Southern Airways Express 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 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 begin training with the Private Pilot course or Instrument course at Epic. During or after completing your Multi-Engine add-on, you can apply to the program and enroll in 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 at Epic?

  • 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 your Epic training with the Private Pilot course or the Instrument Rating course. Unfortunately, students who join Epic after the IR course are not eligible for the Airline Direct Program.

What are the requirements to apply for the Airline Direct Program?

Before you apply for the program, be sure you meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years or older
  • Weight under 250 pounds
  • Complete CSEL at time of application and enroll in CMEL add-on before applying
  • Valid First Class medical with no limitations
  • Must have started training at Epic no later than the PPL or IR course
  • No more than 2 total check ride failures during training (including written exams, oral, and flight portion)
  • Updated resume and FCC radio operator at time of application

What are the steps to complete the Airline Direct Program?

Follow these 5 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 begin your training at Epic and will lead you to speak with a recruiter about the program. After further discussion, we can confirm that you understand the requirements and are eligible to apply for the Airline Direct Program.

    Step 1 Pre-enroll at Epic

  2. Complete your training through Commercial Single-Engine, and talk to your recruiter for more details on applying.

    This process may involve meeting with a school official to discuss your eligibility to apply, update you on any changes to the program, and review the next steps to apply more in-depth. This process may also include reviewing your resume, going over interview tips, and more! We encourage you to start your Multi-Engine Commercial Add-on course as soon as practical.

    Step 2 Complete CSEL at Epic

  3. Apply to the Airline Direct Program!

    You will complete a full application that will be submitted to Southern Airways Express for review. A recruiting official from Southern Airways Express will contact you to schedule your interview. Once your interview is complete, Southern Airways Express will be in touch with the school regarding approval into the program. If approved, you will be permitted into the next available Crew Resource Management course at Epic.

    Step 3 Apply to Program

  4. Complete the CRM Course, and receive your start date with Southern Airways Express!

    Start your CRM course at Epic. This course runs for 4 weeks. Students who have remaining requirements such as the Multi-Engine Commercial Add-on, or Time Building will be enrolled in these courses at this time. Upon completion of the 4-week CRM course, cadets will need to continue updating Southern if they are still working on required time-building hours, or the Multi-Engine course.

    Step 4 Complete CRM Course

  5. Transition to Southern Airways Express!

    Once you have met all requirements, you will be given your official class with Southern and will begin your transition to your new career. Congratulations!

    Step 5 Transition to SAE

What is the cost for the Airline Direct Program?

Airline Direct Program – Domestic Students

Zero Experience to Commercial Multi Engine
Total Course Tuition $69,9176 USD

Starting with Instrument Course
Total Course Tuition $41,095 USD

Crew Resource Management Course
CRM Course Ground School $5,000 USD
CRM Simulator w/ Partner $3,060 USD

Time-building (as needed)
$149.10 USD per hour

The Airline Direct Program includes 5 courses:

TOTAL TUITION: $68,313.50

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?

Epic Skywest Airline Direct

You’ll train at Epic for the first ten months. After you complete the Crew Resource Management training, you will hire on and fly as SIC with Southern Airways Express and receive $7,500 in tuition reimbursement. You will continue as SIC becoming FAR 135 certified. You are eligible for a Captain upgrade at 1,200 hours. Once you upgrade, you will fly as Captain (PIC) and receive $5,000 in tuition reimbursement. You will fly 600 hours as Captain (PIC) to meet your eligibility to transition to Skywest Airlines as a First Officer. If you’ve been looking for a direct path to the airlines, this is it!

After you have completed your time with Southern Airways Express, you will transition to Skywest Airlines. Once you are hired and complete your initial training with Skywest, SkyWest will provide another $5,000 in tuition reimbursement. This is a total of $17,500 in tuition reimbursement! Therefore, in a short amount of time, you will be recovering your flight training investment as a trained airline pilot.

What is the rate of pay at Southern?

Effective Feb. 1, 2022:

  • FO under 600 hours of Total Time = $12.00/block hour
  • FO 600 hours plus + of Total Time = $18.00/block hour
  • FO 900 hours plus + of Total Time = $21.00/block hour
  • Once upgraded to Captain $45.00/block hour

Minimum monthly guarantee is 65 hour guarantee at all pay rates.

SkyWest Cadet program is as follows:

  • Once the FO is released to the line from training they will be paid $7,500.
  • Once the FO is upgraded to Captain they will be paid $5,000.
  • They need to stay at SAE for 600 hours of PIC and then they are permitted to go to SkyWest
  • Once they finish training at SkyWest they will be paid the final $5,000.

Total SkyWest Tuition Reimbursement is $17,500.

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.

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