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View Full Version : Starting at 31 in Los Angeles


dankim
07-05-2015, 08:21 AM
I'm thinking a making a career switch at 31 years old. I've searched through the forum's and have read about many people doing this in there 30s (and even 40s) and I feel like I have a little advantage as I can pay for my training with my current job...so I know its possible :D. The one big disadvantage I have is I must stay home based in the Los Angeles area as this is where my daughter is. My question is will I be able to find low flying jobs in the LA are to build my experience to get a regional job. Thanks is advance for any information.


PerfInit
07-05-2015, 08:37 AM
You have little to worry about. Huge selection of G/A airports and there is a shortage of CFI's right now. I would do the CFI route if I were you.

dankim
07-06-2015, 05:21 PM
Thanks PerfInit, there is a lot of G/A airports in LA area!


Yoda2
07-06-2015, 05:59 PM
There aren't many low flying jobs in the LA area. Those jobs take quite a bit of experience and are normally found in farm country and other rural areas.

SayAlt
07-07-2015, 12:59 PM
You have little to worry about.


http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view6/3335326/lurch-head-shake-o.gif





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Cloudnine
07-07-2015, 06:10 PM
Which ever school you choose , i advise you steer clear of Encore Flight Academy at Van Nuys....screwed me badly when I was working on my commercial. Dont ever put more than 2000 down at a time .

CFI Guy
07-13-2015, 11:22 AM
I'm thinking a making a career switch at 31 years old. I've searched through the forum's and have read about many people doing this in there 30s (and even 40s) and I feel like I have a little advantage as I can pay for my training with my current job...so I know its possible :D. The one big disadvantage I have is I must stay home based in the Los Angeles area as this is where my daughter is. My question is will I be able to find low flying jobs in the LA are to build my experience to get a regional job. Thanks is advance for any information.

No, you are not too old. I made the switch at age 30 to fly professionally but I had previous flying experience since I was young kid. Start at least with your private pilot then decide if it's something you want to do. I know too many people who completed all their ratings through MEI and then decided they didn't want to do it for a living. I've also known people who busted every checkride and finally got picked up by a bottom feeder regional or washed out of training.

I've instructed (and still do part-time) for thousands of hours. I've taught students from 14 to 80 yrs old. 31 is not "old" but from my experience you are no where as sharp as an 18 yr old kid with no fear. Start with your private, maybe add your instrument and see if you have skill. Flying is not rocket science but it does take a certain aptitude and skill set. If you are struggling to finish your initial ratings it will not get any easier if you make it to the airlines.

The good news is you are entering a period of time where hiring should continue unless there is an unforeseen economic downturn. Always have a backup plan.

Also, not being able to move will hurt you. As a pilot travel is the name of the game. When you are low time you need to go wherever the jobs are located. I also live in LA and because I was reluctant to move it stalled my progress. There are only a couple regionals with bases here in LA and who knows if those bases will stay open forever or if you will even get hired by them. If you end up having to commute you will hate life and never have a chance to see your daughter. I have a friend in that boat and is about to quit for this very reason.

My last bit of advice is never hand anyone a bunch of cash upfront. I believe someone already mentioned a certain school to steer clear of in KVNY. If you need to buy a block or 10 hours at a time that's fine but nothing more. If able pay with a credit card (AMEX preferably) so you can dispute charges if you feel that you are being treated unfairly. Once you hand someone a bunch of cash you have lost all leverage.

Dan64456
07-20-2015, 07:40 AM
No, you are not too old. I made the switch at age 30 to fly professionally but I had previous flying experience since I was young kid. Start at least with your private pilot then decide if it's something you want to do. I know too many people who completed all their ratings through MEI and then decided they didn't want to do it for a living. I've also known people who busted every checkride and finally got picked up by a bottom feeder regional or washed out of training.

I've instructed (and still do part-time) for thousands of hours. I've taught students from 14 to 80 yrs old. 31 is not "old" but from my experience you are no where as sharp as an 18 yr old kid with no fear. Start with your private, maybe add your instrument and see if you have skill. Flying is not rocket science but it does take a certain aptitude and skill set. If you are struggling to finish your initial ratings it will not get any easier if you make it to the airlines.

The good news is you are entering a period of time where hiring should continue unless there is an unforeseen economic downturn. Always have a backup plan.

Also, not being able to move will hurt you. As a pilot travel is the name of the game. When you are low time you need to go wherever the jobs are located. I also live in LA and because I was reluctant to move it stalled my progress. There are only a couple regionals with bases here in LA and who knows if those bases will stay open forever or if you will even get hired by them. If you end up having to commute you will hate life and never have a chance to see your daughter. I have a friend in that boat and is about to quit for this very reason.

My last bit of advice is never hand anyone a bunch of cash upfront. I believe someone already mentioned a certain school to steer clear of in KVNY. If you need to buy a block or 10 hours at a time that's fine but nothing more. If able pay with a credit card (AMEX preferably) so you can dispute charges if you feel that you are being treated unfairly. Once you hand someone a bunch of cash you have lost all leverage.

+100 on the no money up front deal. Go to nerdwallet.com and figure out the best credit card for you, and pay the balance in full every month. Some give 2 or more % statement credit with no annual fee, Citi double cash is one of them and as they mentioned before, you can always dispute charges if the school closes on you while they owe you money, etc. Better to never put any down in the first place, however.
BTW I turn 31 in 2 months and am half way through my instrument, doing the same thing as you.. Working full time flying a desk to knock out the training debt free. It's the only way it makes sense in this country these days unless you were born with rich parents to hold your hand. You will be making 20k to 35k your first few years so you need to plan for that, and IMO, having ANY debt at all is a show stopper when you are making less than about 40k, depending on where you live. (Assuming a small savings as well)

So long story short, I hope to be a CFI at least part time within 12 months. I have a good job programming as of now so it will be hard to go full time in this unless the price and career prospects are worth it. Either way flying is a part of my life so if I end up being a CFI just for beer money, I'm OK with that. Obviously I'd love to fly jets for a living, but the airlines need to start respecting their employees for me to make that jump. I'd advise you to go into it with a similar mindset. Don't let anyone push you around for a crappy wage.

dankim
07-23-2015, 07:36 PM
Thanks for all the thoughtful advice, after thinking about it I am going to get my pilot license (going to try to prepare and get it in under 50hrs) and then reevaluate. At a minimum I'll be able to impress woman on dates, lol.