Delta Partners With Skyborne To Fill Future Pilot Positions


The Delta Air Lines Delta Propel Program has partnered with Vero Beach, Florida-based Skyborne Airline Academy to train candidates through commercial and certified flight instructor (CFI) ratings, a career pathway toward becoming a Delta first officer.  

Delta Propel participants must be Delta employees who have earned a private pilot certificate and have worked at the airline for more than three years. The selection process includes an online pilot assessment, an in-person interview and psychological testing. Once selected, candidates will receive a “qualified” job offer to become a Delta pilot. They will work at Skyborne as flight instructors, building time toward ATP minimums. From there, the next step is working for up to 42 months at a Delta Connection carrier, after which Propel participants will transition to a pilot position at Delta.

“We are pleased to welcome Skyborne to the Delta Propel program as a flight school partner,” said Kelvin Mason, manager of pilot outreach and development for Delta. “From Propel’s inception, the program has focused on identifying, selecting and developing the next generation of pilots. Skyborne will help us on that mission by providing top training for Propel participants.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Did I read this right? Not saying it is a bad thing but there must be better pathways to the right seat of a major.

    1. Get Private ticket and have worked at Delta for at least 3 years? What jobs at Delta pay enough to afford PPL training in today’s GA environment. I guess if you were really committed you could have your PPL and then work some Delta job for 3 years.
    2. Train at Delta’s expense with Skyborne for Commercial and CFI.
    3. Work at Skyborne as CFI until accruing 1500 hrs.
    4. Then you work at a Delta Regional 3..5 years.

    Finally start as right seat at Delta.

    Looks like about 8+ years from PPL to right seat assuming everything goes smoothly. If you decide part way along this isn’t for you will you need to pay Delta back for training costs? I would be more impressed if the “have worked at Delta for 3 years” requirement weren’t there.

    Military or Part 135 would look better to me if I were an aspiring professional pilot. How long is the USAF pathway from pilot selection to right seat in a military transport.

    • About a year and a half. Friend of mine just did it. He was though already a commercial pilot with Beech jet rating. UPT then KC training. Now soon to be right seat in a KC. Those that entered UPT without a pervious rating had about an extra six months training in a T6 II and I’m sure greater chance of wash out.

    • Unfortunately, our government keeps figuring out new ways to take advantage of those that sign contracts. Plus all the other issues with bad leadership caused by careerism and bad civilian leadership.

      A lot former military are telling friends and family to choose other paths.