Go Back   Airline Pilot Central Forums - Find your next job as a Pilot > >
Flight Schools and Training Ratings, building hours, airmanship, CFI topics
 

Welcome to Airline Pilot Forums - Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. Join our community today and start interacting with existing members. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.


User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-02-2019, 03:16 PM   #1  
On Reserve
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Posts: 13
Default Career Change-Advice Needed!

Hi all-first post. I'm a 27 year old single guy contemplating trying to become a pilot. Hoping to get some guidance here from those who are experienced and knowledgeable. First I'll outline the reasons I am attracted to aviation and then my concerns about making the move. Thanks to all!

I work in a cubicle. I would love to do something that gets me out and about every day I go to work. The idea of flying an aircraft gets me excited. Open air, see the world, etc. Many members of my family have been mechanics in the Air Force and for private airlines so I grew up learning about aircrafts and I've always had an appreciation for the industry.

Concerns:

1) I hate working in a cubicle now. Is a cockpit really that much different? Small space, not much physical activity? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm also 6'6" and 250 pounds. I'm worried about comfort-level and regulations on that.

2) I have a steady, progressing $75,000 salary position currently in a Fortune 500 company. I will be earning $100,000 in the next 5 years. My retirement will be set if I stay for 20+ more years. Am I crazy to give that up? It bores me and I'm not passionate about it and I have trouble not taking work home, but it's not awful by any means. It's a good company to work for.

3) Potential income/job market at the end of training. I have heard horror stories about people coming out of training and not being able to find a job or having to take jobs paying $20,000/year. How realistic is this scenario? What could I expect coming out of training pay-wise? What about after 5-10 years? I was thinking about doing a program like ATP since they outline it all so well on their website, but it honestly sounds too good to be true. They are saying $50k-$80k as a First Officer at a regional airline with tuition reimbursement (which is good because it would cost around $80,000), and then the sky's the limit (no pun intended). Is this really true?

4) How would potential health concerns in the future affect my ability to work? I have a few health-metrics that are too high that I am working on, but at least I can still go to work currently even if my efforts are unsuccessful. Are there any health restrictions I should know about? I know the military is strict here, but I'm not really considering that route.

Again, thanks to all!
glover130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 03:25 PM   #2  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Mar 2008
Position: A-320
Posts: 1,009
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
Hi all-first post. I'm a 27 year old single guy contemplating trying to become a pilot. Hoping to get some guidance here from those who are experienced and knowledgeable. First I'll outline the reasons I am attracted to aviation and then my concerns about making the move. Thanks to all!

I work in a cubicle. I would love to do something that gets me out and about every day I go to work. The idea of flying an aircraft gets me excited. Open air, see the world, etc. Many members of my family have been mechanics in the Air Force and for private airlines so I grew up learning about aircrafts and I've always had an appreciation for the industry.

Concerns:

1) I hate working in a cubicle now. Is a cockpit really that much different? Small space, not much physical activity? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm also 6'6" and 250 pounds. I'm worried about comfort-level and regulations on that.

2) I have a steady, progressing $75,000 salary position currently in a Fortune 500 company. I will be earning $100,000 in the next 5 years. My retirement will be set if I stay for 20+ more years. Am I crazy to give that up? It bores me and I'm not passionate about it and I have trouble not taking work home, but it's not awful by any means. It's a good company to work for.

3) Potential income/job market at the end of training. I have heard horror stories about people coming out of training and not being able to find a job or having to take jobs paying $20,000/year. How realistic is this scenario? What could I expect coming out of training pay-wise? What about after 5-10 years? I was thinking about doing a program like ATP since they outline it all so well on their website, but it honestly sounds too good to be true. They are saying $50k-$80k as a First Officer at a regional airline with tuition reimbursement (which is good because it would cost around $80,000), and then the sky's the limit (no pun intended). Is this really true?

4) How would potential health concerns in the future affect my ability to work? I have a few health-metrics that are too high that I am working on, but at least I can still go to work even if my efforts are unsuccessful. Are their any health restrictions I should know about? I know the military is strict here, but I'm not really considering that route.

Again, thanks to all!
First step, go get an FAA first class medical. That should clear up any questions about health. It's not a strict physical.

Your height won't be a problem. You won't be able to train in a Cessna 152, but not many places use them anyways. You'll be fine in a Cessna 172. I flew with a guy that was 6'8" and I've heard of guys that are taller.

I don't think it's crazy to give up 75k/yr. You'll be taking a pay cut for a few years, but you'll end up making more as a pilot over the course of a career. I think regional FOs are making 40-60K and captains 60K+. Major airline FOs are starting at about 80k and making 150k after a few years.
Experiences with ATPs is hit or miss. Personally, I'd look elsewhere.
viper548 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 03:30 PM   #3  
On Reserve
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Posts: 13
Default

Thanks for your insight! Do you have any recommendations as to where else to look than ATP?
glover130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 04:10 PM   #4  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Mar 2008
Position: A-320
Posts: 1,009
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
Thanks for your insight! Do you have any recommendations as to where else to look than ATP?
Where do you live?
viper548 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 06:02 PM   #5  
On Reserve
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Mar 2019
Posts: 13
Default

State of Georgia
glover130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 06:17 PM   #6  
Prime Minister/Moderator
 
rickair7777's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Position: Engines Turn Or People Swim
Posts: 22,655
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
1) I hate working in a cubicle now. Is a cockpit really that much different? Small space, not much physical activity? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm also 6'6" and 250 pounds. I'm worried about comfort-level and regulations on that.
Physical confinement is a drawback. But I get overnights long enough to work out, and about 20 days off/month on average so I can make up for it.

The work environment depends on phase of flight. Departure/arrival it's a teamwork thing, more like sports of military ops than a white-collar job. In cruise flight it's like a lounge, kick back, shoot the breeze, read, people bring you snacks and coffee. Technically speaking they don't want you goofing off on the internet or texting. Technically.

You might occasionally fly with a CA (or FO) you don't like, but you'll have a different one next week. Most are cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
2) I have a steady, progressing $75,000 salary position currently in a Fortune 500 company. I will be earning $100,000 in the next 5 years. My retirement will be set if I stay for 20+ more years. Am I crazy to give that up? It bores me and I'm not passionate about it and I have trouble not taking work home, but it's not awful by any means. It's a good company to work for.
Chump change. You have to pay some dues in aviation but the prospects for near/mid-term hiring and seniority progression are literally off the chart due to massive retirements over the next 10-12 years.

CFI (2 years): $25-40K
Regional FO (2-3 years): $40-60K
Regional CA (1-4 years): $80-120K
Major (big six) FO: $100K first year, then $200K quickly, within another year or two. Upgrade varies, between 1-8 years looking ahead.
Major CA: $300-400K, then eventually $500-$700K as you get to the biggest jets. That last will take some time, you won't get there if you're much over 35 when you get hired at the major.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
3) Potential income/job market at the end of training. I have heard horror stories about people coming out of training and not being able to find a job or having to take jobs paying $20,000/year. How realistic is this scenario? What could I expect coming out of training pay-wise? What about after 5-10 years? I was thinking about doing a program like ATP since they outline it all so well on their website, but it honestly sounds too good to be true. They are saying $50k-$80k as a First Officer at a regional airline with tuition reimbursement (which is good because it would cost around $80,000), and then the sky's the limit (no pun intended). Is this really true?
Right now due to the above-mentioned retirements, you are essentially assured a job at a regional airline unless you are just catastrophically bad at aviation. If you're a normal college grad, at least somewhat mechanically inclined, did some sports at some point in life, you'll be fine. If for some reason you seriously lack the aptitude, you should figure that out early in your training.

Caveats:

1) A small number of people who did fine in general aviation can't make the jump from small piston planes to jets. Technical/mechanical aptitude, athletics, and youth are good predictors of success.

2) The industry is susceptible to economic downturns and "black swan" events (war, epidemics, etc). Right now this is mitigated by the massive pending retirements, even if they stopped hiring and shrunk, it wouldn't last long.

3) Medical: see below

The potential rewards are high, but there are some risks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
4) How would potential health concerns in the future affect my ability to work? I have a few health-metrics that are too high that I am working on, but at least I can still go to work currently even if my efforts are unsuccessful. Are there any health restrictions I should know about? I know the military is strict here, but I'm not really considering that route.
You can have a medical problem and lose your flying job. The best majors have good disability programs, in some cases you'll keep a large part of your take-home pay until age 65 and not have to find another job. But you already have other skills to fall back on. Healthy lifestyle and good family genes predict success.

The FAA is not very strict compared to the military but there are a few things which are show-stoppers. At your age diabetes or mental health issues would be the most likely issues.

If you're just overweight, high BP, cholesterol, etc you can get treated and modify your life style.

First step would be get your health in order, then get an FAA first class medical so you know where you stand.

Then go get a private pilot license in your spare time. I wouldn't quit your job until you do that and see how you like.
rickair7777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 08:34 PM   #7  
Disinterested Third Party
 
Joined APC: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,598
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by glover130 View Post
Is a cockpit really that much different? Small space, not much physical activity? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm also 6'6" and 250 pounds. I'm worried about comfort-level and regulations on that.
Depends.

Imagine catapulting your cubicle to 41,000 and at four fifths the speed of sound, then dropping it. back between two other cubicles. While on fire. Imagine that someone in your office brings you TV dinners while you're working, that you go to school for two months to learn to operate the copy machine, a guy named Lenny quizzes you several times a year with your job on the line, your job rests on passing a medical exam every six months, and if you enjoy the whole airport experience once in a blue moon now, you'll be right at home.

Except the cubicle is a lot smaller than what you have now, has 1,000 lights, gages, screens, buttons, bells, whistles, buzzers, knobs and flashy things, and you'll need to have your cubicle de-iced. Plus you only get to keep it for a few hours at a time and you won't see your own bed much any more.

On the other hand, you'll develop a taste for Arby's, fly with kids who look like they're fresh from Jr. High, and you'll buy stock in a coffee company. You won't be able to put pictures on the walls of your cubicle, but you also won't have to deal with one of those clear plastic grippy carpet protectors that make chairs roll back into the same position, always the wrong one, every time you let go of the desk. Things are looking up.
JohnBurke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 08:54 PM   #8  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,213
Default

You will not - FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE - EVER half to buy a small bottle of shampoo again.
Excargodog is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2019, 12:54 AM   #9  
New Hire
 
Joined APC: Feb 2018
Posts: 9
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
Chump change. You have to pay some dues in aviation but the prospects for near/mid-term hiring and seniority progression are literally off the chart due to massive retirements over the next 10-12 years.

CFI (2 years): $25-40K
Regional FO (2-3 years): $40-60K
Regional CA (1-4 years): $80-120K
Major (big six) FO: $100K first year, then $200K quickly, within another year or two. Upgrade varies, between 1-8 years looking ahead.
Major CA: $300-400K, then eventually $500-$700K as you get to the biggest jets. That last will take some time, you won't get there if you're much over 35 when you get hired at the major.
.
Good points.

To the OP, I’m in a similar scenario just a few years down the road.

I’m 32 with a first class Medical and a PPL/IR. Earn ~$250k/year in sales. Can’t bring myself to make the career switch because of the money even though I think about it every day. The “hiring wave” certainly has me considering it.

Find out if you love flying by getting your PPL as mentioned. If you do, I would recommend doing the rest of your training as fast as possible. That way you don’t end up at 32 still considering!
DanMarino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2019, 02:24 PM   #10  
Prime Minister/Moderator
 
rickair7777's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Position: Engines Turn Or People Swim
Posts: 22,655
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMarino View Post
Good points.

To the OP, I’m in a similar scenario just a few years down the road.

I’m 32 with a first class Medical and a PPL/IR. Earn ~$250k/year in sales. Can’t bring myself to make the career switch because of the money even though I think about it every day. The “hiring wave” certainly has me considering it.

Find out if you love flying by getting your PPL as mentioned. If you do, I would recommend doing the rest of your training as fast as possible. That way you don’t end up at 32 still considering!
In your case it doesn't make financial sense. If everything went smoothly, you'd be ahead financially in the long term but taking into account the risks and time-value of money it's hard to make the case.

You'd need another motivation like hating your job and/or loving flying.

But also need to consider the stability of your current industry, things like real estate and construction tend to be feast or famine. Some industries prefer younger workers, and you'll likely get your walking papers after age 50.
rickair7777 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
 

 
Reply
 



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Career choice crossroad need advice Hang em High Career Questions 8 02-01-2018 07:31 AM
Looking for some insight on career change C4006 Career Questions 3 12-14-2017 10:28 AM
Busted Checkride/Possible New Career Advice CombineCaptain Career Questions 28 01-25-2013 06:49 PM
Career Change to Pilot... too Old? SteveCostello Career Questions 36 12-04-2011 05:59 PM
Airlines and Work History, Career Advice blewis73 Career Questions 3 11-08-2011 01:53 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:27 PM.


vBulletin® v3.9.3.5, Copyright ©2000-2019, MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Website Copyright ©2000 - 2017 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1