Welcome to Airline Pilot Gateway Radio, Episode 23. I’m Paula Williams.


We ran a survey of our listeners and website visitors to find out what questions YOU have about airline careers, how to get started, what the market is like, and so on.


Captain Fred Mattfeld, John Williams and I talk about the questions we received in this episode. So let’s jump right in.



Airline Pilot Career Q & A Paula Williams: So one of the questions was if I’m not a US citizen, are there any openings outside the US?

Fred Mattfeld:   So actually, the greatest opportunity for airline pilots is outside the United States. They’re growing at such a rapid rate, it just so hard to prove to fly the airplanes, to buy more airplanes than they have.

And their still parking the airplanes that they currently have because they just don’t have the flight crews. So there’s a huge demand, both in the United States, but more so outside the United States. Primarily the Asian countries.

Paula Williams:   Right.

Fred Mattfeld:   And the requirements they have to get started are a whole lot less once you have the tickets.

There’s a lot of companies where you have to have 500 hours as a in type. But it’s ever increasing where if you have the type [INAUDIBLE] they’ll put you in the right seat. Some companies won’t immediately put you in the right seat. Some have a cadet program, where you write or a certain amount of errors, as an observer, working the radios and check lists, move to the right seat.

Then when you have your time, you can move to the left seat. So There’s quite a few options out there and just probably 100 different airlines. And that’s fantastic.

Paula Williams:   And I know you mentioned Southeast Asia, India.

Paula Williams:   Basically, is there anywhere that is not a good market?

Fred Mattfeld:   No, Europe, all of these countries, the entire world, just has such a demand for pilots and there’s just nobody to fill the seats. And so the opportunity has never been as great as it is right now.

Paula Williams:   I see.

Paula Williams:   So another question that came in was we’ve sounds like someone who is turning 62 this month, are there jobs pilots after 65

Fred Mattfeld:   Well it depends what type of job and where he’s located, like in the United States.

Fred Mattfeld:   He can continue to fly, maybe, they would even hire him in the regional airline today at the age of 62. Because there’s such a shortage of regional climates. But this 135, where there is no age limit, so he could do corporate flying.

Any place that has a 135, he could continue to fly as long as he could pass his flight physical.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams:   That’s fantastic. Yeah. And then, there’s another question that’s very similar to that, part 135 jobs. After a commercial and multi, sounds like there is a lot of demand in the 135 arena, and for people that don’t know what 135 is, that’s basically private aviation.

Is that right?

Fred Mattfeld:   Yeah. It’s not a scheduled service, like the airlines, which are considered 121. This is more like charter, like the airlines that fly the Grand Canyon, do tours, traffic watch, those are all types of flying that don’t have a [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] only airlines that operate under the 121, have the 65 age requirement, which probably in the next few years is going to be raised to 67 because of the shortage.

Paula Williams:   Right, that makes perfect sense. And so, charter pilots, corporate pilots, all kinds of folks are outside of that 65 requirement, right?

Fred Mattfeld:   Correct. And then a lot of the charter pilots, they’re going to the airlines because that’s where they wanna be which is creating demand in the charter world.

Paula Williams:   Right. Outside the US, do they have the 65 requirement, or does that differ by area?

Fred Mattfeld:   It differs by area, but it’s just about, as far as I know, worldwide it’s 65.  I know that Japan and the Philippines have raised the age to 67 already.  And the FAA’s going to be doing it  probably in the near future, probably in the next couple of years.

Paula Williams:   Smart. Great, all right, so if someone asks, what is the best type rating with opportunities after, I’m gonna split this into two questions. What is the best type ratings with opportunities after?

I know there’s probably a bunch of those with opportunities depending on what kind of flying you wanna do, right?

Fred Mattfeld: Well, if you’re just starting out, you’re gonna be looking at the Airbus 320, or the Boeing 737. That’s where they’re gonna start you out, at least in the airline industry.

And then what’s the best would really depend upon what airline you would primarily like to go to. The Airbus seems like it has the most demand. But there are quite a few airlines also that operate mainly or solely 737’s. So you would really have to take a look at where you would want to fly, and see what type of aircraft they fly, and go for that type .

Paula Williams:   Right. It kind of seems to me like if you are in the US, you’re more likely to fly Boeing, and if you’re outside the US, you’re more likely to fly Air bus. Does that sound accurate?

Fred Mattfeld:   In the US it’s kind of 50/50 I would say now.

Paula Williams:   Wow okay.

Fred Mattfeld:   Southwest obviously has all 737’s in Alaska. But the demand for if you look up in the sky you’ll see more air busses then you will. Boeing’s flying overhead, at least that’s what you see here in Fort Lauderdale, so.

Paula Williams:  Great, yeah, we’re out west in the Rockies and we see a lot more 737s, but.

John Williams: Now what you’re saying is that they need to plan a strategy for their career before they jump in.

Fred Mattfeld:   Exactly.

John Williams: So they need to decide where they are, where they ultimately wanna fly, and what aircraft is there. And of those aircraft, decide on, if there’s a decision to make, decided on a 320, or decide on a 737, and then proceed through their course with that in mind.

Fred Mattfeld:   And that’s something that’s something that we could help them with, trying to decide which type aircraft to get a type rating in. Which we would definitely be able to help them with that and guide them in the right direction. After we get a little bit more information from them.

Paula Williams:   Right, so when you talk to people, Fred, do you find out where they are now, where they wanna be, and you help them kind of select the best options for them based on those kinds of things?

Fred Mattfeld:   Yeah, we look at the countries that they wanna primarily start flying in.

India for example, Indigo in Airasia India, they’re all Airbus fleets. So when it comes to India, we’re leaning more towards the Airbus but again, it’s really their choice.

Paula Williams:   That makes sense. What about the self-sponsoring issue? I know that comes up quite a bit. A lot of people feel like, well the airline should pay for my type rating but and a lot of cases, you end up with an advantage if you do that on your own.

What’s your thoughts?

Fred Mattfeld:   Well, you know what, that irritates me a little bit because if you wanna be a taxi driver, they’re not gonna pay for a driver’s license.

Paula Williams:   True, if you wanna be a pharmacist, they’re not gonna pay for your university.

John Williams: Going to be a doctor, they’re not going to pay for your medical degree.

Fred Mattfeld:   Yeah. The airlines don’t want to pay for it, because it’s a huge expense to them, and if the student can’t make it through flight school, that’s just money loss to them. So they’re always going to get preferential treatment to someone who walks in the door with that type rating in hand.

So it’s just like getting a college degree. When you go get a college degree, you don’t ask the college to pay for it. You either find grants, loans, or any other means to get the money you need to go to college. But you know that you have to pay for it, and it’s the same as aviation training. It’s made less expensive with great simulators – there is everything from sim training software you can run on laptop computer to Level D simulators (full motion simulators) that help pilots learn less expensively and learn the switches & knobs for different equipment get their type ratings.

You have to be the one to lead the secure loan, get a sponsorship, but find a way to walk in the door and be able to pay for your training up front.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams: Absolutely, and all of us here that fly, have done that already.

Paula Williams:   Right.

Fred Mattfeld:   I paid almost twice as much when I started taking lessons in the 90s to put myself through. So what we’re offering is just huge.

Paula Williams:   True. Another question, what options are available to build hours without being a CFI?

Fred Mattfeld:   Without being a CFI, you can go to airline brokers and fill the airplanes for them, you can do traffic watch, you can do banner towing.

Just get yourself up there, much defines and go up the $100 heading up on the weekend as we call out ways size of base and we launched to call back you know and finding friends or other pirates that one on both time, defined together with them is also not deployed.

John Williams: You can even apply part one that out there the rating for this that l did a bit some time.

Fred Mattfeld:   Yeah, the flight checks at night. It needs a commercial rating, so and off you go.

Paula Williams:   Right.

Fred Mattfeld:   And then there are  companies like Ameriflight, they have the small little single engine aircraft, and you can start off flying with them.

So for me there’s just a number of options.

Paula Williams:   Okay. Great I’m going to leave all the money question to last. But going back to this one if I am an Indian by citizenship will I be able to get a pilot job in the USA.

Fred Mattfeld:   In order to work in the United States she has to be a hard citizen residence in the United States.

So that particular student would have to start the process to get his green card and his work permit to work in the United States. We can get him a student visa so he can train here, but he would have to get his own [CROSSTALK] Yeah, his green card and his right to work in the US Right, that makes sense.

It’s possible, but it’s something that they have to do on their own.

Paula Williams:   Right, okay. So they don’t have to be a citizen. They could be a legal resident and be a pilot.

Fred Mattfeld:   My company, we have people that are not US citizens that are flying. I know a guy from Australia, another guy from Italy, a guy from Germany.

And they don’t have US passports, and they’re flying here. But they have green cards, and they’re legal to work here.

Paula Williams:   Great. Okay so is the instruction from experienced pilots with real world experience?

Fred Mattfeld:   This flight instructors always have That much more experienced than what they have, but they’ve had a lot more training and they’ve satisfied the requirements for FAA training.

And what we do in addition to the flight training that they get all the way to the commercial rating as we have their amend short we have classes that work on that are airline specific classes which comes at no cost. And so we have an airline captain working with them along the way And then once, they go into the type radio program thus, all conducted by canine primate.

Paula Williams:   That’s fantastic, so I guess the last set of questions that I’m gonna want them all together because they’re all pretty much the same, is how much does this cost?

Paula Williams:   We have a-

Fred Mattfeld:   Well right now we have a-

Paula Williams:   Go ahead.

Fred Mattfeld:   It’s a, we call zero to hero, so we don’t have to have, we have zero flight time experience and we can have you With your private pilot instrument, multi [INAUDIBLE] commercial and typewriter in the Boeing 737 or Air bus [INAUDIBLE] for $65,000, which would give you approximately 290 hours in your log book.

And our schools are all accredited. We have some of the best schools Out there and from there you can really catapult your career moving up applying Airbus in the year or less.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm for the 737, right? That’s Boeing?

Fred Mattfeld:   Right, for the 737.

Paula Williams:   Right Cool, so that makes you really, really qualified to get an interview or get a job with, depending on your citizenship and other qualifications, get a job in a lot of different places in the world.

Fred Mattfeld:   It’s airline specific, but you’re almost guaranteed, we can almost guarantee you a A job interview at which point it would be yours to lose, because we can get in to the seat of your airliner upon completion of your training program. [COUGH]

Paula Williams:   Right, and that’s dependent on, of course, you keeping up with the work and passing all your check rides, and being qualified.

And a lot of people think well, what if I don’t? What if I’m not good enough? But I think the programs been pretty Successful or at least the training programs that you’ve been involved with at getting most people through the program pretty easily without a lot of hassle is hard work, but most people can do it, right?

Fred Mattfeld:   You really have to be dedicated to the program. And you’ve really gotta Really has put 100% into it. If you don’t approach it that way your chances of not succeeding increase, but if you just go in there and put 100% in, you can easily complete this program.

It’s not a give me, I mean, you really do have to work for it. But it’s such an excellent training program that we have a really high success rate.

Paula Williams:   Excellent, great. Well, thanks for that, and I think that’s all the questions, or most of the questions that we had from the survey, and I’m sure there’s other questions that people have.

You can always leave them in the comments, or Just give us a call and we’ll take care of that and see what we can do to get you into a flying career.