Career Story: Pilot

Angelo is a commercial airline pilot who feels financially stable and is in a position to help his family with bills. Find out how he’s building up to his goals.

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My name is Angelo Bautista.

I'm 29 years old.

I'm a commercial airline pilot.
ANGELO, 29
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT, COMPASS AIRLINES

I work for Compass Airlines,

and they contract with Delta
and American Airlines,

and we fly their smaller planes,

and their shorter routes

to the hub of Los Angeles
International Airport.

My number one responsibility

as a captain of the airplane
is safety.

When I walk in the aircraft
ANGELO’S RESPONSIBILITIES:

I check the maintenance log book
-SAFETY

and make sure
the aircraft is air worthy.
-INSPECT AIRCRAFT

I check the weather,
REVIEW FLIGHT PLAN AND
WEATHER FORECAST

I check the flight plan

and the fuel planning
to our destination.

I am also responsible
for an on-time departure.
-COMMUNICATION

With that being said,
I have to communicate

with a gate agent,

the dispatcher,
COORDINATE WITH FLIGHT TEAM
AND GROUND TEAM

air traffic controller,

ground crew members,
flight attendants,

and my first officer

to keep everybody in the loop

to make sure we push out on time.

If there's any weather delays

I make sure I promptly
advise the gate agents

and the air traffic controller,

and also the passengers
-SHARE FLIGHT INFORMATION
WITH PASSENGERS

so they can be in the loop
and be advised.

My final responsibility
is flying the airplane.
-PILOT THE AIRCRAFT

Once the doors are closed

I actually make an announcement
to the passengers

to introduce myself and my crew,

giving them an expectation
of the flight,

if it's gonna be smooth
or pretty bumpy.

I also give them
an estimated time of arrival

so they know if we're gonna
be late or on time or early.

A commercial airline pilot makes

roughly around 15,000
to up to $250,000 a year.
THE MEDIAN SALARY OF A
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT

The reason why there's
wide spread for that
IN 2015 WAS $102,520 A YEAR.
SOURCE: BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
is when you're starting off
in the airline business

you start off on a small airplane

getting paid less,

right, and then
you work your way up

to be a captain of a large aircraft
for international flights,

and that's where you get paid

the big bucks of 250,000 a year.

I roughly make
about 90,000 a year,
BENEFITS OF BEING
A COMMERCIAL PILOT:

and in my position
as a regional airline captain

that's pretty average.

Benefits and perks
of a commercial airline pilot
IF APPLYING TO BE A COMMERCIAL
CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

is flight benefits.
PERSONALITY
PROBLEM SOLVING

I can have my parents
JUDGEMENT IN CHALLENGING SITUATIONS.

and my girlfriend fly for free
-FREE FLIGHTS

anywhere in the US

and anywhere international

where a US carrier flies to,

anywhere, any time as long as
there's a seat available.

Other benefits I get
as a commercial airline pilot,

I get 401K,
-401K

-medical benefit,
-MEDICAL & DENTAL BENEFITS

dental benefits

and life insurance.
-LIFE INSURANCE

A typical day for me

is arriving at the gate
45 minutes early.

Sometimes it's the morning,

sometimes it's the afternoon.

It just depends on what schedule
I was awarded with.

I meet with the flight crew,

with the first officer
and two flight attendants

and usually I have never
flown with them before.

And the reason behind that

is I have a new crew
every single time I fly

in a series of flights.

It could be a day trip

meaning we go to Los Angeles

and go to Dallas and back.

Or I go to Los Angeles

and we have
five days worth of flying

and we don't come back
to Los Angeles until the fifth day.

Some of the traits
that you have to have

in order to be a successful pilot

I think you have
to have good judgment.
KEY TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PILOTS INCLUDE:
-GOOD JUDGEMENT

Also, you are stuck
in the cockpit with somebody

for an extended amount of time.
-COOPERATIVE NATURE

You are flying
with the flight attendants

for extended amount of days,

and I think you should be
able to work as a team
-STRONG PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS

to solve problems,

think on your feet,

and fly the aircraft safely
from point A to point B.

My name is Angelo Bautista.

I'm 29 years old.
ANGELO, 29
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT, COMPASS AIRLINES

I'm a commercial airline pilot.

Typically, for someone to be
a commercial airline pilot

they usually first receive training

to be a private pilot.

A private pilot entails
they need to do a written test
STEPS TO EARN COMMERCIAL
PILOT LICENSE:

that they have to pass.
-OBTAIN A PRIVATE PILOT’S LICENSE

Once they have acquired 40 hours,
-REQUIRES WRITTEN TEST, 40+ HOURS
FLIGHT TIME, AND PRACTICAL FLIGHT EXAM

they actually go with a DPE

which is a designated
pilot examiner,

which they would have
one hour one-on-one conversation.

The examiner
would ask the applicant

about certain subjects

and see if he has enough knowledge

so if he does pass

he can go ahead and move on
to the second part.

The second part of the examination

is the flying part.

The applicant is expected

to perform certain maneuvers
within standards

and if the examiner
deems that he passes

they're gonna go back
to the flight school

and he is gonna receive
a pilot's private certificate.

After the private pilot's license

a pilot applicant
goes for the instrument rating.
-EARN INSTRUMENT RATINGS

Once they get
their instrument rating

this allows them
to fly through clouds
-50 HOURS OF CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT TIME

which is necessary
to be a commercial airline pilot.
-40 HOURS OF INSTRUMENT
TRAINING EXPERIENCE

After that they go ahead
-15 HOURS INSTRUCTION WITH
CERTIFIED INSTRUMENT FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR

and train to be
a commercial airline pilot

receiving up to 250 hours.
-LOG 250+ HOURS OF FLIGHT TIME

Once the commercial airline pilot
certificate has been received

they are now able to fly

and get revenue for it.

I've always wanted to be a pilot
since I was young,

and I was influenced by my dad.

He worked for Philippine Airlines
for 24 years as a mechanic

fixing 747s.

From Philippines we moved
to Mobile, Alabama,

when I was 14

and in high school he told me

that I would need
a bachelor's degree

to fly for Delta Airlines,
American Airlines

or United Airlines, which I agreed.

So, he told me, if I was going
to get a bachelor's degree

go ahead and get
something non-aviation

because the aviation industry

is very cyclical with the economy.

If the economy is not doing well,

the aviation business
is not doing well.

So, I decided to go ahead
and got my nursing degree.

So, I received my Bachelor's
of Science in Nursing

back in 2009.

I practiced for a year
and about three months.

I was a cardiac
stepdown unit nurse first,

and then I transferred
into the ICU,

which is intensive care unit,

and in intensive care unit

my supervisor
was also the supervisor

of the emergency room,

so he would flow me down
sometimes to the ER

when they are understaffed.

So, I have both experience
in the ICU and the ER.

After a year and three months,

I knew the end game
was gonna be a pilot.

I went ahead and saved up
all that time that I was a nurse

for flight school.

I went to Atlanta, Georgia,

to start my flight school
at ATP flight school.

It took me from no flight time

to be a flight instructor
in six months.

I was lucky enough
to receive eight certificates

without failing anything.

A week later the company called me

and they decided for me

to be one of their
flight instructors.

I decided to be a flight instructor

here in Long Beach, California,

because I've never been
into the west coast,

so I decided to instruct
for one full year

in Long Beach, California.

Once I got my hours

I went ahead
and applied for the airlines.

When I was applying
for my current job

it was a one-day process.
IF APPLYING TO BE A COMMERCIAL
AIRLINE PILOT, YOU’LL BE EVALUATED ON:

The first step to it
was a computer testing.
-CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

We had a three-phased test.

It tested your personality,
-PERSONALITY

it tested your critical thinking

and it tested your problem solving.
-PROBLEM SOLVING

If you do pass those three tests

you move onto
the face-to-face interview.

Once you have
the face-to-face interview

you actually get asked
by the chief pilot

and the interviewers

situations that applies to a pilot
-JUDGEMENT IN CHALLENGING SITUATIONS

and they determine
if you have enough

or good critical decision-making
for them to hire you.

A typical career path
for a commercial airline pilot

is starting off
flying smaller airplanes

like what I'm flying.

You start off as a first officer.

You then move up to a captain.

Once you have enough experience

now you can move off
to the legacy airlines

which is Delta Airlines,
United Airlines,

American Airlines.

They fly bigger airplanes,

wide bodies,

to farther destinations.

You start off as a first officer

and you move up to be a captain.

The typical pay starts off

from about 20,000
as a regional first officer,

90,000 as a regional captain,

150,000 as a first officer
in a legacy airline,

and up to 250,

sometimes, I've heard, 400,000,

as a captain on an airline.

Typically, the first officers
that I fly with

are at least 21 years old.

So yes, you can
graduate high school,

start pilot training

and become
a commercial airline pilot

at the age of 21.

My 10-year plan is to be a captain

on a legacy airline
flying wide bodies.

That is my long-term goal.

It just depends on
how the economy turns out.

Like I said,

the aviation business
is highly affected

on how the economy does,

so if the economy does well

I think I can progress
to be a captain

in the legacy
airlines in 10 years.

I think people that take interest
to be a pilot

need to do a lot of research.

Knowing how long
it's gonna take for them

to have their certificates,

how long it's gonna take them

to reach 1,500 hours,

and once they reach 1,500 hours

accept the reality

that you're not gonna make
a whole lot of money initially

but eventually it's gonna come

towards the end of your career.

My name is Angelo Bautista.
ANGELO, 29
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT, COMPASS AIRLINES

I'm 29 years old.

I'm a Commercial Airline Pilot

and I make $90,000 a year.

Right now, I feel
very financially stable.

I think that I can afford

to go out and eat if I wanted to.

Compared to five years ago

when I was starting
in the airlines

when I was making around
$15,000 per year,

I think I'm a lot more
financially stable now.

I knew that I was gonna
be financially stable

that's why I took this route

even though it was hard
five years ago

and it's only gonna get
better from here on out.

I paid for college

by working as a waiter.

I could only put half
of the tuition fee.

My dad put the other half.

I left college without any loan

and through flight school,

I actually acquired a $60,000 loan

that I was paying off
and has now been paid off

and with the help of my dad

and now I'm just repaying my dad

without the interest loan.

Typically, it costs
about 60 to $120,000

to attain your flight certificates.
THE EXACT COST OF OBTAINING
A COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENSE

It just depends if you want
VARIES BY SCHOOL

a Bachelor's degree
with it or not.
AS AN ALTERNATIVE, SOME JOIN
THE MILITARY TO PURSUE THEIR TRAINING

I fortunately already
had my Bachelor's
AND OBTAIN A PILOT LICENSE.

so it only cost me 60,000.

There are programs out there,

four-year degrees,

that you attain
your Bachelor's degree.

And after four years
you also receive 250 hours

and all your flight certificates

but it will cost you $120,000.

When I first started
in the airlines,

I was receiving $1200 of net pay.

800 of that went to my student loan

which left me with $400 a month.

I allotted $100 a week for food.

That left me $200 for rent and gas.

I really didn't have
any savings at that time.

I really didn't have
any emergency funds.

But I knew
that if I had an emergency

that I'll be able to call home

and have my family take care of me.

The cost of living
here in Los Angeles

is very expensive.

For what I'm paying
for rent here,

you can buy a house

or mansion in Mobile, Alabama.

My monthly gross income is $7,500.
MONTHLY GROSS INCOME $7,500

Usually 35% of it
is taken out by taxes
35% TAKEN OUT BY TAXES

which is Federal, State taxes,
FEDERAL, STATE TAXES,

Medicare, health insurance,
and life insurance.
MEDICARE, HEALTHCARE,
LIFE INSURANCE

I am now left with a monthly
take-home income of $4,875.
MONTHLY TAKE HOME INCOME
$4,875

My monthly expenses are
ANGELOS BUDGET
MONTHLY INCOME $4,875

rent which is $1,460
for a two-bedroom,
RENT $1,460

gas and electric, about $100,
GAS/ELECTRIC $100

TV, internet, about $100,
TV/INTERNET $100

phone, $50 a month,
PHONE $50

car payment which includes gas
and insurance, about $700.
CAR $700

Fortunately, I do not
have any student loans

as of right now.

Food, about $200 a month.
FOOD $200

Other stuff like gym plans,

subscriptions to Spotify,
Netflix, about 200 a month.
SUBSCRIPTIONS $200

Discretionary,
about $500 a month
DISCRETIONARY $500

and I use it to treat my crew
for a coffee or dinner

because I know
how much they make

because I used to make

what they're making right now.

I also buy things for myself
like clothes

just to keep myself up
like socks or other stuff.

That leaves me about
a savings of $1565.
REMAINING FUNDS $1,565

I usually use $1,000

and give it to my parents

as they helped me out
through college

to pay their mortgage

so they don't have
to pay for it.

My financial goals
is to be financially stable

and be able to pay off
my parents' house,

have $100,000 in savings,

and hopefully be paying

for a house here
in Los Angeles, California.

I've personally learned
that money comes and go.

I know taking a 60 or $120,000 loan

looks really really
massive in the beginning

but look at it
as an investment for yourself.

If you are looking
to better yourself,

look at the 10-year plan,
20-year plan

of what that $120,000 loan
could achieve

or that $60,000 loan
could achieve

down the line.

Early on in my career,
I was financially constrained

and I've learned
to prioritize my needs

versus my wants.

There are certain things
that I need

which is gas in my car,
food, and clothes.

Versus the things that I want

which is not necessary
at that point in time

because I wasn't financially stable

and I couldn't afford those things.

Now that I'm making more money,

I am able to buy those wants

but I'm also learning

that I can actually make
my money work for me

by investing it or saving it,

doing IRAs, and having
that financial stability

and freedom much later on in life.

My name is Angelo Bautista.

I'm 29 years old.

I'm a commercial airline pilot.
ANGELO, 29
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT, COMPASS AIRLINES

I work for Compass Airlines,

and they contract with Delta
and American Airlines,

and we fly their smaller planes,

and their shorter routes

to the hub of Los Angeles
International Airport.

My number one responsibility

as a captain of the airplane
is safety.

When I walk in the aircraft
ANGELO’S RESPONSIBILITIES:

I check the maintenance log book
-SAFETY

and make sure
the aircraft is air worthy.
-INSPECT AIRCRAFT

I check the weather,
REVIEW FLIGHT PLAN AND
WEATHER FORECAST

I check the flight plan

and the fuel planning
to our destination.

I am also responsible
for an on-time departure.
-COMMUNICATION

With that being said,
I have to communicate

with a gate agent,

the dispatcher,
COORDINATE WITH FLIGHT TEAM
AND GROUND TEAM

air traffic controller,

ground crew members,
flight attendants,

and my first officer

to keep everybody in the loop

to make sure we push out on time.

If there's any weather delays

I make sure I promptly
advise the gate agents

and the air traffic controller,

and also the passengers
-SHARE FLIGHT INFORMATION
WITH PASSENGERS

so they can be in the loop
and be advised.

My final responsibility
is flying the airplane.
-PILOT THE AIRCRAFT

Once the doors are closed

I actually make an announcement
to the passengers

to introduce myself and my crew,

giving them an expectation
of the flight,

if it's gonna be smooth
or pretty bumpy.

I also give them
an estimated time of arrival

so they know if we're gonna
be late or on time or early.

A commercial airline pilot makes

roughly around 15,000
to up to $250,000 a year.
THE MEDIAN SALARY OF A
COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT

The reason why there's
wide spread for that
IN 2015 WAS $102,520 A YEAR.
SOURCE: BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
is when you're starting off
in the airline business

you start off on a small airplane

getting paid less,

right, and then
you work your way up

to be a captain of a large aircraft
for international flights,

and that's where you get paid

the big bucks of 250,000 a year.

I roughly make
about 90,000 a year,
BENEFITS OF BEING
A COMMERCIAL PILOT:

and in my position
as a regional airline captain

that's pretty average.

Benefits and perks
of a commercial airline pilot
IF APPLYING TO BE A COMMERCIAL
CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

is flight benefits.
PERSONALITY
PROBLEM SOLVING

I can have my parents
JUDGEMENT IN CHALLENGING SITUATIONS.

and my girlfriend fly for free
-FREE FLIGHTS

anywhere in the US

and anywhere international

where a US carrier flies to,

anywhere, any time as long as
there's a seat available.

Other benefits I get
as a commercial airline pilot,

I get 401K,
-401K

-medical benefit,
-MEDICAL & DENTAL BENEFITS

dental benefits

and life insurance.
-LIFE INSURANCE

A typical day for me

is arriving at the gate
45 minutes early.

Sometimes it's the morning,

sometimes it's the afternoon.

It just depends on what schedule
I was awarded with.

I meet with the flight crew,

with the first officer
and two flight attendants

and usually I have never
flown with them before.

And the reason behind that

is I have a new crew
every single time I fly

in a series of flights.

It could be a day trip

meaning we go to Los Angeles

and go to Dallas and back.

Or I go to Los Angeles

and we have
five days worth of flying

and we don't come back
to Los Angeles until the fifth day.

Some of the traits
that you have to have

in order to be a successful pilot

I think you have
to have good judgment.
KEY TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PILOTS INCLUDE:
-GOOD JUDGEMENT

Also, you are stuck
in the cockpit with somebody

for an extended amount of time.
-COOPERATIVE NATURE

You are flying
with the flight attendants

for extended amount of days,

and I think you should be
able to work as a team
-STRONG PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS

to solve problems,

think on your feet,

and fly the aircraft safely
from point A to point B.