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Old 10-11-2017, 07:11 PM   #1  
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Default Physician to airline pilot

Hello. First time poster, long time lurker.

I am a 33 year old Radiologist. However, since about the age of 6, I wanted to be an airline pilot. I just got sidetracked.

On a whim, I applied to the JetBlue candidate program and was slected for the assessment (I think that most people are selected for the $160 testing fee. As a doc, my scepticism of getting fleeced with educational testing is pretty high). Is this program the best way to go or is there a better path?

Hypothetically, is it even worth thinking about this switch? I know there are a bunch of negatives to the career, but I can still have my backup job if things donít workout.

Also, are most pilots in training able to hold a second job outside of flight instructor (or maybe even in more senior roles) or is training/working so all-consumig itís impossible. My job can be done remotely and in off hours. It would, financially speaking, make things a bit easier.

Please feel free to slap as much reality into my head as possible.

Last edited by Fliestoomuch310; 10-11-2017 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:23 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fliestoomuch310 View Post
Hello. First time poster, long time lurker.

I am a 33 year old Radiologist. However, since about the age of 6, I wanted to be an airline pilot. I just got sidetracked.

On a whim, I applied to the JetBlue candidate program and was slected for the assessment (I think that most people are selected for the $160 testing fee. As a doc, my scepticism of getting fleeced with educational testing is pretty high). Is this program the best way to go or is there a better path?

Hypothetically, is it even worth thinking about this switch? I know there are a bunch of negatives to the career, but I can still have my backup job if things donít workout.

Also, are most pilots in training able to hold a second job outside of flight instructor (or maybe even in more senior roles) or is training/working so all-consumig itís impossible. My job can be done remotely and in off hours. It would, financially speaking, make things a bit easier.

Please feel free to slap as much reality into my head as possible.
In order to give you a good response it would be helpful to understand what, precisely, do you want to get out of an airline career?

As to your second question, the ability to hold a second job is a function of the training path you pursue. If you follow the full immersion path (i.e., going to AllATPs or a similar zero to hero program), you should not expect to be able to hold a second job. If you do your training through a local FBO, then holding a second job is entirely feasible. You should expect to spend about three months getting your private, another three for your instrument, another three for your commercial, and a month for your CMEL. [That might be optimistic on my part, but you're a radiologist, so you're more accustomed to applying yourself and working grueling hours than the average Joe.]. Then you can go to a 135 outfit with a right seat program to build hours.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:10 PM   #3  
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Keep working, get your ratings, buy a plane. Don't stop being a radiologist to fly for a living. You can always change your mind once you are rated, but it seems to me that you would be better off to use your medical knowledge to make a much better living, and use your free time and money to fly as you would like. Hell maybe you could even combine the two skills to help others someday or something.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:59 AM   #4  
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Flying can be good if you are a senior captain at a good airline.
To start from scratch at age 33 can be more work and long hours on reserve in a crash pad than you can shake a stick at.
If you were a cab driver with nothing to loose, Iíd say go for it.
My buddy is a successful dentist and got the bug to be an airline pilot as well. I talked him out of it, so did several other people.
Get you ratings, ppl, commercial and instrument, then buy a C-185 and have fun on your days off. Really.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:44 AM   #5  
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You are looking at 4 to 5 years at a minimum to get to major after spending a considerable amount of money for training. Pay at a major first year you could be close to a hundred k the first year. This is considering if all goes as planned. You are probably making North of 300k now. You will lose more than a million dollars in lost wages and never be able to make that up given your current salary. Picture your self in two years in Toronto as a Regional FO preflighting an airplane when it is 20 below making 40k and ask yourself, is that something that is really what you want to pursue? I never want to discourage some one chasing their dreams but that is a huge financial penalty and poor quality of life (although may be temporary) given your current situation.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:05 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fliestoomuch310 View Post
Hello. First time poster, long time lurker.

I am a 33 year old Radiologist. However, since about the age of 6, I wanted to be an airline pilot. I just got sidetracked.

On a whim, I applied to the JetBlue candidate program and was slected for the assessment (I think that most people are selected for the $160 testing fee. As a doc, my scepticism of getting fleeced with educational testing is pretty high). Is this program the best way to go or is there a better path?

Hypothetically, is it even worth thinking about this switch? I know there are a bunch of negatives to the career, but I can still have my backup job if things donít workout.

Also, are most pilots in training able to hold a second job outside of flight instructor (or maybe even in more senior roles) or is training/working so all-consumig itís impossible. My job can be done remotely and in off hours. It would, financially speaking, make things a bit easier.

Please feel free to slap as much reality into my head as possible.
I am also a longtime lurker and I finally joined the forum just to talk you out of it. You are a radiologist (an MD, basically the highest degree possible) in a prestigious position that requires over 10 years of training. You are going to be sitting in the right seat of a 15 year old garbage CRJ200 making 36 dollars an hour to walk around in the cold on the ramp and listen to engine noise, breathe fumes, and freeze your ass off. You are going to be sleeping at a quality inn under the flight path of Newark International Airport for 4 nights a week. Think about that for a second. The captain you will fly with is probably a 26 year old kid with an online bachelors degree, you are a board certified radiologist and are second in command to that guy.

The only way you should do this is if you are mentally ill. Do you really think people will take you seriously as a radiologist after your stint as a pilot, or will they think you were crazy for having such poor decision making skills? Do not do this.

If I can't talk you out of it, for the love of god don't fall for Jetblue's marketing garbage. Go to a part 61 or 141 flight school in your area and start working towards your ratings. That is what I am doing and I am working full time. If I decide to be a pilot, then I can slowly scale down my job and transition to a new career. No reason to jump off the deep end to be a pilot, it is still a JOB at the end of the day, not a fairy tale.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:27 PM   #7  
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To the OP...

The grass is always greener, you're suffering from that, but so are all the people telling you don't do it (many pro pilots have never had a real job so their expectations are base-lined on 15+ days off/month).

I would generally say it would not be a good idea for any 33 y/o MD/DO or major airline pilot to switch careers to the other. Both are prestigious, well paying, and require a lot of investment in time and money. At that point, just work to live and enjoy life.

Now I get that nobody is really passionate about radiology, while aviation can in fact get your blood stirring (I'm usually happy to be flying on a nice day if things are going smoothly).

So if for some reason aviation is just an irresistible siren song, then go get a PPL and take it from there. If GA isn't enough and you just can't tear yourself away, then keep taking the next step as long as you feel the need (don't do the jet blue thing though, that's dumb).

You can generally work side jobs in aviation, and you would most certainly want to keep your medical skills on the back burner. Unlike pilots trapped by the seniority system, you can go back to medicine and pick right up where you left off if needed.

There are more than a couple doctors and lawyers flying for major airlines.

Last edited by rickair7777; 10-12-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:57 PM   #8  
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I am in a similar situation: 32, full-time career, make good money, and have an excellent schedule. I have always wanted to be a pilot too.

The grass always looks greener on the other side. It is easy to do the qualifications up to ATP if you have a good schedule and money to pay for flight hours and training- which it sounds like you do. There is no reason to do the JetBlue program and be limited. There are plenty of 141 schools that will get you there cheaper, on your schedule, and let you work your career in the mean time.

From what I have asked on here I have found there will come a time when you have to choose one career or the other. It seems that comes when you have low seniority at a regional and then again at a major. There is no reason to give up your MD job to do JetBlue's 125k gateway select program when you can afford to do it on your own at a different school and on your schedule.

I go to Liberty University Online and my flight training is with one of their affilliate schools. Believe me the affilliate will let you fly as often as you want and can afford, therefore getting you done much faster.

Liberty also does half semesters for most of the classes. So theoretically I could do 36 units in a normal semester- all online. You already have an undergraduate degree (and a lot more) so all you would need are the degree specific classes that you do not already have transfer credit for.

141 schools do not have the same time minimums either so you can get the ratings done faster. I conservatively estimate that if I could afford it I could be zero to CFI in less than 2 years. Then depending how much I work as a CFI I would have my 1000 hour R-ATP in about 8 months assuming I worked every day I have off from my normal career. The way I am going I estimate it will take about 4 years from start to R-ATP; If I could afford to go faster I would.

I say go for it, but do it someplace you can always back out, or work your regular job at the same time in case it is not what you want.

As far as working both jobs- I made a post regarding scheduling in the DELTA forum and got some good answers for my situation as a firefighter.

I know I have met radiologists that work completely remote and on their own time so I would think you would have no problem. One radiologist I met them claimed to be reading x-rays, ultra sounds, and CT scans from his Ipad and would audio dictate his charts- no idea if that is legit, but sounded awesome to me.

Last edited by VegasChris; 10-12-2017 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:05 PM   #9  
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I hope you do it, so the next time somebody asks why I didnít go to medical school, I can say ďHa!Ē
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:24 PM   #10  
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Thanks for all of the helpful replies. It’s not entirely a grass is greener (my aunt is an instructor for a legacy and I got pretty early exposure to the work) but more of a long standing dream. My early career goal was to fly for a major airline. However, I came out of college in 2006 when furloughs were common, which is why I never pursued it.

I will look in to my options. I am very lucky with radiology in that I have a lot of flexibility (I can switch to a 7 on/7 off and be full time with the caviat that this would be night work).

Once again, thanks for your feedback.
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