Brian
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Brian asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

Undergraduate - Aviation - Western Michigan Univ.?

I want to become a corporate pilot (maybe airline if the airlines get in better shape) and am looking at attending Western Michigan University. They only have an undergraduate program for Flight Science or whatever I would need to take to become a corporate pilot. Can I major in Flight Science or w/e and become a corporate pilot and minor in something else while their flight program is an undergraduate? I'm confused. Can someone help me out? I want to be a corporate pilot and go to college at WMU. What do I need to take, etc..? What should I minor in? Anything I want?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You will have an easier time getting a job flying for a regional airline than a corporate flight department. Although there are exceptions, the average corporate flight department that operates jets requiires as much flying experience of its pilots as the major airlines do. Do not fool yourself into thinking you can get into corporate flying right out of college or within the first 5 years unless you have good inside connections that can pull strings for you. According to the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), the "preferred minimum flight time" at the average corporate jet flight departments across the country is an ATP rating and 4,500 hours, including substantial pilot-in-command time and multi-engine turbine experience - exactly the same as is preferred by the major airlines. As far as what education you really need to become a corporate pilot, any degree will do, although an aviation management, business management or maintenance management degree might be most useful. In other words, plan on doing all the same things you would need to do to become an airline pilot.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Anything you damn please. Most flight departments, corporate or airline, don't care what your degree is in, although they'd prefer if it was in something technical or scientific as opposed to a degree in pantomimes in the performing arts. (There's an outbreak of pantomiming pilots right now anyway and I hear FEMA is attempting to round them up and detain them underground at Denver International).

    That said, you would be wise to get a degree in something that you would like and be able to use if and when you are unable to fly. This is a volatile industry and furloughs and non-hiring sprees are very common. The danger with aviation degrees is that they are virtually useless. You learn a lot about aviation, but they won't qualify you for anything else except possibly airport management or flight department work, providing you have other qualifications too. The smart thing to do would be to get a degree in something like IT or Computer Science. Or a technical skill even. Something that you can use. Does WMU make you take an aviation degree if you want to flight train?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Think twice about becoming a pilot. If you go into it for the money and benefits you won't make it. If you go into it because you love it and would not really be happy doing anything else, then go for it. Get a degree that will provide a fall-back career is an excellent idea. Get that degree in whatever appeals to you. Pseudo-flight academies are black holes into which you dump tons of money and wind up the certifications that you can earn at a local flight school for a lot less money. Every squadron I ever flew in had pilots with every type of degree you could imagine, i.e. newspaper photography, foreign languages, accounting. The pure civilian route to the left front seat for a major airline is not for the faint of heart or those concerned about a poor income for most of their working lives. Only about the last 10 years or so are well paid and the benefits are substantial. You have to retire at 65 in the US.

    The military route is faster, you are paid well during your training (no debt accrues for the flight time) and your experience will move you into the airlines quicker. Be leery of civilian flight instructors who may be prone to debase the military route, generally due to some feeling of inadequacy or jealousy. Captain Chesley Sullenberger of Hudson River landing fame was an Air Force Academy graduate and F-4 pilot before he went to work for US Airways. Military flying has some substantial challenges that civilian flight-training does not have. The training is more rigorous, the expectations are higher and the qualifications to get into military are much different. Plus there is always the possibility of being shot at from time to time. If you chose the military route you can offset the tedium of airline driving by being in the reserves and really flying then.

    Finally, there is a huge difference in flying as a civilian and military flying. Granted, they both put air under your butt. There the similarity ends. Most airliner flying is glorified bus driving. Point A to Point B with as little action as possible (and that's how the passengers and the company want it). Military flying takes you from Point A to Point B back to Point A with as much commotion as possible.

    Whether the Air Force or Navy for flying? I chose the Navy for many reasons. Air Force training is pretty well done and the pilots get their wings at the same training point that Navy students finish their Basic Flight Training Command level. Air Force pilots then go to a training squadron where more advanced techniques are taught. Navy pilots complete Advanced Flight Training Command prior to getting their wings. After advanced Navy pilots go to a Replacement Air Group where they fly the fleet birds to which they have been assigned. The most notable difference is that Navy pilots learn to fly on and off aircraft carriers at each stage of the syllabus. In the final stage you fly off the boat both day and night. That is a considerable step up from taking off and landing on 8,000ft of concrete. My granny can land on 8,000ft of concrete (my bias is obvious and I am proud of it). You can be preselected for the Navy flight training prior to making any commitments, but if you wash out you have to complete your obligated service. If it were easy anyone could do it. That's why military aviators are understandably proud of their profession and professionalism.

    You chose. Pick one.

    Source(s): Naval Aviator
  • 4 years ago

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  • 4 years ago

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