The Ideal Plan

I have a goal to fly that is burning in me stronger than any goal I have had before. While I am stuck until I can secure financing for training, all I can do is absorb information, dream, and plan. I have thought about what my ideal career path would look like. I have even mapped out expected monthly/yearly earnings, loan payments, expected expenses, and how all the numbers work out until 2045 (Part 121 Retirement).

The Ideal Plan

  • November 2016 – Start accelerated flight training at ATP in Arlington, Texas as a full-time student.
  • April 2017 – Finish training with my Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Single and Multi-Engine Rating, Certified Flight Instructor w/ Instrument, and Multi Engine Instructor.
  • April/May 2017 – Enroll in Envoy’s Cadet Program and be placed at a Flight School to instruct. I wouldn’t mind instructing for US Aviation Academy or American Flyers, as both are in the DFW area. While being paid for instructing, gaining flight hours, I would also be receiving a total of $5,000 for tuition reimbursement from Envoy.
  • October 2018 – Have my 1,500 hours, if not sooner, and start First Officer training at Envoy and receive a $10,000 tuition reimbursement.
  • 2022 – Upgrade to Captain with Envoy, which would almost double the salary as a First Officer.
  • 2026 – Flow to American Airlines as a First Officer in one of their smaller aircraft (MD80/B737). First year pay is about the same as Capitan pay from Envoy. Second year pay jumps to about $100,000/yr.
  • 2027 Pay off Student Loan for flight training. This is with the help of tuition reimbursement and making regular minimum payments.
  • 2029 – Move to a larger plane (B787) at American Airlines as a First Officer, which would result in about $160,000/yr.
  • 2032 – Upgrade to Captain, but move back to the smaller aircraft (MD80/B737). In 16 years, I would have gone from bouncing around jobs making about $50,000/yr to making almost $200,000 year.
  • 2036 – Move to the larger planes (B787) as a Captain. I would finish out my Part 121 career making about $250,000/yr.
  • March 2045 – At 65 years old, I would retire from Part 121 Operations. I may continue to still fly as a Flight Instructor, Corporate, or Charter Pilot.


ATP Flight School – I want to make the transition as quickly as possible. Even with the high cost of training, based on my calculations, I lose more money, in the long run, taking a cheaper, slower training route. By using ATP, I would have all my ratings in 6-months and being able start making money as a flight instructor.

Envoy – With so many regionals to choose from, I like Envoy for a few reasons. One, They are Headquartered in DFW area, with DFW Airport as a base. The potential for not commuting to work, would be very beneficial for family life. Two, the cadet program would offer $15,000 in tuition reimbursement and improved hiring process. Three, Envoy is owned by American Airlines and has flow into AA.

Which leads me to…

American Airlines – American Airlines has been the airline of choice for my family for many years. My grandmother worked and retired from American Airlines and the AA Credit Union. Again, AA is headquartered locally in DFW. With DFW Airport being a major hub, I would have more opportunities to be based locally and not have to commute.

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