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Old 07-28-2012, 11:05 AM   #1  
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Default Son interested in being a pilot

Hello everyone, firstly Im not a pilot and know relatively little about planes but I have a 13 year son that loves planes and aviation. He flies remote control planes and is now going to race pylon racers and messes with the flight simulator that I bought for him on the home computer trying to learn to put flight plans together and how to navigate between airports.

He is a very smart kid. I tell him that if he likes planes maybe he should be a pilot. He signed up with the local civil air patrol group last week. He went to his grandparents house that live by the airforce academy but it had been evacuated because of fires because he is interested in that, so maybe next year. I dont have alot of money so probably the government is going to help him learn how, which according to my friend that is a surgeon is exactly the right thing to do.

The university where I work has a flight training school, but I dont really know that much about it.

Since i guess most of you are pilots what do you think I should tell him? Should I push him towards another profession?

I like that he likes it because he is learning so much. but what does the future appear to look like?
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #2  
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Default The future of aviation

The future of aviation is a favorite topic here. Boeing just produced an article that predicts a huge growth period over the next 20-30 years. The issue however is that pilot wages and working conditions are on the decline.

In my opinion the advance of automation insures that working conditions for pilots will not improve. Other factors are on the horizon that could also be a game changer. China is working to position itself as a global aviation supplier of pilots, mechanics and airliners.

The world of aviation will be very different in 10 years. However there are a lot of jobs in aviation besides flying. UAV's are very hot right now and most likely will be in the future.

I also have a teen age son who is interested in aviation and I don't know what to do.


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Old 07-28-2012, 01:00 PM   #3  
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He can get 'free' flying exposure (and perhaps a few lessons) through the CAP, so that's a good place to start, and if his high school has an ROTC program, there's more free flying there. Take him back to Sky Blue U (the Air Force Academy) this fall, about a month after the start (ie. October) and get him a tour, that may light a spark in him...or not.

As far as, is it going to be a good career for him? Well, on the military side of the career, perhaps. If he deciedes he wants to fly in the miltary, that will be free flying lessons and a pretty stable career, compared to trying to build time in the RJ world.

But...he's only 13 now, 5 years from now he'll be 18, and the comercial industry will have changed by then, ie. it will be better, or worse, than it is today, but it won't be the same. One thing in his favor, in the next 10-20 years (when he's 23-33) the Majors will be losing thousands of pilots, hired in the 1985-1995 eara, who will -age out- and be retiring, so there should be some demand for new pilots...maybe...if;

Cabotage doesn't become the law in the US,

And if the mandatory retirement age doesn't get lifted to...?

And if any of today's Majors are still in business, etc.

Nobody has a crystal ball, nobody knows what the future holds in this industry for next year, let alone 10-30 years from now (your son's time frame) but getting free flying lessons via the ROTC and a free education via the AFA is never a bad thing, and he can fly in the Air Force or even the Navy (not that there's anything wrong with that) for a full 20+ year career, and still be young enough to get out and then get hired on at a US Major, if they still exist 30 years from now.

Oh, I almost forgot, the Air Force now has drone flying training program, so your kid could fly drones over Pakistan, from a trailer in Las Vegas.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:07 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyHigh View Post
The future of aviation is a favorite topic here. Boeing just produced an article that predicts a huge growth period over the next 20-30 years. The issue however is that pilot wages and working conditions are on the decline.

In my opinion the advance of automation insures that working conditions for pilots will not improve. Other factors are on the horizon that could also be a game changer. China is working to position itself as a global aviation supplier of pilots, mechanics and airliners.

The world of aviation will be very different in 10 years. However there are a lot of jobs in aviation besides flying. UAV's are very hot right now and most likely will be in the future.

I also have a teen age son who is interested in aviation and I don't know what to do.


Skyhigh
You let him know how you feel.....then you allow them to make their own decisions...good and bad...... IF you DECIDE he cannot pursue aviation and enforce that decision as long as able... you will regret it.

Thats not to say you shouldn't let him know how you feel.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:37 PM   #5  
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While you must be 16 to solo an airplane, and 17 to license, you only need to be 14 to solo a glider, and 16 for pilot certificate...can add airplane later. A great way to get into aviation and learn to "fly a wing" without the distraction of that noisy fire hazard bolted to the aircraft(engine).
see:
Soaring Society of America, the source for Gliding in the USA

click on "where to fly" to find out if there is a soaring operation
near you.

It is pure fun recreation, with the advantage that if he decides aviation is for him, he'll already have a leg up on the process, and if not, he'll have a great off-work pastime.....

Last edited by 727gm; 07-28-2012 at 06:40 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 727gm View Post
...without the distraction of that noisy fire hazard bolted to the aircraft(engine)..
This made me laugh. Thank you.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:39 PM   #7  
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An aviation career does not make a lot of sense these days for most people.

If one pursues a career, it must be based on a love of all things aviation...that will soften some of the sharp edges. With the proliferation of fast-track "glossy-brochure" flight academies too many younf people (and not-so-young) jump into aviation expecting big (or at least decent) money and a great quality of life...in reality it takes 15-20 years to get those, if ever.

I would suggest...

Pursue every educational opportunity such as CAP, etc.

Before even considering a career, earn a Private Pilot cert and do some fun flying. If you still like it at 100 hours, earn an instrument rating. Only then consider professional flying.

If you decide to go pro, look hard at the military...Air National Guard (followed by USAF reserve) is the best kept secret in military aviation, start there if flying is your thing. If that doesn't pan out, look at active duty military. He'll need a degree either way, scholarships are available too.

If he goes down the civilian path, I would recommend NOT majoring in aviation (unless it is aerospace engineering). There are many good reasons for this, but aviation is fickle and it's best to have a fall-back position. Since aviation is your "fulfillment", you don't get to major in underwater basket weaving or fill-in-the-blank studies. Select a major which is marketable if aviation falls through...I figure most pilots will spend 3-10 years on the street due to medical, furlough, Ch.7, etc. Even if you land a job right way, in airline aviation you start all over at the bottom with a new company, could be an 80% pay cut. Suitable majors are portable, marketable, and can be kept warm on the back-burner through part-time work (computer programming, accounting, pharmacy, PA, etc)

For flight training, there may in the future be some benefit to doing an university aviation program (like I just told you not to do). This is due to possible regulatory changes related to airline pilot employment. You'll have to keep this in mind and research things when the time comes to pick a college. But as of right now the best bet is train at a good (do your homework) local flight school. Avoid large loans...you will not be able to pay them back on $10-20K entry-level pilot wages.

Again, all the best civilian jobs go to ex-military pilots first, and they got paid a living wage while NOT paying for their own training. But you will probably want to be a fixed-wing pilot, not a helo or God-forbid UAV pilot. Air National Guard, USAF Reserve are the only way to guarantee that.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #8  
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Be supportive and get him involved in CAP and AFJROTC. The military is the best option. I was the same way and did CAP & ROTC and met a lot of people in aviation. I wanted to go to the USAF but wearing glasses stopped me. My parents couldn't afford flight training so I took it upon myself and enlisted in the military. I did my time and got out allowing me to utilize my GI bill towards flying and college. My point being do not discourage him. He will understand if u can not financially fund his endeavors. If he wants it badly enough he will find his own path to reach his goals. Just be there for him as a loving father.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:36 PM   #9  
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good for him... you should definitely encourage it. I would however recommend that you do a little bit of reading on here and tell him to do the same.

If he is showing a serious interest in it 6 months from now, encourage him to look into the Air Force or Naval Academies. He will have to really start focusing on his grades in high school and playing a sport also helps out (anything extra-curricular is good though ie: flying). My buddy is now flying F-16's and he just turned 24. He went to the AF academy and all of his training was paid for. He has a fulfilling/stable career as a military aviator to look forward to and a "foot in the door" when he decides to get out or retire and go civilian. It is the best way to go these days.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:12 AM   #10  
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Have him get a degree or trade skill in something non aviation related. No jobs ever require an aviation specific degree, they just want a college degree (if any). Majoring in something other than aviation will give him a fall back career.

How does the career look? Supposedly there is a pilot shortage coming. China, Indonesia, and India are just beginning their aviation booms. The shortage will hit those places first. There are a lot of upcoming retirements at the US airlines which will create lots of demand for pilots. However if oil jumps back to $150/bbl, I don't think the shortage will appear as airlines will begin parking aircraft, and lose money (again, 2008-10 all over again).

If he is going to learn a foreign language make sure its Mandarin Chinese.
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