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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Come Fly with Delta Air Lines! Day 2

Years ago I had been flying with Evergreen and a captain had been giving me a bad time about having a college degree. I was one of those "educated kids" and he couldn't see the value  of a college degree and what that had to do with flying airplanes.

I believed that it showed the employer you could start and finish something and you could make it through their training program. Then we discussed the importance of grades. What else do you discuss in Terre Haute at 2 a.m.?

That discussion occurred 27 years ago, but today Delta Air Lines confirmed that not only does a four-year degree at a good college matter, but the importance of grades.


Yes... GPA is extremely critical. Why? Because there is a direct correlation that a student who can get good grades, can pass a Delta training program. If you can get good grades during your flight training in your ab-initio school, you're golden.

A message to all the young and passionate flyers .... focus on those grades. It will make a difference in your future. Actually, to all students everywhere, grades will play a huge part in your life. Build good habit patterns, study hard and get those grades!

Years ago, after Braniff filed bankruptcy, I attempted to get hired by America West as a line pilot. I had 727 first officer time from Evergreen, and I had 727 second officer time from Braniff. But, I did not have the 1500 hour minimum they required. I was a couple hundred hours shy. Parker Pen time wasn't in my logbook, or my mindset, but I applied anyway. The reason? I had quality experience. The result: They told me to rent a Cessna 152 and fly around the pattern for 200 hours and then I would be qualified.

What? What? Seriously? 

There was a time in our industry when he who had the most hours won the race, and it didn't matter how you got them. That is no longer the case. I had been shocked that they would think 200 hours in a Cessna, in the traffic pattern, would give me more experience to be a part 121 B737 pilot. And today... my mindset is that of the Delta.

It's not the quantity of hours, but the quality. Total time is not as critical as quality. As far as Delta is concerned, there is one equation with flight time:


I always believed that 10,000 hours of flying between Seattle and Portland in a Cessna, is one hour of experience 10,000 times. What kind of time are you getting, verses your total time? Flying for a Delta connection carrier is considered quality time.

In the past, PIC (Pilot in Command) time is all that mattered. Pilots who are looking at going to a commuter... but you're worried you wont receive PIC time because there's no upward movement... don't worry!

Delta Airlines no longer "requires" PIC time.

  • Attend an ab-initio school
  • Get good grades 
  • Fly for a Delta connection carrier

But there is more.... And I will tell you on Thursday.

Tomorrow we'll have another beautiful essay from our "why I want to fly" contest.

Enjoy the Journey,

And thank you for sharing it with me!

~ Karlene


  1. Sounds like great advice, and a great inside scoop on how a major airlines is approaching hiring, too. Nice.

  2. Great advice! You've provided some good insight, and I look forward to hearing more!

  3. thank you very much for your advices,Karlene san.
    today,I learned how important grades are:))

    I hope I will become the person who can get good grades and share what I learned to all people.My motto is I don't want to compete with friends.I want to improve my knowledge with many many people(friends).
    again thank you ,and have a great day:))

  4. Great! Continuing to strive to keep my grades up as high as possible! And while I'm glad I've got some PIC time because of the experience, I'm glad to know I don't need to upgrade at a regional first to get hired! (could be a long time at my current airline)

  5. Thanks Linda. So fun to be young and starting out.

  6. Glad I can help Dave. More on Thursday.

  7. Jun, with that attitude of helping and not competing, you will do great! That's the best way to learn and so rewarding too.

  8. Hi Daniel, I was thinking about you too with your long upgrade time. I was so glad to hear that is no longer a requirement. Also, you're doing many things right. Wait until Thursday to hear more.

  9. I know a bachelors degree is a must- I was thinking when I finish mine in a year of continuing and getting my masters through an online program my school has, once I get hired at a regional. I figure I will have time in hotels, on reserve, etc, so it might as well be productive. Would this really benefit me in terms of getting hired w/ DAL?


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