Category Archives: Flight Training

5 Ways to Financially Plan for Flight Training

Guest Post by Cassy Parker

If you’re an aspiring pilot getting ready for flight training, you’re spending all your spare time dreaming of the sky. But before you literally get your head in the clouds, you need to come down to earth to think about the costs of flight training and how to prepare financially for the process.

1. Research instructors first

Your flight instructor will have a huge impact on the cost and time involved in training. Unfortunately, many instructors are just waiting for a job at an airline, which can mean they’re checked out and likely to fly away before you finish training. Plus, if you simply don’t mesh well with a particular instructor, you may end up needing more time in the air to get basic concepts down before you get your certificate.

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $9,000 to learn to fly and get a pilot certificate. But the better you work with your particular instructor, the fewer hours of in-air training you’re likely to need.

2. Understand you may need more or less hours

While you’re researching flight schools and instructors, you’ll get lots of numbers thrown at you. Most schools will tell you that their programs will cost a certain amount from start to finish. But the fact is that students differ in their needs. If you learn more quickly, you may need fewer hours, getting through flight school at a lower cost. If you’re training slowly, you may need more review time in the air, resulting in higher costs.

Instead of looking at a school or instructor’s base price that the average student pays, look at hourly costs. On average, you’ll pay $135 to $155 an hour to fly something like the Cessna 172. So be sure to work the per-hour flight costs into your training costs as well.

3. Be prepared to study

One of the best ways to make flight school more affordable is to study as much as you can. Reviewing procedures, scanning techniques, and other flight information all the time will mean you’re picking up those concepts faster – which means you need less flight and review time before you test for your certificate.

No matter how much you study, you’ll still need to put in a certain number of hours in a plane before you can get your certificate. But studying hard can help you make the most of those hours, so that you don’t need much more than the minimum to get your certificate.

4. Have some extra in savings

Since you’re going to be spending lots of time studying and in the air, it’s best if you can go into flight school with nothing else on your agenda – especially if your goal is to become a commercial pilot. If you’re just a hobbyist, of course, this won’t matter to you so much.

But if you plan to become a commercial pilot and aim for a job as a pilot, you’ll definitely want to get through school as quickly as you can. And that means having some money in savings to live off of so that you don’t have to work while studying and flying.

5. Consider the pros and cons of credit

If you need to get into flight school now but don’t have cash or savings, consider the pros and cons of credit. If you can get a low-interest loan or put your school-related expenses on a credit card with a long 0% APR introductory period, it may be worth starting now. The key is to make a comparison of your options, and to choose the one that works best for your particular needs.

If you do choose to take on debt to get through flight school, remember to have a plan to pay it off quickly, especially if you’re taking advantage of a limited-time introductory rate on a credit card.

Using these tips, you can plan financially to get through flight school, so you’ll be ready for life as a flight instructor or pilot later on.

Flight Training for Free? How?

Learn to be a pilot for free, no student loan required

Flight Training for Free

The other day I wrote a post about how you can pay for your flight training in case you are not able to obtain student loans. Getting a student loan for professional pilot training used to be much easier until about a few years ago. Well, they were never easy, but still they were much easier and much more abundant than what they are today. Most aspiring pilots were able to qualify, either on their own, and some others with co-signors etc. Now, it’s hard to even get a secured real estate loan to buy a house, so there aren’t many who qualify for an unsecured student loan for flight training.

Flight Training for FREE

FREE Flight Training?

But surely that doesn’t mean that one can not achieve the dream of becoming a pilot in the absence of a student loan or a federal aid or scholarship. I know a lot of people who have become pilots, many are even captains now with airlines around the world, and they never had a student loan, federal aid, scholarship, or even a rich parent paying on their behalf. So how did these aviators do it? Well, I’d say they found a way to complete the flight training for FREE!

Free? What’s Free? Nothing in life is ever free. Always there’s a catch. And in this case Free means – you come in with nothing out of your pocket, no student loan, federal aid or scholarship, or cash, just bring in yourself, get your training from Private to Commercial pilot, and pay with your work. There are jobs around which allow you to make lots of money, and if you can live frugally during this time, you can easily save up enough to pay for the entire training and become a Commercial Pilot within one years time.

There is nothing wrong about working hard to pay for your flight training; provided you want to become and airline pilot bad enough. I said airline pilot as that’s what most pilots want to be, even though there are many other professional pilot careers.

James – working on getting his CFI for FREE!

Free Flight Training

Free Flight Training

I have written posts here about how to pay for your flight training in the absence of student loans and government grants. James is a commercial pilot and has been trying to get a student loan to pay for his CFI, CFII and MEI. He picked his school – CFI Academy in Sacramento. He has exhausted all the venues of getting some bank or the government to help him pay for his flight instructor training, but with no success. He read this blog, contacted me, and he has been with us since a month now.

I decided I should post about his journey with us – earning money to pay for flight training. So far he is doing good. He has completed the job training and since last week he is on the job, earning and saving. His goal is to make and save $12,000 so he can pay for all 3 flight instructor ratings and multi-engine add on on his commercial pilot.I’ll keep posting here, about his success story. Maybe on a bi-weekly basis.

How to pay for your flight training?

Ever since the US economy went haywire in mid 2008, it has been almost impossible for most us here in the US to obtain a student loan to pay for the flight training. It used to be much easier before. There were various options available to most; like the Sallie Mae, US Bank, Bank of America. Most banks would finance professional pilot training against the applicant’s credit.

Flight Training Loan

Flight Training Funding

Since 2008, things have changed a lot. Now one may walk in with an excellent credit, but still no student loans. Banks look at the borrower’s ability to repay the loan back in a new light. Not only credit, but job availability and potential future income are considered as well.

No bank loan means no chance at being able to afford flight training? It should not be like this. And really, its not. Back in the days, in 80’s when we trained, there were really no bank loans around. We would simply save up money by working various jobs and then go and spend it at a flight school. In my case, it took me 4 years to go from student pilot to Flight Instructor. This was the downside. The upside was that I walked away as a CFI with no student loan to pay off over the next 15 years.

During my career as a flight instructor, I have trained many others in my shoes. Most are airline pilots now. And many had odd jobs to earn the money for their training.

What if I show you how you can earn the money and pay for your flight training cash, and be a Commercial Pilot within a year’s time? And no student loan needed. Would this get your interest?

Airline Pilot Jobs scenario

Pilot Jobs – The Ever Changing Market
Guest Post by Matthew Keegan

If you are from India, and looking for Pilot Jobs in India, then you should read the other post. If you want to work as an airline pilot, and looking for airline pilot jobs, then continue reading on. If you are considering aviation as a career, and want to learn more about how to become an airline pilot, read this 8 Steps to an Airline Pilot Career. To become an airline pilot you would need to get your Commercial Pilot certificate, or license, then accumulate or build flight time to qualify for an Airline Pilot job opening. And lastly, if you are a non-US individual, you should read about how to become a pilot in the United States as well.

So you are looking for work as an airline pilot, you can’t help but notice that the news is constantly filled with information [mostly negative] about the job situation for the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, news-media only get part of the story right as the airline industry is always in a state of flux. Pilot jobs are available, but you must broaden your horizons beyond the conventional ways in which most pilots go about finding work. Let’s take a look at some of the options available to you.

Independence Air’s recent demise has thrown hundreds of Airbus pilots out of work in the US. Press reports have been painting a gloomy picture of this event, which was not unexpected by airline experts. Still, the future isn’t completely gloomy for these very same pilots, as Virgin America is expected to take flight in about one year. They plan on operating a fleet consisting of as many as 105 Airbus aircraft.

The legacy carriers have been presenting some of the most challenges for potential pilots as few, if any, are hiring. Most are in the process or have nearly completed the process of extracting “give backs” in the form of wages and benefits from their current pilot ranks. In addition, as pilots retire, available pilot jobs are filled from their lengthy lists of furloughed crew members. Certainly, the legacy carriers – American, Continental, United, Delta, Northwest, and USAirways – are currently not worth exploring as a place to look for pilot jobs.

Pilot jobs are available through many of the regional carriers. Some of these carriers include Chautauqua, Republic, Comair, Big Sky, American Eagle, Air Wisconsin, Great Lakes, and others. Pilot pay is very low, but the opportunity to fly can be very good with the regional carriers. These carriers typically fly Embraer ERJs, Canadair CRJs, or British Aerospace regional jets carrying passenger loads ranging from 50 to 100 seats.

Charter carriers have typically been a fairly good source for pilot jobs. These Part 121 operators consist of a bevy of airlines including World Airways, North American, Miami Air, Sun Country, and Ryan International. From time to time pilot job opportunities are posted directly on each airline’s web site. Check in often for the latest hiring news.

Then there is the assortment of start up airlines that have recently hired or are in the process of hiring. As you know, the failure rate for start ups is very high, but for many crew members a seat is a seat especially one that allows you to accumulate valuable and needed flight time. Two recent start ups that have taken flight include EOS Airlines and Maxjet Airways. As mentioned previously, Virgin America Airlines is in the process of passing through all of its regulatory hurdles and Primaris Airlines will be expanding its fleet over the next few years in its quest to become a full fledged airline flying scheduled routes. Other start up carriers worth watching for future pilot jobs include: Fly First Class, Baltia, and Mexus.

Discount carriers typically offer the best chance for finding pilots jobs. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways lead the pack, but Mesa, Spirit, Alaska, Horizon, Midwest, and USA3000 have all listed pilot jobs within the past year or are planning to do so in the coming months. Pay is an issue, much lower than the legacy carriers, but you can find work.

Beyond contacting the companies directly, there are helpful web sites filled with pilot job opportunities or, at the very least, interview gouges and banter. The internet has a myriad of sites available, so I will start from the top: Aviation Employment Board, Climbto350, Flight International, Fliteinfo, Jet Movements, Landings, Parc Aviation, PPrune, Student Pilot, Thirty Thousand Feet, U.S. Aviation, and Will Fly For Food.

Finally, for the pilot who is willing to look well beyond the U.S., opportunities can exist with carriers based in the Emirates, India, China, Vietnam, and other destinations. If it is flight time you want, many have exactly what you need.

Pilot jobs are available and with a little digging and some sleuthing you can uncover for yourself a good list of companies that are worth a look. As mentioned, the industry is in a constant state of flux but the savvy pilot can work that to his or her advantage by staying on top of industry trends.

Matthew Keegan is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. You can preview samples from his high performing site at The Article Writer.

Flight Training loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify, and you should definitely ask yourself these 5 questions before you begin your flight training. and here is an explanation of the pilot certificates and licenses available, both as a career pilot or as a recreational or hobby pilot.

I want to be That Guy

This blog is about General Aviation and Flight Training. So far I have been writing about flying lessons in an airplane, as this is what I have been involved in as a professional pilot and flight instructor. Even though before I got into airplanes, I used to fly gliders. And during my own flight training I got me an opportunity to sky dive, which was a total blast!

As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago I decided to drive down to the Lodi, CA airport, which is right off highway 99, and got some information on taking some professional sky diving lessons. I was hoping to be able to do this before I get back to working full time again. And today, a friend and a former student Christophe (from France) sent me a link to this cool Hang Glider pilot’s video on YouTube, and now I am thinking….:-)

I want to be that Guy – Nicholas Cage

The Flight Instructor Who Gave Selflessly

Guest Post: By Stephen Hopson

Today I was going to write about the success of the “Flight to Hartford” project with my church (you can find it listed under my name) and tie it into the universal laws of attraction and giving. But something else came up, taking priority.

I just learned that a man who helped me make my dreams of becoming a pilot seven years ago recently passed away. While I understand most of you didn’t know him, I want to share the story of how we met and the incredible impact he had on my life. I believe and hope you’ll be touched even if you’re not a pilot yourself.

We could all learn how to give selflessly like he did. I don’t know whether or not he was aware of the universal laws of attraction and giving but he was sure a good model for someone who did.

Here’s the story.

Right around the turn of the 21st century, I was still in the process of building my speaking and writing career so I was looking for a part-time job to pay the bills in between professional speaking engagements.

It was also at this time when I was already a month or two into flight training but my original instructor was offered a new job in Colorado so I was forced to find a replacement elsewhere.

One day, I had an inspiration to visit other airports to see if I could get a job at a place where they taught people how to fly. I thought, “Why not? Might as well shoot two birds with one stone.”

After visiting one or two and being told nothing was available, I decided to venture a little further out and try Oakland Troy airport, a 30 minute drive from my home.

It was nestled among a fast growing metropolitan area (Troy, Michigan, USA) complete with a new strip mall, new apartments, a giant Wal-Mart and an assortment of other industrial buildings. The only area with open space was a small golf course nearby. The airport was big enough to accommodate corporate jets yet small enough not to require an air traffic control tower.

Pulling onto the newly repaved airport parking lot, I noticed a small circular white terminal building up ahead.

“That must be where I can find the personnel department,” I thought.

Upon setting foot inside, I was surprised to see only a couple of people milling about, drinking coffee and reading the paper. A jovial looking man with rosy cheeks was pouring himself a steaming hot cup of coffee.

Seeing that I was a new face in the place, he set his coffee down and came barreling toward me at 800 mph with an outstretched hand. It startled the heck out of me.

After regaining my composure, I made the mistake of accepting his bone-crushing handshake, causing me to wince in pain.

Trying to hide my pained expression, I said, “Hi, my name is Stephen Hopson and I’m looking for the personnel department.”

“And I’m Don Solms,” he boomed. He was still pumping my now lifeless hand.

Finally releasing his grip, he said, “Oh, you want a job here?” His face brightened even more, if that were possible.

“Yes, do you know of any openings?” I was massaging my fatally injured hand, opening and closing it repeatedly.

“I think they might be looking for someone. HEY, let me take you over to the other building to Susan’s office. She’s the personnel director. COME ON!”

Just before going in her office, Don thrust his business card in my hand and said cheerfully, “Good luck. Shoot me an email later. You’ll have to come over to my hangar where I keep my plane. Okay?”

Keeping both hands within the safety confines of my pockets, I said, “Thanks Don.” I could tell he wanted another hand shake. Fat chance buddy!

Susan then introduced me to two guys named Carl Barnes and Jason Zimmerman. They were both young men who were in charge running flight services. The interview went well and I ended up being hired. As a line service rep, I would be responsible for fueling and towing airplanes, among other things. It marked the beginning of an incredible 4 years at that airport.

One day, Don was hanging out at his hangar where he kept his prized Skylane. It was sunny and breezy. His hangar door was wide open, allowing cool air to swirl around inside. It was an open invitation to anyone who happened to come by. Spotting me in the fuel truck (I was motoring my way back to the terminal after fueling a customer’s plane), he waved me in and offered me a cold soda.

Ten minutes into the conversation, my dreams of becoming a pilot somehow surfaced. I told him that I was actually looking for a new instructor and was trying to save up some money to resume flight training.

Before he could respond, my vibrating pager distracted me with a new text message. There was another fuel order and I had to get going.

“Don, I’ve gotta go – they are telling me to fuel another airplane. See ya later!”

As I got up to leave, he grabbed my arm and gave it a powerful squeeze. My mind did a quick flashback to that day in the terminal. This time his eyes were sparkling like stars. And he was grinning stupidly.

I was in no way prepared for what he was about to say next.

“I would be honored to be your flight instructor and I won’t charge you for my time. All you’d be responsible for is the cost of renting an airplane.”

My God, an angel was in my midst and I knew it.

Absentmindedly rubbing my arms to stem the tide of goose bumps that was spreading like wildfire all over my body, I said, “Wow, really? Thanks man!”

Then he turned serious for a moment and said, “When are you free for your first lesson?”

Thrown off balance since I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, I said, “Well, how about tomorrow?”

“Okay, you got it! ” he thundered. Then he winked as if he were saying, “our secret.”

The rest was history. He was true to his word. Months of flight training with this man proved to be quite an adventure.

He was best known as a jokester, even in the cockpit. Now you have to picture this in your mind. There we were, me, a deaf student pilot and him, a 250 pound flight instructor with a large football frame who liked to poke his elbow at me every time he made a joke. And get this…he thought everything he said was funny!


Aside from his wry sense humor, he was one of the most patient flight instructors I would ever have. Every time we got ready for a lesson, he’d explain in the classroom what we were going to do and then we’d go up and fly.

If he wanted to explain something while we were flying, he’d take control of the airplane while I read his lips and then we’d resume the lesson. Don was one of those rare flight instructors who did not care about building flight time for a future career with the airlines. He was in it for the long haul. In fact, it wasn’t until after 50 plus years of flying and instructing that he finally hung up his wings last year.

He truly enjoyed the fine art of teaching and it showed. He never yelled at his students like some flight instructors who think they are drill sergeants with big egos. His students were his prized possessions and he treated all of them with the respect they deserved.

On December 3, 2000 Don had one big surprise up his sleeve. It was a calm, sunny day. We were scheduled to do some practice takeoffs and landings. After doing three of them, he instructed me to taxi over to the ramp by the white terminal building where I first met him months earlier.

Trying to hide his delight, he said, “Let me see your logbook for a sec.”

Arching my right arm as far back as I could behind the front seats, I snatched the logbook out of my bulging black flight bag and gave it to him.

Suddenly it dawned on me that today was “the day.” He was going to sign me off for my first solo flight!

I felt an involuntary shudder.

After scribbling his signature, he turned and looked at me. His brown eyes were sparkling again. The smile was even bigger than before. He was absolutely giddy, like a child on Christmas morning.

“So Mr. Hopson, are you ready?” he thundered.

“Yes, Don, get the hell out!” I thundered back, half joking.

Roaring like a lion, Don heaved his 250 pound football frame out of the airplane, closed and locked the door with a loud click. Then he did something that forever burned in my mind.

Like a five-star general sending his young fighter pilots off to war, he gave me a smart salute!

I almost burst to tears. It was deeply touching. No one ever did that to me before. Despite being more than ready to solo, I still felt a touch of trepidation so I returned the favor with a slightly shaky hand. Thank God he was too far away to see that.

Taxiing into position on the runway, I took a deep breath and firewalled the throttle causing the airplane to literally leap into the air. I remember thinking, “so this is what everyone means when they say the plane will bounce into the air without your instructor!”

Within seconds after takeoff, all the training kicked in and it was just another exercise around the airport pattern. The only difference was…well, I was alone.

After three takeoffs and landings, the venerable flight instructor waved me over and gave the signal to cut the engine. He stood there like a proud papa and motioned for me to go over to where he was standing. Instead of shaking my hand, he wrapped his huge arms around me and gave me a bone crushing hug. But, hey, I didn’t mind.

Five months later, one day short of my birthday, he finally signed me off to take my pilot certification flight test (i.e. “checkride”) with Mary Carpenter, one of the toughest but fairest FAA examiners from the area. He and Terry Ryan (his airplane co-owner at the time), both accompanied me on the flight to Pontiac airport, a mere 10 minutes away where the examiner’s office was located. He wanted to be there when Mrs. Carpenter and I were done with the checkride.

Two hours later, the examiner walked briskly into the waiting area, smiled and said, “Congratulations, Stephen passed with flying colors!”

Don roared his approval.

We all went out to have our pictures taken by the airplane and that’s when he said to me, “I’ll sit in the back seat on the return flight. Congratulations Mr. Pilot in Command!”

It was the greatest, grandest gesture another human being could ever have bestowed upon me. I’ll never forget it. He was that kind of man. Don believed in me so much that he was literally the only person at that airport who believed I would one day become the world’s first deaf instrument rated pilot.

Six years later, I did it, defying every naysayer in the aviation business. In February 06, I became the world’s first deaf instrument rated pilot. For that I salute Don Solms for believing in me.

Here’s to you Don!

Food for thought: Have you considered the power of the law of giving and helped make someone else’s dream come true this week?

Profoundly deaf since birth, Stephen Hopson is a former award-winning stockbroker turned motivational speaker, author and pilot. He works with organizations that are ready to explore and overcome adversity because no one is immune from it – adversity does not discriminate. His professional speaking services, Obstacle Illusions, include fun and passionate presentations, especially the story of how his fifth grade teacher forever changed his young life with THAT’S RIGHT STEPHEN!

You can view his newly re-designed website at

Stephen also maintains a blog called “Adversity University

How to Become a Pilot in the United States

Guest Post by Thomas F. Sullivan

There are many reasons to gain a Private Pilot License, also called a Private Pilot Certificate. The three main reasons are for recreation, business, or a stepping stone to the Commercial Pilot License. While many pilots in the United States get their flight training through the military, here we provide the steps needed to become a pilot by training at one of the many flight schools in America. Lets take a look at the steps which are needed in order to become a certified Private Pilot.

  1. The first step is a psychological step. You need to make sure you are in the proper mind set and have the proper attitude to learn how to fly. This means you should have a very good reason, at least for yourself, in terms of why you want to become a pilot. And a perfunctory reason will not work. The reason for this is because it takes unadulterated commitment on your part in order to gain a Private Pilot License.
  2. Along the lines of commitment, you will need to set aside a large chunk of time weekly for learning how to fly. You could just train on the weekend, but the draw back to this method is that learning to fly could take a long time, a very long time. Therefore, if possible, try to fly every good weather day, and therefore set aside time daily for flight training. It is very important you understand that the closer your lessons are to each other, the less money you will spend in the end. The national average in terms of the flying hours needed to obtain the Private Pilot License is 65 – 70 hours.
  3. Plan on spending around $8,000.00 USD to obtain the Private Pilot License. This includes instructor fee, cost to rent airplane, exams, books, and equipment. Some sources put the cost at about $7,000.00 USD. Again, the more frequently you fly, the lower the end cost will be. Assuming you are average in terms of number of flying hours needed (65 – 70 hours), plan on spending $7,000.00 to $8,000.00 USD.
  4. After you have decided that you truly want to gain a Private Pilot License, you understand the time needed, and you have worked out the financial aspect, you then can start to think about selecting the right flight school. When selecting a flight school, visit every flight school that is within a reasonable driving distance to where you live. The following two steps will help in your selection of a flight school.
  5. You need to decide if you want to become a tri-gear or conventional gear (tail wheel) pilot, or both. Do you want to take your check ride in a conventional gear airplane, or a tri-gear airplane. Today, most pilots take their check ride in a tri-gear airplane. But it should be noted that you will be a more proficient and a safer pilot if you are able to fly more then one type of airplane. This diversity includes being able to fly both tri-gear and conventional gear aircraft.Today, most pilots prefer to stick with a tri-gear airplane from start to finish, when getting their Private Pilot License. Select a flight school which provides both tri-gear and conventional gear aircraft for you to rent, so that you are able to fly both of these types of airplanes.You can train and take your check ride in a tri gear airplane, and later after you obtain your Private Pilot License, get a tail wheel endorsement. No matter how you slice it, the more different types of airplanes you can get checked out in and fly well, the safer you will be as a pilot.
  6. Also, in terms of flight school selection, you need to decide if you want to learn to fly at a FAR Part 141 school, or a FAR Part 61 school. In the United States, flight schools are required to operate under one of these two sets of rules, as laid down by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). One is really not any better then the other. Flight schools which operate under FAR Part 141 provide a more formal curriculum, with slightly fewer hours required for certification, and flight schools which operate under FAR Part 61 are less formal, and hours needed for certification are a little bit more.But since the hours needed in order to obtain the Private Pilot License almost always is much more then the required hours for certification (65-70 hours is the national average), there is really no advantage to learning at a FAR Part 141 school. Your decision in terms of FAR Part 141, and FAR Part 61, should really be dependent on the type of learning environment you prefer. Some students do better in a more formal environment, while others prefer a more laid back, less formal environment.
  7. After selecting a flight school, you then need to select an instructor. Select an instructor you feel comfortable with, both in terms of personality and flying experience. There are basically two types of instructors in the United States. One type is trying to build flying hours and has a desire to move on beyond instruction to a commercial flying job which is more lucrative. The other type of instructor is a career instructor who prefers to instruct, and is not really flying to build hours, but enjoys teaching new students. Career instructors on average tend to be older then hour building instructors. In terms of these two types of instructors, one is really not any better then the other, and selecting an instructor you believe you are compatible with is what really is important. You need to have a professional learning situation, where personality incompatibility will not interfere with the process of becoming a pilot. Selecting the right instructor is probably the most important component in learning how to fly.
  8. Finally, for most areas of the United States, plan on starting the learning process at the beginning of the summer. You need to have plenty of good flying weather in front of you before you start. If you start in the fall, you may end up having to stop due to bad weather and may need to wait until the spring to continue, which means more time and money. Plan on getting the job done within a few months in the summer. This holds true for most areas of the country, but not all. Of course, if you are learning to fly in the Southwest or Florida, then when you start is really not a factor.

So there you have it. The steps you need to take in order to become a Private Pilot. The most important considerations are proper mind set and attitude, commitment of time and money, type of airplane you want to fly, and finally flight school and instructor selection.

To quote Leonardo da Vinci:

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return”

If you follow these steps, you can experience what only Leonardo da Vinci could only dream of, the archetypal dream of flight.

Thomas Sullivan, the author of this article, is a web developer and publisher who resides within the Boston, MA area. He is a Private Pilot, the creator of Intellego Web Publishing, and the creator and webmaster for Pilot Portal USA and Pilot Jobs.

8 Steps to an Airline Pilot Career Job

There are a few things that you should be familiar with, if you, or someone you know, has an interest in becoming an airline pilot. Most folks assume that one can simply apply for a pilot job at United or South West, and they will provide the training to become a pilot.  Well, this is as far as it can get from the truth and reality. Becoming a pilot for a major airline takes years of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, persistence and determination. And, no there is no other way really.

Of course you can join the military and pay your dues that way, but that still is all of the above, and takes a few years to get one into an airline cockpit.

Most people follow the civilian route, simply because they don’t feel like joining the military, and there is a lot more flexibility if you do it on your own. The following pilot certificates and ratings are needed for one to succeed in this pursuit:

1. Private Pilot Certificate

If you want to become an airline pilot, you have to get a pilot’s license.  (Read more about Pilot Certificate or Licenses) The first step is getting a private pilot license.  During this training you will get 40-80 hours of flight time, and learn basic stuff about airplanes like takeoffs and landings, navigation, maneuvers, weather and basic instrument skills.  In case you are wondering about your vision, airline pilots need to have vision of correctable to 20/20. There are about 250,000 private pilots in America.

2. Instrument Rating

An instrument rating is the next step after the private pilot certificate.  During your instrument rating or IR training you will add at least another 40-50 hours of flight time. You need to have IR or instrument rating because airlines always fly in all weather, so the pilot should be able to navigate without ever looking outside, and solely by reference to the cockpit instruments.

3. Commercial Pilot Certificate

After getting the instrument rating, you’d continue on to get your commercial pilot certificate; which requires 250 hours of total flight time, along with additional training which will make you a professional, safer, and experienced pilot.  The commercial pilot certificate allows one to work for a commercial operator (for instance an airline) and get paid. Many people get their multi-engine rating at this time as well.

4. Building Flight Experience

Now that you’ve got your commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating and multi-engine rating, it’s time for you to build some flight experience.  You should read my post 10 Ways to Build Flight Time for Airline Pilot Job here. Since you probably have only about 300 hours of total time, airlines won’t typically consider you.  Airline minimums are at least 1,500 hours, along with some other experience. Yes, there are always times when the demand is more than supply, and they end up hiring low time pilots as well, but it is rare, and very unpredictable. I will write more about it later in another post.

5. Instructor Certificate

So how do you get from 300 hours to the 1500+ that you need for the airlines? The most common way is flight instructing.  By becoming a flight instructor, you are able to build hours and get paid to teach others. A good place to go get your CFI Training done is CFI Academy. There are other options besides being a flight instructor, and you can read about those here at Top 20 Career Options as a Pilot.

6. ATP certificate

Major airlines usually do not  consider hiring a pilot unless he/she has an ATP certificate; ATP or an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate is a requirement for one to be a captain on an aircraft with an airline.  Regional airlines may hire you without one, which is a good way to build experience.

7. Get a 4 year College or University Degree

At least a four year college or university degree is preferred to land a job with a major airline.  The degree does not have to be in Aviation; you can major in just about any field you want. You can always apply for airline jobs without a 4 year degree, but you’ll be competing with others who already have one.  When it comes to investing the time and resources to interview, hire, and train applicants, employers always look at the best qualified applicants.

8. Start Applying

Once you’ve got the flight time, a college degree, and an ATP, and are ready to see if you’ve got what it takes, apply to every airline you can!  This way you can be picky when you get interviews.

Flight Training Scholarships for the Physically Disabled

In the past I have posted a list of 101 General Aviation and Flight Training Scholarships, Federal Aid for Flight Training, and An Aircraft in each Household – a Dream or Reality. Now read about how a non-profit Able Flight in partnership with a top aviation university, Purdue University is making it possible for disabled individuals to earn their Sport Pilot certificate in less than a month, and that too with full aviation scholarship!

Able Flight is a non-profit which provides scholarships to handicapped people to assist them learn to fly, and Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology have partnered up, for a joint flight training project for summer 2010. Beginning in later part of May or early June, 2-4 Able Flight scholarship recipients will reside in “accessible” university housing and be trained by university flight instructors at the Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Indiana. The student pilots will have the opportunity to earn their Sport Pilot certificates in only a month.

Over the next few months, Able Flight will select scholarship winners from it’s pool of candidates, with priority given to current or incoming Purdue University students and other Indiana state residents with physical disabilities. Current Purdue students may earn course credit for the ground school portion of their training, and other student pilots may qualify for continuing education credits (CEC).

The student pilots will train in specially modified aircraft suited to their physical needs. At least one Sky Arrow LSA will be available for the project and is being provided by Sean O’Donnell of Philly Sport Pilot. Philly Sport Pilot will also provide transitional training for university flight instructors in the Sky Arrow.

“The Aviation Technology program at Purdue is devoted to access to aviation. We see the collaboration with Able Flight as a unique opportunity for a collegiate aviation program to extend the freedom of flight to individuals that might not be aware they can fly. Purdue’s aviation program is world-class and we need the best and brightest individuals. Physical barriers should not impede the opportunity to fly and we want all people to know they can fly at Purdue. Purdue is committed to pre-eminent leadership in aviation technology and Able Flight will bring to us a new cadre of people who otherwise might not consider careers in aviation.” – Dr. Brent Bowen, department head of the program

“We’re excited to work with Purdue to create this opportunity for our scholarship winners. Purdue’s Department of Aviation Technology is not only one of the premier aviation programs in the country, it is an innovative leader in the training of pilots and aeronautical engineers. During their time there, our student pilots will be immersed in flying in a demanding but supportive setting, and have the chance to explore opportunities for future undergraduate and graduate degrees in aviation.” – Charles Stites, Able Flight

If you need more information regarding this, you may visit their respective website. and