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Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

Most students are aware of the intensive training that is required to become an airline pilot. However, as mentioned in an earlier blog that outlines different ways to time-build, the process of getting to the airlines can be quite a gray area for people and is often misunderstood. Here, we will discuss the bridge programs offered by our five regional airline partners to help students build their connections with the airlines while also building their hours!

Most of these programs are called “Cadet programs,” which may confuse students since there is also the American Airlines Cadet Academy. To clarify, the American Airlines Cadet Academy is a training program created by American Airlines. Since Coast Flight Training is partnered with American Airlines, we can offer the American Airlines Cadet Academy to our students to obtain all ratings needed to go on to work at the airlines. In contrast, the Cadet programs offered by regional airlines are bridge programs intending to bridge the gap between training and working as a First Officer with a regional airline. Let’s break down the different bridge programs offered by our partners: Envoy, PSA, Piedmont, SkyWest, and Mesa Airlines!

Certified Flight Instructor


Envoy’s Cadet Program offers some attractive benefits to join the program. Potential Cadets can apply for their bridge program once they have obtained their Private Pilot License. Envoy has three levels of Cadets: Cadet, Senior Cadet, and Cadet Instructor. Envoy’s interview process is conducted during the program’s second level, at the Senior Cadet level.

As their Cadets work as Certified Flight Instructors, they are treated as and provided benefits bestowed to Envoy employees. These benefits include employee flight perks and medical benefits. Once pilots have acquired their 1,500 hours, Envoy will aid in the process of completing the required ATP-CTP course. Envoy will also place pilots in the earliest new-hire class without needing an additional interview upon completion of the course and exam. Envoy’s Cadet Program Link:

Towing Banners


Piedmont’s Cadet Program requires pilots to have their Commercial Multi-Engine with Instrument rating, 500 hours of total time, a valid First Class Medical, and no criminal record or FAA violations. Cadets will receive mentorship as they build their hours, and, like Envoy, Piedmont will assist with completing the ATP-CTP course. Upon completion of the course and exam, Cadets are placed in the earliest new-hire class without needing an additional interview.
Piedmont’s Cadet Program Link:

Aerial Tours


Like Envoy’s Cadet Program, PSA’s Cadet Program has different levels of Cadets (Cadet, Senior Cadet, and Cadet Instructor). A pilot can be accepted as soon as they have obtained their Private Pilot License. The HR interview will take place during the Cadet level, with the remainder of the interview occurring once pilots are Senior Cadets. Additionally, the program offers mentorship, various financial reimbursements, and potential sign-on bonuses if the pilot chooses to sign-on as a First Officer.
PSA’s Cadet Program Link:

Private Charter Company


SkyWest’s Pilot Pathway Program requires pilots to hold their Commercial Multi-Engine and Instrument ratings. Cadets will have access to various forms of mentorship throughout their time in the program, providing students with helpful interview preparation. Moreover, Cadets are guaranteed a final interview for a First Officer position. Upon acceptance into the SkyWest Cadet Program, the student’s seniority at SkyWest will already begin to accrue.
SkyWest’s Pilot Pathway Program Link:

Renting a Plane


Lastly, Mesa’s Cadet Program, like SkyWest’s and Piedmont’s, requires students to hold their Commercial License and Instrument rating. Mesa further asks for 500 hours, a First Class Medical, and other documents. This Cadet program will offer mentorship throughout the program, and Cadets will receive travel benefits and company longevity. Once ATP minimums are met (1,500 hours), students are eligible to enroll in a training class at their Phoenix Aviation Center.
Mesa’s Cadet Program Link:

All five of these programs are fantastic options to help students transition from training to the airlines. By building their connections with the airlines and being a part of any of the previously mentioned bridge programs, students are setting themselves up for a seamless transition and successful career as airline pilots.