Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

A Florida flight school’s take on ab initioA take on ab initio

A Florida flight school has rolled out a new program that aims to get pilots ready to fly professionally in 250 hours. The twist is that once applicants complete this program, they’re qualified to work for airlines overseas.

Pilot Training Center (PTC) and Airline Pilot Gateway announced the ab initio collaboration in May.

PTC takes eligible candidates from zero to 250 hours, during which time they earn private and commercial certificates and instrument and multiengine ratings, according to Chris Higgins, part-owner and director of maintenance at PTC.

From that point, Airline Pilot Gateway provides a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 type rating, along with training in crew resource management, high-altitude and high-airspeed jet aircraft aerodynamics and theory, flight physiology for airline operations, controlled flight into terrain, reduced vertical separation maneuvers, command leadership, and professional conduct. The entire program takes about 10 months.

“When they complete the program, we’ve got good connections in Asia where we can pretty much put [them] to work,” Higgins said. “They can go to work in China as a second officer. They’re not flying right away, but they’re learning how to preflight, talk on the radio, show up in uniform.” That six-month training period as a second officer generally leads to an interview for a first officer position, he said. “They’ll put you in the right seat and the upgrade time is pretty much based on your ability. If they think you’re ready in a year for an upgrade to captain, they’ll upgrade you in a year,” he said.

The pilot shortage coupled with lower minimums and no requirement for an airline transport pilot certificate has created tremendous opportunities with overseas airlines, particularly those in Asia and South America, Higgins said.

Currently 100 cadets are enrolled in the program in Fort Myers, Miami, and Naples, Higgins said.


Jill W. Tallman is editor of Flight School Business.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

Related Articles