Flying the Line

How Much Money Can Airline Pilots Really Earn?

How Much Money Can Airline Pilots Really Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for airline pilots and copilots is $117,290. The bottom 10 percent earned under $60,770, while the top 10 percent earned more than $187,200.

Graduates of ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program are flying for virtually every airline in the United States, as well as for airlines well beyond our borders. These graduates form an alumni group that we enjoy staying in touch with. One ATP graduate that we always look forward to hearing from is Chris Carey who flies for United Airlines. Chris has sent us several very interesting articles, and I would like to share his latest with you about how much an airline pilot can earn in his or her career, a confusing but important subject for people interested in becoming a professional pilot:
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Cross-Country Experience and Line Pilot Success

Courtney Dennis is a First Officer flying for ExpressJet Airlines, but she began her flying career at ATP where she did all of her flight training. Once she had earned the ratings necessary for her to start flying professionally, she became an instructor for ATP. After instructing for a year in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program, Courtney completed jet transition training in ATP’s Regional Jet Program and went to work for ExpressJet. She wrote to us recently about a big problem facing the airlines today, and I want to share it with you:
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Surviving Your First Year Flying for the Airlines – Part One

There are pilots flying in every part of commercial aviation who have been trained by ATP. These pilots form an alumni group and typically remain in touch with each other and with those of us who have helped them achieve their flying careers. Justin Kaiser is one of those pilots. Justin trained at ATP, went on to instruct for ATP, began flying for Mesa Airlines and has come back to ATP to instruct in the Regional Jet Program.
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Flying the Line: JetBlue

Chris King came to ATP in November of 2007 to begin training in our Jacksonville Florida Training Center. He had his Private Pilots License when he arrived so it only took about three months of training before he was ready and qualified to begin instructing at ATP JAX. Chris did an outstanding job for ATP and his students and it wasn’t long before he was ready to take the Regional Jet Program, where I happened to be his instructor. Chris did very well in the Program and was soon off to fly for American Eagle based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The rest is his story:
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Flying the Line: Longtail Aviation

Abe Godfrey arrived at our Trenton, New Jersey Flight Training Center (KTTN) in October of 2009 to begin training in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program. Seven months later Abe had earned all of his ratings, including his instructor ratings, and became an instructor for ATP teaching students in the Airline Career Pilot Program in Trenton where he had been a student. After building flight experience instructing at ATP, Abe took part in the Regional Jet Certification Program in Jacksonville, Florida and headed for the airlines. The rest is his story.
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Flying the Line: Surf Air

Doyle Tonneson began flight training with ATP at our Bowling Green Kentucky Flight Training Center in July of 2013. Doyle already had his Private Pilots License so he moved quickly through his training, acquiring his Instrument and Multi-engine ratings as well as his Commercial Certificates. At that point Doyle decided that he would take advantage of an opportunity that he had to fly a Cirrus SR22 to gain flight experience as well as make a living. Doyle then accepted a job flying a Pilatus for Boutique Air before going to Surf Air to do the same. We contacted Doyle and asked him to tell us about his career, and one alternative to flight instructing to build flight experience.
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