How to Become an Airline Pilot

Becoming an airline pilot is a tough career, but it can easily be done with some hard work and determination. Learn the steps you need to take in order to fly one of the most prestigious commercial airlines – Qantas.

The “airline pilot salary” is a popular job with many benefits. The average salary for an airline pilot is around $120,000 per year.

We’re back with another installment of our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in coveted positions and ask them about the realities of their employment as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

As boys, I believe many of us fantasized of becoming pilots. We were fascinated by the controls and happy when the pilots handed us our own pair of wings while on a journey to see Grandma, and the wonderful hostess allowed us see the pilots in the cockpit. Kids aren’t permitted in the cockpit these days, of course. The glamour of flying is no longer what it once was; money might be poor, and hours can be long. However, as Mark Maxwell says, those who were born to fly can’t resist the call to the sky.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? What school did you attend? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.

I was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Despite the fact that I grew up there, the nature of the profession has forced me to reside in a half-dozen various locations. I am a 28-year-old woman. I finished my Private Pilot License after graduating from high school and relocated to Florida to attend the Delta Connection Academy full-time. At the age of 19, I secured a job as a flight teacher at a flying school in eastern North Carolina after completing all of my ratings and earning my flight instructor certificate. I worked there for two and a half years before deciding to become a cargo pilot. I flew freight for a little over a year until my firm was sold. Following that, I moved to work for the airline where I am now working. I’ve been here for five years.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career as a pilot? When did you realize you wanted to do it?

My father chose to follow his ambition of becoming a pilot when I was a child, maybe around the age of eight. He’d always wanted to join the Air Force or the Navy, but he was much too big. I’d accompany him to the local airport and wait around at the flight school while he flew with his instructor to earn the necessary experience and flying hours for his pilot’s license. I’d go through all of the aviation mags in the lobby. He would study for his practical and written examinations on weekends. I had no option but to sit with him and watch those tedious exam prep films. After dad acquired his license, he’d take me up in a leased plane to keep up with the times and fly over our home, letting me take the controls on occasion. I didn’t understand I wanted to be a pilot until I was in high school. We had to perform a career project during my senior year. Every student had to choose a vocation that he or she believed they could like, investigate it, and give a presentation based on the findings. I decided to pursue a career as an airline pilot. I did a lot of study on it, and while I was doing so, I decided to take some flying lessons to see whether I enjoyed it. As you might imagine, I was completely sucked in. It’s one of those things where you “just know” if you want to accomplish something.


3. There are many methods to get into the aviation industry. Some pilots come from the military, while others study at a flight school to get their license. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options?

In the past, military service was the greatest route for a prospective pilot to gain a job with an airline. When it came to employment, airlines used to offer former military aviators preferential priority. At this point, I’d have to say the tables have turned. The military today has fewer pilots than it had 30 years ago, and the number is steadily decreasing as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) take over the traditional duty of human aircraft. The military is now keeping its aviators for extended periods of time. The Air Force and Navy, last I checked, needed a ten-year contract following completion of flight school.

At the moment, airlines are looking for pilots with airline experience flying aircraft identical to the ones they fly. That isn’t to suggest that a military pilot won’t be considered for a job; but, they are more likely to employ a man with seven years of experience at another airline than a person with 10 years in the military. If you’re considering entering the military to learn to fly, be sure you’re doing it for the proper reasons.

There are a few things to consider if you opt to earn your flying ratings via civilian means. The cost is the first and most important consideration. It is really costly. Currently, the average cost of all of your flight ratings is almost the same as a high-end Mercedes. You might expect to pay more than a medical student if you attend a high-end flight school that is affiliated with a university.

If you fly every day, you can achieve your ratings in as little as a year, but most people require much longer. If you intend on working a 9-5 job and flying after work and on weekends, it will take many years to get the necessary ratings and experience to land your first flight job. Your first flying job will not be glamorous or highly compensated, but it will get you started.

4. New pilots begin their careers with minor airlines before progressing to larger airlines. What is the procedure for doing so, and how long does it take?

That is largely correct. There are various rungs on the aviation career ladder. As a first employment in aviation, almost everyone begins as a flight teacher. Some people choose not to teach and instead work in vocations such as pipeline patrol, power line patrol, traffic control, geo-mapping, crop dusting, scenic flights, and so on. There are several aviation professions available where you may obtain enough experience and flying time to qualify for a position with a small airline.

The pace at which you progress in your career will vary depending on the status of the airline business at the time. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. The airlines were recruiting like crazy while I was in flight training. Guys (and girls) were being employed at minor airlines with fewer than 500 hours (which is really short), spending a few years there, and then progressing to larger carriers. Then 9/11 happened, and everything came to an end. As airlines downsized their fleets and timetables to accommodate for the lower passenger loads, many pilots found themselves unemployed. The airline sector was back in full swing by 2004, and they were on a recruiting binge that lasted until the present economic collapse. We are just now seeing the industry begin to recover. “If you don’t like the way things are, just wait a minute and everything will change again,” we say at the airline. It’s absolutely correct. All you have to do is be patient and ride the waves through the good and bad times. You’ll often work for a minor airline for 5-8 years before getting a chance at a large airline.


5. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

Of course, there’s the flying! Have you ever seen a sunrise or sunset at an elevation of 36,000 feet? Seriously, we all choose this profession because we like flying. We aren’t in this for the money. We aren’t paid as much as people believe, but I’ll go into it later. The wonderful thing about our employment is that we don’t have to carry it with us when we go home. We’re done when we get off that plane on the final day.

6. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

I’d have to say the salary at first, and then the scheduling. It’s an undeniable truth that you’ll earn less than $27,000 per year as a First Officer on a small airline when you start. Your first year’s pay with some small airlines will be less than $20,000. Your schedule might also be really horrible depending on the airline you work for and the time of year. Working a terrible schedule generally entails flying 90-95 hours per week and only getting 12 days off. Some airlines may allow you to take as few as eight days off.

7. How do you strike a balance between job, family, and personal life?

Well, I’m very much removed from practically everything at home while I’m at work. My fiancée understands that if a problem arises, such as a leaking faucet or a power outage, there is nothing I can do since I am 500 miles away. With those items, she’s learnt to be quite self-sufficient. If you have children, accept the fact that you will miss a lot of soccer games, birthday parties, and holidays. Airlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I didn’t have a day off for Christmas until a few years back.

It is not uncommon for you to need the whole following day to recoup and relax after a strenuous excursion. You’ll have to catch up. For me, I try to catch up on DVR programs, read my mail, pay bills, clean the house, and so on. All of the things that regular individuals can do once they come home from work on a daily basis.

8. What is the most common misunderstanding about the job?

As previously stated, the pay. Airline pilots used to earn a lot of money and had relatively flexible schedules. On September 11, 2001, those days came to an end. To protect their airline from going bankrupt, almost every airline pilot accepted a significant wage reduction following that day. Regrettably, we are just now beginning to get some of that compensation.

Our timetables are another misunderstanding. People believe that we go to work, fly one leg, and then go. I’ve got up to seven legs in a single day. Our days might begin as early as 4:30 a.m. (at the airport) and conclude as late as 12 a.m. Our timetables are limited to 14 hours of duty each day, however we may be required to remain on duty for up to 16 hours due to weather or mechanical issues. Those days may be quite difficult.


9. I’ve read a number of articles decrying the present status of the airline pilot industry, claiming that major airline pilots, particularly regional airline pilots, are overworked and underpaid. Pilots no longer advise their children to grow up and become pilots, according to Sully Sullenberger, who testified before Congress. What are your thoughts on the condition of the airline pilot profession today? Would you suggest the position to a friend or colleague?

Captain Sullenberger has my highest regard, and I would have to agree with him on the most of his points. My only piece of advise right now is that you should have a clear grasp of what you’re getting yourself into before deciding to pursue this career path. Some individuals like it, while others do not. I wouldn’t tell my kid “no” if he told me he wanted to be an airline pilot, but I would make sure he understood the filthy reality. It’s also important to keep in mind that the airline sector is continually evolving. There are peaks and troughs throughout the cycle. It’s important to remember that all airline pilots must retire at the age of 65. As the baby boomers approach retirement age, there will be a significant number of pilots retiring in the next 5-7 years. With fewer new students enrolling in flight schools, skilled pilots will be in great demand once again, and we should be able to reclaim what we previously lost. We’ll have to wait and see.

10. Do you have any other advice, ideas, or stories to share?

1. Always follow your gut impulses. 2. Be aware of your pilot contract at all times. 3. Never put your faith in a staff scheduler. 4. Never attempt to get forward in your profession by taking a shortcut. Those kind of people are always burnt in the end. Pay your dues and have a good time. 5. Always treat your passengers with respect and courtesy. You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for them.



The “how to become an airline pilot reddit” is a website that has an article on how to become an airline pilot. The article includes information about the requirements for becoming a pilot, as well as links where people can find more information about what it takes to be one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a airline pilot?

A: It takes about 8 years to become a airline pilot after completing training.

How hard is it to become a pilot for an airline?

A: Becoming a pilot is not easy. There are many things that go into becoming a pilot. These include being able to fly, be certified in aviation, and have the right experience for an airline position like having years of experience with flying or navigation software on your computer/phone/device.

How much does it cost to become a airline pilot?

A: It varies depending on the airline and the type of pilot you are. For example, one commercial airline would typically cost around $60,000 USD to start while an Air Force or Navy fighter jet pilot might be paid as much as $300 ,000 per year in enlistment bonuses alone.

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