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Seeking career advice

Old 08-08-2015, 12:24 PM
  #1  
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Default Seeking career advice

I made a post similar to this about 3 years ago but would like to re-visit it as the industry is a whole lot different now....

That being said, hear me out and tell me if I'm crazy or not.

I'm 30 years old, have about 3500 TT, 1500 PIC which about 500 is turbo-jet PIC. No 121 experience at all, pure 91/135 background. I have great gig in corporate aviation flying large cabin Gulfstreams for a Part 91 flight department. Currently an SIC. I flew about 250 hours in 2014 and had about 120 RONs. I'm on track to do about the same this year. I'm currently making $140,000 not including a percentage bonus at the end of the year which can be anywhere from 10-15% depending on company performance. My upgrade will probably happen in the next 6 months and I then will be looking at pay of around $170,000 plus the bonus. There are no contractual pay raises at this company or COLA salary increases. Raises seem to happen on merit but from what I can tell, they seem to be rare here. I can probably expect my salary to top out there once I reach PIC, give or take.

So this sounds pretty good so far. However, my biggest problem with the job is the schedule, or lack thereof. We are never truly off unless we use vacation. While most of our trips are scheduled, they move around quite a bit, especially mid-trip. Sometimes we'll go out on a trip and not truly know when we are exactly coming back. Want to have a beer on Sunday watching football, nope, need a hard day off for that. There is also the occasional pop-up that happens once a month or so. As a married guy with two small children, this has gotten a little hard on everyone and I can see it getting old after awhile, especially looking at all the time I have left in my career. The flying is fun. The equipment is good. The destinations are nice and while we get treated very well on the road, I would much rather prefer to have scheduled off time at home with the family.

I imagine I'm not too competitive right now for a 121 legacy job, but if I can make a switch in the next few years as the pool of more qualified guys dwindles, it seems like I may make a return on investment after taking a massive pay cut. My wife works and makes a very good salary but we are still a two income household at the end of the day. If need be, I'm looking at cutting into savings, using credit, even taking a loan from the equity of my house to survive for the first few years. It's a huge risk financially, but what I'm asking you all today...is it worth the reward?

My home base airport is LAX and I'd like to stay in the area if I can. Trying to avoid the commuting thing. Delta right now is my number one but I'm sure I'd have a great career at any of the others. I just have the most internal referrals in Delta at the moment. I also understand new-hires at Delta are able to hold LAX within a few months out of training, is that true? Are the payscales on APC rather accurate? If not, and I bust my ass, how many years would it take for me to get back to the salary I'm currently at?

Looking at a 30-35 year career, the numbers just seem to be in favor of a 121 legacy right now. Especially with the movement in the industry, it seems like it may be foreseeable (barring any economic collapse, terrorist attack, etc) that a new hire today could see the left seat within 10 years if not less. Not only that, but the 401K contribution in the corporate world is WAY behind the times in terms of company contribution at the legacies. The profit sharing at Delta (if that holds) must be a nice bonus too.

In terms of stability, I think the airlines take the carrot there as well. Yes I know the stories of the Pan Am's and the Eastern's, but by and large, on average, more corporate flight departments are scrubbed or dissolved due to buy-outs, mergers, principles leaving the company, etc, etc.

Again, I don't think I'm getting a call anytime soon and if it doesn't happen by the time I'm 35, I'll probably just stick it out in corporate because at that point I'd probably be at the tail end of the hiring wave and will never recoup my losses.

So that's where I'm at. Am I frickin' nuts or what?
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:51 PM
  #2  
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Never recoup your losses? Pay schedules are posted. You need to re-compute your numbers.

I coached for two seasons. Three day a week commitment for just over two months. Tough for corporate guys to make that commitment.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:55 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
I made a post similar to this about 3 years ago but would like to re-visit it as the industry is a whole lot different now....

That being said, hear me out and tell me if I'm crazy or not.

I'm 30 years old, have about 3500 TT, 1500 PIC which about 500 is turbo-jet PIC. No 121 experience at all, pure 91/135 background. I have great gig in corporate aviation flying large cabin Gulfstreams for a Part 91 flight department. Currently an SIC. I flew about 250 hours in 2014 and had about 120 RONs. I'm on track to do about the same this year. I'm currently making $140,000 not including a percentage bonus at the end of the year which can be anywhere from 10-15% depending on company performance. My upgrade will probably happen in the next 6 months and I then will be looking at pay of around $170,000 plus the bonus. There are no contractual pay raises at this company or COLA salary increases. Raises seem to happen on merit but from what I can tell, they seem to be rare here. I can probably expect my salary to top out there once I reach PIC, give or take.

So this sounds pretty good so far. However, my biggest problem with the job is the schedule, or lack thereof. We are never truly off unless we use vacation. While most of our trips are scheduled, they move around quite a bit, especially mid-trip. Sometimes we'll go out on a trip and not truly know when we are exactly coming back. Want to have a beer on Sunday watching football, nope, need a hard day off for that. There is also the occasional pop-up that happens once a month or so. As a married guy with two small children, this has gotten a little hard on everyone and I can see it getting old after awhile, especially looking at all the time I have left in my career. The flying is fun. The equipment is good. The destinations are nice and while we get treated very well on the road, I would much rather prefer to have scheduled off time at home with the family.

I imagine I'm not too competitive right now for a 121 legacy job, but if I can make a switch in the next few years as the pool of more qualified guys dwindles, it seems like I may make a return on investment after taking a massive pay cut. My wife works and makes a very good salary but we are still a two income household at the end of the day. If need be, I'm looking at cutting into savings, using credit, even taking a loan from the equity of my house to survive for the first few years. It's a huge risk financially, but what I'm asking you all today...is it worth the reward?

My home base airport is LAX and I'd like to stay in the area if I can. Trying to avoid the commuting thing. Delta right now is my number one but I'm sure I'd have a great career at any of the others. I just have the most internal referrals in Delta at the moment. I also understand new-hires at Delta are able to hold LAX within a few months out of training, is that true? Are the payscales on APC rather accurate? If not, and I bust my ass, how many years would it take for me to get back to the salary I'm currently at?

Looking at a 30-35 year career, the numbers just seem to be in favor of a 121 legacy right now. Especially with the movement in the industry, it seems like it may be foreseeable (barring any economic collapse, terrorist attack, etc) that a new hire today could see the left seat within 10 years if not less. Not only that, but the 401K contribution in the corporate world is WAY behind the times in terms of company contribution at the legacies. The profit sharing at Delta (if that holds) must be a nice bonus too.

In terms of stability, I think the airlines take the carrot there as well. Yes I know the stories of the Pan Am's and the Eastern's, but by and large, on average, more corporate flight departments are scrubbed or dissolved due to buy-outs, mergers, principles leaving the company, etc, etc.

Again, I don't think I'm getting a call anytime soon and if it doesn't happen by the time I'm 35, I'll probably just stick it out in corporate because at that point I'd probably be at the tail end of the hiring wave and will never recoup my losses.

So that's where I'm at. Am I frickin' nuts or what?
If it makes you feel any better, your about the equivalent of a military officer leaving the service at about their 10 yr mark. With flight pay and tax advantages, they're probably about the $130-160K salary range at about 30-35 years old. I'd say you haven't done bad so far for only 10 yrs in the business.
That said, what do you want to be doing in 15/25 years. If you envision yourself with a set schedule, flying from LAX, then probably the airlines would be your best bet. The demographics suggest that whichever path you take, you'll likely be in demand, but it is nice to see your progression up a seniority list each month and either cashing that in for early upgrade or enjoying the quality of life that being a very senior FO can provide.
Best of luck!
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:04 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
I made a post similar to this about 3 years ago but would like to re-visit it as the industry is a whole lot different now....

That being said, hear me out and tell me if I'm crazy or not.

I'm 30 years old, have about 3500 TT, 1500 PIC which about 500 is turbo-jet PIC. No 121 experience at all, pure 91/135 background. I have great gig in corporate aviation flying large cabin Gulfstreams for a Part 91 flight department. Currently an SIC. I flew about 250 hours in 2014 and had about 120 RONs. I'm on track to do about the same this year. I'm currently making $140,000 not including a percentage bonus at the end of the year which can be anywhere from 10-15% depending on company performance. My upgrade will probably happen in the next 6 months and I then will be looking at pay of around $170,000 plus the bonus. There are no contractual pay raises at this company or COLA salary increases. Raises seem to happen on merit but from what I can tell, they seem to be rare here. I can probably expect my salary to top out there once I reach PIC, give or take.

So this sounds pretty good so far. However, my biggest problem with the job is the schedule, or lack thereof. We are never truly off unless we use vacation. While most of our trips are scheduled, they move around quite a bit, especially mid-trip. Sometimes we'll go out on a trip and not truly know when we are exactly coming back. Want to have a beer on Sunday watching football, nope, need a hard day off for that. There is also the occasional pop-up that happens once a month or so. As a married guy with two small children, this has gotten a little hard on everyone and I can see it getting old after awhile, especially looking at all the time I have left in my career. The flying is fun. The equipment is good. The destinations are nice and while we get treated very well on the road, I would much rather prefer to have scheduled off time at home with the family.

I imagine I'm not too competitive right now for a 121 legacy job, but if I can make a switch in the next few years as the pool of more qualified guys dwindles, it seems like I may make a return on investment after taking a massive pay cut. My wife works and makes a very good salary but we are still a two income household at the end of the day. If need be, I'm looking at cutting into savings, using credit, even taking a loan from the equity of my house to survive for the first few years. It's a huge risk financially, but what I'm asking you all today...is it worth the reward?

My home base airport is LAX and I'd like to stay in the area if I can. Trying to avoid the commuting thing. Delta right now is my number one but I'm sure I'd have a great career at any of the others. I just have the most internal referrals in Delta at the moment. I also understand new-hires at Delta are able to hold LAX within a few months out of training, is that true? Are the payscales on APC rather accurate? If not, and I bust my ass, how many years would it take for me to get back to the salary I'm currently at?

Looking at a 30-35 year career, the numbers just seem to be in favor of a 121 legacy right now. Especially with the movement in the industry, it seems like it may be foreseeable (barring any economic collapse, terrorist attack, etc) that a new hire today could see the left seat within 10 years if not less. Not only that, but the 401K contribution in the corporate world is WAY behind the times in terms of company contribution at the legacies. The profit sharing at Delta (if that holds) must be a nice bonus too.

In terms of stability, I think the airlines take the carrot there as well. Yes I know the stories of the Pan Am's and the Eastern's, but by and large, on average, more corporate flight departments are scrubbed or dissolved due to buy-outs, mergers, principles leaving the company, etc, etc.

Again, I don't think I'm getting a call anytime soon and if it doesn't happen by the time I'm 35, I'll probably just stick it out in corporate because at that point I'd probably be at the tail end of the hiring wave and will never recoup my losses.

So that's where I'm at. Am I frickin' nuts or what?
Also, as a NARROW BODY FO last year who never flew over 75 block in any month, nor was away more than 15 days, I cleared over $210K in total income with retirement contributions.
Since switching over to WB, I would expect at least another 10% more this year.
So I agree, I would rerun your numbers. The TAX free contributions really are a nice bump to anyones retirement plans.
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:22 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by full of luv View Post
Also, as a NARROW BODY FO last year who never flew over 75 block in any month, nor was away more than 15 days, I cleared over $210K in total income with retirement contributions.
Since switching over to WB, I would expect at least another 10% more this year.
So I agree, I would rerun your numbers. The TAX free contributions really are a nice bump to anyones retirement plans.
Very nice. Where are you at and how many years in are you?
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Old 08-08-2015, 02:24 PM
  #6  
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The airlines seem to be what you want so you should do it. If you and your wife at making close to $200k right now there is no reason for you to have to use credit or take a loan just to go to the airlines assuming she keeps working for your first year. First year pay at most places is $75k ish. I sure hope your lifestyle doesn't require $200k just to eat.
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Old 08-08-2015, 02:46 PM
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With a name like Kenny Powers you'll be successful in what ever you do.
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Old 08-08-2015, 02:55 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by full of luv View Post
If it makes you feel any better, your about the equivalent of a military officer leaving the service at about their 10 yr mark. With flight pay and tax advantages, they're probably about the $130-160K salary range at about 30-35 years old. I'd say you haven't done bad so far for only 10 yrs in the business.
That said, what do you want to be doing in 15/25 years. If you envision yourself with a set schedule, flying from LAX, then probably the airlines would be your best bet. The demographics suggest that whichever path you take, you'll likely be in demand, but it is nice to see your progression up a seniority list each month and either cashing that in for early upgrade or enjoying the quality of life that being a very senior FO can provide.
Best of luck!
Whoa buck! You better check yourself. A civilian 3000 hours is nowhere near a 3000 hour military pilot. Not even close.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:12 PM
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120 RONs per year means 10 nights away from home per month, which means 21 nights of the month were spent at home in your own bed? And you're making $130k and soon to be 170k? I get it that you can't enjoy that Sunday football with beer because you don't know your schedule, but nights away from home is the #1 downside of the airline world. You are making 130k-170k while only 10 nights away from a month? In the airline world you're going to be away for more than 10 nights for a long time, especially if you have to commute.

I dunno, your decision obviously, but don't let the grass-greener syndrome get to you.

Last edited by ShyGuy; 08-08-2015 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:20 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Lobaeux View Post
Whoa buck! You better check yourself. A civilian 3000 hours is nowhere near a 3000 hour military pilot. Not even close.
Ready, Fire, Aim... He was talking about $ and starting over.
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