If someone decides to become a professional pilot - meaning an airline or business jet pilot in the USA - what does it cost to get the certifications and ratings and build enough hours to become employable? Let's assume that the person is starting from scratch and works through private, instrument, commercial and ATP qualifications.
I'm thinking of a scenario where someone already has a career and income but decides to change to flying and is able to invest the necessary time and money. Of course this could include other commercial flying jobs along the way - like crop dusting or banner towing - but the idea would be to eventually reach a position that pays a decent salary. "Decent" isn't very precise but I mean something much higher than the low regional salaries mentioned in this question.
Well.. There's not a real easy answer to this question. Starting a career in aviation is no small undertaking. Large aviation universities like Embry-Riddle really are a good as they say, but the focus is more on getting a degree along side your flying. Most airlines require a 4 year degree, but they don't care in what field, they just want to know that you have a good foundation and the commitment to complete your higher education. That said, if you already have a degree, then you might want to shop around for a place that can focus more on flying and less on the classroom. If you don't have a degree, then you could consider a large Aviation University, but its not cheap, and it might be until retirement to reap the dividends. Also know, that smaller flight schools run professional pilot programs and can give a more focused study path.
Fair warning, just to get a private,instrument,commercial,multi-engine,ATP certificates will take at least a year if you're highly motivated, but probably longer. Add school, if needed, and you're at 3-4 years before you can even enter the workforce. Then, after recent legislation, the time required to be a co-pilot with an airline has soared, forcing pilot's to find hours elsewhere. Generally as a flight instructor which could take another year or three to accumulate enough time to get hired by an airline. Finally after you get planted in the right seat of that airliner, it takes another 3 or 4 years of low seniority grunt work to break 30k in pay. Mandatory retirement is now 65. So now after 9-12 years, your finally an airline pilot, but not much time till retirement. If you want to fly, and have a desire for aviation, then you should have no problem, you just won't get rich.
The cost from 0 to ATP can be highly variable. An easier number to quantify is 0 - Commercial/CFI.
Even the cost of 0 - Comm/CFI can vary, but there are a few accelerated programs that offer this. One service (I'm not advertising, so I'm not naming them) offers a program that lasts 150 days and costs $65,000* + checkride expenses. You start with nothing and end up with single/multi commercial, an instrument rating and your CFI/MEI/II along with 100 hours multi-engine time. This particular program (and others like it probably) hires their instructors from within, so there is a possibility for multi-instruction -- but you won't be making much money for it.
The cost of commercial to ATP is harder to nail down because of the possibilities that open up post-commercial.
On the high end, you could just rent or buy time to ATP mins, but that could cost a fortune.
On the low end you could work to ATP mins and make some money.
A good way to make money with a fresh commercial/cfi ticket is to instruct. There are also jobs like banner towing or pipeline/powerline patrol you could do, but you probably still need to build time beyond commercial mins to be competitive for those jobs. You also mention cropdusting, but keep in mind many of those ops are turbine powered ag-cats and you won't be competitive there with a fresh commercial ticket.
*You can do it cheaper but I'm giving these numbers because a fast but expensive program may appeal to a career changer.
If someone decides to become a professional pilot - meaning an airline or business jet pilot in the USA - what does it cost to get the certifications and ratings and build enough hours to become employable? Let's assume that the person is starting from scratch and works through private, instrument, commercial and ATP qualifications. I'm thinking of a scenario where someone already has a career and income but decides to change to flying and is able to invest the necessary time and money. Of course this could include other commercial flying jobs along the way - like crop dusting or banner
Please note that I'm not asking about getting a certificate good enough for flying a wide-body passenger jet (see related question). Rather, I'm asking about getting from zero flying experience to an actual pilot/co-pilot job at a major US airline (AA/Delta/UA/Southwest). Perhaps some regulatory organization maintains such a statistics? Or even the airlines themselves? I'm well aware that people can have various career paths (from ex-military pilots to guys who paid for 10000 flights hours out of their pockets), but with 40,000+ pilots employed by major airlines there must
If a pilot holding a US certificate wanted to convert it to an equivalent EASA (JAA?) certificate, what training, flight experience, and exams are necessary to obtain equivalency? Does the process differ for private, instrument, commercial, ATP, and instructor ratings?
It's easy to go online and look at prices of a Cessna 172, but what are some examples of how to breakdown the real world costs of ownership? how much other maintenance should you plan for? How much does an engine overhaul cost? Insurance hangar etc.. It would be great to also get some typical costs and ranges, since some element are more predictable than others. Obviously the costs... for the structure of the costs to start making a plan for cost analysis and diligence. For example, with an IFR aircraft, what costs are involved with keeping it current?
I'm a frequent subscriber of airport messaging services where you get notified of check-in queue times, delays in takeoff, ETA + 10 minutes, landed timestamp, baggage claim time and these kinds of information, but not life-dependent messages. However, if something bad happens I assume I won't get a "Flight X crashed and burned" message on my cell, but most likely a "Contact the airline at 555-1212 for more information" or something similar. What's the standard operating procedure in these cases?
Old registrations had no expiration date, so a pilot could get in a plane that is owned by someone else and verify the airworthiness and registration by inspecting the documents. But that registration might be expired, and without going to the FAA site to verify it is active could find themselves flying an unregistered aircraft. Has the FAA addressed this situation since they started expiring registrations that didn't originally expire? What would the pilot's liability be in this situation?
If an incident occurs on board an aircraft in flight which could be considered as criminal in one country, what decides which country the incident falls under? For example, if a man was found to be in possession of "virtual" child pornography and not all of the countries involved consider that to be illegal, which country is the one who decides whether the person have broken the law or not?
distraction while flying. Has listening to music and/or noise cancellation been at all shown to increase pilot error? My main concerns are What if I have a noise cancelling headset on, and the engine undergoes detonation, or what if the aircraft does something I should be alarmed about based on auditory cues that I can't hear? Same situations as above, but even worse because I'm rocking out... to some Kenny Loggins? Additionally, are commercial pilots permitted to use bluetooth headsets for phone calls? For music? Do crash statistics indicate that music and flying leads to more pilot
When a pilot ejects, what happens to the ejection seat? Does the pilot stay in the seat until he lands, or does it get disconnected from the pilot somehow?
” pilot type rating. What exactly is an SIC type rating used for and how can someone get a "type rating" without any kind of practical test? ...14 CFR 61.55 says: ... (d) A person may receive a second-in-command pilot type rating for an aircraft after satisfactorily completing the second-in-command familiarization training requirements under paragraph (b) of this section in that type of aircraft provided the training was completed within the 12 calendar months before the month of application for the SIC pilot type