Tag Archives: aviation careers

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.

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. ableflight.org and purdue.edu

New Charter Pilot Jobs in India

A new company in India is launching the country’s first small piston engine airplane on demand air-charter service, starting with a fleet of two Cirrus SR22 aircraft. Manav Singh, the Chairman of Air Car (and Club One Air) states that the seats are expected to be priced competitively with business-class airline tickets and half the price of competition’s air-charter options. The company will fly out of Delhi and serve destinations within a 300 mile radius, including several emerging cities that lack airline service. “Air Car offers the option to travel faster to these places at reasonable rates,” said Uttam Kumar Bose, former CEO of Air Sahara, and a partner in Air Car.

Air Car has 10 SR-22s on order per Mr. U.K. Bose. The company plans to add 2-3 airplanes each quarter and expand nationwide over the next 5 years. The company is also working to offer package deals to corporate clients.

“We will fly to short distances and the price to charter a plane would be as low as an executive class ticket in a full service carrier between Delhi-Chandigarh, which is about Rs. 10,000 one way” Manav Singh, chairman Air Car said.

Managing director of the company Mr. Uttam Kumar Bose said, “In India, only 200 people can afford to charter a plane in a year. We want to change that and provide low-cost options and in the next 2 years we are looking at 20,000 passengers.

So what does all this mean to unemployed DGCA CPL holders in India? New pilot jobs! If Air Car is planning to add 2-3 aircraft per quarter over the next 5 years, that equates to 8-15 new aircraft per year or about 50 aircraft over the next 5 years. Each aircraft usually should have a crew of 4 pilots each (small aircraft, charter on demand type flight operations), and that means 200 new pilot positions over a period of 5 years.

And I don’t think Air Car is going to be strictly SR-22 either. I am sure they are going to add various other smaller piston and jet aircraft to serve India’s short distance charter on demand market. Also, others are definitely going to join in to compete for the same market.

If you are a CPL holder in India, this should be a good news for you.

Top 20 Career Options as a Pilot

When we think of pilots, most of us get an image of an airline pilot in our heads. Well, it is true that airline pilot career is one of the most glamorous and top choice career option for most professional pilots, but many chose to join one of the many other options available to them, and many do very well in those fields. Here are the few other career options as a pilot:

  1. Airline Pilots – fly for the airline industry worldwide, both major and regional airline carriers.
  2. Corporate Pilots – fly the high end, newer corporate airplanes for the rich and wealthy.
  3. Military Pilots – fly the state of the art, top of the line, military aircraft, and learn to fly for free (well, get paid0.
  4. Cargo Pilots – fly for the big and small cargo airlines, and cargo carriers, like FedEx, UPS etc.
  5. Air Taxi and Charter Pilots – fly for growing line of air taxi and charter operators worldwide.
  6. Ferry Pilots – fly as a ferry pilot for aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, and then there are a lot of aircraft ferry companies available too, to go deliver the aircraft to it’s new owners.
  7. Patrol Pilots – fly for a news group to report traffic, police chases etc, or fly for aerial surveillance companies, like pipeline patrols, oil well patrols etc.
  8. Flight Instructor Pilots – a career option of choice for someone like me. Teach others how to fly, and get paid for it.
  9. EMR Pilots – fly for the air ambulance operators (big and small), helicopters and airplanes.
  10. Law Enforcement Pilots – most law enforcement agencies now have an aviation wing. And a lot of them hire pilots to fly their aircraft.
  11. Aerial Firefighter Pilots – this is mostly a contract and seasonal job, but you may want to combine this with some other job, like a full time firefighter job, or a military reserve pilot job, or a flight instructor job, then you can have the best of all the worlds.
  12. Aerial Crop-duster Pilots – similar line of work like #11 above, but you spray agricultural chemicals for the ag industry, and sometimes even for the local government bodies (pest control etc).
  13. Helicopter Pilots – a whole complete bag of choices, like, military, offshore oil industry, law enforcement, border patrol, DEA, Customs etc. Maybe even the mafia and drug lords. No, the last one was a joke!
  14. Astronauts – space travel in not limited to NASA guys only anymore. Civilian spacecraft are in the near future (well, they already are) going to be affordable to common people, and you can fly those cool high tech vehicles back and forth from earth to space all day long. Something to really think about.
  15. Test Pilots – fly for various aircraft manufacturers, both transport and general aviation, and thousands of other companies, training centers etc as a test pilot.
  16. Airshow Aerobatic Pilots – read my posts about Sean Tucker by clicking here and here (with videos), and you will get an idea. There are many like him who do this full time and part time.
  17. Aircraft Salesmen Pilots – many aircraft sales businesses, including general aviation aircraft manufacturers hire pilots to work as sales-people so they can go and demo the aircraft to prospective customers.
  18. Federal Government Pilots – probably one of the largest employer of pilots. In addition to all of the above, consider flying for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DEA, Customs, Border Patrol, Air National Guard, and many other agencies, even overseas deployment possibilities.
  19. Contract Pilots – fly for government contracting corporations like dyncorp etc, and you can pick and chose just about everything in your pilot career.
  20. Aviation Universities and College Pilots – many aviation educational institutes like Embry Riddle (ERAU), Daniel Websters etc hire pilots and flight instructors to teach in their aviation degree programs.

I wanted to make this list of 20 pilots today. Trust me, I can add many other pilot career options to this list right now, but it’s getting late and I need to go take care of personal stuff. When you are a pilot, sky is not the limit for you anymore!

Military Aviation Careers

US Military offers various career opportunities in aviation for both men and women, whether enlisted or as commissioned officers.In my opinion, military aviation careers are a great stepping stone for similar jobs in the civil aviation industry. Most military aviators, whether they are pilots, maintenance technicians, navigation specialists, flight dispatchers, aviation logistics support professionals, and so on, upon separation from the service end up taking on equivalent jobs functions in the civil aviation sector.

U.S. Air Force offers the greatest flavor of aviation specific training and employment opportunities; to fly as a pilot or to work as an aircraft maintenance technician, air traffic controller, electronic or meteorological technician, just to name a few. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps also offer aviation jobs similar to those in the Air Force. Army aviation is mostly connected with the operation and maintenance of helicopters and subsonic light airplanes. The Army hires flight-crews, ground service crew, and weather specialists to support its operations. And there is not a shortage of demand of equivalent employment opportunities in the civil aviation sector. The U.S. Coast Guard operates light and medium size aircraft (both airplanes and helicopters) for search and rescue purposes.

The U.S. Military Services employ civilians as well for various careers in aviation, such as aircraft mechanics, engineers, technicians, and general office workers (i.e. secretaries, office admins, and typists). These civilian jobs are classified as the Federal Civil Services, and employees perform many of the same tasks and receive the same wages and benefits as their counterparts in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other Federal departments and agencies.