Wilbur Wright, one of the Wright brothers who are one of the pioneers in the aviation field once said that “It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.”
With this in mind, it’s only expected that aspiring pilots acquire proper training from a legitimate aviation academy. This will ensure that they’re well-equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills before ever flying their first aircraft commercially.
Choosing Among the Best Pilot Schools
When it comes to picking aviation schools, there are a lot of choices out there. But it’s not enough to have a good deal of options, you have to know what school best to pick depending on your budget and what you want to specialize in. Here are our top picks for you to choose from:
Purdue School of Aviation and Technology
Purdue University was founded by John Purdue in 1869 and is located at West Lafayette, Indiana. It has a total of 10 colleges and schools which offers at least 200 undergraduate programs and 69 masters and doctorate programs.
It’s known for being the “cradle of astronauts” as well as being the alma mater of Neil Armstrong. He made history by being the first ever human to reach the moon together with the Apollo 11 crew.
Purdue School of Aviation and Technology offers seven majors in bachelor’s degree which are:
- Aeronautical Engineering Technology
- Aerospace Financial Analysis
- Airline Management and Operations
- Airport Management Operations
- Aviation Management
- Professional Flight and Unmanned Aerial Systems.
The best thing about choosing Purdue is that they offer a well-rounded curriculum. This means you have a wide range of aviation specialization to choose from. The only caveat? Tuition fee can cost anywhere from $10,000 for residents and $28,000 for non-residents.
It’s also important to note that there are flight fees involved which will depend on the aircraft you’ll be using for flight exercises.
University of North Dakota’s Department of Aviation
University of North Dakota (UND) is a public institution founded in 1883 by Dakota Territorial Assembly. It offers more than 200 programs inclusive of undergraduate and graduate programs in various areas.
UND is located at Grand Forks city on the eastern edge of the state—a few miles from the Minnesota border. The university is remarkably performing well as it ranked 192nd in this year’s edition of Best Colleges is National Universities.
Its Department of Aviation at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences offers two aviation degree programs with a total of seven majors which are:
- Airport Management
- Aviation Management
- Air Traffic Control
- Aviation Technology Management
- Commercial Aviation and Flight Education
The above specializations are under their undergraduate program. They also offer Masters of Science in Aviation and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences for graduate programs.
The UND Aviation Department has a considerable number of aircraft such as airplanes, unmanned aerial systems, and helicopters they use for flight exercises.
Compared to other universities offering aviation programs, UND’s tuition fee is relatively lower. Its in-state tuition and other fees add up to just $9,800 while its out-of-state tuition and fees only amount to a total of $21,600.
However, the cost of aviation classes isn’t yet included in the tuition fee and it depends on your program.
For its other programs, their tuition fee ranges around $5,200 for the BS in Administration Airport Management specialization. While for a BS in Aeronautics, expect it to cost over $94,500.
UND offers scholarships and financial aid assistance for those that need help with their tuition. Students can apply as long as they would meet the requirements.
Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies
Ohio State University (OSU) is situated in Columbus, Ohio. The aviation programs in this university are under the College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies. Its department is considered one of the best colleges in the world in terms of providing aviation education to its students.
This university offers both graduate and undergraduate aviation programs. The College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies offers aviation programs such as BS in Aviation, BS Business Administration in Aviation Management and the like.
Students taking any degree may opt to specialize in aviation which gives him or her advantage in earning a commercial pilot’s certificate. The student then may continue acquiring a pilot license before graduation.
Fortunately, the university offers scholarships and financial aid assistance to qualified students. The equipment used by the university during pilot training is Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
This university is famous for being referred to as the “Harvard of Skies.” The university has three campuses which are found in Daytona Beach, Florida Prescott, Arizona, and ERAU Worldwide & Worldwide Online.
ERAU Worldwide & Worldwide Online offers online programs that have reached over 170 satellite locations across the globe for students. This aviation university offers a recognizable range of degree and non-degree programs for both undergraduates and graduates in the aviation and aerospace department.
Students may choose from 35 undergraduate and graduate programs like aviation business administration, aviation maintenance, and professional aeronautics for a bachelor’s degree. For a master’s degree, they offer technical management, space education, logistics, and supply chain management.
The university’s curriculum provides students with up-to-date knowledge and skills with the improved technology of today. Flight training in different programs is executed by leading experts from different parts of the world with the aid of advanced aircraft technology.
Western Michigan University – College of Aviation
West Michigan University (WMU) is one of the recognized public universities in the United States. Its College of Aviation offers well-rounded and intensive programs especially in Aviation Flight Science, Aviation Management & Operations or Aviation Maintenance Technician.
The equipment used in pilot training is 26 Cirrus SR20 aircraft, two Piper Arrows, six Piper Seminoles, an American Champion Super Decathlon, two Cessna 150 aircraft, a Piper Super Cub, and a Level 5 CRJ – 200 flight training device.
The tuition fee in this university will cost you $10,000 if you are a resident to $24,000 if you are a non-resident. However, you are entitled to a reduced tuition fee rate if you are residing in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Flying an Aircraft: How to Become a Pilot?
Aircraft technology has been the subject of discourse nowadays due to several advancements in the field of technology involved in flying an aircraft.
However, things do not usually go as it was planned that is why pilots are trained to handle any problem that the airplane might encounter throughout the trip.
So what does it take to become a pilot? It takes more than commitment as it requires necessary flight experience to be capable of deciding what to do in cases of unexpected circumstances. Some examples are turbulences and experiencing bad weather conditions.
Thus, pilots are well-equipped with knowledge and skills to operate aerial vehicles to be able to perform their duty. Responsibilities include transporting passengers from one place to another before working for an airline company.
So, the following are a few steps that you can follow if you are interested and determined to pursue this career. If you want to know, here’s how to become a pilot:
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The first thing to keep in mind is that a well-rounded education is a good foundation if you are aiming to be a pilot. Some airlines do not usually require a bachelor’s degree especially if it is only a regional airline, so a two-year degree program can be simply taken.
However, if you desire to be a pilot of huge jets and airplanes you’ll need to take a four-year degree or bachelor’s degree which. This can be in any major and not aviation related.
Enrolling in an aviation school might be expensive but some offer scholarship programs and financial aid assistance to qualified applicants. This is meant to help lessen the cost of tuition and flight costs.
In addition to that, becoming part of an aviation or aeronautics school is an advantage because it can be a way to help you gain information and skills. There are a number of universities that provide up-to-date technology and equipment which can equip students with good quality of learning and training.
Thus, getting a bachelor’s degree in an aviation school would be a good idea to start up your career. This is especially a good option if you’re planning to work in huge airline companies and be one of the commercial airline pilots.
On the other hand, a military aviation career may be an option for you if money is an issue since it covers the cost of the training. The thing is, you have to render military service for ten years in exchange for the cost of the training covered.
If you’re interested in becoming a military pilot, prepare yourself for strict physical and mental qualifications. An advantage of being a military pilot is that the experience itself exposes you to diverse situations which will give you an edge among other aspiring pilots from different aviation schools.
Other advantages include financial benefits and you can enjoy traveling the world while gaining flight experience from various situations. Once the ten-year military service is complete, you can prepare yourself for the next step in becoming a pilot.
Acquire the necessary number of flight hours
Aspiring pilots need to have a certain number of flight training hours to be able to get their license. You must have at least 1,500 total times of flight to obtain an airline transport certificate.
Training is usually provided by a flying school so that you can have at least 40 hours of instrument flying experience in-air and also through simulation.
The ratings from the instrument flying experience are essential in getting a license since it determines the ability of a pilot in situations of low visibility. You can also consider being part of the military which can give you an edge over other aspiring pilots when applying for a job.
But do note that military pilots require physical and mental strength. This is to provide them with more substantial experiences that may cause airlines to hire them.
Get a pilot’s license
Obtaining a license requires a certain number of flight hours to be completed. In particular, commercial pilots obtain their license by having an additional 250 hours of flight from the required 1,500 hours that is needed in getting an airline transport certificate.
Aside from that, you must be able to pass a written exam and showcase your skills and ability to fly an aerial vehicle and also to get a good rating in the instrument flying exam.
You’re also expected to pass physical examinations that would determine their capability to fly a plane. A physical exam that includes an eye exam to determine if they have a legitimate 20/20 vision, hearing check-up and general physical capability monitoring is done to ensure that pilots maintain their good health.
Obtain more flight experiences as a professional
Chosen applicants are recommended to undergo 6 to 8 weeks of flight training with at least 25 hours of flight time. This additional training serves as revenue for newly hired pilots to familiarize themselves with the airline company’s rules and regulations and to gain more flight experience under the supervision of the airline company that hired them.
Lastly, pilots must strive harder to be worthy of an air transport pilot’s license. An air transport pilot’s license holder indicates that the pilot has a considerable amount of cross-country flights, night flights, and instrument flights.
However, a pilot must first pass written and practical examinations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be issued an air transport pilot’s license.
Pilots may choose to join a professional pilot association to stay updated about the latest changes and upgrades in the industry. They can also participate in aircraft safety training and webinars through their membership.
Joining professional associations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (IFALPA). These are beneficial for pilots who may want to excel in their field as these associations may help them.
Qualifications to Become a Pilot
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set qualifications for aspiring pilots to work in an airline company. It is also important to note that these qualifications listed below are not only attainable when you enter an aviation school.
Some may also be acquired through the help of the military aviation program. In addition to that, pilots must also secure an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
- Be at least 23 years old
- A commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating holder
- Have recorded at least 1,500 hours total time as a pilot
- Have recorded at least 50 hours in a multi-engine airplane
Pilot training is composed of different modules designed to teach you different skills. Student pilots are trained in six specific maneuvers: ground reference maneuvers, performance maneuvers, takeoffs and landings, stalls and stall recovery, emergencies, and flight planning navigation.
In takeoffs, student pilots learn how to perform three kinds which are crosswind takeoffs, soft field takeoffs, and short field takeoffs. They also learn how to land on two kinds of surfaces: short runways and soft, grass fields.
In-ground reference maneuvers, student pilots are taught how to execute turns around a point, rectangular course and s-turns. This is useful to combat the effect of wind so that the desired flight path will be maintained.
For emergency cases, pilots must be prepared for emergency landings. Lastly, pilots must be able to plan their flights accordingly especially if it’s a cross-country flight.
Pilot salary varies according to their airline company but their experience in the industry might also be another factor that might affect their pay rate. Experienced pilots are usually paid much higher compared to starting pilots.
In general, pilots can be paid for as low as $80,000 to $150,000 annually. Commercial airline pilots are generally paid from a range of $110,000 to $150,000 annually while pilots or large jets are commonly paid for $120,000 annually.
On the other note, pilots of small jets are generally compensated with $100,000 annually while non-jet aircraft pilots are paid lesser with an average of $80,000 dollars annually. These values are presented may still vary depending upon the airline company’s system.