A good flight always begins on the ground – with proper flight planning.  However, things don’t always go as planned once you’re in the air. We know that turbulence, diversions and detours happen. But being prepared for these events helps to minimize risk and prevent delays in our plan. This same concept applies to charting your aviation journey.

First, picking a destination can be tricky – especially when there are many wonderful places to land. Also, there are many different ways to file to the same destination. As already stated, some of us file direct, while others fly around the world to reach our destination/dream career. This is why BogiDope was created; to help you plan your path efficiently, with all the right tools and in a way that is tailored to your aspirations.

Regardless of your intended destination, here are some steps to get you started:

Step 1. Schedule a “discovery flight” at your local airport or flight school. If you are unsure what this is or where to start in finding this information, search engines are your friend!

Step 2. Take the discovery flight. Do you still want to be a pilot? Most of you will say, “YES!!!!”  If so, proceed to Step 3. If not, that is OKAY. There are other paths in aviation that may be more suited to your passions and skillset. This information is better to learn after a discovery flight than halfway through pilot training, with a military commitment, while committed to an aviation program at a four-year university and/or after securing a student loan that has incurred a financial commitment.

Step 3. Obtain a student pilot certificate through a local, certified flight-instructor and earn your private pilot certificate. This seems like it goes without saying…but it’s too important to not state outright. A private pilot certificate is an essential step whether you’re pursuing a civilian or military career as a pilot. There are a few caveats to this but, for the most part, it is an unwritten rule to make you competitive for military pilot boards. Also, should you decide to pursue this route in the Guard or Reserve, more flight hours will boost your PCSM score.

These 3 steps are essential – whether you desire to pursue a career in military aviation, civilian aviation or a combination of the two.

Now for the second question… how do you fund flight training?

Well, there are many options.

  1. Take out loans – this usually comes with high interest-rates and/or the need for a cosigner.
  2. Apply for scholarships – these are, admittedly, time consuming and highly competitive. But don’t worry! BogiDope can help!
  3. Enlist in the military and use the G.I. Bill, along with other useful military programs, to fund college and flight training.
  4. Attend college and join the ROTC to compete for a pilot slot.
  5. Attend a military academy and compete for a pilot slot.
  6. Attend the college of your choice and apply for a pilot slot through the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard.
  7. Work and “pay as you go” through flight training with a local CFI.
  8. Join an airline career-path program.
  9. Receive an internship or entry-level job with a company that offers educational advancement programs or tuition reimbursement.
  10. Find a benefactor (this is ideal, but not possible for most people, so refer to steps 1-9).
  11. Any combination of the above options.

Admittedly, this can all be overwhelming. However, BogiDope offers many tools to help you navigate your career path. This course, and the great resources offered on the BogiDope website, are excellent first steps. Booking a General Strategy session with a BogiDope coach is another great way to get one-on-one mentorship and guidance into which paths are right for you and how to aggressively pursue your goals!

Throughout this course, you will often notice blue text. All blue text is a hyperlink to websites, resources and/or helpful PDF’s. Click on the blue text and the resources will open in a new tab.