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Old 12-30-2016, 01:44 PM   #1  
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Default Early career change worth it?

Alright so I know...Another career change question!

Once I started flying about 10 yrs ago I knew I wanted to fly for a career. with a wet private pilot ticket, I was met with all of the recession and news of big furloughs, and crusty retired pilots telling me not to do it! "its not what it used to be," "better off to get a real job and pay for a few lessons here and there.." And to be honest all of the advice was probably spot on!

I figured joining the military was my best bet but sadly I didn't have a degree. So I Enlisted and worked my way into the aviation side with the plans of competing a degree and applying for the officer program that might lead to a pilot position. So here I am now past the age cutoff for the officer flight school. I really do like my job but its still not being a pilot, I just sit between both of them! I am a C-130H Flight engineer (yes they still exist and still required on some old birds!).

Currently have 7yrs in the military, age 30, wife and two kids 6 and 4 yrs, 60k/yr, private ticket with 85 hrs. I started flying again and now current.

I am not really sure what to do next... This is kind of what I was thinking: stay in military and retire at age 43, work on getting my cfi now and then instruct/build hours and try to retire with an ATP. then start my second dream career as a professional pilot.

And then I read other topics about people actually doing just that, changing careers around 45 and if they started 10 yrs earlier maybe they would already be making 6 figures...

If I get out of the military right now, I don't think I could survive very long on my first commercial pilot job with a family and debt from getting my ratings. But it would be worth it if I could make decent money after say 5yrs... I'm just not sure what I would realistically be making in 5 yrs? 60,80, 100K?

If I could make $100K within 5 yrs and have a good QOL for me and my family, I would probably get out of the military and I wouldn't care what I was flying! Just not sure if that is making some of you laugh or if its possible right now with the market.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:52 PM   #2  
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Default Mil vs Civil Aviation:

I am retired Herc driver, flying for a Regional, but with an upcoming interview with a Major.
Timing now is great if you have the hours to jump, but you need hours....
You have 7 years in...13 to go. Wow, active duty is no cakewalk these days; can your family hang on that long??? But...that retirement check and Tricare will allow you to pursue a second career in commercial aviation. That market will always be there, and I am convinced there will never be a plethora of new pilots saturating the ranks. The shortage ain't going away anytime soon, as the job still is not female or family-friendly so that wipes out most women.
I suggest getting a 4 year degree online using TA, and finding a Pt141 school that has broken the code on using Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for advanced ratings. You can CFI in your spare time, and build towards the magic 1500.
Don't rule out separating and going to a Guard C130 unit near where you want to settle down. If you go that route, I guarantee the pilot shop will coach/help you with advice on civil aviation jobs. BTW not all are airline gigs.
Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:59 PM   #3  
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Don't know if the market will always be there, but it is better than I have ever seen.
Good advice from above. It is a career worth pursuing. Was enlisted wrenching in the Army. Getting an A&P should be looked at as well.
You will have to have some money saved before starting a flying gig because it will not pay the bills on first year pay.

Last edited by Rama; 12-30-2016 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:11 PM   #4  
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Good advice above, use TA and get a degree as soon as possible. Once you have that doors will open. You can become a military pilot, transfer to the guard and fly(if you can get a slot), or stay in and keep building hours. All are good options. I would just use the military for everything you can before you eject.
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:30 PM   #5  
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My deployments are not to bad at all, but the moving around part is definitely hard on family life being active but I think the family will support me with whatever I choose to do. If I do stay in, I think the retirement check is what would allow me to pay the bills during that first year or two pay.

As far as education, I am half way done with my bachelors.
Currently getting signed off to take my A&P written/practical.
Soon taking the AGI and IGI tests.

Using the post 9/11 gi bill doesn't do much of anything for flight training while Active. If I got out, it would probably be a good deal because I think it covers a degree and flight training combo. Which seems kind of perfect actually...

I dont know much about the guard units, anyone have any experience going from active duty to another service guard unit and what that would look like as far as retirement check?
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:39 PM   #6  
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I went from active to guard at the 4 year mark. They gave me an AGR job about 2 years after the switch, so my retirement will be the same if I stay AGR. As a part time guy it all depends on points, but the kicker is it doesn't start paying until age 60.
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:41 PM   #7  
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I will add that I think the guard is way better than Active. As long as you can find a full time job either in the guard or outside of the guard.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:25 AM   #8  
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Aside from moving around every 4 years, AGR sounds pretty much like the gig I have now. I am Coast Guard. I work 0700-1500 mon - Fri and stand a 24hr SAR overnight duty every 4 days. Go on a couple short deployments a year. The job I have is not bad, and I am overall happy with it.

I guess I should put it this way. I like what I am doing right now and dont have a problem staying in until I retire in 12 yrs. I would obviously rather be spending my time logging PIC over the next 12 years then doing what I am doing though.

I just dont know if I get out now and change careers if it will be worth it rather than waiting until I retire from military in 12 yrs. I am at the point where im almost half way mark of 10yrs and I need to make that decision to stay in or get out. Just not sure on how feasible it would be to get out and fly for a living with a family life.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:33 AM   #9  
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I dont know much about it, but I was reading in another thread about a few gigs in AK, that are 15 on/15 off, and hiring around 500TT?? making about 4K a month? And mostly everyone lives in the lower 48 on off days... unless I didn't read it correctly.

Somethings like this are tempting, knowing I could get out, get my ratings and build to 500TT and go work! and following the progression from there... I dont really care what I fly, I just want to make some decent money to support family.

So its things like this I ask myself, should I do this now, or wait 12 yrs, and have a retirement check/tricare medical, and then do this..haha
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:56 AM   #10  
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That is a tough choice, and is one that only you can make, good luck
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