There’s a lot of conflicting information online about whether or not a 4-year college degree is required to become an airline pilot. But do you need a degree to be a pilot at the airlines?

Some sources claim it’s absolutely mandatory, while others say you don’t need one at all. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Aviation College – The Bottom Line

To cut right to the chase – you do not need a degree to be an airline pilot, but by the time you move on to the majors it’s a good idea to have one.

Most majors list 4-year degrees as preferred and some even mandate them. Even during pilot shortages, the majors are very competitive when compared to the regional airline, so it’s always advisable to get whatever edge you can over your competition.

AirlinesDegree Requirements
American AirlinesNone
SouthwestPreferred
DeltaRequired
United AirlinesPreferred

This is not necessarily the case at the regionals. Pilot demand always hits the regionals before the majors so they can’t afford to be as picky.

These regional airlines hire directly out of flight schools. Since the typical route for an airline pilot is to start at the regionals and work up to the majors, it’s common for pilots to use their time at the regional airlines to complete their 4-year degree via online resources.

Alternatively, getting your degree prior to or in conjunction with your flight training offers you the option of reducing your required hours prior to being eligible for an airline pilot position. The FAA’s “1,500 hour rule” can be done in just 1,250 or 1,000 hours depending on what type of degree you obtain (see §61.160 for details.)

So the question becomes: how should you balance going to college with flight training?

There are a few different options and each one is going to work better for different individuals depending on their situation.

Most major airlines have 4-year degrees as a “preferred” requirement. Updated as of 6.25.2020

As you weigh your options on becoming an airline pilot, you should also consider how much you’ll be paid based on the path you choose. Take a look at our pilot salary guide to get an idea of how much you could earn.

Studying for aviation college test

1. Attend a 4-year university that offers flight training

Many choose to get their flight training through a 4-year university that offers flight training, a route that will have you flight training while following the traditional college timeline.

Typically you’ll finish all of your ratings by the time you’ve completed your degree program (usually an aviation related degree to take advantage of the hour reductions mentioned above) and then you’ll need to either instruct or find another job as a pilot to reach the rest of your required hours. If you’re instructing this typically takes around a year.

Timeline to Airline Job:

5-6 years

Pros:

• Obtain degree along-side your flight training

• Complete your degree and flight training in one location

• Reduced required hours if obtaining aviation degree

• Student loans are more readily available for individuals unable to finance their flight training on their own or with parents’ assistance

Cons:

• Expensive

• More than 4 years to start flying for the airlines

• Training is not accelerated, meaning you spend more total time on flight training

• No fallback – an aviation degree is only good for aviation

Best for:

Those that are unable to finance without Title IV assistance

• Students who may want to wait a few years and enjoy the “college experience” before starting a job

Train at a flight school instead of going to an aviation college

2. Attend a 4-year university and flight train elsewhere

Although perhaps one of the least-traveled paths, some choose to begin their flight training after obtaining a 4-year degree. Typically those who take this path obtain a degree outside of aviation, and begin flight training at a pilot school shortly before or after graduating.

This is the longest and most expensive option, but it does give the student the most flexibility in their career pathway.

Timeline to Airline Job:

6-7 years

Pros:

• Multiple career options after completing training

• Ultimately spend less on your flight training vs doing it at a University

• Degree offers security in the event of an industry downturn

Cons:

• Most expensive, as you are paying for both a 4-year degree and flight training separately

• Takes 6+ years. As important as seniority is in the airlines, you will have to determine if this is a deal breaker for you.

Best for:

• Those who aren’t 100% sure they want to be pilots

• Students who have the means to spend extra money on their education to have flexible career options later in life

3. Attend a flight school and finish your degree online

For those that know they want to be an airline pilot and want to get there as quickly as possible, this is the most attractive option.

Many online university programs will offer credit for the ratings you’ve obtained from flight schools, and you could use this to get up to 45 credit hours. This would reduce your bachelor program after flight training to about two years.

The most efficient way to do this is to attend a flight school with an accelerated airline pilot program (usually takes 8-10 months to complete) and once you obtain all your ratings, begin taking online classes while working as a flight instructor.

This way you are getting the aviation degree needed to take advantage of the 250-500 hour discount, and simultaneously instructing to start knocking those hours out.

Given the right circumstances, this pathway could get you through all of your ratings, all of your FAA required hours, AND your bachelor degree in just 3-4 years. You could even be flying for a regional during the end of that timeline if you fly enough to reach the required hours prior to obtaining your degree. This is attractive when considering seniority numbers in the airlines.

Timeline to Airline Job:

2-3 years

Pros:

• Most cost effective

• Quickest method to get a seniority number

• Reduced required hours if obtaining an aviation degree

Cons:

• No fallback – aviation is the only career an aviation degree will be useful in

• No “college experience”- if the college campus experience is important to you, then you’re going to be missing out (although Thrust Flight has a pretty similar atmosphere.)

• Title IV loans rarely available at flight schools

• Very demanding schedule

Best for:

• Those who want to get to the airlines as soon as possible

• People who can forego student loans in order to save more now and earn more in the long term

• Students who are positive they want this career

Do Your Research

Before making a decision on which path is right for you, make sure you understand the concepts of the 1,500 hour rule as well as seniority numbers in the regionals.

These factors may affect which path is best for you. Each student is different. We talk to people every day with different recommended paths, because accelerated flight training from zero time through all your ratings is not the best option for everyone. Do your research. Call different schools. Talk to pilots and student pilots. In the end, you want to make the decision that is best for YOU.

Nearly all pilots choose the career because of their love for flying- but the pay is a nice bonus.

But if you’re considering becoming an airline pilot you’re likely wondering, “how much do pilots make?”

How is a Pilot’s Salary Calculated?

Airline pilots don’t necessarily get paid a “salary”. Instead, pilots are paid per flight hour. As of August 2020, the average airline pilot salary in the United States was $102,851 .  But if you’re researching this as a possible career there is a lot more to consider than just the national average.

In order to ensure pilots are not over worked, airline pilots are limited to 1,000 flight hours per year. With that information and the pilots hourly rate, you can find out what your maximum earning potential is for an airline pilot’s salary.

It’s important to note that there are other benefits to working for an airline beyond the salary, but we’ll get into that later.

Factors That Determine Airline Pilot Salary

Just like any other career, an airline pilot’s salary varies depending on a variety of factors. Each airline sets its pay rates based on the contracts it signs. These rates may be based on many different inputs.

Years of Experience

Years of experience is a key factor in the hiring of all commercial pilots, not just airline pilots. While the hiring at the airlines is based on experience, the offers for compensation are set by the contracts the airline has signed with their pilots. In relation to other commercial airline pilot opportunities, experience may dictate the amount of pay you are offered.

For example: A small corporation is looking to hire a commercial pilot for their multi-engine airplane and has two pilots pursuing the same job. One flew 5 years for a banner tow company in a Citabria, and the other was a contractor for 5 years and has flown a variety of single-engine and multi-engine aircraft. The contractor will likely receive a higher offer as he/she has flown in a wider variety of aircraft and has more overall experience.

Total Flight Hours

As mentioned earlier airline pilots are paid on an hourly basis, specifically per flight hour. Logically this means that pilots who fly monthly schedules with higher flight times are going to get paid a larger amount.

Aircraft Type

The airlines pay their pilots different hourly rates depending on which aircraft they fly. As a general rule, the larger the aircraft, the higher the hourly rate.

You get to pick your monthly schedule of hours as well as the airplane you fly based on your seniority number (which is a very important aspect of being an airline pilot, as we have discussed in other blog posts. ) As your seniority number improves, you have more say in which aircraft and schedule you fly.

Major Airline Captain Salaries

All salaries listed below are based on flying 1,000 hours per year and are an approximation  based on available information. Note that airline pay changes regularly.

A pilots salary will vary based on the aircraft they fly. Where available, we’ve included the plane associated with the listed pay.

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 12
Air CanadaA320$190,000$198,000$211,000
American AirlinesA320$255,000$263,000$278,000
Delta AirlinesA320$251,000$260,000$274,000
Frontier Airlines$184,000$208,000$245,000
Hawaiian AirlinesA321$233,000$241,000$254,000
JetBlue AirlinesA320$234,000$246,000$269,000
Southwest Airlines737$241,000$253,000$274,000
Spirit AirlinesA320$186,000$210,000$247,000
United AirlinesA320$260,000$268,000$283,000

Major Airline First Officer Salaries

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 12
Air CanadaA320$56,000$151,000$190,000
American AirlinesA320$90,000$169,000$190,000
Delta AirlinesA320$92,000$166,000$187,000
Frontier Airlines$58,000$130,000$162,000
Hawaiian AirlinesA321$58,000$149,000$177,000
JetBlue AirlinesA320$89,000$158,000$180,000
Southwest Airlines737$84,000$164,000$191,000
Spirit AirlinesA320$58,000$131,000$164,000
United AirlinesA320$91,000$172,000$193,000

Salaries posted above do not include sign-on bonuses or other benefits.

Pilot Salary – A Timeline

It goes without saying- you earn the least at the beginning of your career and the most towards the end. Before beginning your path towards a career as an airline pilot, it’s important to understand how much you will be making throughout your entire career.

Airline pilot earnings timeline

The figures above are based on averages across different airlines but can give you a good idea of the airline pilot salary you can be expecting as your career progresses. It’s also worth noting that the timeline above is stretched out a little longer than what some would experience.

With the current pilot shortage the world is experiencing, some pilots have found the move from a regional airline to a major airline even faster.

For example, prior to Covid many regional airline pilots made it to the majors after only 3-5 years.

You probably noticed that at a couple of spots on the graph, the bar line drops, particularly when you jump from being a regional airline pilot to a pilot for a major airline. This does not necessarily mean you get a drop in pay.

As an incentive for pilots to start at a new airline, sign-on bonuses are sometimes distributed. You would technically earn more money during your first year due to that sign-on bonus.

Sample Pilot Salaries for Regional Airlines

Regional Airline Captain Salaries

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 12
Air WisconsinCRJ200$71,000$81,000$100,000
Endeavor AirCRJ200$86,000$94,000$110,000
Envoy AirCRJ700$83,000$91,000$106,000
Horizon Air$70,000$80,000$101,000
Mesa AirlinesCRJ700$62,000$69,000$84,000
Piedmont AirlinesERJ 145$76,000$83,000$96,000
PSA Airlines$82,000$90,000$104,000
Republic Airways$90,000$99,000$116,000
Skywest AirlinesCRJ200$75,000$83,000$102,000

Regional Airline First Officer Salaries

Few pilots remain first officers at the regional airlines for very long. Most will become a captain at a regional airline within a few years and then from their move to a major airline. This is why some salaries aren’t listed for year 5 and beyond.

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 8
Air WisconsinCRJ200$37,000$49,000$53,000
Endeavor AirCRJ200$51,000$64,000$67,000
Envoy AirCRJ700$83,000$56,000
Horizon Air$40,000$49,000$52,000
Mesa AirlinesCRJ700$36,000$41,000$49,000
Piedmont AirlinesERJ 145$50,000$56,000
PSA Airlines$50,000
Republic Airways$46,000$55,000
Skywest AirlinesCRJ200$45,000$58,000

Do Airline Pilots Receive Signing Bonuses?

At this time most regional airlines give out signing bonuses to attract pilots due to the pilot shortage. Bonuses may vary based on the pilots experience. We’ve seen bonuses ranging from $5,000 to over $15,000.

For example, if you already have a type rating for one of the aircraft you’d be flying the airline may give you a bigger signing bonus since they don’t have to spend as much money training you.

Searching for the perfect headset? Check out our guide on choosing the best pilot headset.

Additional Airline Pilot Benefits

Pilots enjoy plenty of benefits aside from the pay. Especially during times when the industry is strong and, airlines are struggling to compete with the other airlines to bring qualified pilots to their airline.

Free Travel

Most airlines allow their pilots free travel on flights that have empty seats, including a seat for a friend or family member.

Many pilots use these free trips to explore the world or to simply visit friends and family regularly.

Per Diem

Airline pilot‘s receive a very attractive per diem on top of their hourly wage. This amount is to cover your expenses while on trips. Often, the amount is larger than what you spend so could add to your annual income.

Healthcare and Insurance

To remain competitive with the other airlines, most companies have very attractive healthcare and life insurance benefits for their pilots.

Bonuses

While bonuses are not guaranteed in any business, in the good times airlines will offer sign on bonuses to be competitive in hiring. Others offer yearly profit sharing based on the airlines income as well as other contractual agreed upon amounts.

Other Types of Pilot Jobs and How Much They Pay

Flight Instructor

Many will opt to work at a flight school as an instructor as their method of gaining their FAA required minimum hours, but some love it so much they choose to become a career instructor. A career instructor can expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $75,000 annually.

Many instructor’s will go on to work as a chief flight instructor for a flight school where your salary can go even higher.

Cargo Carrier

In terms of pay, this is probably the most competitive with commercial airlines. Cargo Carriers.

The pay structure for cargo pilots is very similar to that of major airline carriers.

Cargo Airline Captain Salaries

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 8
Air Transport International767$140,000$223,000$268,000
Atlas Air767$142,000$160,000$196,000
FedEx Express767$268,000$301,000$317,000
Kalitta Air$150,000$238,000$286,000
Southern Air767$142,000$160,000$196,000
United Parcel Service$50,000$312,000$329,000

Cargo Airline Pilot First Officer Salaries

AirlinePlaneYear 1Year 5Year 8
Air Transport International767$83,000$151,000$181,000
Atlas Air767$87,000$108,000$137,000
FedEx Express767$81,000$193,000$226,000
Kalitta Air$116,000$162,000$193,000
Southern Air767$87,000$108,000$137,000
United Parcel Service$50,000$200,000$235,000

Charter Pilot

Charter services offer private flights to businesses or individuals. A charter pilot needs to have a professional attitude as they will be dealing with clients even more directly than pilots flying for airlines.

The salary is higher than most time-building jobs, with the average charter pilot in the US earning ~$75,000.

Charter Pilot Captain Salaries

While there are quite a few small charter airlines across the United States, here are a few of the larger operations that post their pay publicly. These charter airlines typically fly large jets which is why their pay closely resembles airline pilot pay.

AirlineYear 1Year 5Year 8
iAero Ways$168,000$178,000$192,000
Miami Air International$96,000$116,000$163,000
Omni Air International$176,000$227,000$273,000

Charter Pilot First Officer Salaries

AirlineYear 1Year 5Year 8
iAero Ways$90,000$98,000$100,000
Miami Air International$47,000$83,000$98,000
Omni Air International$118,000$154,000$184,000

Corporate Pilot

A career as a corporate pilot is similar to a career as an airline pilot in many ways.

It’s a very competitive job, you will likely need a high number of hours to be considered, and you are typically flying larger turbine aircraft.

The differences are of course the number of passengers, type of aircraft you are flying, and where you will be flying. Many may consider corporate pilot as more attractive than airline pilot due to the more consistent schedule and locations.

You will likely not be required to move like you would early in your career as an airline pilot.

A corporate pilot may start out around $60,000 annually (first officer) but has the potential to earn $180,000 or more as they gain more experience and stay with a corporation longer.

Stunt Pilot

For the extreme thrill-seekers, aerobatics might be a fun career for you. Aerobatic pilots, or stunt pilots, perform in aerial shows, compete with other aerobatic pilots, and train pilots in aerobatic flight.

The pay of stunt pilots varies tremendously, but the median earnings of this job pay between $50,000 and $70,000.

It is a very difficult career to break into, and you will need to be passionate about the job in order to break out.

Tour Guide

The job of a tour guide could be for you if you enjoy small groups and consider yourself a people person. The job is location-dependent and can vary greatly in hours.

You could be doing a lot of hours during peak-season, and be earning very little during the off-season, so this gig isn’t for everyone. Average earnings are around $52,000 annually.

Banner Towing

Like instructing, most who tow banners are using the job as a way to build hours. The pay is similar to instructing and can range from $20-$50 an hour.

Crop Duster

One of the more unique and niche jobs on this list, a crop duster (also known as “Aerial Applicator” or “Agricultural Pilot”) is a pilot that uses aircraft to aid in agricultural care.

They may apply pesticides, fertilizers, or even plant seed using their aircraft. This job requires not only aviation training (commercial rating) but agricultural knowledge.

You will need to be knowledgeable on different types of pesticides and fertilizers, and familiar with agricultural practices. If you are able to overcome this knowledge hurdle, you are rewarded with a job that can pay higher than $100,000.

FedEx operates a global cargo fleet that delivers packages around the world. Thousands of businesses and millions of consumers use FedEx every month. Currently, FedEx has over 5,000 pilots and with 100+ pilots retiring every year they are constantly hiring.

With the continued growth of ecommerce it’s expected that delivery needs around the world will continue to increase which is great news for FedEx and provides job security for their pilots.

Where are FedEx Bases?

  • Los Angeles, CA: LAX
  • Memphis, TN: MEM
  • Anchorage, AK: ANC
  • Cologne, Germany: CGN
  • Hong Kong: HKG
  • Indianapolis, IN: IND

What airplanes are in the FedEx Fleet?

  • Boeing 757-200
  • Boeing 767-300
  • Boeing 777F
  • Airbus A300
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-10
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-11

What are the Minimum Qualifications for FedEx pilots?

For FedEx pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

FedEx Pilot Job Requirements:

  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time (1000 hours PIC in jet aircraft is preferred; multi-engine turbo-prop aircraft, 12,500 pounds or greater; certain single engine turbo-prop aircraft, or combination of these).
  • 500 PIC required
  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university
FedEx jet in the air

FedEx Pilots Pay

Just like the passenger airlines, FedEx pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 74 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Fedex First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $75,000
  • Year 5: $165,000
  • Year 15: $203,000

Fedex Captain Pay:

  • Year 1: $227,000
  • Year 5: $257,000
  • Year 15: $280,000

Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for a FedEx Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the FedEx jobs website and create a profile. By creating a profile you enter the hiring pool for FedEx. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview. Be sure you also take a look at their knowledge test outline in order to prepare.

The demand for more commercial pilots seems to increase every year, and forecasts over the next 20 years are unprecedented. Boeing estimates the global demand for pilots over the next twenty years will be upwards of 635,000. In the U.S. alone over 80,000 pilots will retire over the next twenty years.

However, the path to becoming an airline pilot can be daunting, particularly the cost of training. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce that cost or receive some financing.

Before we dig into ways to pay for flight training, however, here’s a few tips on reducing the cost.

How to Reduce the Cost of Flight Training

First and foremost, do your homework. Identify all of the flight schools in your area and even consider some of the larger flight schools you could travel to for training. Compare the types of planes they fly, their rates, their instructor rates and what their pass rate looks like.

Once you start your training, make it frequent and consistent. When you train regularly the material sticks and you’ll progress more quickly. In addition, make sure you study on your own time. The more studying you do on your own the less time you’ll need to spend with an instructor who is charging you by the hour.

Treat your training as an actual job and you’ll save money over the course of your training.

Ways to Pay for Flight Training

If you’re headed to the airlines you’ll need 1,500 hours of flight time and several ratings and certificates. All of these carry a hefty price tag.

Fortunately, if you don’t have the funds upfront to pay for it there are options available. Here’s a few common ways pilots pay for flight training when they, or a family member can’t cover the cost.

Airplane on the runway

Scholarships

If you’re attending a university in conjunction with your flight training there are many scholarships available to you. Just talk with your counselor or finance office to get more info.

If you’re not attending a university while flight training there are still some scholarship opportunities but they aren’t quite so plentiful. Start by checking with the AOPA. You can also check out the FAA’s giant list of aviation scholarships.

Here at Thrust Flight we also offer a flight training scholarship that opens up for applications a couple times a year.

Loans and Financing Options

Taking out a loan for your flight training is something to consider very carefully. If you’re pursuing a career in aviation it may be worthwhile to take out a loan in order to get your training done quickly.

By training full time you’ll be able to get all the training completed in a much shorter period of time and, like mentioned above, your training is typically completed faster.

Your goal should be to get to the airlines in 2 years from the time you start training.

If you’re pursuing a career in aviation be sure to head over to our Zero Time to Airline page and take a look.

For information on financing your Zero Time to Airline program, check out our financing page.

If you’re pursuing flight training as a recreational pilot, it may be better to save up rather than taking out a loan to pay for training.

Military Assistance

One route some people choose is to enter the military with the hope of doing their flight training.

This can be a challenging route as you don’t necessarily get to decide if you’ll be a pilot or not. The choice is often made for you.

However, if you were in the military previously or are currently, you can use the tuition assistance program to pay for your flight training.

AR10

You can also use your GI Bill to help pay for advanced flight training, however, you must have your private pilot license first. The GI Bill can help pay for your training whether you are doing it through a private or public university or vocational training.

If you’re interested in learning more about the requirements visit the VA website.

Bonus Tip: Work at a Flight School

Many flight schools will give their employees a discounted rate on their training. Check in with local flight schools to see if this is something they offer. Then, keep your eye out for job opportunities at those schools.

You don’t necessarily need to be working for them as a pilot in order to receive discounted training so you don’t need to wait until you become a CFI.

You could work the front desk, work as a dispatcher, or any other number of jobs needed around a flight school and still receive the discounted training.

If you’re looking, be sure to check out our careers page to see if we have any open positions.

American Airlines dates their origins to 1926, when Charles Lindbergh flew the first official American Airlines flight carrying mail from St. Louis, MO to Chicago, IL. Over 90 years later American Airlines is one of the largest in the US, flying thousands of flights every day to over 350 destinations across over 50 countries.

Currently, American Airlines has a little over 15,100 pilots, and in 2019 nearly 900 new pilots launched their career with American Airlines.

Where are American Airlines Bases?

  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Boston, MA – BOS
  • Los Angeles, CA – LAX
  • Arlington, VA – DCA
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Queens, NY – LGA
  • Miami, FL – MIA
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Charlotte, NC – CLT
  • Phoenix, AZ – PHX

What airplanes are in the American Airlines Fleet?

  • Airbus 319
  • Airbus 320
  • Airbus 321
  • Boeing 738
  • Boeing 752
  • Boeing 763ER
  • Boeing 772ER
  • Boeing 773ER
  • Boeing 778
  • Boeing 789
American Airlines jet tails on the ground

What are the Hiring Requirements for American Airlines Pilots?

For American Airlines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

American Airlines Pilot Job Requirements:

  • Minimum age of 23
  • Ability to learn and work with PEDs
  • Fluently speak and understand English
  • Must have the right to work in the United States
  • Distance vision corrected to 20/20 and near vision corrected to 20/40 or better in each eye
  • Must be able to secure appropriate authority or Customs security badges
American Airlines airplane at the gate

American Airlines Pilots Pay

American’s pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 73 hour long call and 76 hour short call reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of hourly pay based on available sources.

American Airlines First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $90,000
  • Year 5: $169,000
  • Year 12: $190,000

American Airlines Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $255,000
  • Year 5: $263,000
  • Year 12: $278,000

Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for an American Airlines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the American Airlines job website to see if they are hiring. It’s important to note that American Airlines largely hires new pilots from their regional airline partners.

In order to start your American Airlines pilot career you’ll first need to work at a regional and then apply to an open position for American. If your career goal is to fly for American Airlines take a look at the pilot hiring requirements at Envoy or PSA Airlines.

Envoy Air is a U.S Regional airline founded in 1984 as American Eagle. It was a collection of regional airlines that carried the American Eagle brand name.

In 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group. Envoy travels to over 150 cities in North America.  Envoy currently has over 2,500 pilots working for them and 185 airplanes.

Where are Envoy Air Hubs?

  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Miami, FL – MIA

What airplanes are in the Envoy Air Fleet?

  • Embraer 140
  • Embraer 145
  • Embraer 175
American Airlines jets lined up - American Airlines pilot hiring requirements

What are the Hiring Requirements for Envoy Pilots?

For Envoy pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

AAG Regional Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates
American Eagle Aircraft operated by Envoy

Envoy Air Pilots Salary

Envoy Air pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 72 hour monthly and 75 hour reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources. Prices shown do not include per diem or bonuses.

Envoy Air First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 4: $56,000

Envoy Air Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $83,000
  • Year 5: $91,000
  • Year 12: $106,000

See more pilot salaries by airline.

How Do I Apply for an Envoy Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Envoy Air jobs website and create a profile.  By creating a profile you enter the hiring pool for Envoy Air. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview. Be sure to also check out their interview tips.

Many people dream of becoming pilots, and it’s an achievable goal for nearly anyone. Getting your pilot license takes a lot of studying and hard work, but the rewards are bountiful.

With your private license, you can fly! You can fly your own plane or rent a plane. Imagine taking a flight for a weekend getaway, or just dinner in the next town.

Those who have been bitten by the flying bug need no further convincing. If you’ve ever wondered how to get a private pilot license, read on to learn more.

What is a Private Pilot Certificate?

The private pilot certificate is the FAA license that allows you to fly airplanes for fun. You can’t get a job flying with a private pilot license, but you can rent or buy a plane and go anywhere you like.

Private pilot plane on the water

It’s one of the most basic licenses, so for pilots looking to become professional aviators, the private pilot is just the first stepping stone. Plenty of pilots very happily operate as private pilots, and never want or need a commercial license.

Is a Private Pilot License Worth It?

All pilot licenses are expensive, so you may be wondering what use the private certificate would have for you.

If you’re comparing it with the less expensive and less time-consuming sport pilot license, the private offers you more privileges. It allows you to fly bigger, faster planes on longer trips away from home. Plus, it allows you to fly at night, or internationally.

If you’re looking to make a career as a pilot, you’ll need to make the private pilot license your first step. To get a commercial pilot certificate, you must first possess a private.

If you just want to go flying to have some fun, then it’s a great way to do that too. The pilot certificate itself never expires, but you must keep it current.

That means flying with an instructor every couple of years and logging a few hours if you want to carry passengers. You do not need to use your license, but if you want to start using it again after a period of inactivity, you must get a flight review from an instructor.

What are the Requirements to get a Private Pilot License?

The requirements are laid out in the Federal Aviation Regulations. You must be 17 years old or older and read, speak, write, and understand English. You must hold a student pilot certificate available from the FAA or an examiner or a sport pilot certificate.

There is bookwork to learn and a written exam to pass. There are also a minimum amount of flight hours you must log with your flight instructor. Specifically, you need to log a minimum of 40 hours of flight training, possibly a few less if you’re training at a Part 141 flight school. These 40 hours contain at least 20 hours of flight instruction and 10 hours of solo training. There are specific requirements for solo cross countries and nighttime flights, as well.

Once you have met all of these requirements, you take a practical exam that consists of both an oral question and answer session and a flight check. If you pass both, you have earned a private pilot license.

Plane about to take off

What Does Private Pilot Training Look Like?

Flight training is done one-on-one with a flight instructor. The typical flight lesson involves getting to the flight school early to check the weather and preflight the airplane.

You typically meet with your instructor for a few minutes to review your homework and see if you are ready for the flight. During the flight, you will practice maneuvers or scenarios that help you understand how to better fly the plane.

Sometimes, you work on a particular skill like landings. Other times, you work on an entire set of skills, like navigating to a new airport.

Once the flight is over, you park the plane and debrief with your instructor. You review your performance and discuss the things that went well—and the things that went not-so-well. From this, you put together a plan for next time.

Most flight lessons are done in two-hour flight blocks, but you can customize your training any way you like. This one-on-one instructor time is often combined with a ground school course in a classroom, where you learn the book-knowledge you need to pass the exams.

How to Get a Private Pilot License

Ground School

There are two distinct parts to pilot training. Most students and many flight instructors conduct these two items separately, but they are more connected than you might think.

The first part of training is commonly called ground school. This is where you get the book knowledge. We’ll look at the tests you have to take to get the pilot license in a bit, but for now, know that there’s a lot to learn.

Many students have little experience in aviation before they set out to get their license. That means everything is new.

Preflight routine for private pilot

The exact knowledge areas that you learn about in ground school are listed in FAR Part 61. These are the areas that the FAA will test you on during the written exam.

  1. The Federal Aviation Regulations that relate to private pilots
  2. Accident reporting requirements
  3. FAA publications like the Aeronautical Information Manual and advisory circulars
  4. Charts, and navigation using pilotage, dead reckoning, and navigation systems
  5. Radio communications
  6. Weather theory and reports and forecasts
  7. Safe operating procedures
  8. Takeoff and climb performance
  9. Weight and balance computiations
  10. Aerodynamics, engines, and systems
  11. Stalls, spins, and recovery techniques
  12. Aeronautical decision making
  13. Preflight actions to take

Some students complete ground school and the written exam before they even begin flying, while others fly while also taking ground school.

If you are interested in flying but want to learn more, just taking the ground school class is a great way to get an introduction and learn a lot about aviation.

It’s important to note that all of the knowledge areas are important to your flying.

The bookwork you learn for your pilot license is valuable, and you will use the information again. You will build on this knowledge base as you fly, and you will need to know things from ground school to pass your check ride.

Private Pilot Flight Training

The flight training portion of your pilot license course is completely individualized. You train one-on-one with your flight instructor. At some schools, you might fly with any flight instructor, but in most places, you work with only one person.

FAR Part 61 lays out the flight proficiency requirements you need to meet for getting your private certificate in a single-engine airplane.

  1. Preflight preparation and procedures
  2. Airport operations
  3. Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds
  4. Performance and Ground reference maneuvers
  5. Navigation
  6. Slow flight and stalls
  7. Basic instrument maneuvers
  8. Emergency operations
  9. Night operations
  10. Postflight procedures

As was the case with the ground school requirements, this list only provides a very basic glimpse at everything you must learn. These are the chapter titles. Each one of these headings represents numerous maneuvers or tasks you need to know how to perform.

Airplane about to land

Flight training is laid out in a detailed curriculum that you follow with your flight instructor’s guidance. You begin by learning the basics of operating an airplane.

As you get better, you build on your knowledge until you can conduct an entire flight with little or no help from your instructor. Once you’ve convinced your instructor that you can do it on your own, they let you take the plane up alone for some solo flying.

After you’ve soloed, you begin learning more about navigation and flying cross countries. For the purposes of flight training, a “cross-country flight” is one to an airport more than 50 miles away. You conduct several of these longer flights with your instructor, and when they feel you’ve gotten the hang of it, they let you do a few alone.

As you follow your training curriculum, you are meeting other regulatory requirements.

The FARs lay out the specific number of flight training, solo, cross-country, solo cross-country, and night flying hours you must complete to be eligible for the license.

The last phase of your training is getting ready for that check ride. At this point, you’ve learned about all of the flight proficiency areas, and you have experience in them all.

All that is left to do is practice taking the test. On check ride day, nothing is new. You will have practiced everything with your flight instructor several times, so the check ride is a piece of cake.

What Tests Do you Have to Pass to Get your Private Pilot Certificate?

In total, you must pass three FAA exams to get your private pilot license, though two of those are combined into one event.

Written Exam

The first exam you must pass is commonly called the written exam, but the FAA regulations refer to it as the “aeronautical knowledge exam.” This is where all your ground school knowledge and classes pay off. You must get 70 percent or more of the questions correct. The test is a multiple-choice exam with 60 questions, and you are given 150 minutes to take the test.

The written exam is given at FAA-designated proctored testing centers. You can find them listed on the FAA’s website. You’ll also find sample exams and information about the tests there. Taking the time to effectively prepare for your written exams is key to passing on the first attempt.

To take the knowledge exam, you must have the endorsement of the flight or ground instructor who prepared you for the exam. After the exam is over, you need to sit down with your instructor to review the knowledge areas you missed. You’ll likely be asked about them later on.

The written exam results are good for 24 months. So you must take your check ride to get your license within two years, or else you’ll have to repeat the written exam.

Private pilot taking off in his airplane

Practical Exam or Check Ride

Once you have completed your training and your flight instructor has found that you’re ready for the check ride, they will endorse your logbook and call an examiner. The “check ride” is known in FAA circles as the practical pilot exam, and it consists of two parts. First, you must pass an oral examination, then you move on to the airplane and show them how well you can fly.

FAA employees give some FAA practical exams, but this is rare. More often than not, check rides are given by DPEs, or Designated Pilot Examiners. These are individuals from the aviation community with decades of flying experience who have earned the privilege to give check rides.

The items you are tested on are outlined thoroughly in the Airman Certification Standards (ACS). This document is used by your flight instructor to get you ready and your examiner on check ride day. It lays out the knowledge you need to have, the maneuvers you need to perform, and the completion standards. There are no surprises on check ride day since everyone is using the same book.

What Are The Restrictions on a Private Pilot?

The private pilot certificate has many privileges for those who have earned one. There are no limits on where or when they can fly. In essence, they can hop in a plane and depart on a trip across the country with no further training. They can operate at any public airport, regardless of size, and in almost every type of airspace.

But there are some significant limitations and restrictions to understand. The first restrictions involve the word “private.” Private pilots fly for themselves; they are not professional pilots, and they cannot be paid for their flying or to take people flying.

Pilot preflighting his plane

Secondly, private pilots are limited to flying in VFR (visual flight rules) conditions, which means they can only fly in good weather. They cannot go inside of clouds, and if the visibility is low, they must stay on the ground. VFR flying requires being able to see outside, to see visual references and landmarks. If you want to fly in low visibility, you need to get an instrument rating.

Common Questions About a Private Pilot License

What is the Difference Between a Private Pilot and a Sport Pilot?

The sport pilot certificate was created to provide a less expensive option for those looking to fly. It’s a great place to start, but it has some limitations. Sport pilots are not allowed to fly at night or to fly on long cross countries. They are also limited to slow-flying, low-powered, two-seat aircraft.

There are many neat Light-Sport Aircraft, and getting the license is faster and cheaper than getting a private license. But sport pilots are generally folks who fly for fun around their home airports. If you’re looking to fly four-seater planes (or bigger), or you want to head out on long cross-country flights, then the private pilot certificate is the one for you. Also, if you’d eventually like to get an instrument rating or commercial license, you should start with the private.

Can I Get a Job With a Private Pilot License?

You can get any job you want with a private pilot license, but you cannot get paid for your services as a pilot. To be a professional, paid pilot, you must possess a commercial pilot certificate.

There are certain times when a pilot certificate comes in handy in other professions, however. If you’re a business person and have a meeting in another town, why not rent a plane and fly? If your company reimburses you for driving your car, you can get reimbursed for flying too.

What Comes After a Private Pilot License?

Private pilots are free to rent or buy aircraft and fly as much as they like. If they want to fly different aircraft types, they always need more training before they’re allowed to fly them solo. Some training requirements are spelled out in the Federal Aviation Regulations, while others are required by insurance companies and FBOs.

Plane on the ramp at night

Should you want to continue with flight school, the next big stepping stone is the instrument rating. This is an add-on to your private pilot certificate that allows you to operate on an IFR flight plan, like the airlines do, and to operate in weather that is less than those allowed under VFR, which you must adhere to as a private pilot.

The instrument rating course is of similar cost and scope as the private pilot course. There is a written exam and an FAA check ride you must train for.

You learn how to handle the plane solely by reference to the instruments in every possible situation, and you learn to navigate safely in the National Airspace System from the moment your wheels leave the runway until the moment they touch down, all without looking out the window.

How Far Can a Private Pilot Fly?

There is no limit on how far you can fly, other than your plane’s endurance and range limits.

Even then, you just need to stop somewhere and fill up! If you are renting a plane, you have to pay for the time you have it, and that usually rules out flying around the world.

The FAA private license is recognized by ICAO and other nations, meaning that you can operate an aircraft with the same or similar rules as what you are used to in most places.

Can Private Pilots Fly at Night?

A private pilot can fly at night in the United States. Many other countries, however, require an instrument rating to fly after sunset.

You complete at least three hours of night flying to get your license, including a cross country flight. Flying at night is an incredible experience, but it’s essential to keep up your night-flying skills.

After dark, all pilots must have made three takeoffs and three full-stop landings in the last 90 days to carry passengers.

Envoy Air is a U.S Regional airline founded in 1984 as American Eagle. It was a collection of regional airlines that carried the American Eagle brand name.

In 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group. Envoy travels to over 150 cities in North America.  Envoy currently has over 2,500 pilots working for them and 185 airplanes.

Where are PSA Airlines Hubs?

  • Charlotte, NC – CLT
  • Dayton, OH – DAY
  • Arlington, VA – DCA
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Knoxville, TN – TYS
  • Norfolk, VA – ORF

What airplanes are in the PSA Airlines Fleet?

  • Bombardier CRJ200
  • Bombardier CRJ700
  • Bombardier CRJ900

What are the Hiring Requirements for PSA Airlines Pilots?

For PSA Airlines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

American Airlines Pilot Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates
American Eagle Aircraft operated by Envoy

PSA Airlines Pilots Salary

PSA Airlines pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 75 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

PSA Airlines First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $35,100
  • Year 5: $36,000
  • Year 9: $36,000

PSA Airlines Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $58,500
  • Year 5: $67,500
  • Year 15: $81,900

See more pilot salaries by airline.

How Do I Apply for an PSA Airlines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the PSA Airlines jobs website and create a profile. After creating a profile, find which open position in which you’d like to apply. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview.

UPS is a U.S Cargo airline that was founded in 1988, in Louisville, KY.  Currently, UPS has close to 3,000 pilots working for them.

In 2019, UPS made $61 billion in revenue delivering close to 5.5 billion packages.  UPS delivers about 22 million packages per day to over 200 countries.

Where are UPS Hubs?

  • Anchorage, AK – ANC
  • Miami, FL – MIA
  • San Bernardino, CA – ONT
  • Columbia, SC – CAE
  • Chicago-Rockford, IL – RFD
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Hong Kong, China – HKG
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – KUL
  • Shanghai-Pudong, China – PVG
  • Shenzhen, China – SZX
  • Cologne Bonn, Germany – CGN
  • East Midlands, England – EMA
  • Hamilton, Canada – YHM

What airplanes are in the UPS Fleet?

  • Airbus A300-F4
  • Boeing 747-100
  • Boeing 747-200
  • Boeing 747-400
  • Boeing 747-800
  • Boeing 747-SR
  • Boeing 757-200
  • Boeing 767-300
  • McDonnell MD-11

What are the Hiring Requirements for UPS Pilots?

For UPS pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There are the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

UPS Pilot Job Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university
  • Recent and type of experience will be considered; for example, preference given to candidates with demonstrated flight experience in transport category aircraft within the last 12 months from date of application.
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours Pilot in Command (PIC) hours in fixed-wing jet and/or fixed-wing multi-engine turboprop per 14 CFR 1.1 (UPS will allow military candidates to add a plus (.3) per sortie factor to flight time.)

UPS Pilots Salary

Just like the passenger airlines, UPS pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 81 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

UPS First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 5: $200,000
  • Year 9: $235,000

UPS Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 5: $312,000
  • Year 15: $329,000

Discover how much pilots make for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for a UPS Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the UPS jobs website. At the time of writing, UPS doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but you can sign up for alerts to find out when they start hiring again.

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All too often, students look at the private pilot license as a stepping stone to other things. But the private is a powerful certificate that grants amazing privileges to its holder. What can you do with a private pilot license? Maybe a better question is, what can’t you do with it!

Every flight instructor reading this is obligated now to point out that there are limitations on the private license, including that you cannot get paid for your flying. But there are lots of exceptions to even that!

What can you do with a private pilot license? Here are ten examples to get you started.

1. Take Family & Friends Flying

Once you’ve gotten your license, one of the most fun things you can do is share flying with the people who are closest to you. They’ve all heard how much you love flying and how much you’ve learned from your flying lessons. So show them what it’s all about!

Private pilots are allowed to carry passengers, just not for hire. Interestingly enough, private pilots can split the costs of a flight with friends and family.

That means if you have a group who wants to fly with you, they can help you pay for it all. The FAA uses the term “pro-rata share;” you must pay for your part of the flight.

If you have one other person, then you can divide the costs in half. If there are four of you, you must pay for a quarter. Costs can include rental fees, fuel, and whatever other costs are associated with the actual flight.

Many pilots learn to fly in two-seat aircraft, limiting the number of passengers you can carry with you. But there’s no limit on the type of plane a private pilot can fly as long as they meet the ratings on your license.

If you are rated to fly single-engine land airplanes, you can fly any of them, so long as they are less than 12,500 pounds and not turbine powered.

If you’ve never flown a four or six-seater, the first step is to find one for rent. Upgrading to a four-seat Cessna or Piper is easy, and they fly very similar to the smaller varieties. Before you can rent it, the FBO will require a check-out with their instructor to familiarize you with the plane. It’s not a test or anything–it’s just a quick and easy flight lesson.

Six-seaters are usually high-performance airplanes, which will require more training. Likewise, “complex planes,” with flaps, adjustable propellers, and retractable landing gear, will require additional training.

Plane on the ramp at night

2. Fly at Night

Your training included a few hours of night flight, and you’re allowed to fly anytime you like.

Night flights are a lot of fun since they provide a beautiful view of the world from above, especially over cities. Airports are neat at night, too.

3. Check Out a Fly-In or Aviation Festival

Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Lakeland, Florida, host the first and second-largest fly-ins in the world, respectively. EAA Airventure in Oshkosh is a colossal aviation festival.

Hundreds of airplanes converge on the town every year in late July. Sun-n-Fun is its southern cousin, and nearly as big. It takes place in Lakeland, near Orlando, every April.

Both events are part fly-in, part industry trade show, and part airshow.

You’ll see planes from all different areas of aviation and meet pilots from all over the world. There are seminars to learn new skills and plenty of pilot toys to check out.

Flying into these events takes a little planning. There are always special traffic procedures to handle the astonishing amount of aircraft that converge on these airports.

At Lakeland, for example, they divide up both the main runway and its parallel taxiway into thirds, creating six separate landing areas and touchdown points. It can be intense, but with a little planning, it’s worth the trouble.

There are also many regional aviation meet-ups and fly-ins all over the country. Find the local place to fly-in for weekend breakfasts or barbecues.

Another option is an aerobatic competition, which is also a lot of fun if you can find them in your area.

4. Learn a New Skill

One thing that keeps aviation interesting is that there’s always something new to learn.

The private license is just the first step you take. You might buy a Cessna and fly for fun for the rest of your aviation career, but that doesn’t stop you from trying new things and expanding your skills.

A few of the things you can try out are aerobatics, flying a taildragger, or mountain flying. These are all skills that your license allows you to do, but they generally aren’t covered in your training.

All you have to do is find a flight instructor who is an expert and get a few hours of dual instructor. Taildraggers; high-performance planes with more than 200-horsepower; and complex planes with flaps, retractable landing gear, and constant-speed propellers require an instructor endorsement.

And, of course, many pilots love honing their skills enough to pursue other ratings. The instrument rating takes your flying to the next level by teaching you how to fly like the professionals.

It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a big challenge, but your flying skills will improve ten-fold.

5. Take a Business Trip

Your certificate allows for you to fly in the furtherance of business. That means that if you travel for work, you can rent or buy a plane to do that traveling in.

Just like your business can reimburse you for fuel and automobile operating expenses, so too can they reimburse you for plane expenses.

If you travel by car for work, flying can make a lot of sense. It saves you time compared to driving, and it can get you to nearly anywhere you need to go.

Use your private pilot license to take a business trip

Look at all of the general aviation airports that serve the communities in which you work. Many FBOs have courtesy cars or access to rental cars.

6. Fly for a Charity

You’re allowed to donate your time to charity flying with a private certificate.

Examples of the most popular charities involve providing flights to people who need distant medical care or helping move rescue pets to their forever homes.

There are also environmental charities conducting survey flights or taking scientists aloft, or taking passengers who have always dreamed of flying on trips.

Flying Magazine has compiled a great list of many aviation charities. The choice of charities varies depending on your region of the country.

7. Take Your Date Night to New Heights

Want to impress a special someone? Try a romantic flight! It can be a simple trip around the pattern if they’re nervous or as involved as a weekend trip to the mountains or beach.

The $100 Hamburger trip for a romantic dinner after a cross country is a date never to be forgotten, and it doesn’t have to be a hamburger.

8. Fly Internationally

There aren’t any substantial limits on traveling with your private license; you can fly all over the world.

If you’re on a trip and you’d like to go flying, it may be as simple as heading to the nearest GA airport and going up with an instructor.

Depending on the country and their requirements, you may even be able to rent a plane and go up alone.

If you want to stick closer to home, check out some closer borders you can legally cross. Canada, Mexico, and The Bahamas all make outstanding aviation destinations. Flying internationally requires a little bit of studying to make sure you understand your destination’s rules and regulations.

There are always little differences to brush up on. If you’re renting a plane, an instructor will help you with a check-out flight. If you’re on your own, call AOPA or the country in question’s aviation department.

Of course, once you put home behind you, you might not want to stop anytime soon. How about South America, the Caribbean, or maybe Europe? Many pilots dream of flying around the world in a general aviation airplane. What an adventure!

There are plenty of blogs and stories to check out from pilots who have done it. Joining the “Earthrounder” club is truly a bucket list dream.

9. Go Traveling and Sightseeing

You don’t have to leave home to see some cool stuff. The United States has one of the most varied landscapes of any nation.

From sea to shining sea, America is made for flying. An aerial tour of the country is a great way to see a lot and to see it in a way that many people would only ever dream of.

Private pilots can fly nearly anywhere. For most of the country, VFR flying requires no notice and no approvals. Just hop in your plane and go!

Remember, if you are a flat-lander traveling to the mountains, it’s a good idea to look into getting a mountain check-out flight from a knowledgeable certified flight instructor.

Even if you don’t want to go far, there are many places to see from the air closer to home.

10. Share Your Passion for Aviation With Others

You already know that you can take folks flying, but there are other ways to share your passion.

The FAA Ground Instructor certificate is a great way to get into mentoring and teaching. The certificate requires nothing more than a few written exams.

After a little bit of studying and passing those tests, you get your license and teach ground school classes. It’s an easy first step towards becoming a flight instructor, and it puts you ahead of the game if you ever wanted to get your commercial.

Air Wisconsin is a U.S regional airline that was originally founded in 1965 as its own company.

Now however, Air Wisconsin operates on behalf of United Airlines and United Express.  Air Wisconsin travels to over 70 cities in North America.  There are currently almost 600 pilots working for Air Wisconsin.

Where are Air Wisconsin Hubs?

  • Dulles, VA – IAD
  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Milwaukee, WI – MKE

What airplanes are in the Air Wisconsin Fleet?

  • Bombardier CRJ200

What are the Hiring Requirements for Air Wisconsin Pilots?

For Air Wisconsin pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time
Air Wisconsin pilot

Air Wisconsin Pilot Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates

Air Wisconsin Pilot Salary

 Air Wisconsin pilot’s pay will vary based on the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 75 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Air Wisconsin First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $37,000
  • Year 5: $49,000
  • Year 8: $53,000

Air Wisconsin Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $71,000
  • Year 5: $81,000
  • Year 12: $100,000

Discover how much pilots earn for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for an Air Wisconsin Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Air Wisconsin website. At the time of writing, Air Wisconsin doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but you can sign up for alerts to find out when they start hiring pilots again.

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Delta Air Lines is a global commercial airline. Nearly 200 million passengers fly to over 300 destinations in 50 countries. Currently, Delta has over 13,000 pilots. Read on to learn how much you could earn on a Delta Air Lines pilot salary.

Where are Delta’s Bases?

  • Atlanta, GA – ATL (World’s largest airline hub)
  • Boston, MA – BOS
  • Detroit, MI – DTW
  • Los Angeles, CA – LAX
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN – MSP
  • Queens, NY – JFK
  • Salt Lake City, UT – SLC
  • Seattle, WA – SEA
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands – AMS
  • London-Heathrow, United Kingdom – LHR
  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France – CDG
  • Seoul, South Korea – ICN
  • Mexico City, Mexico – MEX
  • Tokyo, Japan – HND

What airplanes are in the Delta Air Lines Fleet?

  • Airbus A221
  • Airbus A223
  • Airbus A319
  • Airbus A320
  • Airbus A321
  • Airbus A332
  • Airbus A333
  • Airbus A339
  • Airbus A350
  • Boeing 717
  • Boeing 738
  • Boeing 739ER
  • Boeing 752
  • Boeing 753
  • Boeing 757-200 VIP
  • Boeing 763ER
  • Boeing 764ER
Delta Air Lines Planes on the ground

What are the Hiring Requirements for Delta Pilots?

For Delta Air Lines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

Delta Air Lines Pilot Job Requirements:

  • At least 23 years of age
  • Graduate of a four-year degree program from a college or university accredited by a U.S. Dept. of Education recognized accrediting organization
    • Degrees obtained from a non-U.S. institution must be evaluated for equivalency to U.S. degrees by a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
  • Current passport or other travel documents enabling the bearer to freely exit and re-enter the U.S. (multiple reentry status) and be legally eligible to work in the U.S. (possess proper working documents)
  • Minimum of 1,500 hours of total documented flight time
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours of fixed wing turbine time (airplane and powered lift combined)
  • Minimum of 250 hours PIC or SIC as defined in 14 CFR §61.159(a)(5) in an airplane category
  • Minimum of 50 hours of multi-engine airplane time
  • TSA required fingerprint based Criminal History Records Check and a Delta background check
Delta Plane being towed

Delta Air Lines Pilot Salary

Delta’s pilots pay will vary heavily based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 74 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given this, the salary below is only a rough estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Delta Air Lines First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $92,000
  • Year 5: $166,000
  • Year 8: $187,000

Delta Air Lines Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $251,000
  • Year 5: $260,000
  • Year 12: $274,000

Discover how much pilots earn for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for a Delta Air Lines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Air Delta Air Lines website. At the time of writing, Delta doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but check back often to see when they start hiring pilots again.

You’ve reached the end of your training and are getting ready to interview for your first position with an airline.

In order to do this, you need to make sure your resume is top notch. A resume plays a big part in first impressions.

To help increase your hiring chances as much as possible, here are 5 tips to help you prepare a resume as a professional pilot.

Find a good template

Templates are a great way to show you the order in which information should be displayed and formatted. There are plenty of excellent templates you can find online to help make the writing process easier for you. You can also check out the template we, here at Thrust Flight, provide our students.

Pilot resume

Appearance matters

When handing in your resume at an interview, make sure your resume is clean and unwrinkled. The appearance of your resume plays a big part in showing how professional you are in the industry.

If you have a separate page for references, make sure the paper, font, and size are all consistent between the documents.

Also, keep your resume in something that will protect it such as a folder, binder, or anything else you can acquire that will refrain it from being ruined.

Keep it professional

When writing out your experiences, make sure to stick strictly to “adult” job experience.

You have one piece of paper to convince the recruiter you’re the best person for the job, so make sure you’re using the experiences that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Show your relevant training

Your resume is the piece of paper you use to brag about yourself such as, any specific simulator training you’ve conducted, any degrees you’ve gotten (aviation related or not) and all your other flight training experience.

Show off something they wouldn’t know such as your mountain experience, spin training or declaring emergencies. These things make a great talking point during the interview. However, be sure to tailor the experience you’ve received to the job you’re applying for.

Prepare a resume for your next aviation job

Keep it short and simple

Lastly, find a way to keep your resume at 1 page!

Recruiters have to go through hundreds and hundreds of resumes, and they likely won’t even bother reading yours if it’s 5 pages long.

Some suggestions to keeping it short would be to only put relevant information and organize it in a clean way by using:

  • 10-12 point font
  • Arial or Times New Roman font
  • Adjust your margins as needed

Conclusion

These are just some tips you can use to help you write your professional pilot resume. 

You can play with different styles as long as it is one page, simple, and highlights your experience. 

You want to ensure your resume is predictive, meaning the recruiters don’t have to hunt for information.

 Make sure you are updating it at least once a month and update it right before an interview.