future pilot has some Q's


As of right now I have no clue how to fly any type of plane. Im 18 and
going to college. First off does anybody know of colleges or schools that specialize in aircraft electronics or pilot school. (hopefully in michigan) Maybe in a few years I will go to my local airport and work on getting a privite pilots license and work up to a commercial license. How hard is it to get these licenses? what am i getting myself into?
any tips or any type of help will be great.
thank you :wink:


Western Michigan Universty in Kalamazoo has a decent size aviation program and have just purchased around 30 new Cirrus aircraft with the Avidyne Entegra. But there are many other schools. University of North Dakota, Embry Riddle, and many others. The benefit of attending a flight school is that they usually fly under part 141 as apposed to your local FBO which is generally part 61. Part 141 schools hava a FAA approved cirriculum which allows them to offer flight training with lower hours but with strict standards.

Its not easy. I went to a four year flight school and i can’t count how many students i saw quit after the first year or too. Sure, it sounds like fun to go to school and fly, but in addition to normal classes you have your flight training which can be a full time course in itself. Plus it expensive. You have to be dedicated to the task and still understand once you finish you’ll be entering one the the most competitive (and most satisfying) job markets in the country.

All the best.


I did my Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Science through Utah Valley State College’s online degree program.
Its a fully accredited 4 year degree program. I flew at my local flight school (it was a 141 school but I did my training 61) and took all of my classes online. It took me a long time, mostly because I’m a slacker, but it can easily be done in 4 years. And it’s MUCH cheaper than going to a 4 year aviation school. Each semester was about $1500 plus books. (thats for the classes only of course, not any flying) I worked at the airport as a line guy for years and was able to work 40 or more hours a week and still do the coursework at night or on days off. I also got discounts on flight instruction and A/C rental since I worked there.

I know a lot of people who went/go to ERAU who dont like it. Most students dont fly AT ALL the first year. Ive also flown with students who went there and was extremely unimpressed with their performance and especially their attitudes. (obviously not ALL ERAU students are boobs, but as an instructor, I saw my fair share) In my opinion, for what its worth, ERAU is just another “pilot factory” with all the quality you can expect from a mass production line. Theyre still not as bad as some other schools like ATP and gulfstream academy that you basically BUY your licenses and a B1900 FO job.
With enough money, anyone can purchase an airline job.

dismount soapbox here



Thanks for the the input!!!
I sort of thought it wasnt going to be easy, but nothing is. I like the looks of WMU programs. My original plans were to be an electronic engineer for one of the aircraft Co.'s. But that might not “quench my thirst” for aviation.
I like to consider myself an “aviation photographer” right now, and when one of those 747 goes over my head, I get this awesome feeling.
A bit of track there, sorry.
thanks again for the input,
and if anybody else would like to add anything, please feel free to do so. :wink:


I graduated from ERAU (Daytona Beach Campus) in 2002. I have to agree with james on this one. When I started in '98 they allowed freshman to fly their first semester, however unless you got a good flight instructor who actually had the time to schedule you, you were out of luck. It took me until half way through my sophmore year (and at least 5 instructor changes) to get my Private license. It then took over a year to get my instrument add on, so I then decided to change my major and took flight as a minor and did my Commercial and Multi-Engine rating in one summer while I was back home before my senior year. Decided that after rmy experience with ERAU it took all the fun out of flying and became an Air Traffic Controller instead. I haven’t flown since I graduated and although I do miss it, I love the career path I chose.
So I guess somewhere in all that is my point that if you want to enjoy flying think real hard about where you learn and talk to some of the students first. Ask them how they feel about the training provided and if they had the choice if they’d look harder next time for a different school.


Another thing I forgot, as asaro said, there were a lot of ERAU students who would do a whole rating during xmas (or to take a cue from damiross: “Holiday”) break. They all seemed to say that the scheduling was a huge cluster-F and it was just easier to do a crash course at their home fields.


Graduated from WMU and Florida Institute of Technology coa.fit.edu/.

Both have top notch programs in aviation.


Just to throw a couple more names in the mix, even though they aren’t near Michigan,

Spartan School of Aeronautics

Oklahoma State University (both Stillwater…GO POKES*…and Tulsa)

*I have been told that when referencing Oklahoma State on a webboard you MUST put GO POKES somewhere in the post, unless posting from a rival Big-12 school…


I got my pilot’s license last summer at a local airport after two years, and then some, of work and training. Right now, I’m a student at Notre Dame studying Aerospace Engineering (so, if you end up going to Michigan or Michigan State, we may have our disagreements, but as a fellow pilot/enthusiast, we can set those aside).

There was a time when I thought I wanted to become a pilot and fly for the airlines. However, about junior year in high school, I started taking some physics and upper level math courses and started leaning more toward doing something with engineering.

From what I’ve heard, there are a lot of barriers to cross on the road to becoming a pilot. First, unless you go through the military, it is expensive. Second, if at any time during your career you can’t maintain your medical (vision goes or some other ailment or injury), you are left low, slow, and out of a job. I’ve always been told, ‘even if you want to fly commercially, get a degree in something else to fall back on.’

When I started looking at colleges, I tried to find something with a good engineering program and an airport on campus to continue training. I looked at places like Western Michigan, St. Louis, University of Illinois. What I found was a combination of things. Either, the airport and main campus were separated (as was the case with Western Michicagn), or there were limiting factors (such as St. Louis where there was no third-party FBO flight school outside of the university flight school, and to fly ‘on the side’ required at least three flights a week - a bit much for a full time engineering student).

Well, I ended up going to ND (which has a nice engineering program but lacks an airport - the closest one with rentable aircraft is Elkhart). As far as advice, I would say this. Do something you want to do, and do it where you want to do it. If you have an interest in engineering or some other field, pursue that, and, if feasable, do your flight training at a local airport or an airport on campus if that option exists. Or, if you really have a passion to pursue a degree for Aviation Flight, then do that, but, as I said, I think having some sort of degree to fall back on would be wise. Find a school that fits what is right for you and your interests.

As a side note, I believe University of North Dakota has a good aviation program (someone correct me on that if I’m wrong).


You’re correct, UND has a very large aviation program… if you want to live in North Dakota in the winter.


North Dakota would probably make South Bend winters look like nothing, though South Bend can have some good ones. Last one was actually pretty mild. I have a roomate from Texas who still hasn’t gotten a full taste of winter.


I graduated WMU in April 2006 and I’m a CFI there.

One thing we brag about is we are about 25% cheaper than UND and we have a better, newer fleet. We also are about 55% cheaper than ERAU.


I have a four year degree in Aviation Management. Flew with the commuters for 6 years and am now flying corporate. If I could do the school thing all over again, I wouldn’t get an Aviation Degree. I would get a degree that meant something outside the aviation world (example: RN) This way if you get furloughed or your company goes belly up, there is a high pay, high demand job out there for you while you apply for other airlines or wait for your callback. This can be done at many of the aviation schools where you can take aviation as a minor to get all of your ratings. Airlines look for a four year degree, they do not care where you got it, or what it is in.