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View Full Version : Training Debt Vs. Seniority


ML3415
10-06-2015, 01:45 PM
I've been on this site for a bit but this is my first post - I apologize in advance for any dumb questions/ questions that are out there on this forum.

I am in my mid 20's and have decided to make a career change. I've always been interested in aviation, but have always took the safer route at a 9 - 5. I have a 4 yr. degree with a decent paying job. My plan is to complete my PPL while working first, and then decide if going all in (quitting my job) and committing to this career is right for me (lets assume it is).

My father flew for close to 30 years at a legacy carrier, so I am very familiar with the lifestyle and with the stepping stones I will need as I progress through my ratings and build time required for the Majors. My question is not about should I do this, or how do it......It is WHEN.

Specifically I am trying to decide when to quit my 9-5 and go all in. I have saved up a good chunk of money, but certainly not enough to pay off ALL my training, as well as factoring in my living costs. I am lucky enough to be able to get a loan from family, with the luxury of paying it back over time at no interest. However, I know that the salary made as a CFI (or other low time pilot job) and as a Regional FO will be tough to support myself while paying off training at the same time... even if I have flexibility paying family back. Knowing that I will be pulling in a measly salary makes me want to save up a bit at my 9-5 a while longer before starting my training in order to avoid too much debt.

On the other side of the fence I know that right now is the time to get into the regional's for a number of reasons. I understand that in commercial aviation seniority is everything. I tend to think that by getting in ASAP even with a bit of debt - my long term earning potential and opportunity for quicker upgrade times will outweigh any debt I might incur during my initial training. I'm itching to get started now - but want to think things through to go about it in the best way possible to make this a long term career

Does anyone have any advice on what is more important:
1. Get though training with as little debt as possible, even if that means missing out on getting into a Regional then Major during upcoming retirements due to the 65 yr. rule
2. Start training now in order to start at a Regional ASAP with small to moderate debt towards family, knowing that my better seniority will help me in the long run.


viper548
10-06-2015, 03:57 PM
The majors have a lot of retirements coming up. American is retiring half of their pilots in the next 10 years. Getting hired sooner rather than later will make a huge difference in career earnings. I went into debt and glad I did. Not everyone will think it was worth it.

Here are my suggestions to save money on flight training:
1. Buy Microsoft flight simulator. Practice each lesson on the computer before you go up in the airplane. This is a huge help for instrument training.
2. Get all of your ground school knocked out before starting flight training. The airplane is an expensive classroom.
3. Consider buying an airplane and doing your training in it. There are a lot of good options for less than $30,000. Sell it afterwards for about what you paid for it.
4. Consider combining flight lessons. A lot of time is wasted taxiing, engine run, flying to the practice area. Minimize that by doing 2 lessons in 1 flight whenever possible.

Many aspects of training you should be able to teach yourself between reading in a book and using flight simulator. When you do it in the airplane it will feel like review and you won't spend a lot of time repeating things.

JamesNoBrakes
10-06-2015, 07:09 PM
1. Get though training with as little debt as possible, even if that means missing out on getting into a Regional then Major during upcoming retirements due to the 65 yr. rule

Those retirements really start to pick up around 2030, surely it won't take you that long to finish your training?


ML3415
10-07-2015, 07:26 AM
Those retirements really start to pick up around 2030, surely it won't take you that long to finish your training?

Yes - I'd be done much before that.....I just think it would be smart to get in and grab a 'good' seniority number at the beginning of the retirement wave so when 2030 comes along I'm upgrading to the attractive equipment and domiciles -rather than being stuck as a narrow body FO for years. I know I'm getting ahead of myself - but just trying to feel out if a little extra debt is worth it from those who are flying at the regional or entering majors now.



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