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Old 08-01-2013, 11:39 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Jul 2013
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Default Oh no! Another career jumper!

First of all I want to apologize for this long initial post!

After quite some time lurking in the shadows, I figured I would finally introduce myself to the world of flying. My name is Eric and I am yet another career jumper that is about to begin my pursuit of the lifelong aspiration to become a player in the aviation world at the ripe age of 37. I live in Southwest Florida, not to terribly far from PGD. Currently I am a funeral director and embalmer and an avid antique clock collector. I have wanted to be a pilot since a very young age but life has taken me in a different direction until recently. With that being said, flying hasn't left my blood. After hanging out with a buddy of mine at JetBlue University for the day a few months back I came to the realization of what the heck am I doing??? So after talking with my wife and kids and a multitude of days doing gainful reasearch, we have come to the conclusion that heading to flight school is the right thing for us. I have zero actual flight time but I do hold my student pilot certificate and first class medical.

One may ask, "Why leave the funeral business? Isn't death a given?" While the answer to the second question is yes, diving further into it, the outlook isn't so grand. Locally the average FD pay is roughly $45k/year and while it seems to be a decent living that's where it pretty much ends. I know plenty of guys with 35+ years in the business making around $50k/year which is basically the peak even for business owners. Not too bad right? Wrong! Being at death's beck and call 24/7/365 is tough enough, but couple that with the financial issues surrounding the business and the families served, it gets even worse. Locally our cremation rates are upwards of 85% making times tough for families which reciprocates to the FD's. QOL as a funeral director is nowhere near what the general public thinks that it is nor what it used to be. I have had two career goals since I was a young buck. I wanted to own a funeral home and to be a professional pilot of some type. I've pursued the funeral side of things to realize that owning a funeral home is not in the cards due to the changing climate of the business and the lack of love for what I do. I love helping people, but it can get extremely ugly and depressing at times. Couple that a mountain of a financial risk ($600k+ on the conservative side), it's time now to go another direction...Flying!

Now before I get berated, as I have on other online venues, my wife has a great job working at the VA and the funding for this expenditure will come from liquidating my collection of clocks somewhat. We live nearly debt free with exception of our mortgage which is 1/5th of it's actual value and the normal electric and insurance bills. We can without a doubt manage on my wife's income alone, so anything above that is a +. I will be attending ATP this fall and if all goes well I will then transition into instructing to build my hours. If for some reason at any point we need extra $$, I can always work part-time as a FD or Embalmer.

Now for those that may ask, "Why ATP?", I chose ATP based upon the 150 day, total immersion program. I learn very well that way. We fully understand the time and monetary commitment needed to achieve my goals as a professional pilot as well as the many pitfalls that come with aviation, ie. Medical issues, economy, lack of ability, etc. but the risk with this is far less than opening a funeral home which hold many pitfalls in it's own right. Now I am not hellbent on becoming an airline pilot, if it's in the cards great...if not, great! I will explore the options as they come and in the meantime I am looking forward to networking my butt off. If aviation doesn't pan out for one reason or another, I will have lost nothing but some $ and time. Fortunately I am a licensed FD and Embalmer, making me a seasoned rare commodity in that industry with the ability to return at any point.

Now that I got that out of the way, I do want to pick the brains of the members of this forum for a bit...and no not literally! This more concerns airline pilots, but could branch out to others.

1. With the ATP Rule going into reality, do you see the pool of guys and gals, making their way into the regionals, slowing at some point because of the time required to obtain their ATP and the 1500 hour requirement?

2. This goes along with my previous question..do you think that there will be a lack of students due to the new requirements being such a tremendous undertaking in time and debt, therefore adding greatly to the lack of qualified pilots in the job pool and well as student pool?

3. Wouldn't my first two questions, if true, equate to a very real possibility of a lack of qualified pilots on the new hire side than on the retirement side? A bit of an opposite to the talking heads idea of a "pilot shortage" due to retirement?

4. I know I'm putting the apple before the cart, but say things work out for me and I get to the point as to where I am looking at entering the part 121/135 world...Is living in SW Florida a tough situation if I had a commute to base outside of FL? For reference, I live halfway between RSW and SRQ with about a 1 1/2 hour drive to TPA.


Anyhow, with all of that said, I look forward to sharing my experiences here and any further discussions. Oh and yes my screen-name and avatar insinuate that I have a 1969 VW Bug. She is my daily driver
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:48 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69BugDude View Post
1. With the ATP Rule going into reality, do you see the pool of guys and gals, making their way into the regionals, slowing at some point because of the time required to obtain their ATP and the 1500 hour requirement?
Many regionals are already addressing this issue with a pre-hire program to lure low time pilots (sub ATP mins in this case). Meaning you will compete with the same people you would have, just in a different way

Quote:
2. This goes along with my previous question..do you think that there will be a lack of students due to the new requirements being such a tremendous undertaking in time and debt, therefore adding greatly to the lack of qualified pilots in the job pool and well as student pool?
There's never a shortage of dreamy eyed pilots chasing the carrot, the bigger issue is funding and the lack of cheap, easy money that was around over the last decade. Even so, many foreign airlines send an almost unending stream of cadet pilots to the US for practical training, which keep many flight schools afloat.

Quote:
3. Wouldn't my first two questions, if true, equate to a very real possibility of a lack of qualified pilots on the new hire side than on the retirement side? A bit of an opposite to the talking heads idea of a "pilot shortage" due to retirement?
Short answer, no.

Quote:
4. I know I'm putting the apple before the cart, but say things work out for me and I get to the point as to where I am looking at entering the part 121/135 world...Is living in SW Florida a tough situation if I had a commute to base outside of FL?
I'm not here to advise whether or not you should do this, but if you do, the first thing you need to do is focus more on the steps in front of your face. if you're going to do intense fast track flight training, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Don't just 'get through' your ratings (preferably without failing any check rides), you need to learn this stuff so you can teach it... and actually be of use in the right seat later on.

To answer your question, commuting as a junior pilot on reserve is never "easy". I know the area you are in quite well.. and though it depends on your base, I see a lot of crash pad nights in your future initially.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:22 PM   #3  
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My advice: You can immerse yourself anywhere you go. Get your ratings by spending as little as possible. Regardless of the program or school, most of the work is on you. Don't spend a ton of money just because of a reputation or what they tell you. Given where you live it's entirely possible to go to the local airport and do what ATP offers for far less.

Funny thing, one of the captains I often flew with was an embalmer and did this work in a part time capacity to supplement his income.
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