For most pilots coming out of flight school, the road to 1500 hours, the amount of flying a pilot must log to be hired by a commercial airline, is long and expensive.
Getting paid as a flight instructor or sky diving pilot can help, but the reality for most is renting a plane on weekends, plunking down money for time and fuel, flying a few hours and repeating the following weekend.
To help alleviate the burden, Piedmont Airlines is offering a new, flexible cadet program and incentives of $25,500 for pilots who need to build hours. Unlike traditional cadet programs, Piedmont’s flexible program doesn’t tie pilots to a particular school, occupation or time frame.
“We heard loud and clear that pilots want the flexibility to build time when they want and where they want,” said Talia Roffman, Piedmont recruiting manager. “And they want to be paid to do it.”
Pilots can apply for the Piedmont cadet program once they reach 400 hours of flight time and earn a commercial license with multi engine and instrument ratings. Once accepted into the program, pilots take home a $7,500 signing bonus. They earn cash for every 100 hours of logged flight from the new hire pilot bonus, and collect additional monies over two years. Piedmont will also pay for an ATP/CTP course, if needed.
On the first day of first officer training at Piedmont, pilots are placed in a queue for American Airlines. “You can’t put a value on that,” said Roffman. “Your first day at Piedmont, you start the countdown to becoming a pilot for American Airlines. It’s an incredible opportunity.” Cadets also receive flying benefits on American Airlines, including free domestic travel for themselves, a registered companion and immediate family members.
“We are very proud to add flexibility and flight benefits to the list of reasons pilots should come to Piedmont as cadets,” said Steve Keefer, vice president of Flight Operations. “The flight instructor route doesn’t work for everyone and not everyone wants to be tied to a certain geographic area. We encourage pilots in school and pilots looking to get back into the industry to view our program as an alternative to more restrictive cadet programs.”
Pilots who join the cadet program can earn an additional $5,000 for every friend they successfully refer to Piedmont.