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Old 07-29-2019, 12:38 PM   #1  
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Default Would you start this process at 45?

Hello,
Iíve hit a point in my life where I will be making a career change; I will be retiring from the Army in the next 18 months. My background is in aviation maintenance, but I am looking to get out of the maintenance world and into the commercial pilot world.

I do not have any pilot ratings whatsoever, so I am pursuing a zero to hero path. That being said, I am currently about 20 credits short of a BS in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle with the intent of completing the flight training at the Daytona Beach campus once I retire. My understanding is that this route would allow me to qualify for a 1000hr R-ATP. I still have the majority of my GI Bill benefits, and that should cover most of my cost due to the license being associated with a degree producing program. If this is not correct, please let me know.

Now to the main question I have: for those of you that have been in this game for a few years, knowing what you know now, would you start this process at 45yo (zero hours) and would it be realistic to think that you could make it to the majors by 50-51?

Thanks, I welcome any and all advice.
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:13 PM   #2  
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I'm 53, I probably will be at a regional in about two years. I may or may not get to a major and I am fine with that. Since your younger than me you probably will get to a major and have a few years there. Good luck!
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:29 PM   #3  
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At age 45 the answer would depend on personal circumstances and finances but since you're military and have to retire and change careers anyway, aviation is as good a choice as any right now.

But try to get a PPL before you retire, just to make sure you like it. At the very least solo.
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:33 PM   #4  
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As a guy in my squadron (ex-Eastern, rode USAir thru both bankruptcies to retire without a retirement) used to say, ďif I knew then what I know now, Iíd have walked right into a whirling propĒ.


Gf
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:29 PM   #5  
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Can't say where you will make it to in a certain time frame but it is a good field. Was a Cobra mechanic and wrenched for a while after before getting into full time flying. Your financial situation matters a lot.
The good news is the retirement pay will help.
The bad news is that is is expensive and can be a rather difficult path.
You do have 20 years to play with, so you have a lot of time to make a decent second career. If you don;t have an A&P, absolutely get one. It is a good resume enhancer and fall back in bad times.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:49 PM   #6  
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The A&P is very easy to get, its value reflects that fact so I don't recommend it. You can do better in just about any other line of work. Unless you have very low standards in terms of QOL. Maintenance tends to work nights, weekends, and holidays in a miserable place and with below average pay.
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:35 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevbo View Post
The A&P is very easy to get, its value reflects that fact so I don't recommend it. You can do better in just about any other line of work. Unless you have very low standards in terms of QOL. Maintenance tends to work nights, weekends, and holidays in a miserable place and with below average pay.
Iím not sure I would go that far. I have a friend that works at a large FBO in South Florida that is an A&P and IA and he makes around 100k. Heís been at this company awhile and does work some OT, but certainly not over worked. There is a shortage of good A&Ps and itís pretty easy to make 70k+ at a good FBO in the right area with some experience.

I guess I should add as well that Iím not referring to GA aviation, but to corporate jet aircraft maintenance.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:41 AM   #8  
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The price floor for A&Ps is usually whatever the local Walmart pays parking lot attendants. Ive known 40yo IAs making $20/hr at the same time a 20yo made $30/hr. I once worked at an MRO that got behind and started 19yo helpers higher than their experienced A&Ps. A mechanics relationship with the company is the only thing that matters as far as compensation is concerned. As I have said before, the minimum requirements for an A&P is far below that of any other skilled trade. 70k in south Florida is barely upper ghetto.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:13 AM   #9  
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Thanks for the responses! I am currently deployed, but I'm using this time to study for the FAA private pilot written test, as well as some ground school course work. From what I've read, I have to be careful about what flt training I take away from ER, the 1000 hr program has pretty strict requirements as to what I can do with other flt schools.

I will have my A&P prior to retirement, studying for those tests and slated to take the tests and practical when I return. Maintenance isn't out of the question, but it's not my goal. I still enjoy working on AC, but my hands aren't as fast as they used to be and I'm noticing that that some tasks are taking longer to complete. As far working OT, that isn't anything new, but at least I will get paid for it. No such thing as OT in the Army.
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:31 AM   #10  
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At 45, almost a degree, and then some $$ for a Ďzero to heroí program, Iíd say itís doable. Of course motivation & possibly family support factors in.

Once you get a CFI, youíll have opportunity to rack up some hours.
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