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New member
Aug 28, 2002
I'd just like to ask a question to those of you who have become major airline pilots through paying for your training yourself, or to those who are currently training to become airline pilots and paying for their own training.
I'm 14 and it has recently come to my attention the cost of paying for your own training. To have the qualifications and hours required to apply to an airline for direct entry, it seems that the minimum cost is upwards of $70,000 AUD. For those of you who have joined a major airline without first being trained in the military; how is it possible for your average student pilot to afford this? Is there a way into commercial flying that I have looked over. All that I can see is that you either pay for yourself and forever be paying back debt, or you join the military and then apply to a major.
To me the military does not look at all attractive, so if anyone has any tips/hints on a more affordable way to enter the major airline industry, please let me know.
There is no way to enter the "major" airline industry. Many exits going on though. You can, however, enter the aviation industry and make money to fly airplanes. If you don't have rich parents, and I don't, the military or debt are the only way. It is an expensive career, similar to medicine or law. Don't do it unless you are in love with being an aviator, both on the ground and in the air. If you are as enthralled with flying as many of us are, the debt is a small price to pay for doing what you love.

P.S. $70K sounds like a bit much.
Moving up

It certainly is not a cheap carreer to enter, especially if you want to pay for it. The best way to go at it is save as much money as you can from now until you are ready to go into college. Then, get your private certificate at a local FBO, and take some general ed. courses at a community college. Transfer into an aeronautical university (UNDAerospace/Embry-Riddle), and finish the 3 years there. Although it is a very expensive route, they offer plenty of scholarships. The advantage to these universities is that you get all your ratings, and a 4 year degree (most airlines now ask for that). In addition, the schooling is all structured towards the airline environment, so it prepares you for the transition when you are ready. Then, take advantage of their internships. Most offer guaranteed interviews at regionals, and lower hiring minumums (500TT and 100ME average). Once you leave school, find a job that pays you to fly, ie CFI, banner towing, glider towing, etc. Get up to the mins, and go knock on the regional's door which you interned with. From there, you're on your way.
Keep in mind though, the present times. I was set to go to eagle at 500TT and 100ME, but due to unfortunate events, I am at 750TT and 150ME, and nowhere near getting to a regional.

Good luck!!!
er about the money, when I was researching it, I found a HUGE cost gap between major"airline pilot academy" schools, like Comair and FSI. These nation-wide corporate schools offer you a supposed "fast track to employment with the major airlines"but when you get right down to it they're offering very little you can't get elsewhere. Your ratings you can get at many part 141/61 FBOs all over the country for less than half of what Comair Academy charges. And the other training you can always get later from somewhere. Actually I think its going to end up costing me about the same as a 4-year private college education would to get my Private,Instrument, Commercial, and CFI. Which is cool cause I have enough scholarship $ to pay for a 2 year degree at a community college (what, I dunno, yet, but not aviation-dependent, thats for sure) Although, I almost as much as my CFI makes with my current job (delivering pizza - please tip)

And for you rich people who don't tip - I know where you live. :D
My cost!

Though it will be expensive, it isn't as costly as you might believe. I personally recieved all my flight training and college education from the same school for a price just under $50,000. Most colleges which offer aviation degrees offer extra financial aide for fight training, as well as "fee waiver scholarships" for those with good grades(3.0+ gpa). I ended up teaching for 2 years prior to graduating with the school I went to which enabled me to recieve a 50% discount on tuition; saving me a lot of money.

also, you won't be able to go right to a major airline. you'll probably teach after training to build time. this may qualify you for a cargo, corporate, or possibly a regional job. all these steps will give you the experience necessary for the major.

If you love flying like I do it'll all be worth it. GOOD LUCK!

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