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View Full Version : Looking for Perspective


MarkVI
12-06-2015, 04:26 PM
Hello All,

I've been a long time lurker, but this is my first time posting here; In specific, because I'm finally getting to the point of moving forward with training. The question is how. These forums are filled with good advice and multiple perspectives, but I'm hoping to ask the questions in a frame of mind that might provoke new thought. So, to the questions:

I'll start with the realities. I have no money for training. It's a simple reality. I suppose in another life I might have, had the world spun slightly different at one time or another, but I donít. With my current career and degree, it will take some time for me to earn enough to cover a sizable chunk. Iíve figured it to be 50% at 5-7 years at my current pay rate and averaged rate of increase. Donít get a degree in liberal arts.

Iím 25 and recently married. My wife and I have held lots of discussion about this recently, and about our future and how this affects it. Itís a drastic change, and weíre prepared for that. In specific, we know the next several years will be uncomfortable, with financial challenges and uncertainties.

The feedback I keep getting is ďnow is the time,Ē from family, pilots at the local FBOís, and friends alike. While I could do good to save for several years, not only do I have an impatient passion for this, but many have pointed out that even the most frugal of spender has to contend with financial uncertainties. Cars and children seem to be very expensive, and even the most cautious of people can face these financial upsets (not that children are an upset). True, a commercial license is just as sensitive Ė diabetes can shut one down really quick.

Iím certain this is what I want to do. I have about 20 hours in my logbook, which isnít a lot of time, but is enough for me to know I could be very happy. I know many could see it as youthful naivety, but Iím well educated on the challenges Iíll face. The grass will brown at some point, and it will take strong motivation to find the green. Iíve faced this with my current career as well; Iím willing to risk this. My happiest 20 hours are the ones in my logbook (aside from the hours with my wife). I donít care about the glamour, the uniform, the ďstatus,Ē but rather the experience. Again, I know at some point this might become routine and mundane. Checklists are constants for the most part, and very little excitement occurs in the well-regulated flight deck. Itís something else that I yearn for.

So, Iíve narrowed it down to the following: I need to finance the whole thing. My family can provide limited cost-of-living support, but not much and not for long. My wife will work full-time through it, but academies will require I step away from work for a while Ė she understands this. I have viable cosigners, so financing shouldnít be an issue. What I know is that training is a non-reality without financing.

Iíve narrowed it down to two schools, both of which have been discussed here, both of which have a smaller pool of supporters than detractors. Iím hoping this background frames the perspective, and others might provide me some different view-points here.

Aerosim Flight Academy, KSFB
Part 141, 12 month training program with options for CFI employment to meet 1500 hours. Accepts title IV funding, including Pell grants, Direct and Stafford loans, as well as working partnerships with private lenders.
Does not require relocation (within reasonable driving distance).

ATP Academy, KPIE
Part 61, 8 month training program with options for CFI employment to meet 1500 hours.
Working relationship with Sallie Mae financing.
Requires relocation.

Overall, Aerosim comes out to be cheaper. The availability of Pell grants lowers the cost substantially, and they also have agreements with regionals for tuition reimbursement. All in all this drops the total cost of flight training ~&17-22K depending on the individual.
Iím visiting their facility tomorrow to gather more information.

But: If you were in my position, what would you do? You know this is your passion, and what you want to do. The cost is the issue. Financing exists, but it will take a long time to get out of it. In the long term, you know itís the smarter financial choice than your current career.

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate your feedback!

MarkVI


eman
12-06-2015, 05:19 PM
If I had to do it again...I would have avoided financing because income since I was a CFI up til now doesn't meet my needs thanks to loans and regionals don't pay enough, and everyone (part 91, 135) tries to exploit you because they know you need experience. Maybe pay will improve at the CFII & regional level..but I wouldn't count on a MAYBE in your position. You have a family now..

At least if you don't have loans to repay, you can make due somewhat on the income you will be receiving until you land the job you need. Nothing can replace that feeling of being financially sound.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MarkVI
12-06-2015, 05:53 PM
If I had to do it again...I would have avoided financing because income since I was a CFI up til now doesn't meet my needs thanks to loans and regionals don't pay enough, and everyone (part 91, 135) tries to exploit you because they know you need experience. Maybe pay will improve at the CFII & regional level..but I wouldn't count on a MAYBE in your position. You have a family now..

At least if you don't have loans to repay, you can make due somewhat on the income you will be receiving until you land the job you need. Nothing can replace that feeling of being financially sound.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks for the feedback eman. Realistically evaluating at my career outlook, it's likely that I won't ever reach that level with a reasonable period of time to pay off the investment of aviation training. Many in the "lucrative" salaried positions with my company make roughly 10% more than what they did as an hourly.

Does your recommendation still stand in this case? Specifically if my wife is encouraging this transition?


ARAMP1
12-06-2015, 06:07 PM
Is the military an option for you?

MarkVI
12-06-2015, 06:30 PM
Is the military an option for you?

Unfortunately not. While I fully qualify for a first class (I hold a third, my FS stated I qualified) I was medically disqualified from flight operations in the Air Force when I was younger.

BIueSideUp
12-06-2015, 07:02 PM
To my understanding, Aerosim pays better.

MarkVI
12-06-2015, 07:16 PM
To my understanding, Aerosim pays better.

Thanks BlueSideUp.

Is there any consensus to the idea that "most commercial pilots can never pay off financed training"?

JCMallory
01-29-2016, 02:27 PM
Never is a strong word, but the financial burden can be debilitating depending on how you finance your training.

I did use some financing ($25K), and got my private, instrument, and part way through commercial. When the money ran out, I took it slow. I wasn't going to ruin my future by taking on more debt. As some have pointed out already, the payments on these unsecured training loans can be astronomical. So, it took me three years to finish my CFI, but I was able to survive, learned a lot about the industry, and have retained my high credit score.

The sense of urgency created by flight schools to get training done fast is the oldest marketing trick in the book. Take your time, do a great job along the way, and you'll get there.

HalveBlue
02-20-2016, 02:37 AM
Aviation is a money game...unfortunately.

Everything's expensive in aviation, everything. I cannot stress this enough!

Also, the reality of the aviation world is that it requires a huge outlay of money for likely very little return for several years.

Depending on the type of training you're looking to pursue you're probably looking at spending $50,000-100,000 for training, equipment, certification and test fees, etc.

That's half a mortgage...or a really nice car!

You'll need to earn several certifications and ratings to be qualified and have a remote chance of gainful employment.

Assuming you're a go-getter and a halfway decent stick you'll probably become a flight instructor.

You will earn peanuts for dangerous work - and that's if you're lucky enough to even be at a flight school that has enough students to employ you full time.

Most of my CFI friends made around $1,600 a month on average...before taxes...in South Florida...at busy flight schools.

If you hustle you'll get to that magical 1,000-1,500 hour mark in a couple of years.

Assuming you pass that hurdle, the next rung in the career ladder are the regionals/corporate flying if you're a fixed wing guy or tours if you're a rotor head...if you're lucky.

I know guys that sometimes waited years between flying gigs; These were good, smart pilots, mind you.

There's a financial reality to aviation that's easy to overlook when you fantasize about your passion and somebody's waving financing in your face. But it's something you should seriously take into account when pursuing a career in this field.

Basically, if you want a viable career in aviation you either have a lot of money to begin with, have another source of primary employment/income, you get somebody else to pay for your training (cough...MILITARY...cough...or you take on a huge amount of debt.

And that's just the financial side of things. There are things outside of finances that you need to consider as well.

You mentioned that you were married. Ask yourself this:

Am I willing to relocate?
Do I mind not being home for days or weeks at a time?
Do I mind being in a long distance relationship?
How does your wife feel about these things?
Does your wife support you in this endeavor?

I'll tell you right now, if you're in committed relationship and your partner does not stand behind you 100% in this endeavor, your relationship or career will suffer. Probably both.

I'm not trying to kill your vibe but these are serious issues that you need to contemplate before you embark on a career in aviation.

If at the end of this you're still committed to the getting into the aviation game, I'd say your best bet is to go back to a military recruiter and see if you can perform duties in a non-aviation related MOS. You can still get the military to pay for flight training using your VA benefits.

Also, aside from the honor of serving your country, you'll find out real quick if the aviation lifestyle is for you. There are A LOT of parallels between the aviation and military lifestyles.

Best of luck and godspeed!

TheWeatherman
02-20-2016, 06:17 PM
Not sure why there is even a choice. Choose the one you don't have to relocate to. Moving is just another expense you will have to pay.

turbopropulsion
02-29-2016, 12:42 PM
It sounds like you're in a tough spot my friend. Having a wife who's on board is a great asset though. Does she have a solid income? Would her salary be enough to keep you guys above water? I'm sure you know, but " it's chess not checkers". This is a long game and any money you borrow will haunt you for the next 10 years of your life.



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