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Career change?

Old 08-12-2023, 01:41 PM
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Default Career change?

I have been in law enfor.cement for 23 years and at age 46 am contemplating becoming a pilot. I realize my age limits my ability to move up or work for major airlines. That is not my goal. I do love flying although I haven't been on a plane since 9-11. Based on what I have read it looks as though I may be able to get a job with a regional airline which would be ok with me. I really don't know. Research shows it will cost around 96,000 to get a license. If I got a job with a regional would I pay off this debt by the time I die? I went to Western Michigan which has an aviation school
If I were to do this type of change what could I expect to make a year? Any advice is greatly appreciated
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Old 08-12-2023, 04:25 PM
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Your info is dated, whole new world with regard to airlines and hiring, they all hire pilots into their early 60's now.

In this climate, if you hustle, you can get on with a regional, acquire 2-4 years experience and still have 10-15 years at a major.

Current regional pay is about double what it was just a couple years ago. Major pay is double that again, at least, so you shouldn't have trouble paying off the loan either way.

These are very rough, and conservative numbers which assume some seniority complexities which I won't get it into now but this is what a typical career would look like at your age (not going to be a widebody captain). Includes 401k DC, which is very generous at the majors.
Regional FO (1-2 years): $100K
Regional CA (1-2 years) $200K
Major FO (2-5 years) $250-350k
Major CA $350-500K

Major QOL almost invariably beats regional QOL, unless you manage to live in a boutique regional base in a small town. Even then those kinds of bases tend to go senior at regionals. Most major bases are in big metro areas.

You'll miss the peak of the pilot retirement wave, but catch the back side of the wave so there should still be plenty of opportunities. If you're going to do it, hustle would be to your benefit. In years past I might have suggested part-time, pay-as you-go training but there are so many retirements right now that this a rare opportunity to grab a seniority number and move up fast.
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Old 08-12-2023, 07:27 PM
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Sure takes my breath away!
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Old 08-13-2023, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TransWorld View Post
Sure takes my breath away!
what do you mean?
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Old 08-13-2023, 04:19 AM
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Thanks to RickAir7777 for that answer. By that response it seems a career change may be in order. Having already gotten a 4 year college degree 24 years ago what would be the best way to go about getting the training I would need to work for an airline? I would be willing to apply for a student loan for this school? I phrase it as a question because I really have no clue. I live about 45 miles away from Kalamazoo, MI where I attended college at Western Michigan University. I have seen ATP online saying you could fly in as little as 7 months?

Need some tips please.
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Old 08-13-2023, 08:19 AM
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I went through the same thing a couple of years ago and just a little older than you. I'm at a regional now and will be upgrading soon. On balance I've enjoyed the new career, although you are trading one set of complaints for another. You may find as I did that there are a lot of similarities between the two careers in surprising ways and the soft skills that you've (hopefully) developed over your career will serve you well.

If you are starting from zero time I recommend starting your training now and moving at least to the point of solo flight, just to see if flying is really something you 1) have an aptitude for and 2) really enjoy. You can do this while still working and only risk a few thou on that path of discovery. Then you'll be in a better position to evaluate your next move.
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Old 08-13-2023, 08:26 AM
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Start with the private to see if it may be for you.
An accelerated program would be best if you want to move on.
ATP's is the most well known. My daughter is starting at Sling Pilot Academy. Roughly 20k less than ATP and there attitude seems to less stressful and "pilot mill" than ATP.
They have schools in Torrance and San Diego.
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Old 08-13-2023, 10:04 AM
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Have you considered CBP flying?
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Old 08-13-2023, 10:28 AM
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The ability to accomplish your goal is very possible. The speed at which you do that will depend on how much sacrifice you wish to endure, how you manage current employment while training or quit and train full time. Is Western Michigan's aviation program attached to a degree program? If so, it would likely be best to avoid that because it will substantially increase cost and give you a degree you do not need.
My $0.02, work on your private pilot license (PPL) while maintaining your current job. Pay as you go or take out a loan large enough to cover just the PPL + 20% or so. Do not take out a large loan to cover the entire cost of obtaining your commercial pilot license and Flight Instructor ratings. There is a lot of risk in doing that should things not go as planned. After you obtain your PPL, you can reevaluate your next move.
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Old 08-13-2023, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TiredSoul View Post
Have you considered CBP flying?
At age 46 he is past max age to get hired at CBP (37, waivers up to 40).
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