What is Airline Pilot Gateway all about?
We’re not a flight school. We’re not an airline recruiter. We’re a network connecting airlines, flight schools, and students to help find the best solutions for all of our members. This informal conversation with Paula Williams and APG pilot mentor Captain David Santo explains more:
Paula Williams: So today we’re talking about making connections in the airline pilot training situation, to resolve some of the issues and to make things better in the entire industry.
David Santo: So some of the industry challenges that we’ve identified is the pilot staffing shortages. And the shortages affect many different things, including aircraft deliveries, airline schedules, and balancing out the flight school workflows. There is a huge, global pilot shortage. Almost 498,000 new airline pilots have been documented by air bus and Boeing as being needed over the next 20 years.
Where are we going to get those pilots, and how do we create the capacity even, to train that many pilots in that short of time?
Paula Williams: Right, so Dave talked a lot about the airline pilot industry challenge. Over the next ten years there are some huge projections from all of the airline manufacturers that support that.
So this is not a controversial issue anymore about whether or not there’s an airline pilot shortage. I think just about every reputable source is confirming that there are not going to be enough safe qualified pilots to fill the need in the next few years unless we change the way we do things pretty dramatically.
David Santo: And Paula, it’s there to those of our listeners that are here in the United States. When we’re talking about a pilot shortage and there is some push back for local American folks that say, we really don’t have a pilot shortage in the United States, and I would tend to agree with you.
Our pilot shortage in the United States is replacing retirements. We don’t see the explosive growth. We don’t see the explosive growth in Europe. However, where the largest percentage of this new airline pilot demand is coming from is the Pacific Rim of Asia and the Middle East. In these regions, you’re seeing an explosive growth in the middle class.
The middle class wants to be able to have all the trappings that we’ve all enjoyed. So they want to be able to fly. And with that there’s airlines starting up, they’re buying lots of airplanes, and they can’t adequately staff them. So for those of you naysayers that say, well, there isn’t really a pilot shortage in the US, I would say that there’s less of a shortage in the US, I’ll acknowledge that.
However, even for a US young man or woman that wants, or really anybody of any age who wants to become an airline pilot. There has not been a better time in my lifetime to successfully make that happen. 90 some thousand airline pilots in the United States retire over the next 20 years.
That means if you complete your flight training now, and you get hired by a US airline within the next five to six years. You stand to be in the top 15%, 20% of the airline in 20 years. That’s amazing. You think about the pay, the benefits, all of the perks that that seniority brings with it.
So yes, less of a shortage in the United States, still a huge, huge opportunity.
Paula Williams: Right, exactly, and nothing is ever unmixed, there’s always a lot of debate about wages, and a lot of debate about regional airlines and other things. We’re not going to get into that today, and those things do have legitimate issues, but we’re talking in a global sense there is a lot of demand.
And, a situation that does stand to benefit people who are in the right place at the right time.
David Santo: So some of the industry challenges that we’re seeing, there are plenty of flight schools looking for students. And yet we have a global pilot shortage. Some schools are filled beyond capacity and it’s impacting the quality of their training delivery and their consistency.
Other schools have underutilized flight instructors, underutilized airplanes and resources. We need to come together as an industry with a network, that balances out the demand and the capacity, so that we can accomplish the training requirement. I guess we’re in a good position because there’s too much work. And not enough people to supply that work, so we don’t have to be fiercely competitive.
We need to be fiercely collaborative to help meet a huge demand and we all win, including the airlines who get to staff their planes, passengers who get to enjoy those services, the flight schools that get to balance out their flow of students and grow at an acceptable, manageable pace.
And for the schools that are being overtaxed, it allows you a little bit of relief so that you can actually continue to deliver the great product that you set out to.
Paula Williams: Right, we have an interesting background on this because there was a time when my company did marketing for flight schools and flight schools would spend a lot of money on things like a Groupon promotion that would bring a lot of people in the door who were not really the best candidates for their flight school.
And, it was a constant struggle to find enough students and to find qualified students. And to really capitalize on that opportunity. But given the economics of the pilot shortage, we have stopped, the company that I work with for marketing has stopped actively marketing for flight schools because of this phenomenon.
There’s no reason that a company that is doing training for airline pilots should have to advertise for Wednesdays and Tuesdays when there is such a huge opportunity to tap into this market.
David Santo: Yeah, and Paula, and I greatly appreciate that, because it’s so important that we get this right.
People’s lives do matter, right? When we’re training airline pilots, pilots are somebody who are given the responsibility of the safe operation of large transport category airplanes filled with lots of mothers and fathers and grandparents and children and family members and we want to keep them safe. So, there is a way to collaborate so that we deliver a great product.
We don’t take any shortcuts. We help our industry and we help ourselves.
David Santo: So, in connecting the world, the Airline Pilot Gateway has created a network of providers. Whether they’re FAA or EASA, that can provide training through the private pilot Instrument, multi-engine, and commercial. We have schools that can accomplish this in time frames between 8 and 10 months.
This includes a jet MCC and Airbus and/or the Boeing type ratings. So we can do type ratings in the entry level narrow body airliners that all the airlines use. In addition the Airline Pilot Gateway includes airline focused topics training that’s hard to get from a traditional flight school.
This is something we add to the flight school’s curriculum, not in lieu of. But we as airline pilots go in and help the flight school by bringing in our airline pilot instructors to teach things like threat in air management, CRM, CFT, control flight and terrain. All of these high focus areas that have been identified by Boeing, by Airbus, by the pilot organizations and the airlines.
Our current program graduates students with 290 hours of flight experience. That includes the type rating and the MCC, so by the time we take somebody from zero time, and we graduate them from our course, they are very proficient and highly trained, ready to go into the right seat of an airliner.
Paula Williams: So a lot of students are wanting to know, where will I train? And depending on where they’re coming from, the United States is sometimes the best answer in some situations, somewhere else maybe the best answer.
David Santo: And that’s right, so the training has to fit the individual and the contract, right?
So if you are a person of interest that’s coming into the industry from, let’s say, Asia, we think that the United States is a great option. But there are training centers that we could place you in in Australia and there’s other training centers that we can place you in that are in Asia.
The United States has a key advantage in airspace and equipment and runways to help control cost. But, we can train you wherever it makes sense for you. And let me explain this, when you’re dealing with a traditional flight school, you are restricted to the brick and mortar limitations of that school.
Where the school is located, and what that school offers. With Airline Pilot Gateway creating network of schools. We are in fact opening the doors to hundreds of training locations and training centers. All quality assured and QAed, if you will, by airline pilots, vetted by airline pilots to make sure that they’re going to deliver the training that you need.
Because it’s a network, It also gives you tremendous flexibility. If a particular brick and mortar flight school were to have a shortage in twin engine time for example, then through our network, we’re going to be able to reposition you to a school that makes sure that you stay on track and on budget.
Paula Williams: We’re already reaching out to flight schools, students and airlines via a number of media and the media have really picked this up in a way that’s not surprising given the demographics and the coverage that there’s been of the airline pilot shortage. But the Money Show, Flight School Association of North America, E-Money Daily.
A lot of these I’ve been surprised by the amount of attention we’ve gotten from the economic media if you will or the financial media. And I think the reason for that is because this is a financial problem for a lot of people and having a solution to this really makes a lot of sense.
David Santo: Well and if you start to quantify, Paula, the, so lets say that the 498,000 new airline pilots over the next 20 years. And, if you just taught a kind of a conservative number to that, and of course there’s a attrition and there’s all kinds of things that you would have to take into this formula.
But lets say with room and board, everything that’s included to get somebody prepared, you’re looking at about $75,000 easily per student. So right there, you’re talking $37.35 million of revenues that this industry generates just In tuition rates. When you start adding in the aircraft acquisitions, when you start adding in the job opportunities for the instructors, you’re looking at a billion dollar-plus industry.
In fact, it’s a multibillion dollar industry. And so it makes sense that the MoneyShow and the Wall Street looks at this very carefully. The other part of that is what if we don’t do it? What happens if we don’t create a network to create these solutions? Then airplanes don’t get staffed, airplanes don’t get delivered, and that hurts the economies of the airlines, it hurts the economies of the nations where those airlines are located and it hurts the flying consumer.
It was really interesting to me, Paula, I was at a conference listening to a Boeing representative. And I thought it was very pointed when the Boeing representative said, we will not let a pilot shortage affect our ability to sell and deliver airplanes. So, either the flight schools of the world need to come up with a solution, or Boeing is going to have to take matters into their own hands.
That’s key to us, as a group, that we’ve been challenged, and we have to rise to that challenge. We have to help our industry, and there’s a lot of dollars behind those. That’s not why we do it, we do it because we love the industry and we want to help people accomplish their goals.
But it makes sense that the money behind this industry is very interested in an airline pilot gateway.
Paula Williams: Right, so one of the issues that I think individual flight schools have and this was when we were working with them as a marketing entity is that it was kind of a feast or famine situation for the flight schools.
They have a limited capacity. They have a limited number of aircraft and a limited number of instructors. And so they would have, maybe do a radio remote or something like that and draw in a really large number of prospects. But then they would only be able to accept a certain number of students at any given time.
And they won’t wait forever so they’ll go somewhere else. So the individual flights schools have an issue with dealing with the demand in a way that is not a feast or famine. Up and down, backwards and sideways, overtime to no time for their flight instructors and just making life crazy in terms of supplying the demand that they have at any given time.
So, having a network can assist with that.
David Santo: Well, absolutely. So, using a network system and a single source gateway allows us to number one, meet the demand for the airline. So the airlines if they’re looking to sponsor cadets, they need a one-stop shop, their goal is to run an airline, that’s their business.
We can provide the single source one-stop gateway to take their Ab Initio cadets and place them in the right training centers, into the right curriculums, that can lead all the way through the Airbus or Boeing type rating, which is very unique. The benefit to the flight schools is, number one, the flight schools then get to focus on their core competency, which is delivering great pilot training of which we will help augment with our airline pilot topics.
And we spread that out so that they have a better budget or a better control of their budget. So many flight schools, like you said, have had that feast or famine. The problem is you staff, you buy resources, you do all of these things to spool up, to handle the feast but when the famine comes you still have the overhead.
Right? And that overhead in a lot of cases caused the demise of some of our nation’s best flight schools. So what we want to do is create through our single source gateway a way to balance it out, balance out the workflow and make it easy for the airline to have a one-stop gateway.
They come to us, we go to hundreds.
Paula Williams: Right. Another big consideration is how long does training take? And can we accommodate the different situations that airlines have for their different training scenarios?
David Santo: Yeah, and again this is one of the things that I love about the network Airline Pilot Gateway solution.
So here on this slide you’re seeing some training timelines of different airlines and they’ve asked us to put together curriculums. The top one is more of a standard curriculum that takes about ten months to accomplish. But we’ve had airlines say we need an accelerated course because we just can’t wait ten months.
And again the nice thing about working with a network is we can go out to our flight school providers and we can accomplish very specific requirements based on using the resources of that network.
Paula Williams: That makes perfect sense. That way we’re not overtaxing any of the resources of the schools who have to go buy more twin engine aircraft, or do something expensive in order to meed a schedule.
You take that burden off of them by using other providers. And letting them do just the piece that they’re really good at.
David Santo: That’s right.
Paula Williams: Right, so another big question on the part of airlines and on the part of students is, how much will my training cost.
And there are some economies of scale that can be leveraged and also some flexibility that we can provide as a network that an individual flight school may not be able to offer.
David Santo: Well that’s right, so again by using a network, we’re able to average out the cost so it’s a better anticipated cost structure.
Working with a flight school network, we’re able to help them to increase their margins, reduce their training cost, and augment the training. So it’s a win-win for both the airline and the flight schools to collaborate in a gateway network solution.
Paula Williams: Right, in fact, here’s an example of an offer that Airline Pilot Gateway has put together using a variety of resources.
And this is a $65,000 program that takes people from their first lesson to being a first officer that is eligible to work in places that don’t have the 1,500 hour rule and that would be a lot of the pan-Asian, Asia Pacific airlines, things of that nature.
David Santo: So that’s right, so this is a really exciting offer.
Now, this takes somebody from zero time through the private pilot, the instrument the multi engine, the commercial pilot. It includes the designated examiner fees so there is no hidden costs or hidden fee structure. It includes a multi-crew coordination jet transition course and then adds either an Airbus or a Boeing type rating.
And we can offer this course, because of our network, for $65,000. Paula, when you look at some of the programs that are being offered out there, they’re ranging $100, $115, $130,000, and they don’t include the type ratings or they don’t include the MCC. This has got the whole package.
The only thing that’s not included is room and board and the great news there is we do offer room and board packages at very, very reasonable prices. But again, keep in mind if you are looking at an Ab Initio School, many of them don’t include the designated examiner fees.
Many of them have additional add-ons or hidden fees. This does not have that. This graduates a student with 290 hours, and they are ready to go through the line oriented flight training back at an airline, and ready to serve as a first officer.
Paula Williams: Right, I think it’s really important for people who are looking at the cost here to be sure that they’re comparing apples to apples.
Because we have heard of situations where there is an offer of something of this type but there are a lot of hidden fees or it’s an unrealistic price when you look at the cost of maybe remediation that may be required. They’re doing a really aggressive schedule and they’re also hiding whatever they can from that cost so that they can get the cost as low as they can.
Kinda like the super low fares when you find out that you have to pay extra for every little thing.
David Santo: Well, that’s right. What we are doing is using the buying power and the delivery power of a network solution to get you a fair price without impacting the quality.
In fact, I’m going to say that the quality of an Airline Pilot Gateway graduate is going to be better Because we’re adding in the airline pilot ingredients, the missing puzzle piece, to make sure that they are fully prepared from the beginning to be airline pilots.
Paula Williams: Absolutely, so when you talk about quality, Dave, I know this is a big deal for airlines, making sure that they are getting candidates who have come from programs that they can trust.
So I know putting together some of those audits really gives people the assurance that they need for those quality factors.
David Santo: So Paula I think this is one of the big important pieces and again you have to understand that I’m an airline pilot first and foremost. I’ve dedicated my entire life and career to being an airline pilot and honestly, on a side note, I pinch myself that I still get to fly airlines.
And I work for one of the best airlines in the world and it’s just been a blessing. It’s very dear and near to my heart that we not just produce pilots on budget, but that we produce the quality of pilot that I want to share the flight deck with and that I want to put my family on the airplane with them flying.
So to do that we’ve created an audit system where we send airline pilot auditors into the flight schools in our network and they continually maintain a look at things like the curriculum, the aircraft maintenance and quality, the staffing levels, maintenance and quality. The course-ware delivery materials that’s being used, the airport, the facility, we look at the big picture in a lot of detail to make sure do they meet the quality standards.
And if they don’t, we’re there not to be the hammer for the flight school, that’s not in anyway our intent. Our intent is to help them to obtain the highest quality standards possible. And if they can’t, or if in the time span it’s going to take to help them get up to that standard, we have the ability to move the students to one of our other network providers.
Again, I keep coming back to the success here is using a network. It’s not a brick and mortar limitation. It’s a network of quality schools being audited, being held accountable, being augmented with airline pilot resources to deliver a really high quality first officer and captain in training.
Paula Williams: Right, so the point of this program, I think, is that it really takes people from the very first lesson all the way through to their ATP if they need that or whatever they need to be a career ready airline pilot.
And there’s some really good steps at all phases of that, that meet just about every possible scenario that needs to be covered for the student, for the airline, for whomever our client is. And our clients include private students, include airlines, and include the flight schools themselves. So all of those are our clients, we consider them to be our customers.
David Santo: Well that’s right, I mean a philosophy that I was raised with is cream rises to the top. And if we put our focus on delivering a great product, which in our case our product is delivering great training, airline pilot training, on budget, on schedule, consistently every time.
And making sure that those pilots have the tools in their toolkit when they graduate to really be functional at the highest level then we will benefit from that in the long term. So this isn’t a short term gain. Airline Pilot Gateway is really there as a long term solution to a global pilot shortage.
Paula Williams: Right, another thing that we’re doing that’s probably different from every other program that I’ve heard of is providing a mentor for each candidate. And this makes a huge difference, because a lot of folks who are becoming airline pilots today didn’t have the situation and the advantages that pilots had years ago where maybe they had a family member who was a pilot.
And had that expertise and that relationship with someone that they could ask questions of and become comfortable with the whole idea. And all of the different factors that go into being a successful person in this career, which is a little bit different than just about everything else. So somebody who doesn’t know any airline pilots is kind of at a disadvantage unless they’re in a program like this where we can provide a mentor.
David Santo: Well and I’m very very proud of the airline pilot mentors piece of the Airline Pilot Gateway. So the idea, the concept here is kinda sprung from our history of working with flight schools. And my personal history is working as a training center evaluator, where I met so many men and women who are new to this industry, who have no-one to turn to, no guidance.
They don’t know anybody that’s in aviation. They don’t have anybody to ask questions of and help them to manage all the different choices and flows of information that’s coming at them. And it makes sense, right? I think I recently read something that said that less than 1% of the population of the world is an airline pilot.
So it’s a pretty small group, that’s a pretty small club. And yet there’s a lot of unknown variables and a lot of questions. And so what a mentor does is we take an airline pilot and we assign him to about 20 or so of the cadets and they have a direct relationship.
So that trainee can pick up the phone or email or text their mentor and say, hey I’m having a bad day, is this normal? Am I doing okay? Is this what my expectation should be? And what they’re going to find out is, yes, instrument training is very challenging. It was challenging for me.
Don’t worry, you’re doing fine. You’re going to get through it. And the mentor also works as the student’s advocate. So, sometimes the students don’t want to complain. They don’t want to rock the boat, right? They don’t want to say anything to the flight school that they think might have repercussions for them.
But the mentor isn’t tied to the flight school. So they can contact their mentor and they can be very open and honest and say this is happening here, the I’m not getting scheduled, I’m not getting the flying that I was told I was to expect. What should I do?
And now the airline pilot mentor can serve as that pilot’s advocate. He can reach out to Airline Pilot Gateway. He can reach out to the leadership of the flight school to try to help resolve these issues. And be a moderator and advocate for that pilot, to make sure that they stay on track.
So it serves so many purposes. It helps with the quality assurance. It also helps to comfort the pilot and get the most out of them. And make them feel at home with the training experience, so that they can obtain the best that they can be. And it helps the schools, because it provides a conduit for the schools to have better feedback, better communication.
And somebody there to help the school as well, to say, what can we do from an Airline Pilot Gateway standpoint to help you with some of these hurdles.
Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So what the mentors do, in addition to providing that emotional and practical support, is to help each student developed his own flight plan.
Because everybody’s got a different idea of what success looks like to him. Where does he want to work? What is a priority for him or her? What are his priorities in wanting an airline pilot career in the first place? And what is the best way to get that person to where they’re going to be the most satisfied with their career, and the best pilot they can be for their employer and the other stakeholders in the situation?
David Santo: So Paula, I really, again, I think this a very cool feature, if I can use that term, about an Airline Pilot Gateway. So when I set out to be a pilot, I didn’t really know what kinda pilot I wanted to be. I didn’t have enough information. And I was like the pilots that we’ve talked about before.
I didn’t have any family or friends, or I didn’t know anybody in this industry to really be my mentor. So if you’re going to build a successful career in any career field, it’s a good idea to look forward and say, where is it, what’s my end goal? And then let’s build backwards to accomplish that end goal.
But yet I’ve never before heard or seen anybody do an airline pilot career flight plan. This is completely new to me. I think it’s just an outstanding opportunity for a young person. And whether they’re airline sponsored or self-sponsored, it does not matter. And I’ll give you an example.
If I’m a sponsored cadet with an airline in Asia, I still have career goals within that airline. Do I want to be a check airman? Do I want to be an international pilot? Do I want to fly domestic and be home more? What are my life and career goals and expectations?
And then what can we do within the confines of that airline or that job or that region to help you accomplish all of those objectives? If you are a self-sponsored pilot candidate, then we’re going to be able to expand this a little bit and say, what is it you want to do?
When you hit mandatory retirement age and you look back in the rearview mirror of life, what do you want your life to look like? And let’s set out a way to paint that picture so that you can accomplish that. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it, right, because it’s a living document.
But we, I think, would like to help you to develop a way of doing that for yourself as you go through your career. And as things change, you adapt it. But you don’t just flounder through life. You start looking at a plan. Just like a flight plan in a aircraft, we’re going to go from A to B.
We want to get you from A to B in your career, but it’s your career. It’s not my idea of what your career should be. It’s your idea of what your career should be. We want to help you accomplish that.
Paula Williams: This sounds like something that every profession should be doing.
But certainly in the airline pilot profession, a lot of people come into this just knowing they want to fly. And that’s all they really thought through. So this really helps get them from the point of, just get me in the cockpit, I don’t care the cockpit of what, I just want to fly.
To the point where they actually have a plan, which makes them a whole lot more valuable to the people who are stakeholders in their future, as well as themselves. So, fantastic.
David Santo: That’s right. I mean, I think this is just one of the coolest features, and I’m really excited about it.
Paula Williams: Excellent. You had mentioned that there are some missing pieces in a lot of the flight training programs. And it’s not necessarily the fault of the flight school. They have to serve a lot of different clients and they have limited resources, and there’s a lot of things that they have to deal with.
So what are some of those missing pieces that you mentioned before?
David Santo: Well, as we’ve talked about, flight schools are very good at what they do, and they’re very focused at what they do. And that is taking somebody from zero time and taking them through the solo, through the private, through the instrument, through the commercial and the multi-engine.
But that does not necessarily give a lot of emphasis on some of the critical focus items that we need an airline pilot to have. I mean, you think about it, they’re training in GA airplanes. And in many cases, not all, but in many cases your flight instructors at these schools are less than 1500 hours themselves.
Which means they’ve never had the opportunity to go fly for an airline or do multi-crew flying. So they are very good at what they know, and the piece of the industry that they’ve experienced up to that point. So what we can do then is bring in airline pilots.
Now, airline pilots can’t flight instruct. I’ve had people ask me, they say, well, why don’t we just have airline pilots as flight instructors? Well, if you’re an active airline pilot, you’re restricted on your flight and duty times. And that restriction limits you to 1,000 hours. And most of the airlines are not going to allow you, as part of the terms of employment, to go flight instruct.
It would conflict, and could cause legal issues. But here’s what we can do. We can teach in the sims and we can teach in the ground schools. And by the way, those are the two things that the under-1500 hour flight instructor doesn’t really want to do. Because that’s not really helping to advance their career.
Paula Williams: Right.
David Santo: So we can bring an airline pilot in, and we can teach things like professional pilot standards and ethics. We can teach integrated airline flight training. We can teach jet transition. We can teach high-altitude jet aircraft Systems, philosophies, theories, high performance aircraft, CRM, threat and air management.
There’s a litany of focus items that have been identified by the FAA, by IOSA, by Airbus Industries, by Boeing International, by the pilot organizations and unions that are key ingredients to baking the best airline pilot cake that you can. So building the right puzzle. So one of the really exciting things is is we can augment the existing 141 or 61 curriculums of our network schools.
We don’t change their curriculum, we augment it by adding these pieces in. And that’s frequently through our mentors, our airline pilot mentors, or the airline pilot instructors that go out and host classes and seminars on campus for the Airline Pilot Gateway cadets.
Paula Williams: Excellent, great. So most, many anyway, in the United States, flight schools are set up for recreational pilots.
And they have a program that, there’s a lot of really popular programs that were put together by the manufacturers of GA aircraft. To get more GA pilots into the system in the United States. So those flight schools have a little bit of adaptation to make to be producing really good airline pilots.
And, you know, I think that’s really the difference between an APG school and I’m going to say the average flight school that you’ll find in the United States. Would you agree?
David Santo: Well it’s by no means a criticism right, so we’re not criticizing the flight schools, but we are saying that because they train in GA airplanes, they have to do GA training, right?
Paula Williams: Exactly.
David Santo: So the private pilot course, the instruments course, if you take all of the schools out there, they’re relatively the same and they’re getting somebody to the next step. So what we believe that we bring to the table to enhance and augment what they do is bring in the airline training with the GA training early on and help the schools then understand better.
Because a lot of the times the flight schools if they think about it, they may not have anybody on staff that’s ever actually flown for the airlines. So, we’re asking them to build an airline pilot without ever having been in that capacity or served in that capacity. And that can be challenging.
So we help them to accomplish a little bit more focused airline training in addition to what they’re doing with their GA.
Paula Williams: That makes perfect sense, and it really helps them accomplish their original purpose and adapt to a new purpose without compromising their ability to do both, which I think is really helpful to them.
David Santo: Well, and there has to be a little bit different training. If I’m a flight instructor and I have served as a flight instructor. If I’m training somebody that’s going to go out and buy their own airplane and operate it for recreational or self-business purposes. Then I understand that that person is probably never going to do two crew environment, they’re probably never going to fly a jet, they’re probably, so why focus on those areas, right?
Paula Williams: Exactly.
David Santo: My focus with them is going to be making them the best at what they intend to do.
Paula Williams: Mm-hm.
David Santo: What we want to do is be able to provide a venue so that if they’re going into the airline, if their goal is to be a career pilot.
And chances are as a career pilot they’re going to fly multi crew airplanes whether it’s corporate or whether it’s for the airlines or even whether it’s for the military. We want to make sure that we have focused training that helps them be just as successful as that student that was going to go out and buy his own airplane and fly recreationally.
Paula Williams: Right exactly, okay, there’s also some other factors that we found are really helpful for students. One of them is that we set up a specific account to safeguard the student’s money. There have been some pretty high profile cases where flight schools have gone out of business, people have come in from overseas and made an investment that they lose, other situations that are not good for the profession and not good for the industry, and certainly not good for the individuals involved.
So, learning from that and finding a way to safeguard the interest of the student or the airline if it’s an airline sponsored situation, and also the flight school to make sure that they’re going to get paid. You know that’s a service that we offer that adds value to the process I think.
David Santo: Well and again I think we’re trying to, with our experience, identify concerns and try to create solutions to help address those concerns. And flight training is expensive. So for an airline who is going to sponsor 100 cadets, and if they were doing our $65,000 training program. You know that’s $6.5 million that they would be entrusting to a flight school.
That’s a lot of money and we see that as kind of being a hurdle. So, what we’ve done is set up a, with our banking system, set up a trust account, like an escrow account almost. So that that money is protected, right? It’s the airline’s money, it’s protected.
And then we pay the flight schools out of that trust account under a set schedule. So that it’s controlled, it’s monitored, it’s regulated. And there’s always a sense of the highest standards of ethical values when it comes to the controlling of money. And the most control. I’m very proud of that, I think that’s a great way of just protecting the assets for the individual students, and also for the airlines.
Financing training I think is something that’s a bullet here or one of our emphasis points here that we don’t really spend a lot of time in this presentation talking about. But for self sponsored cadets, that’s always one of the biggest challenges is how do I pay for it.
And there are some different venues right now, they’re still not great options. I wish there was, but number one, Wells Fargo has come up with a finance for flight training. AOPA, the Airline Owners and Pilots Association has a finance plan that you might be able to qualify for.
So if you don’t have the money don’t give up on it. Do your homework, do some research, and see what’s out there. If you go to a Our community college program, if you we’re going to enroll into one of our community college programs, Coach East College is one that comes to mind.
We can get you into that program and you may qualify for student aid and financial loans. Let’s see, how do pilots finance their training? We do have a little bit longer presentation on that as a separate presentation.
Paula Williams: Right.
David Santo: So you might want to check out the Airline Pilot Gateway Radio, How Do Pilots Finance Their Training?
And get a little better guidance on that.
Paula Williams: Right.
David Santo: As far as career opportunities, we have two different gateways for career opportunities. And these aren’t the only gateways but hear me out for a second on how this kind of works. So if you are a domestic US person who wants to fly in the United States.
The average gateway is going to be to complete your commercial multi-engine instrument, and then complete your CFI, the Certified Flight Instructor. Flight instruct to build your 1,500 hours, and then complete either an ATP CTP and a type rating or get on with a commuter that provides that for you.
And that’s your next career step after flight instructing is going to a commuter and then few years with the commuter going on to a. There is a first officer gateway too. Now this gateway was initially set up for pilots who are coming from outside the United States. Pilots outside the United States do not require the ATP to service first officers on Airbus and Boeing equipment or any of the airliners, so.
That gateway is the 290 hour program we talked about earlier. That’s it’s going to take you through the private instrument commercial multi-engine, then it’s going to do a jet transition course and it’s going to do a type rating. Not going to do the flight instructor cuz you’re not going to flight instruct. You’re going to go back to Asia, the Pacific Rim or the Middle East or some cases in Africa.
And you’re going to be able to apply for direct entry opportunities as a first officer. What’s really interesting now is the cross pollination, is there isn’t enough first officers that are coming from Asia into these Ab Initio cadet programs. So there is now an avenue for men and women from the United States to do the First Officer Gateway.
So if you don’t want to flight instruct. And again I’m going to make an appeal that you’ve heard me say before Paula is, if you’re not going to be a good flight instructor please don’t flight instruct. Because you’re going to influence the training of many others. And if you can’t do a great job at it please don’t do it.
Because they deserve the best as you’ve deserved the best. So if flight instructing doesn’t appeal to you, you just don’t think you can do it and you’re a little bit more on the adventurous side. There is definitely opportunities flying in Asia, as a first officer at 250, 300 hours.
Our program is 290 hours to get a job on a three to five year contract flying Airbuses or Boeings in Asia. Now think about that gateway for a second. So while your colleagues flight instructed, until they get to 1500 hours and then went and served for three years at a commuter airline.
You go over to Asia, Vietnam is one of the locations that comes to mind. You fly as a first officer on an Airbus for three years. You’re going to have about maybe 2,500 hours of Airbus time, about 3,000 hours totals are about, I’m sorry, 27, almost 2,800 hours total time.
You’re going to have the experience that the airlines are looking for for direct entry, you’re not going to need to go to the commuters. You’re going to be in line to go straight to a US airline if that’s what you choose to do. So don’t limit your gateway path to necessarily the flight instruction path.
Great path and if you’re somebody who loves teaching it’s one of the most rewarding gateway paths that you could possibly have. But if you want to accelerate your career, there’s also flying internationally. And there’s many, many other avenues that your mentor, when they do your career flight plan can help you determine.
But we do have multiple gateways focused on our experience, how to get you to where you want to go with your career.
Paula Williams: Right and I think that’s one of the reasons that the flight plan is so cool because everybody is different, every pilot is different. And they have different interests and different degrees of tolerance for the international flying versus different degrees of talent for the instruction and other kinds of things.
And having an airline pilot as an mentor ask you the right questions at the right time can really prevent people from getting into such frustrating situations that aren’t good for them and aren’t good for the people that they’re involved with. So I really highly, highly advocate getting a mentor no matter what you’re doing in your life, but certainly for future airline pilots.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to really get your plan together before you invest a lot in something that may not be the best fit for you.
David Santo: Yeah that’s right Paula I totally agree with you.
Paula Williams: Right, so you’d mentioned that Boeing had talked about the fact that they are not going to let the pilot shortage slow them down in building and delivering aircraft.
And I know Airbus probably feels the same way. So there’s a lot people getting involved in this situation as well as Airline Pilot Gateway.
David Santo: Well there’s a industry in general is trying to solve the issue of how are we going to train the 498,000 pilots? And for Boeing and for Airbus industries, this is key and of course, Embraer and Canadair as well.
This is key for all the big aircraft manufacturers of how are we going to be able to continue to meet delivery schedules, if there’s nobody on the other end of that delivery to fly the airplanes? Airlines like Lufthansa have been doing this for many, many years. They’ve had their own Ab Initio Cadet Program and have been very, very successful with it.
Recently we’ve read in the papers about JetBlue Airways doing a Gateway 7 program, I think in collaboration with CAE. I think Boeing has done something in collaboration with Jeppesen. So, a lot of people are out there trying to find solutions for protecting the flow of quality pilots to operate airplanes.
And we just feel that the Airline Pilot Gateway, if you don’t have your own solution, we think that this could be the solution that you’re looking for in a one-stop shop. That ties you to a network of hundreds of training providers with mentorship, with quality assurance and auditing.
With the missing ingredients added in to produce a better pilot, better pricing schedule, better integrity, all done again single-sourced through Airline Pilot Gateway.
Paula Williams: Right, all right so you probably have questions after listening to this presentation. I’m sure you probably do if you are an airline or if you’re a student or if you’re a flight school, you undoubtedly have questions.
And we have several venues by which you can get those questions answered. Of course you can always call. Our office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your questions. And one of our airline pilot mentors or someone from our office will get back to you as soon as we can.
Another way is via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. We’ve got pages on all three social media that we monitor constantly. So if it’s the middle of the night and on a Tuesday, that might be the best way to ask your question while you’re thinking about it and we will certainly get back to you with a good answer.
And if you have a question, you’re probably not the only one who has it, so we’re happy to answer those in those social media venues. And those are great places to watch as well, if you just want to stay up on what’s going on in the industry, what’s changing about Airline Pilot Gateway, what are we thinking about and talking about and how can it help you?
So you can listen to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play. So there’s lots of venues by which you can get more information on any of these items
Paula Williams: So next-
David Santo: Thank you Paula.
Paula Williams: Sorry.