Thread: Why plan b
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:38 AM   #6  
Disinterested Third Party
Joined APC: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,620

Originally Posted by Christian102001 View Post
People on this forum are telling aspiring pilots to not get a degree in aviation. Why? What will prevent you from not being able to accomplish ?
You're asking the wrong question.

A degree in aviation doesn't prevent you from accomplishing.

It is a matter of putting one's eggs in one basket.

Aviation tends to be tentative in nature. The good job you have today may be gone in the morning. I've known people who worked at the operation where they planned to retire who came to work to find the doors padlocked. I've known others who were notified, while sitting in a hotel in a foreign country, that the company had shuttered its doors, leaving them stranded in that country. No forewarning.

A great many of us have part of foreclosures, furloughs, bankruptcies, flight departments that shut down, downsizing, economic downturns, mergers, and a host of other actions that mean that while the future looked rosy this morning, this afternoon the landscape has changed, and with it your job prospects.

You don't say how old you are or how long you've been in the industry, but presently it's a pilot's market. Jobs aplenty. Lose one job, find another tomorrow. No problem.

This is not normal. This is not natural. Aviation is a leading edge economic indicator, and it lives on a razor-thin profit margin. Today load factors are up, all the seats are full, airplanes are at gross weight with baggage, and the farmers have a market for the crops they need sprayed. A trade war is in the offing, we're about to see the six-year-old-in-chief make more and more mistakes, and you can bet the economy will not stay where it is. With that change will come job losses, changes, and downgrades. You may just find yourself looking for work, and when you do, your aviation degree will mean very little.

Why a plan B? For the same reason parachutes were invented. Why a reserve parachute? Because the first one doesn't always work. In case you've never jumped, when you leave the door intending to use the reserve, you carry a tertiary, or third parachute. Welcome to aviation.

Originally Posted by Christian102001 View Post
How do you lose your medical? What if your healthy.
I was quite healthy when I prepared one night for my flight early that morning to go to San Juan, and then to Abuja. Then I felt a bit ill, then began vomiting, and did so over 200 times by the time I got to the ER. I was in so much pain at that point that I couldn't say my name, couldn't think, and I spent the next eight hours vomiting violently before I was taken to surgery for a kidney stone. I missed my trip, and then spent the next three months with a kidney stent while undergoing tests and x-rays and jumping through hoops for the FAA.

During that time I did not draw a salary, because I was placed on leave. I was an active pilot, flying a wide body four engine jet internationally. I'd just taken my kids to aikido the night before. I was active healthy...and suddenly had no way to make a living.

Fortunately I'm also an A&P. I found work immediately working on C-130's and spent those three months of medical disqualification keeping my family fed and keeping me busy by turning wrenches, inspecting, riveting, painting, modifying, upgrading, and maintaining.

I was in great health and extremely active, martial arts four times a week, 30 mile bicycle rides four or five times a week, hitting hit hard, when I hit a mountainside under a spinning parachute and ended up in intensive care.

You're apparently young and mistake what you take for granted now for something that you think will always be there. Don't count on it. I was young when I wound up in intensive care, pulled from a bloody parachute with a split helmet, arms, legs, one on backward, my neck twisted around, and big blank spots in my memory. Youth didn't matter. Now, a life time later with ears that ring from radial engines and gunfire and a back that hurts all the time, knees and joints that click and a body that's worn out and that's been broken so many times that I've nearly lost count, I appreciate every day, and I am also acutely aware that every day flying may very well be my last.

One day you'll come to this realization too. Far better to plan for it than have it catch you by surprise.
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