Ab Initio Training Pathway

Ab initio (meaning “from the beginning”) programs are airline-sponsored training programs that take an individual with very little or no flight experience and create a competent, professional airline pilot. Such programs have been used by some European airlines (e.g., Lufthansa) for many years, and to an extent, certain program elements could serve as a model for other airlines that are investigating the feasibility of ab initio programs. In the United States, ab initio training is only an option if it fits in with current regulatory requirements of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

If you are interested in exploring this option further, ALPA recommends that you look for a program that:

  • Has a comprehensive pilot-selection process that includes appropriate security and background checks.
  • Requires you to have completed, or are concurrently completing, a higher education degree program that demonstrates the motivation to study and the ability to acquire more knowledge throughout your airline career.
  • Employs well-trained and standardized instructors to train different phases of instruction. For example, those providing primary training for the private and commercial certificates as well as the instrument and multiengine ratings should be certified flight instructors, certified flight instructors–instrument, and multiengine instructors, as appropriate, and those providing crew-based training should be line-qualified and current in the aircraft in which the training is being provided.
  • Conducts regular instructor training and standardization programs that include regular line operation familiarity programs and a quality assurance program that ensures the suitability of instructors to train candidates.
  • Uses flight-simulation training devices appropriate for obtaining the required aeronautical proficiency, competence in aeronautical tasks, and cognitive skills. Full-motion flight simulation should be used during advanced flight training to ensure a solid foundation of aeronautical abilities, as well as skills specific to the aircraft type the pilot will fly for the airline. Path 4: Multi-crew pilot license >