Female airline pilots – Is it a good career choice for a woman?
Paula Williams: Is it a good career choice for a women to be an airline pilot?
Captain David Santo: Yes. Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any difference between the career opportunities for men and women. Specifically, Paula I’ll tell you why: Because the airlines do things by seniority, by date-of-hire seniority. That takes all of the bias out of it. If a men and a women are hired at the same date, they’re going to upgrade with the same opportunities. They’re going to have everything the same right on down the line. I think women are very successful pilots. I’ve flown with many of them. I think they’re very level headed. I enjoy the opportunity to work with them because they finesse the airplane a little bit differently then I think guys do. As far as the career opportunity, absolutely this is a career where once you get into an airline there really is not going to be a difference.
Paula Williams: Great. Have there been women go through Aero Star program and be successful with that?
Captain David Santo: We have had a number of women go through Aero Star. We’ve had students as young as twenty go through a type rate program. We’ve had a women that was near her sixties go through a type rate program. We’ve seen the success rate really is equal with the guys that have come through. We had a young lady came through our type rate program. I’ve asked her if I could use her name. She said I could. Her name is Julie Meade. She was a Comair pilot. Comair went out of business. She took an opportunity to use work improvement act money from the State of Kentucky and came through. Did a type rating with us, and she has complete the phase one with a major airline to fly the A 320. Is waiting to hear on the phase two interview. We’re expecting to see her hired very quickly, flying an A 320 within the next few months.
“How do International students qualify for training?” And a bonus question- “In what year will you be making roughly $100,000 a year if you start training today?”
Paula Williams: How do international students qualify for for training at Aero Star?
Captain David Santo: Well, Aero Star’s been a great organization for me because it allows me to share my passion for this industry. I have a real passion for teaching. That’s what got me interested in starting the school. I’m very proud of the fact that I’m directly hands on and involved if a lot of the training on the Airbus side. I certainly am involved in trying to help support the training that goes on on the Boeing side.
I think for international students one of the challenges of course is they still have to know how the fly the airplane. Everything’s going to be the same. The second language, English and technical English, I think presents a little more of a challenge for them. You need to have that English proficiency down because you don’t want to be thinking about translating words while you trying to fly the airplane.
As far as getting qualified to come into the United States, there’s all kinds of resources available. Faa.gov you can go on that site and find out everything you need to know about converting your licenses, or you can simply call. Elizabeth and myself we provide a lot of career mentoring to individuals that may never come to us for type rating, but we still take a lot of pride, and we help them find a direction. Foreign students absolutely this is a greatest place to train in my opinion. It’s English immersion. All the controllers speak English, wide open air spaces, low cost of renting aircraft relatively speaking. I still think it’s outrageous, but compared to industry or globally it’s still low cost. I think the U.S. Is a great place to train, and I think Aero Star really is a great place to go to finishing school, to grad school if you will, and add your type rating before you go home and seek out that airline job.
Paula Williams: Right. Let me back up. Let’s separate this out and say international students for ab initio training. I know you were talking about international students for finishing school, or your graduate degree or your type rating. Do you want to back up and take a little bit about some of the opportunities for ab initio training? Is it a good choice to come to the U.S. For your complete flight education or should people start where they are and then come here for their type rating?
Captain David Santo: It’s going to depend on the individual, but I’m a little bias. I’m going to say I think the U.S. Offers the best training opportunities for ab initio. I believe that’s a Latin root word that says “from the beginning”. If you’re zero time and you want to go from zero time to completing a commercial multi-engine instrument and an aircraft type rating, there are some tremendous schools here in the U.S. That are positioned not only to help you with that, to provide you with room and board, to provide you with all the testing services and the English immersion that I think is so critical to your success.
If I could, I’ll names a couple schools that we’ve worked with. We’ve worked with Florida Institute of Technology, FIT, in Melbourne, Florida. We’ve worked with Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona. Here’s a school it’s in the middle of the desert in Arizona. There’s no distractions. The runway is right next to the dormitories, so you literally walk from your dorms, to your cafeteria, to your classrooms, to the flight line. You go fly your training sessions, and walk back to your dorm. I think that’s an ideal situation for learning how to fly and really doing it in minimal time, with minimal distractions, to get you out there and get that seniority number as quick as possible.
Paula Williams: Right. That’s fantastic. I know in Arizona they have 364 perfect days a year. They have no weathered out days.
John Williams: Dave, I’ve got a lot of questions coming in. One of them I just now got to and realize it should have been asked a slide or two back. If a person starts, in what’s left of 2014, goes through all the appropriate stuff, and given everything works right. The question is in what year would you be making roughly a 100,000.00 a year?
Captain David Santo: That’s a great question, John. I think it’s really going to depend on the region of the country and the level of dedication to do what it takes to get that job. Let’s say that flight school, if you commit yourself full time to going to an ab initio fight school, like the one we mentioned at Cochise College, you’re going to be done with your commercial multi-engine instrument type rating in under twelve months. Now you’re going to want to try to go offshore. If you’re looking for Airbus, Boeing experience if you take a two or three year contract offshore, you’re not going to make bad money by the way doing that. You’ll be back here probably four years down stream. You’ll be ready to enter a legacy or airline that’s flying Airbus’s or Boeing equipment. The entry level pay don’t quote my on this I think it’s somewhere around the 60,000.00 mark depending on what airline you go to. By your third year in the airline depending on you’re work habits, your at a six-figure income.