A Guide to the United Aviate Academy
Updated November 20, 2023
- What Is the United Aviate Academy?
- Who Can Join the United Aviate Academy?
- How Much Does the United Aviate Academy Cost?
- What Is the United Aviate Application Process?
- What Is the FAA Knowledge Test?
- What Are the Next Steps In the United Airlines Flight Training Academy?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
The United Aviate Academy is a prestigious pilot training program that prepares aspiring aviators for a career with United Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world.
However, the program is highly competitive. To be accepted, candidates need to meet strict cognitive, physical and psychological standards, as well as demonstrate their passion for aviation and their ability to learn and lead.
Whether you’re considering a career as a pilot, or simply curious about what it takes to become one, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the United Aviate Academy.
The United Aviate Academy is the pilot training program of United Airlines. Launched in 2019 as part of United’s larger Aviate program, it aims to address the talent shortage in the aviation industry by identifying, recruiting and developing the next generation of pilots.
The primary purpose of the United Airlines academy is to create a pipeline of highly skilled and qualified individuals to meet the growing demand for commercial pilots. It does so by providing a comprehensive program that covers ground school, simulator training and flight training.
On successful completion of the United Aviate Academy, graduates are offered a position as a First Officer with United Airlines, allowing them to start their career as a commercial airline pilot immediately after completing the program.
Students who enroll in the United Aviate Academy can expect a rigorous and challenging training program that will fully prepare them for a career as a commercial pilot.
Some of the topics covered in the program include:
- Flight theory and aerodynamics – The basic principles of flight, physics of aerodynamics and the principles of airplane stability and control
- Navigation – The use of instruments and charts and the principles of air traffic control
- Aircraft systems – This covers the systems and components of the airplane, such as the engines, hydraulic systems and electrical systems.
- Weather – The interpretation of weather reports and forecasts and the effects of weather on flight operations.
- Flight planning – This includes the creation of flight plans, including fuel requirements, altitudes and routes.
- Human factors – This includes the study of human performance, limitations and error management.
- Crew resource management – The skills necessary for effective communication, decision-making and teamwork in a cockpit environment.
- Regulations – The rules and regulations governing aviation, including FAA regulations and international standards.
The United Airlines pilot academy is designed for aspiring pilots at various skill levels, including those starting from scratch. This means you’re welcome to apply even if you have little to no previous flight experience.
There are however several eligibility requirements that must be met for admission. The primary United Aviate program requirements are:
Age: You must be at least 18 years old. Citizenship or residency: You must be either a US citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States. Education: You must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED certificate. English language proficiency: You must be proficient in the English language. Physical health: You must meet the medical certifications requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as meet the program’s requirements for minimum height and weight. Financial ability: You must be able to fund your United Airlines flight training academy, either through personal funds or student loans.
In addition to meeting these United Aviate requirements, you must also complete the program’s stringent selection process, which includes interviews, exams and a series of psychometric tests.
The United Aviate program cost is divided into various components, each covering a specific aspect of your training.
United Airlines covers the cost of your private pilot training, currently estimated at around $17,750. The additional components you will have to pay for yourself are:
- Instrument rating training costs: $18,250
- Commercial single-engine initial training costs: $26,000
- Commercial multi-engine add-on training costs: $7,500
- Certified flight instructor training costs: $7,500
- Certified flight instructor (instrument) training costs: $5,500
- Multi-engine flight instructor training costs: $6,500
This gives a total United Aviate Academy cost of $71,250.
On top of this, you will need to factor in additional expenses such as training materials and accommodation.
These costs are also subject to change, and it’s recommended that you contact the United Aviate Academy directly for the most up-to-date and accurate information.
United Airlines offers some funding opportunities to help with the cost of its academy, including a limited number of scholarships for exceptional students. These scholarships are merit-based, awarded on a competitive basis and cover a portion of the tuition costs.
United Airlines has also partnered with a number of financial institutions to provide student loans and other financial assistance options to eligible candidates.
Overall, attending the United Aviate Academy requires significant outlay and you should carefully consider your ability to fund the program before applying.
However, with the financial support available and the promising career opportunities after graduation, the program can be a worthwhile investment for those interested in a career as a commercial airline pilot.
The application process for the United Aviate Academy involves several steps, each designed to ensure only candidates of the highest caliber are accepted into the program.
The first step in your United Aviate application is to submit an online form through the United Aviate Academy website. This asks for basic personal information, education history, flight experience (if any) and a personal statement.
After submitting your application, you’ll be required to complete a series of online assessments designed to evaluate your aptitude for pilot training.
Once the assessments are completed, applicants who pass are invited to a behavioral interview with a member of the United Aviate Academy admissions team.
This interview is designed to ensure you have the right competencies and behaviors for the United flight training academy, and you should be prepared to answer questions on things like your communication skills and problem-solving abilities.
If you’re applying without a Private Pilot License (PPL), this interview will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. If you already hold a PPL, your interview will be conducted in person.
If you successfully complete your online assessments and pass your behavioral interview, you’ll receive a conditional acceptance letter from the academy. This letter outlines the next steps in the admissions process.
As part of this conditional offer, you must register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), sit its knowledge test and achieve a score of at least 80%. You must also hold a valid FAA medical certificate.
If you already hold a PPL, you do not need to sit the FAA Knowledge Test.
As part of the admission process, applicants are required to pass a background check, evaluating any criminal history, and a drug test screening for the use of illegal substances. You’ll also need to provide proof of your US citizenship or legal residency.
Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll be required to provide proof of vaccination against the virus.
The FAA Knowledge Test is an exam that pilots in the US must pass to obtain a pilot's license or rating and is a compulsory part of the application process for the United Airlines Aviate Academy.
It’s a computerized exam made up of 60 multiple-choice questions, with a time limit of two and a half hours. Questions are drawn from a large question bank at random, so no two tests are ever exactly the same.
These questions cover a range of topics related to aviation, including aerodynamics, aircraft systems, flight instruments, weather, airspace, navigation, regulations and procedures.
To prepare for the FAA Knowledge Test, applicants may use a variety of study materials, such as textbooks, online courses, study guides and practice psychometric tests.
The United Aviate Academy also provides a free test prep kit to students who have been conditionally accepted into the program.
You must take and pass the FAA Knowledge Test before the start of your United Airlines flight training academy. The test is administered at FAA-approved testing centers throughout the country and you can schedule your exam directly with the testing center.
To pass the exam, you must correctly answer at least 80% of the questions. If you fail on your first attempt you may retake the test after a designated waiting period.
Once you’ve completed the application process and received a conditional offer, you’ll begin your United Airlines Aviate pilot program. This is a multistage pathway that, if successfully passed, culminates in your employment with United Airlines.
The first stage of the program is a two-month initial training course that includes classroom instruction, simulators and flight training.
During this time, you’ll learn the basics of aviation and flight, as well as the safety procedures and protocols of United Airlines flight operations.
On successful completion of the initial training, you’ll receive a final acceptance offer to join the United Aviate Academy as a student pilot.
Once you’ve formally accepted your offer, you’ll begin your 10-month pilot training. This includes ground school classes and flight training in a variety of aircraft types, and will cover topics such as flight planning, navigation, flight controls and emergency procedure.
During this time, you’ll work towards earning your Private Pilot License (PPL), Instrument Rating (IR), Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and Multi-Engine Rating (MER).
After completing the pilot training, you’ll spend approximately 18 months building flight experience and working towards your Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification.
You’ll fly as a First Officer for United Express – a regional airline that operates feeder flights for United Airlines – gaining valuable flight experience and refining your skills.
After obtaining the ATP certification and meeting all other United Aviate program requirements, you’ll be offered a position as a First Officer.
You’ll continue your development with crew resource management and aircraft-specific training, as well as completing other required courses before starting your career as a commercial pilot with United Airlines.
The United Aviate Academy is a highly selective program that requires applicants to meet rigorous standards and qualifications.
The program seeks to recruit individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to safety, professionalism and excellence in aviation, as well as those who possess the skills and qualities necessary to succeed as a pilot for United Airlines.
Applicants must also pass a series of assessments and interviews to be considered for admission. These assessments may include cognitive and psychological evaluations, flight aptitude tests and personal interviews.
The United Aviate Academy location is in Goodyear, Arizona at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
The academy boasts a 340,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that offers industry-leading resources, equipment and accommodation.
As one of only three aviation training campuses in the US, it provides aspiring pilots with a comprehensive and immersive learning experience.
The United Aviate Academy itself takes around 12 months to complete. This part of the program covers your basic training, with seven components lasting between one and three months each.
The wider United Airlines Aviate pilot program – which includes the United flight academy and an additional 18 months spent achieving your Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate – takes around two and a half years to complete in full.
This is assuming you’re accepted into the program on your first attempt and pass all the required exams and certifications on schedule.
Yes, the United Aviate Academy offers on-campus accommodation for its students. These are single-occupancy dorm rooms located around a five-minute walk from the training facility.
Currently, rent for on-campus housing ranges from 750 per month and should be factored into your overall United Aviate program cost.
Students who prefer to live off campus are responsible for their own housing arrangements.
United Airlines does not make public the number of applications it receives for its Aviate program, though it is known to be highly competitive.
Only a limited number of candidates are accepted each year, and admission is based on a rigorous selection process that considers academic, personal and professional qualifications.
While the United Aviate Academy is designed to prepare pilots for a career with – and provides a direct path to – United Airlines, completion of the program does not guarantee a job.
Students who graduate and meet the airline’s hiring standards are eligible to apply for a position as a First Officer, but final hiring decisions will be based on a variety of factors, including current staffing needs and available positions.
However, graduates of the United Airlines flight training academy are well prepared to compete for jobs in the aviation industry and have a distinct advantage when applying for positions with United or any other airline.
The United Aviate Academy is a highly selective program, designed to identify and train the most qualified candidates for a career as a pilot with United Airlines. Thousands of applications are received each year, but only a small percentage are accepted.
The selection process for the United Aviate Academy is rigorous and includes multiple assessments, interviews and exams to ensure only the most talented candidates are admitted.
To boost your chances of success, it’s vital to fully prepare. Be sure to research the airline, understand the competencies and behaviors it looks for and complete plenty of practice psychometric tests.
According to the official website, no, United Airlines does not require candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree for admission to its Aviate program.
The eligibility requirements simply state that applicants must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, be at least 18 years old and be a US citizen or legal permanent resident.
Although it is not one of the compulsory United Aviate program requirements, a bachelor’s degree in aviation, aerospace engineering or a related field may provide candidates with a competitive edge in the application process.
The average salary for a United Airlines pilot varies depending on factors such as experience, rank and type of aircraft flown.
According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for a United Airlines pilot is approximately 345,000 per year.
However, it is important to note that these figures are based on self-reported data and may not be representative of all United Airlines pilots.
To be eligible to apply for the United Aviate Academy, candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and have the legal right to work in the US.
They must also meet the FAA’s criteria for obtaining a medical certificate and a commercial pilot’s license.
In addition to these minimum requirements, the United Aviate Academy looks for candidates with a strong academic record, demonstrated leadership and teamwork skills and a passion for aviation and safety. Previous flight experience is not required, but it can be an advantage during the application process.
It's also worth noting that United Aviate Academy gives priority to applicants who are veterans or active-duty military personnel, as well as those who identify as female or belong to other underrepresented groups in the aviation industry.
There is no cost to apply for the United Aviate Academy. However, if a candidate is accepted into the program, they will be responsible for covering the cost of tuition, fees and other related expenses.
According to the United Aviate Academy website, the total cost of the program can range from approximately 150,000, depending on factors such as flight time, living expenses and training materials.
It's worth noting that the program offers some financial assistance in the form of scholarships and financing options, which may help to offset the United Aviate Academy cost for qualified candidates.
At present, the United Airlines flight academy requires a minimum of 250 flight hours to be completed as part of its training program. This includes both simulator and aircraft flight time.
Additionally, candidates must hold at least a private pilot's license before beginning their training at the academy, which typically requires a minimum of 40 flight hours.
Some candidates may have already completed more flight hours and certifications prior to entering the program, which can reduce the amount of flight time needed to complete the training.
The United Aviate Academy offers a comprehensive pilot training program designed to help individuals achieve their dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.
The academy's application process is rigorous and is designed to assess applicants' skills, experience and suitability for the program. However, once admitted, students will receive top-notch training from experienced instructors, use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and receive support throughout their training journey.
If you have a passion for flying and meet the eligibility criteria, the United Aviate Academy could be the perfect path toward an exciting career in aviation.