,and CPL how many hours am I looking at before I can get a basic flying job so I am actually making a few bucks instead of forking it out ? I'm not talking my career job, more like a flying job with minimum hours..mail, cargo?

  11. #11

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    I've looked into that same question quite a bit - You need 500 hours legally to fly part 135 ops. Most guys start out instructing to build time. Most employers require at least 1000 hours - insurance is issue. Alaska time " or equivalent " is a big advantage. Showing up in person to a potential employer also makes a big difference.

    Good luck.

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    Here is another thing to pick your brains about: What if..I got my A&P Certification @ UAA for my "degree". Would that make me more of an asset by basically being two employees in one (A&P Mechanic & Pilot)? I have been reading about the certificate and its a 2 year program and it isn't terribly unreasonable price wise.

    I figured, build hours as much as I can while going to school. By the time I get the mechanics certificate I would have built enough hours to get my IFR & CFR. Then....I could get a job as a mechanic with the company I would want to fly for and get my CFI with the money from working as a mechanic.

    Am I way off in my thinking or is that reasonable? Experience talks and I'm all ears!

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    If you get a A&P along with a Com/Inst and 500 hrs. you can go to work in Bethel. flying c172/207 the pay is not bad but living in Bethel?? One thing to rember, with a a&P you may get a job easyer, but you are going to be the one fixing down /broke planes while your buddys are flying. The best Bush Piolts are ones who also can fix the plane.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    One thing to rember, with a a&P you may get a job easyer, but you are going to be the one fixing down /broke planes while your buddys are flying.
    Also remember that while some of the pilots have nothing to do or get laid off in deep winter, the A&P rated pilot is still employed in that nice warm hangar turning wrenches.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  15. #15

    Default Aviation degre? think about it first

    Free advice is worth what you paid for it.

    Look at aviation and education as two separate entities. You can get your licenses and ratings a hell of a lot cheaper doing it independently rather (especially if you buy a plane) rather than going through UAA/UND/Embry-Riddle(sp?).

    If you want a college degree, which is almost a necessity for the majors go get one in a subject you enjoy because in reality the companies don't care what your major is in, and, in the event you find that aviation isn't for you, or you lose your medical, you have options in terms of employment outside of aviation.

    Given the new law that is on the books requiring 2nd officers to have at least 1500 hours, the advantage that the big schools had will go away quickly, as it will turn into a pure hours thing.

    If you want to see what I am talking about in terms of cost, look at the cost of a multi rating at a large program, it will cost you more than $8K and a semester, versus a quicky course that will get you the same rating at less than $2k in a week. The rating is the same, with either one you won't be sitting left seat in a twin without a hell of a lot more training or time (hopefully paid for by someone else).

    I also think that the A&P is a great idea, but you can get that by going to your local shop and getting your time in and studying yourself for the written.

    Don't let the marketing department of the schools fool you, this isn't rocket science, and you can do it on your own. If you are bright enough to get into a program you are bright enough to put down on paper the estimated costs in terms of time and money of each option. And make the right decision for you. Good luck
    The winner isn't the person with the most gold when they die, but rather, the person with the most stories.

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