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Old 12-01-2011, 01:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SteveCostello View Post
I've seen this theme repeated again and again around here... people complaining about making between $80K and $120K or so. I don't know about anyone else here, but that sounds like a pretty damned good living to me. My wife and I each make ~$70K, and we are quite comfortable, and have savings to boot. Do I drive a $60,000 BMW, have the latest 72" TV, a 4,000 square foot McMansion and a house on the lake? No... but we do have a very comfortable 4/3 house in the city, two nice cars, etc.

Would I be happy with $125K-$200K? You bet your butt I would be... that's about twice what I make right now. Which is why I stated in the other thread that I'd be happy at this point flying a BE350 for a small corporate outfit for about the money I am making now. It's not completely about the money for me, although I will absolutely take ALL I can get!

The money is actually a primary concern for me... as in, can I get back to making the money I am making now in relatively short order? How long will it take for me to get to that point, and can I continue working full time in this job while I try to get there? Those are the questions swimming in my head. I've seen over and over that I need minimum 2,000 hours, and I would presume that much of that needs to be TT. Have no idea how to do that without doing some regional work, which, from what I've read around here, does not appeal to me at all, and certainly would not appeal to my wife.

Well....think twice about this...because I (and many others here) worked about 8 days a week for years to qualify for the "cushier" jobs....this was possible because I had no wife/family. Not many people would put up with that lifestyle for as long as it will take you to get there.

Again...Good luck in whatever you decide!!
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Which is why I stated in the other thread that I'd be happy at this point flying a BE350 for a small corporate outfit for about the money I am making now.
A job like this isn't very common and it would take quite a few years for you to even be considered competitive. And in those few years you'd be working more than not. Then there would be the networking aspect. The chief pilot's friend will have a leg up on you. So what you would want to do is network as much as possible, and I mean sincere networking. Nothing worse then the guy that only calls or answers your call when he needs something. Now some great jobs have been known to go to low time guys that had the right connections, but i wouldn't bet the family fortune on that happening.


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Originally Posted by SteveCostello View Post
The money is actually a primary concern for me... as in, can I get back to making the money I am making now in relatively short order? How long will it take for me to get to that point, and can I continue working full time in this job while I try to get there? Those are the questions swimming in my head. I've seen over and over that I need minimum 2,000 hours, and I would presume that much of that needs to be TT. Have no idea how to do that without doing some regional work, which, from what I've read around here, does not appeal to me at all, and certainly would not appeal to my wife.
If you go about aviation part time i'd guess that you'd prolong achieving the ultimate goal by 4 times as long. I was told expect it to take 10 years to make over 100k and it was about right on for me. Again some lucky SOBs had it easier and I am sure some poor soul had it way harder than me. Never can tell in this industry. Now I have what I consider a good job, but it is far from great. I fly owner and charter trips. For example I have been in S.America for 10 days which has be fun but I wouldn't mind heading home tomorrow. best of luck
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hi Steve,

There's just no way to get what you are aspiring for unless you pay your dues like the rest of us. I'm not trying to sound like an a-hole by any means but the fact is you will need at least a couple thousand hrs to come close to landing a 70k gig. And the best way to build that time is to become a CFI at a busy flight school and then go to a regional/charter outfit ASAP. Yes, the pay sucks at both jobs but you have no other options to gain flight experience. Florida is a great start for the CFI route (I personally flew my butt off at Ormond Beach Aviation). Apply to regionals as soon as you meet the mins and find one that has the quickest upgrade times. Also, I will agree with what everyone has already said, but I want to expand on the networking idea....you need to call these companies at your airports tomorrow! Get ahold of the CP's and ask to visit the hangars. Try to meet as many of their pilots as possible. You have to sell yourself. That is really the ONLY thing that matters in this game. It will make a great impression if you meet a CP and show a sincere desire to work there someday. Stay in touch and send resumes frequently, even while you are building time. Again, your eagerness, sincerity, and ability to fit in with the Flight Department's lifestyle are the true deciding factors here. Become friends with these companies.

The only real question is, how bad do you want this? It is attainable, for sure, but you have to work for it and you will definitely need a bartending gig along the way for supplemental income

I wish you all the best and hope you get there someday. Good luck!
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks all for the great words of wisdom. Based on some of the stuff I've seen here since lurking for the past week or so, I was expecting a bunch of one-liner snarkiness.

I'm definitely aware of the need to pay dues to get the good jobs. Nothing in life comes easy (unless you are rich... and I'm not), and that seems doubly true in the aviation world.

I'll be closely evaluating all the good wisdom you've shared and start making some phone calls to folks here at KCPS and KSUS. Between Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones, Wells Fargo, Ralston-Purina, Enterprise, and the truckloads of millionaires we have in town, I'm sure there are plenty of people to talk to.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks all for the great words of wisdom. Based on some of the stuff I've seen here since lurking for the past week or so, I was expecting a bunch of one-liner snarkiness.
Well you asked for it, so here goes:
If you plan on flying for the Regionals, do you like the wife you currently have?

Seriously though, I work for a 142 school and provide training to at least 2 of those companies you mention (probably others, but I've had direct contact with two). Pretty close knit, all the pilots are pretty high time, and if they even advertise a job, they have someone already in mind when the write the job requirements. Point is, not to discourage but these may be a little high up the food chain at your current experience level. You may get stonewalled trying to get to the chief pilot. Again, direct experience with these guys.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCostello View Post
Thanks all for the great words of wisdom. Based on some of the stuff I've seen here since lurking for the past week or so, I was expecting a bunch of one-liner snarkiness.

I'm definitely aware of the need to pay dues to get the good jobs. Nothing in life comes easy (unless you are rich... and I'm not), and that seems doubly true in the aviation world.

I'll be closely evaluating all the good wisdom you've shared and start making some phone calls to folks here at KCPS and KSUS. Between Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones, Wells Fargo, Ralston-Purina, Enterprise, and the truckloads of millionaires we have in town, I'm sure there are plenty of people to talk to.
Avg pilot pay is 70 - 80k that's average so ask yourself are you prepared to make well below this marker for the next 8-10years. Keep in mind working weekends/holidays etc.

80k isn't too bad...I think the bitterness settles in when people consider all the sacrifices they made/make (schedules that don't coincide with society in general) to continue with that wage.
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:34 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I started my PPL in 03. Im at the regionals now. My first year I made 22k. I've been here 4 years and holding a line making 45k. I have about 3800TT and about 3200 of it is 121 jet. Im still looking for that 70k+. I got hired at the regional with 660hrs but you might not be so lucky with the new 1500hr to get hired rule coming into affect soon. However, there will be a lot of movement in the near future due to retirements so you might be able to get on with a regional fairly quickly if get your rating knocked out fast. Plan on not having money for long time. Also, if you don't like to be away from home then you need to stay where you are and just fly for fun. At my airline you will have 10 days off a month on reserve. Im getting about 12-13 days off a month. Sounds like a lot but you have to take into consideration commuting to and from work and you don't get to come home every night at 5pm and take care of things around the house. So figure you have maybe two days a week to get things done. I can promise you your wife is not going to like it too much. She's ok with it now but your not gone on the road yet while shes at home alone with no one to hang out with. Plus don't bother planning anything on the weekends because your going to be at work. When your off everyone else is working. You won't really understand the lifestyle until you live it. The guys that have spoken here is not the average flying job. They are sitting in the top precent of the aviation career field. Making 100k+ a year is no less than 10 years away and thats if you have some connections. It's not easy. Not trying to be Debbie Downer but this is how it really is from day to day. Don't do this job for the money rather do it because you love to fly.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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80k isn't too bad...I think the bitterness settles in when people consider all the sacrifices they made/make (schedules that don't coincide with society in general) to continue with that wage.
+1 !!
Sooo many folks want that *decent* corporate gig its not even funny. The steps to get there are filled with people willing to work like crazy for almost nothing. That does not set in until you are living it. My wife asked me for a divorce a couple years ago because the lifestyle was getting to her. I was a full time CFI and busy (in other words making 18K roughly with NO benefits and time off when the weather was lousy and I had no ground lessons), but NO ONE else was hiring, and no end seemed in sight (and I was straight up honest with what she was getting into when we were dating, but nobody ever expects aviation to be this way). Eagle was just hiring gang busters, and now what? Maybe furloughs(?). I hope not. Trans States is furloughing I believe....now people are tossing the f word around Pinnacle/Colgan/Mesaba...kinda doubt that one, at least in the near term, but the stability is clearly lacking.

If you can get a *good* 135 gig, it can be a good way around the regionals. 'Course you gotta have 1200 TT to even be considered. EDIT: I don't want to be all doom and gloom. Instructing was some of the greatest flying I have done. I still (usually) look forward to every flight

I wish you well, but I can understand what Ski Patrol is saying.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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My advice to cut your teeth would be find a flight school that has a small 135 outfit. the busier the better. work your butt off and always network both with fellow intsrtuctors and students. a few students have actually been future owners of jets. You can then keep poking around for a better 135 as time goes on but always make a move in an upward fashion. don't go sideways for a few extra bucks. corporate is mostly right place right time, with a lot of networking. as for how crap the rise can be, well just read the posts again and then multiply some by 2. It is a roll of the dice. But you have to love it. I came close several times to giving up in my early days, but met too many guys that did give up and started singing the wish i would have blues. didn't want to be him. so keep firing at the target, you will hit it. also as someone said earlier, find a good corporate location geographically. i would recommend southern California, south FL, and North east. That is if you can afford it or stand living in those regions. I would say they have the highest concentration of corporate flying. secondary markets in my opinion would be Dallas, Chicago, Denver. Good Luck, it definitely will be a dog's breakfast for a while. hopefully luck will fall upon you quickly.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:26 AM   #20 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=SteveCostello;1094611]Sigh. Where am I negotiating holidays? All I implied was that I understand that corporate types do fly on holidays, and I am okay with that. Underlying that was also the assumption that they don't fly EVERY holiday, like most of the low- and mid-seniority regional and major pilots, but if I was incorrect in that assumption, then I wanted to hear about it."

Steve,

I've been corporate or fractional nearly all of my 24 years of flying - had 7 jobs on (1) airport (we think that might be a local record.)
I fly for a big fractional now - first schedule I've ever had in my career.

I always had another job lined up when one opportunity dried up - not because I'm all that but because (1) I knew the only sure thing with most small-medium company jobs is that the job will go away at some point, and (2) I always did my best for the guys I flew for, went way beyond the definitions of the job, and NETWORKED around the area. For me that was key.
I didn't mean to be negative in saying that they all WILL go away - but understand that for many companies the plane is a big expense and is often the first thing on the block when things hit the skids. Changes in ownership/management often bring about a different view of the company plane as well.

I think guys responded to your holiday comments because you used the words "most holidays." That made me chuckle too. You see, in my experience your corporate flying gig is a reflection of the company you word for, and it's principles. I worked for guys that gave me days or weeks of heads up, allowed my wife to come along on the vacation flights if there was a seat, and were really good to me. But I went above and beyond. One principle called my cell on Christmas Eve. Turns out he had been working so much (not unusual, these guys are driven) that he'd forgotten to get a Christmas tree for his home and family. He knew from passing conversations that I lived in a rural area with tree farms. Short of it, I slogged out into a friend's Christmas Tree field in the dark on Christmas Eve, found a nice tree, cut it, trimmed it, and hauled it up to his house in my pickup, and set it up for his wife and kids. For me this kind of thing was not terribly unusual. Corporate Pilot and ???

I also flew for a guy who would call at 2300 on Christmas Eve, gotta go 10 minutes ago because they WANT to go party in The Bahamas, and you'll be flying for the next 37 hours straight (duty times Part 91? Right....)
Ok, that guy was half nuts and is in jail now, but you get my point.

Holidays are sacred to them, and getting them and their family to wherever they want to go is VERY sacred to them. They will suffer issues with the flight on a business trip, but (and I have learned this at the fractional I fly for now as well) they will NOT suffer problems or disappointments when their family is involved or on-board. That's rule #1 in corporate. Those are your most important flights. Plan on working every major holiday, and if it doesn't happen like that you won't be disappointed. To me it's just a day, celebrate a different day. But then, we don't have kids...

In most smaller operations the schedule is what happens on the Blackberry on your belt. You're on a leash 24/7/365. Some principles honor vacations, some don't. I was building a horse barn on my vacation and had spent weeks getting a crew of friends and neighbors together to do it in a weekend - big barn raising, picnic lunches, the works.
Friday night at 1900, pager goes nuts. Boss wants to fly to Atlanta in the (Saturday) AM. "Can I get the relief pilot" I carefully ask?

"I don't WANT the relief pilot, I want YOU."

What are you gonna do? My friends and neighbors built my barn without me while I paced in a hotel in Hotlanta. That was tough.

I was fortunate to get into my first job with about 1000 hours and about 200 piston multi, but I knew the Chief Pilot well as he was also the local D.E. and I was a very active CFI at the time, and had done odd charter flying jobs for him when he had a certificate. I wouldn't advise sidestepping the CFI route - there is a lot to learn and you will make LOTS of contacts in your students, especially if you instruct at an FBO or school in an area where there is a lot of corporate activity. In corporate, its ALL who you know and who's back you scratch. Good luck!

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