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View Full Version : Your flight training journey


Xjsar
11-19-2018, 11:32 PM
Greetings everyone.

Wanted to pick some brains and get some thoughts on a couple things. Background, have always had a passion for aviation since I was a little kid and my dad got his PPL. Unfortunately he took 3 flights with it and called it done. Something about needing money to fly or something...then I got a scholarship through a mentor of mine for 1/2 of my PPL, all I'd have to pay is fuel. Then he had some family issues and I couldn't pursue it...again something about money....

Anywho, 2 decades later I am considering on getting my PPL and pursue the rest to eventually become a bonafide commercial pilot. However, I have plenty of reserves about the entire process. Namely, I'll get through it all, get my commercial rating, my 1500hrs, and I'm about as useful as a burger flipper at McDonalds and just wasted an ungodly amount of money.

So, I ask for you to share your experiences. What was your experience like? Once you got your cfi and started to build your hours instructing. When you hit the regional level. When you hit the majors. And if you dont mind sharing an approximation of earnings during that time period.

My biggest problem is just fear, that ill get through the certifications, have all these hours and I'll be making 24k/yr at the regional level and have to trudge through that for 10yrs just to be even remotely considered for a major airline slot. I'm not too concerned about money, but I also cant support a family on that either. I just want to be comfortable.

Also what are your opinions on the current and future market for pilots? I know it's been going for a couple years and everyone in the media is crying all the pilots will be gone soon. How true is that?

I appreciate your guys time!


Kstoves
11-20-2018, 04:04 AM
Your fears are valid. Trying to predict the future of this industry is like trying to predict what kind of a season your favorite sports team is going to have.

Right now things look more promising than they have in a long time. Regulation changes, economy downturns or technology however, can change future prospects as fast as a star quarterback breaking his ankle.

Spending 70K to make the same 24,000 a year that retail workers make is a bad deal. We’ve seen it happen before which is why we have a pilot shortage now because everyone bailed on the industry.

If I were you I’d get my PPL as fast as I could. If you’re passionate about flying you won’t regret that. Once you got that you’ll be able to better gauge how fast you pick things up and make more informed decisions regarding switching careers

SeamusTheHound
11-20-2018, 04:14 AM
Are you “passionate” enough about flying that you’d still want to pursue the profession even if the outlook was shaky and there was no “Golden pathway”? There are no guarantees. Would you pursue it if it meant a few years of flying in Alaska or the Caribbean, then maybe a middling corporate gig?

If you’re not sure, then you aren’t as “passionate” as you might think, and you should reassess based on a realistic outlook.

Starving artists are “passionate.” Starving pilots are usually nuts.


rickair7777
11-20-2018, 06:52 AM
Anywho, 2 decades later I am considering on getting my PPL and pursue the rest to eventually become a bonafide commercial pilot. However, I have plenty of reserves about the entire process. Namely, I'll get through it all, get my commercial rating, my 1500hrs, and I'm about as useful as a burger flipper at McDonalds and just wasted an ungodly amount of money.

In the old days, entry-level pilots often struggled to find work, depending on the economy.

In todays hiring climate, which will only get better for the next 10+ years due to mandatory age-65 retirements from the majors, essentially any 1500 hour pilot will have a job at a regional airline, with upgrade in 2-3 years and pay reaching six-figures probably around five years or less depending on the regional.


So, I ask for you to share your experiences. What was your experience like? Once you got your cfi and started to build your hours instructing. When you hit the regional level. When you hit the majors. And if you dont mind sharing an approximation of earnings during that time period.

My experiences were quite different that yours would likely be... 9/11, wars, SARS, recession, oil price spike, retirement age increase to 65 set me back by at least ten years or more. Some of that delay involved returning to active duty due to the wars, which could have been avoided on my part.

Do some reading here to get a sense of what your career path will probably look like.


My biggest problem is just fear, that ill get through the certifications, have all these hours and I'll be making 24k/yr at the regional level and have to trudge through that for 10yrs just to be even remotely considered for a major airline slot. I'm not too concerned about money, but I also cant support a family on that either. I just want to be comfortable.

That was my experience but not yours.

You'll likely start at a regional at $40-50K (with bonuses maybe more). You'll upgrade to a six-figure job with 2-3 years. After flying as a CA for 2-3 years you'll start to be competitive for the better majors. That could improve as the retirements pick up.

The not-as-great majors will often hire regional FO's with 1000 hours jet time.


Also what are your opinions on the current and future market for pilots? I know it's been going for a couple years and everyone in the media is crying all the pilots will be gone soon. How true is that?


It's true. Unless there is a very serious economic setback the strong demand for pilots will continue. The retirement numbers don't lie, so that end of the equation is not variable.

This is literally the best market for airline pilots in history.

Now with all that said, here's the disclaimer:

You'll need some geographic flexibility to maximize career progress. This means moving more than once or willingness to commute to work (plenty of pilots do that, probably about 50%).

There are risks. Big economic downturn or major war might slow or stop the music. But those things historically come to pass, and the retirements will still be happening all along.

Personal issues, such as training problems or background issues could delay or prevent your progression to the best jobs.

Avoid training failures and background glitches such as legal problems or problems with past employers. Avoid traffic tickets if you can, a bunch of those will be a problem. A college GPA < 3.0 may slow your progression.

When it's all said and done, a medical problem could ground you short term or forever. Best to have a fallback employment plan, and money in the bank to survive for six months in the event of a medical issue.

Xjsar
11-20-2018, 09:24 AM
I do appreciate everyones feed back. Growing up, specifically between 2006-2013, i was around quite a few pilots and and even got my first official job at a small wildland and charter company in my neck of the woods. I heard from quite a few younger pilots, that the entry wages and QOL were horrible in the regional level as well as the ups and downs of the industry back then so i am familiar with how fluctuations. This is what contributes to my fear and hence no progression. Although it does seem to be changing for the better from what my research shows, which is a positive.

My biggest issue is just getting my foot into the door. Once im in, ill do whatever is needed and go wherever needed so thats not the issue.

What kind of timeline is everyone seeing for greenhands from 0-regional? obviously there are an enormous amount of variables, but for the average guy who works full time, has a family, and makes a lower middle class income what kind of timeline? Would it be best to find a loan to just push through the majority of it quickly or slowly work my way through it and pay as i go? Once i have my PPL the Gi bill will cover quite a bit of the other expenses for other certifications

bklynbacon
11-22-2018, 05:46 AM
I do appreciate everyones feed back. Growing up, specifically between 2006-2013, i was around quite a few pilots and and even got my first official job at a small wildland and charter company in my neck of the woods. I heard from quite a few younger pilots, that the entry wages and QOL were horrible in the regional level as well as the ups and downs of the industry back then so i am familiar with how fluctuations. This is what contributes to my fear and hence no progression. Although it does seem to be changing for the better from what my research shows, which is a positive.

My biggest issue is just getting my foot into the door. Once im in, ill do whatever is needed and go wherever needed so thats not the issue.

What kind of timeline is everyone seeing for greenhands from 0-regional? obviously there are an enormous amount of variables, but for the average guy who works full time, has a family, and makes a lower middle class income what kind of timeline? Would it be best to find a loan to just push through the majority of it quickly or slowly work my way through it and pay as i go? Once i have my PPL the Gi bill will cover quite a bit of the other expenses for other certifications

It's gonna be hard to answer that, because it's largely dependent on YOU and your aptitude for this kinda thing. I'll use myself as an example. I work full time, have two kids and a wife. I have a B.A. in International Relations. I'm not mechanically inclined whatsoever. It takes me longer to understand certain concepts, especially at age 36.

Adult learning methods are different from back in the days cramming in college..that ish don't work no more. At least for me. So, I had to come to that realization that i'm not gonna be in and out of training..it's gonna take me a little longer than the young thundercat who's a STEM major. I'm ok with it..just had to adjust my learning style for this industry/job at hand..



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