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Old 07-26-2012, 04:22 PM   #1  
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Default Open Letter

TO: Those of you who are considering investing in professional big university flight training.

Consider what your life would be like in 20 years if you used the funds for training to buy a house instead?

A paid off house is quite an advantage in life. The 120K piece of plastic in your wallet and worthless degree on the wall not so much.

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Old 07-26-2012, 06:05 PM   #2  
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For expanded reading, consider "Rich Dad Poor Dad".

Either way, $120K to learn how to fly, plus a four year degree that says you know how to fly does not make you all that educated or provide a solid backup should you medical out.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #3  
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Any person getting an education today should view schools/universities as used car salesmen. If you want to learn to fly, fine. Just understand that flight schools are ultimately looking to make a *big, big, big* dollar sale out of YOU!

There are loooots of overpriced, overhyped degrees today. Depending on where you go aviation can certainly be one of those degrees that separates you from your money, your credit rating, and put you on a track to 20-30 thousand a year.

Buyer beware. Do your research. Don't fall for higher education lies. Aviation or not, college is a business looking to make a sale!
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #4  
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.....................

Last edited by Jay5150; 07-26-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:33 AM   #5  
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I used to agree with this mode of thinking 100%... now I'm not so sure.

Many of you I assume are either already at the magical 1500 hours or have AT LEAST 500 hours. That makes finding a job a lot easier than say a wet commercial guy with 250 to 300 hours. There are so many new commercial pilots and barely any jobs. And with all the furloughing and instability at the airlines, many former-airline pilots are taking the jobs that low-time pilots once had available to them. CFI jobs are drying up (and most require a CFI/CFII/MEI plus a minimum of 500 hours), and all other facets of low-time pilot time-building jobs now have raised minimums to either 300PIC or 500TT to meet insurance requirements.

The one thing that I have noted as being a plus and maybe a little extra "foot in the door" is the response to this question: "Did you attend a 61 or 141 school"? As soon as I say a Part141, the tone of the conversation usually changes and the person on the other end of the line becomes more interested. This has happened to me numerous times.

So in terms of costs, YES Part141 schools, colleges, or academies tend to cost a little more. But if you want to find that job with less than 500TT it might just be the right move for you. The game is changing and it is getting harder. I've been to every airport within a 2 hour drive looking for a job and I've called or stopped in at every chief pilot's office I can find. Nothing. I've applied at jobs all over the country and not a word. When you have less than 500TT its hard to be taken seriously I guess.

I'm almost finished with my CFI/II training and I hope that helps to some degree in finding a job. Even though there is no money/students around here as a CFI.

But like I said, it seems like 141 or 61 makes a difference to many chief pilots. And it might just be the difference in someone finding the elusive low-time commercial job.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:38 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisreedrules View Post
The one thing that I have noted as being a plus and maybe a little extra "foot in the door" is the response to this question: "Did you attend a 61 or 141 school"? As soon as I say a Part141, the tone of the conversation usually changes and the person on the other end of the line becomes more interested. This has happened to me numerous times.
Respectfully, I have never once heard of this happening to anyone. Nobody cares about 61 vs 141, because there are plenty of 141 programs which are no better than the average 61 operation. 141 ops can easily comply with the letter of the law without really meeting the spirit.

The only time they care where you got your training was if the institution starts with the words "United States". On the civilian side, if you attended the same aviation university as the interviewer you will probably get alumni bonus points, just like in any other career.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisreedrules View Post
But like I said, it seems like 141 or 61 makes a difference to many chief pilots. And it might just be the difference in someone finding the elusive low-time commercial job.
The only place this might be true is if you are applying for a CFI job at a 141 school...they might prefer someone who trained under 141 so you understand some of the administrative complexities. But this would not be worth spending a HUGE amount of extra money for 141.

I usually advise avoiding 141 in favor of a carefully selected 61 school.

I have trained, instructed, managed, and hired in both 141 and 61 environments.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:53 AM   #7  
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I mean... I'm not making it up. So you can believe what you want. Just sharing my experiences.

I've been in contact with about 20 different companies. From sky-diving, to aerial survey, and everything in between. Off-hand, I'd say 7 asked the question. Thats close to half. All I'm implying is that attending a 141 school might improve chances of getting that first job (the hardest one to get as far as I can tell).

Like I stated before... Maybe things have changed a bit since many of you were in these shoes. Maybe they haven't and I'm experiencing an extraordinary circumstance. Who knows.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:09 AM   #8  
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Default Part 141 or 61?

In my experience if you are trying to get hired as an instructor at a part 141 school then it definitely helps to be a graduate from the same program. However one of the main differences in part 61 versus part 141 is that the main benefit of part 141 is to trim flight hours.

It takes more flight time to reach the experience level to get the commercial license. As a result the 141 graduate has to bridge that gap in flight time when looking for a job therefore 141 can be a disadvantage.

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Old 07-27-2012, 08:39 AM   #9  
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Just to be clear, I'm not saying don't go to big name programs. I'm also not saying *to* attend big name programs. Any pro pilot hopefuls should realize that they are just prey in world full of predators (cue shiny jet advertisement.) Quite frankly, I see a lot of educational programs selling snake oil these days, as the "good" degrees and "good" jobs seem elusive, while the student debt burden far out paces inflation! This debt to income ratio is ruinous!

I went to a four year aviation program, and mostly regret it. I also feel that most of the faculty only cared about having butts in their classroom seats. Translation; they get paid. They sell the "dream" to prospective students and even with their Facebook pages, but in their classes, speaking to folks admitted in the major, these same professors talk about the starvation wages, poor QOL, etc. Why can't these institutions tell the truth to starry eyed kids and parents? I hate liars and exaggereators!

With the age of the internet, I beg prospective pilots to do lots of research and don't be afraid to put flight schools on the spot about the realities of the profession! And don't let the school roll right into the pilot shortage myth, like a well rehearsed politician.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:53 AM   #10  
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I'm not saying that pilots shouldn't be aware of the "false advertisement" at a lot of 141 "academies"... I went through one knowing full-well what I was getting into because I did hours and hours of research on here and elsewhere. But then again I don't have any debt so I'm not sweating it as hard as some might be.

If I could do it all over again I might do it a little bit different, but not much. I'm pretty happy with the training I received and the price I paid.
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