Airline Direct Program

Epic Airline Direct Pilot Program

What is Epic’s Airline Direct Program? Imagine a flight training program that takes you from zero experience directly into an airline career in just 10 months. That is what we offer here at Epic. Flight train with us, then transition immediately to a new career at Southern Airways Express or SkyWest Airlines. This program is open to new flight students with zero aviation experience who will start with the Private Pilot course at Epic and continue through the Crew Resource Management (CRM) course.

What is Crew Resource Management? A good definition is simply cockpit resource management. In other words, learning safety procedures in the cabin. We emphasize leadership, decision-making, and interpersonal communication, all within the cockpit of an airplane. This course is essential for a career with the airlines.

What are the basic requirements to begin training?

  • First, applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Next, you must hold a high school diploma or equivalency.
  • Additionally, you must be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Most importantly, you must be physically able to obtain an FAA First Class Medical Certificate.
  • Also, you need to have a valid driver’s license.
  • As you might expect, you must have the ability to pass a 10-year background check and drug screening.
  • Also, applicants must communicate proficiently in English.
  • Lastly, you must begin with the Private Pilot course.

What are the steps to enroll in the Airline Direct Program?

Follow these four steps to enroll in Epic’s Airline Direct Program.

  1. Complete Epic’s pre-enrollment form.

    Completing this form ensures that you meet all of the basic requirements to be accepted into the Airline Direct Program.


    Step 1 Complete Form

  2. Secure financing.

    If you do not have sufficient funds on hand to pay for your flight training, you can secure a student loan to pay for your tuition and housing if needed.
    Step 2 Secure Financing

  3. Pay application fee.

    This $145 fee holds your seat in the program. It demonstrates to us that you are serious about enrolling and attending flight school.
    Step 3 Pay Fee

  4. Complete the interview process.

    You will need to speak with Epic’s Career Services representative and a rep from Southern Airways. This is to make sure everyone is in full agreement and that you understand the process. Congratulations! You are now ready to enroll into the Private Pilot Course to begin the program!
    Step 4 Interview

  5. Enroll in Epic’s Private Pilot course.

    Once you have met all requirements and been accepted into the program, your final step is enrollment into Epic’s PPL course. We start a new class every month, so you will be able to get started right away. Ten months from now, you’ll be flying with Southern Airways Express!

    Step 5 Enroll PPL

What is the cost for the Airline Direct Program?

Airline Direct Program – Domestic Students

Zero Experience to Airline Pilot
Total Course Tuition $69,613.50 USD

Starting with Instrument Course
Total Course Tuition $48,858.50 USD

Starting with Commercial Course
Total Course Tuition $35,982.50 USD

The Airline Direct Program includes 5 courses:

TOTAL TUITION: $69,613.50
TOTAL COURSE TIME: 10 months

Is the Airline Direct Program right for me?

Epic’s Airline Direct Program is designed for students who are interested in working directly for the airlines after completing commercial single- and multi-engine commercial pilot training instead of becoming a flight instructor and working for Epic. Although flight instruction is a great way to gain experience and build flight time, it’s not always the best pathway for everyone. This is why Epic is offering the Airline Direct Program in collaboration with Southern.

How does the Airline Direct Program work?

All Epic flight students begin training in the Private Pilot (PPL) course, then go on to Instrument Rating (IR) and Commercial Single- and Multi-Engine (CSEL/CMEL) ratings. After completing these courses with 250 flight hours, students then have two options: 1) go on to Certified Flight Instructor courses, or 2) start the Crew Resource Management (CRM) course.

The CRM course is designed to transition students to become a co-pilot at Southern Airways Express. Airline Direct students will start Crew Resource Management training flying 100 additional hours in crew scenarios. Upon completion of the airline transition course, Southern Airways will hire them to fly second-in-command (SIC) under FAR 135 certification. After flying 1,000 hours SIC, Southern will upgrade them to Captain flying as pilot-in-command (PIC) for an additional 600 hours.

Where are Southern Airways Express bases located?

Southern Airways Express, founded in 2013, is one of the fastest growing domestic commuter airlines in the United States servicing the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf regions, New England, California, and Hawaii. Base locations include New Bedford, MA; Bradford, PA; Dubois, PA; Lancaster,PA; Morgantown, WV;  3 bases in Arkansas; Hawaii, California; and, seasonally, Southern has others, such as West Palm Beach and Memphis. You’ll have many options flying for Southern.

Airline Direct Program Flight Training

Where are SkyWest Airlines bases located?

SkyWest Airlines was founded in 1972. As a regional airline, it serves major carriers including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. SkyWest’s headquarters is located in St. George, Utah. They have hubs in Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle/Tacoma.

When do classes start?

New classes begin each month. Epic will accept six new cadets into the program each month.

How long does the Airline Direct Program take?

There are two options:

Option 1: Southern Airways

Airline Direct Schedule Option 1

With Option 1, you will train at Epic Flight Academy for the first 10 months. After that, as per your employment contract, you’ll spend approximately 14 months flying1,000 hours SIC at Southern. At this point, you should hit the 1,250 hour mark and transition for the final 7 months when you’ll be flying as Captain (PIC) for 600 hours. In total, the program takes 31 months starting with zero experience and ending with you as Captain flying PIC at Southern Airways. Remember, you will be earning as a paid commercial pilot after the first 10 months of training.

Option 2: Skywest Airlines

Epic Skywest Airline Direct

With Option 2, you will follow a similar training schedule. However, after you complete Crew Resource Management, you will fly as SIC with SkyWest Airlines and receive $7,500 in tuition reimbursement. When you have reached 1,850 flight hours (after approximately 24 months from the outset), you will fly as Captain (PIC) and receive $5,000 in tuition reimbursement. By the 32nd month, SkyWest will provide another $5,000 in tuition reimbursement. This is a total of $17,500 in tuition reimbursement.

As you can see, both of these options take you directly to the airlines after training at Epic for 10 months and accumulating 250 flight hours.

Once you complete the Airline Direct Program, you will be hired at Southern Airways Express as a second-in-command airline pilot. Therefore, in a short amount of time, you will be recovering your flight training investment as a trained airline pilot. You will continue as SIC becoming FAR 135 certified. At 1,250 hours, you will transition to Captain flying PIC for an additional 600 hours. By the time you have fulfilled your employment contract with Southern, you will have logged 1,850 hours and risen to the rank of Captain. If you’ve been looking for a direct path to the airlines, this is it!

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Airline Direct Program

Q: What types of aircraft are in the Southern Airways fleet?

A: Southern operates a fleet of Cessna Caravans, Grand Caravans, Citation Bravos, and King Airs.

Q: Where are Southern’s hubs located?

A: Southern, along with its Hawaiian brand, Mokulele Airlines, serves 37 cities with more than 220 peak-day departures from hubs at Baltimore, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Honolulu, Kahului, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, plus seasonal hubs at Palm Beach and Nantucket.

Q: What will I be paid flying for Southern Airways?

A: Each cadet will sign an employment agreement with Southern that spells out the flying commitment (1,000 hours SIC, 600 hours PIC), salary, and benefits. Rate of pay will be determined by which hub you are based at and other factors.

Q: Why does this training include Multi-Engine time?

A: Students in the Airline Direct Program receive 20 hours of multi-engine training. This is because, in order to qualify for the ATP-CTP, you must have a minimum of 25 hours of multi. This program bypasses time-building as an instructor. Therefore, you get your full training before you go straight to the airline.

Q: When did Crew Resource Management training become a requirement to fly for the airlines?

A: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made this recommendation in 1978. It has since become common practice.