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American Airline Launches New Pilot Cadet Academy

Envoy Air Embraer E-175

American Airlines has announced that it will open a cadet academy with the goal of providing new pilots to American Airline’s regional carriers. The cadets would have an opportunity to advance to the mainline carrier.

The new academy will allow “Prospective pilots with little or no flight experience can now begin their career track without the complexity and uncertainty traditionally associated with flight training.”

Once a candidate has completed the program they will be guaranteed an interview with one of American Airline’s wholly owned regional carriers (Envoy, Piedmont, or PSA). American Airlines has a flow through program with these carriers, allowing the cadet to advance to the mainline carrier when they have appropriate seniority to do so.

To be eligible, a potential candidate must:

  1. Be able to legally work in the United States
  2. Be 21 years old upon completion of the program
  3. Have a high school diploma or GED (a college degree is preferred)
  4. Be able to obtain an FAA first class medical certificate
  5. Be able to obtain a Passport
  6. Demonstrate english proficiency
  7. Pass a background check

Flight School Partnership

Cadets will be able to choose from one of three flight schools: CAE in Phoenix, Crew Training International in Memphis, or American Flyers in either Southern Florida or Dallas. Candidates will train up to 18 months at their chosen school. During this time the candidate will be paired with a pilot mentor to help them through the program.

Flight Training Financing

American Airlines is not paying for the cost of flight training. American Airlines is working with Discover Student Loans to provide financing that is deferrable during the training period.

With traditional flight training, students are responsible for paying by the hour. There is often cost overruns with this system that the student is responsible for.

American Airlines says the Cadet Academy is a turn-key solution in that each phase of training is a fixed cost, with no cost overages.

“We are thrilled to introduce this innovative program that we believe can change the airline industry and provide aspiring pilots with a life-changing opportunity,” said Capt. Kimball Stone, vice president of flight at American. “The lack of financing options has restricted the size of the pilot pool, leaving some of the most talented people out of the running. By removing this roadblock from the student experience, we will attract a diverse group of professional aviators to American for years to come.”

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Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 8,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, flying for a regional airline, a national low cost airline, a legacy airline, and also working as a manager in charge of Part 135 and Part 121 training programs.

Greg Thomson