Local author’s book navigates the trajectory of becoming a pilot

Reza Garajedaghi with a high school student who will start this summer as a commercial pilot.
Reza Garajedaghi with a high school student who will start this summer as a commercial pilot.

Reza Garajedaghi was born in Iran and at the age of 7, he fell in love. But this was no childhood crush — he fell in love with the 747 Jumbo Jet. “I always wanted to become a pilot, but life happened, and I never did. Now I motivate and guide the next generation of pilots in fulfilling their dreams.”

Garajedaghi offers future pilots guidance and information on everything they need to know about flight school through his company, Flight School Consulting. And now he’s published a book titled “Want to Be a Commercial Pilot?” Garajedaghi says he’s always had a passion for guiding students from the day he graduated from UC Santa Barbara and proceeded to work in college admissions and career advising.

Then he got the opportunity of a lifetime. “In 2016,” he recalls, “I was hired to become the Director of Admissions at the California Flight Academy in El Cajon. With my passion for airlines and aviation, this was a job I was most excited about. I quickly learned everything I needed to know about becoming a pilot and getting an FAA license.”

But as he talked to more students and parents, he learned that there was a significant lack of knowledge about what training was required, and information online was confusing. In addition to that, he was shocked to learn there was an increasing shortage of pilots not only in the U.S but worldwide. So in 2018, just two short years after getting hired at the flight academy, he decided to leave his position and start his own consulting business for anyone looking to becoming a pilot. The book followed closely after.

“My years of experience as a career coach and adviser gave me a unique ability to be able to explain the pathway, the licenses and the training to others in a simple and easy format,” he explains. “My book is written as a perfect starting point for people who are considering this field and it has testimonials from current flight students and current pilots from all over the world. I am also very proud that I have a chapter in my book called Women in Aviation. There has never been a better time for women to be successful in this field and more and more women are now training to be pilots.”

To keep up on all the latest trends and opportunities, Garajedaghi attends aviation conferences on a regular basis, including the Women in Aviation conference last March in Long Beach. He also conducts live webinars for students and parents all over the world. He says there has never been a better time to become a pilot.

“Now, regional airlines, which historically were paying very little, are giving major signing bonuses and are making the first officers’ salaries worth the investment,” Garjedaghi said. “The best part is you can now go directly from high school into a flight school and you do not need a degree for a regional pilot job. Many of the high school students I work with plan to get their degree when they fly as a regional pilot and then get an online degree. And it does not have to be in aviation.”

The need for new commercial pilots has risen out of a perfect storm, says Garjedaghi. First, the Navy and Air Force are using more drone pilots so there are less aircraft pilots coming out of the military. Second, it’s become more difficult to get hired as a pilot because the training has become longer and more rigorous due to new laws. And third, aviation has become a global market where more pilots are needed not only for commercial airlines but also business aviation and freight.

Published in May, Garajedaghi’s book has been at the top of the list of new releases for aviation books. His goal is to have the book in every school and public library across the country, as he visits schools to give his presentation on how to become a pilot to inspire the next generation.

Want to Become a Commercial Pilot? is available on To learn more, visit