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Old 01-30-2020, 07:43 AM   #1  
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Default Looking for life advice- What would you do?

Hi everyone,

About 20 years ago I was pursuing my instrument rating and failed my checkride multiple times. After the fourth attempt I decided to walk away from training because first of all I was out of money and secondly I felt that it was time to take a break. Looking back, at that time I had too many irons in the fire, I was working two jobs, going to college and also helping out with the family business. I also failed to effectively manage my training by not changing instructors and/or the DPE, probably because of my lack of maturity as a teenager at the time.

For the young people out there, please use my story here as a lesson to first, manage your training in such a way that when youíre told that youíre ready for a checkride, you feel adequately prepared and even though an instructor might be a friend, you need to put your career before that perceived friendship because, you as the student, are the customer and the person that will eventually have to answer for a pink slip in the future at interviews. Period. Also, be sure to save enough money or have some sort of adequate funding and time to focus on said training.

While unfortunate for my flying ďcareerĒ I think my instrument rating fiasco helped me excel in my alternate career and other areas of my life. That being said, I did continue to fly as a hobby (I own an airplane) and finished my instrument rating last year, which I passed with flying colors, in fact, the DPE said it was one best checkrides she/she has given. Iím pursuing my commercial and the rest of my ratings and I have over 1500 hours now. Regardless of my career prospects as a pilot, I intend to finish up my ratings for my own peace of mind.

From what Iíve read on APC, I donít think really have much of a chance at the Legacy or even an ULCC. Iíve sent emails out to a few different recruiters to see what they have to say about my situation, Iím currently waiting to hear back from them. Iím trying not to be overly optimistic, however. That being said, assuming I complete the rest of my ratings successfully, would some fractionals or some of the ISR companies be interested in me with my flawed background?

I was in upper management in operations and quality at a defense contractor/repair station/manufacturer before my current job. I now work in the aeromedical field. Generally , my schedule is similar to a ready reserve pilot , Iím on call 24 hours a day for 20 days out of the month, but typically put in about 15-20 hours a week of actual ďworkĒ. When Iím on call I work in a small GA shop on the side and help out in a non-aviation family business. Currently, pay wise I do fair for being in the aviation maintenance career (70Kish in aviation, another 30k in the family business Part-time), but Iím really feeling burnt out on turning wrenches, but, unfortunately, very talented at it. I do have a bachelorís degree. Im in my mid-30s.

For the very long-term Iíd like to take over and expend the family business, however I do have to wait until a retirement to do that full time (which Iím also very good at). If I could somehow get a job at a major, I would reconsider. How likely would that be? If the majors arenít like likely Iím looking at about 5-10 years to fly before I could take over the family business full time ( which would provide more ability to invest in in capital purchases to make the business even stronger when I take over) what direction would you suggest then? Or should I walk away from flying completely as a career?

Sorry for the long post, Iím just trying to get some advice from individuals that are disinterested third parties. I really appreciate the advice and valuable information that everyone generally provides on this forum. Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:50 AM   #2  
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If your only failed ride was the IR, as a teenager, you can probably explain that away at a major interview, at least at LCC's.

How many times did you bust it?
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:17 AM   #3  
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If your only failed ride was the IR, as a teenager, you can probably explain that away at a major interview, at least at LCC's.

How many times did you bust it?
Rick, I busted the instrument four times, all back when I was a teenager. I think just getting to the interview would be the main issue, correct? IĎm thinking the software would throw my app out, or, at least score it so low that it wouldnít get pulled. Am I off base on thinking that?
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:48 AM   #4  
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Rick, I busted the instrument four times, all back when I was a teenager. I think just getting to the interview would be the main issue, correct? I‘m thinking the software would throw my app out, or, at least score it so low that it wouldn’t get pulled. Am I off base on thinking that?
Four is a lot. Your best way-ahead would be face-to-face with employer reps at job fairs, meet-n-greets, or any other opportunity. My guess is that top tier will rule you out just based on how it would look later on if something happened. Lower-tier majors, in the yeas ahead, will probably not be in a position to exclude a competent pilot over what was probably a teenager getting steam-rolled by the part 91/61 system years ago. But you cannot fail ANY more rides.

Or as you said, fractionals, ACMI, 135 should all be available too... they cannot be picky today.
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:01 AM   #5  
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Ok, I figured the big six are basically out no matter what. Iím understanding as of now, your opinion is that ULCCís and higher their ACMI is out as well, until hiring industry-wide picks up to such a rate that ďhigh-teirĒ candidates have been hired by industry and someone such as myself is the last person at the dance basically. Is that fairly accurate? It seems that the best I can hope for would be to be hired at the mid to end of a hiring cycle if I went the ULCC/ high their ACMI route.

I do have quite a few contacts in the corporate and Defense contractor worlds from my Mx background, I guess my time would be better focused there as opposed to going to a regional and hoping for a ULCC job?
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:12 AM   #6  
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Ok, I figured the big six are basically out no matter what. I’m understanding as of now, your opinion is that ULCC’s and higher their ACMI is out as well, until hiring industry-wide picks up to such a rate that “high-teir” candidates have been hired by industry and someone such as myself is the last person at the dance basically. Is that fairly accurate? It seems that the best I can hope for would be to be hired at the mid to end of a hiring cycle if I went the ULCC/ high their ACMI route.
Middle/lower-tier majors are currently hiring qualified pilots who have one-too-many blackmarks for the top tier. Frankly, they like that, it means you won't leave for DL in 18 months. I would think four busts spread out throughout your career would be a bit much for middle-tier, but I think in your case it would be OK since it was really a very isolated circumstance and you were young. Personally I would consider that to be more like one bust where the system got stuck like a broken record and kept doing the same thing over and over again, taking a teenager along for the ride. I think if you had a few thousand turbine and 1000 TPIC you could get a middle-tier job right now. Even more likely in the years ahead, as you say.

If you had some turbine time ACMI would hire you right now. And then there's Southern... they'd probably hire you tomorrow with your current time.

All that said... you should do a careful self-evaluation of your instrument and multi-tasking skills. If you are in fact relatively weak in that regard 121 training could be a struggle.
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:10 PM   #7  
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4020driver,

I would spend some time doing some soul searching and making sure I understood whatís really driving the desire to pursue this. If you have a true passion for flying and thatís your primary motivation, go for it and donít look back. On the other hand, if youíre considering this for financial reasons, I think youíre best suited to stay in the business world. Having spent 20 years splitting my time between business and my flying passion, I realize I would have never had the fortitude to have long term success as a pilot if I was motivated by money. I also realize that if money was the goal, I would have been much better served spending the last 20 years focusing solely on business or pursuits other than flying. Itís impossible to predict the details of how this would play out, but if this is truly your passion, you keep a clean record for the rest of your training/flying, and you are a good person who ďgets itĒ, there is no doubt you will have success as a pilotówhether at a midlevel carrier or major.

I know this doesnít answer your question directly. But hopefully it adds a little perspective that is helpful...
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:04 PM   #8  
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Middle/lower-tier majors are currently hiring qualified pilots who have one-too-many blackmarks for the top tier. Frankly, they like that, it means you won't leave for DL in 18 months. I would think four busts spread out throughout your career would be a bit much for middle-tier, but I think in your case it would be OK since it was really a very isolated circumstance and you were young. Personally I would consider that to be more like one bust where the system got stuck like a broken record and kept doing the same thing over and over again, taking a teenager along for the ride. I think if you had a few thousand turbine and 1000 TPIC you could get a middle-tier job right now. Even more likely in the years ahead, as you say.

If you had some turbine time ACMI would hire you right now. And then there's Southern... they'd probably hire you tomorrow with your current time.

All that said... you should do a careful self-evaluation of your instrument and multi-tasking skills. If you are in fact relatively weak in that regard 121 training could be a struggle.
Absolutely and agree wholeheartedly on doing the self-eval. I try to fly as much actual IFR as I can when time allows to build that skill set. Iíve been planning to get my ATP-CTP class complete and ATP written passed before even thinking about a 121 job. Iíve also contemplated getting a ďcheapĒ type (i.e. a 500 series Citation) knock out the ATP ride. Would that be prudent before leaving my ďday jobĒ to ensure to myself (and possible employers) I can pass a ride in something more substantial than something piston?
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:59 PM   #9  
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4020driver,

I would spend some time doing some soul searching and making sure I understood whatís really driving the desire to pursue this. If you have a true passion for flying and thatís your primary motivation, go for it and donít look back. On the other hand, if youíre considering this for financial reasons, I think youíre best suited to stay in the business world. Having spent 20 years splitting my time between business and my flying passion, I realize I would have never had the fortitude to have long term success as a pilot if I was motivated by money. I also realize that if money was the goal, I would have been much better served spending the last 20 years focusing solely on business or pursuits other than flying. Itís impossible to predict the details of how this would play out, but if this is truly your passion, you keep a clean record for the rest of your training/flying, and you are a good person who ďgets itĒ, there is no doubt you will have success as a pilotówhether at a midlevel carrier or major.

I know this doesnít answer your question directly. But hopefully it adds a little perspective that is helpful...
Junebug,

I appreciate any perspective offered! Thank you.

To clarify, though, as far as my full time day job is concerned, Iím just a mechanic now and no longer in the ďbusiness worldĒ in aviation, like I was before my current position.

As far as the family business is concerned, itís a smaller (in the grand scheme of the Ag industry) row crop farm in which dad is the primary operator and Iím the ďSICĒ. I enjoy it quite a bit, actually. Fortunately, dad is in great health and doesnít feel the need or want to fully retire yet.

But, I also have no desire to continue or pursue further a career in aviation maintenance. The primary motivation for a flying career is following the career path that I wanted to do in the first place, fly, and I know now is the time to do it. I'm not going to lie, a secondary motivation is the money, a person will never make as much money turning wrenches as flying, especially when you consider the flexibility of a flying career. The flexibility of a flying career presents the possibility of eventually being able to both farm and fly (in some capacity) with some of the advantages of both. I donít know if thatís possible, but, at the very least I could have a aviation career that I enjoy fr a few years.
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Old 02-03-2020, 06:48 AM   #10  
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OP,
Im guessing you are in your late 30ís?
You obviously have the discipline to dedicate yourself to a task as illustrated by your stellar checkride.
Here is a question though, how long did it take you? Any decent instructor would have started at Lesson 1.
I am not a stellar learner by any stretch so take this from somebody who knows: learning in aviation is not only about retention it is also about limited time.
Any professional training will be in a limited amount of time with a limited number of training sessions and maybe one or two allotted extra sessions.
It is not only about being able to do it it is equally about being able to learn it in the time given.
There are plenty of people out there that wash out or voluntarily resign from a Regional or a 135 because they canít hack the pace of training. Has nothing to do with skill or the ability to learn per se.
Its about ability to learn in a limited time frame.
Hope that made sense somehow.
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