Hello, my name is Graham. I’m 13 years old and have one main plan that splits into multiple plans. This plan is ultimately to become a succesful pilot. To help me become a better pilot have gotten an early start. I study real aviation textbooks as much as possible, started this blog, practice my flying on flight simulator, and get as involved in the aviation world as possible (AOPA, EAA, CAP, etc…). I hope that if I keep studying military type things (for the Air Force) and flying/studying as much as possible, I will well prepared for my aviation career.
My plan (compressed): I hope to improve over time at my aviation skills by using flight simulator, studying, and occasionally flying in a real plane. I will also join Civil Air Patrol (CAP, not going to explain now, read other post about CAP). Then when I am 16 and a half I will start my pilot training for my private pilot certificate (PPC). Hopefully I will pass my checkride (think of it as a final test) to receive my PPC on my 17th birthday (when it becomes legal for me to receive the PPC). The PPC is the lowest certificate in the United States but is the start of an aviators career. After I have my PPC I can fly wherever I want and can have multiple passengers. But then it will be time to go to college!
I still have a big list of potential aviation colleges, but my #1 school would be Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). ERAU is the Harvard of flight colleges and is widely believed to have one of the best aviation programs in the world. At Embry-Riddle, I would gain almost all the remaining certificates including: Multi-engine rating, instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, and a combination of all of those (commercial pilot certificate with a multi engine instrument rating). I will not go into detail about the certificates but I will put links at the bottom if you want to learn more about them. Also at Embry-Riddle, I would join the US Air Force ROTC (United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps). ROTC allows you to be in college while learning about the military. The first two years at college in ROTC you are just “testing it out” but during summer of sophomore year you go to basic training (boot camp). After sophomore you are required to join the air force after college. So when I graduate Embry-Riddle, I will have lots of flight experience and military experience.
During my time at ERAU, I will apply for a pilot slot with ROTC. If I get accepted, I will go straight to SUPT (Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training) and start my flight training with the air force (remember, by this time I could have almost 500 hours of flight time). SUPT has three phases. The first phase is ground school. You learn all about the medical aspect of flying hypoxia, g’ forces, etc… Then in the second phase you hop into the cockpit of a T-6A Texan II, and just like that you are flying. The training is rigorous and mistakes are not tolerated. IF you manage to pass the phase two checkride you can choose a more specific track. The tracks are fighter, tanker/airlift, multi-engine turboprop, and helicopter. The fighter track if for people wanting to become a fighter pilot, tanker/airlift would be the one for me (becoming a C-17 pilot), multi-engine turboprop is mostly for if you want to fly the C-130, and helicopter is for people wanting to fly a helicopter of any kind.
When I join phase three I will learn about flying larger tankers/airlift aircraft and will train in the T-1 Jayhawk (may be replaced by the time I am there). After graduating phase three you fill out a “dream sheet” were you write what exact aircraft you want. I would write down the C-17 Globemaster III, and then after a big graduation party I find out what plane I get to fly. If I get selected to fly the C-17 I will then go to follow-up training on the specific aircraft (C-17). Follow up training for C-17’s and other tanker/airlift aircraft is at Altus AFB, OK. After at least 10 years of service flying the C-17 I would exit the air force with lots of flight time.
After the air force, the FAA gives you special privileges for earning certificates. I know back at Embry-Riddle I would have ALMOST every certificate, but the one I can’t get at college is the airline transport pilot certificate (ATP). The ATP is like the five-star general of flight certificates! But you must have at least 1,500 hours of flight time (easy if I was in the air force for 10 years). But the training costs a ton of money! This is where my military experience would help out, because the FAA has some special rule that lets you have less flight time or that makes it so you don’t need the ATP training to earn the certificate. I am not positive about what this rule exactly means, but I will research it. I think it means if a person is in the air force, they don’t need the ATP training to be able to take the ATP checkride. So instead of spending thousands of dollars on training for the ATP I can go straight to the checkride. But to be clear I DON’T KNOW if this is the right rule.
After the ATP is done, I will hopefully have enough flight time for Southwest Airlines (2,500 hours) and fly for them. After I retire from Southwest I will buy a plane and just be an old man who flies around a bunch in a Cessna.
Hopefully that wasn’t too confusing, I tried to compress it but it was still long and confusing. If you don’t understand I will put some links to important pages.
http://www.baseops.net/militarypilot/ A great source of info on all phases of SUPT.
http://afrotc.com/ The official site of USAF ROTC.
http://www.pilotratings.com/student.html Not mentioned student pilot certificate
http://www.pilotratings.com/private.html Private Pilot Certificate info
http://www.pilotratings.com/ATP.html Airline Transport Pilot Certificate info
http://www.gg-pilot.com/commercialpilot.htm Commercial Pilot Certificate info
http://prescott.erau.edu/ Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus main site
http://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/ Civil Air Patrol main site
Hope those links and this post helped! Keep reading my blog! Don’t worry, not all my posts are this long. Thanks!