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Old 01-03-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Looking for real-world insight

Hello everyone! This is my first post on the forums, and I assume it's going to be a doozy even before I begin to type. First and foremost, aviation has been a personal passion of mine for many years, and seeing family and friends rise through the ratings to achieve their dreams has been great, but also sad, because I want to share in that. Ultimately, my goal is fly commercially. I don't really care in what capacity, although I would say my preference is corporate, followed by airline.

Little bit about me, I'm a 34-year old man living in NC. I'm married with three children. I'm currently a full-time military recruiter, but I will soon be coming off that trail and returning to a civilian career in sales management. I earn about $70,000/year as a recruiter, and will be dropping down to about $45,000-$50,000 with my civilian job while my wife also has to work full-time as well. She's a nurse and earns about $60,000/year working three twelve-hour days per week. There's an FBO about 10 minutes from where I work.

Back in 2011, I utilized my Army tuition assistance to receive about $13,000 in funds to help earn my pilot's license. Working full-time while juggling family life meant I could only take flying lessons about once every week or every two weeks. Ultimately, I had to take a hiatus from flying in early 2013 when my third child was born. By then I had achieved about 40 hours of instruction, about 4-6 of those hours solo. I'm hoping to break that hiatus.

Make a long story short, I had a "come to Jesus moment" recently and realized that I'm not getting any younger, and it's kind of now or never. I'm looking for insight or suggestions on the best way to get my ratings in my current situation. I'm trying not to put undue strain on my family's finances; not trying to brag or sound entitled, but my wife and children enjoy a comfortable standard of living, but at the same time, I'm tired of slogging through my day knowing what line of work I should be doing.

Should I drop everything, take out a massive loan (since my Army benefits only cover a few thousand dollars a year), and fly four to five times a week?

I'm already thinking that could end disastrously, so realistically, how long do you think it would take to get a commercial multi-rating while only take one or two lessons a week?

Have any of you career pilots worked toward your ratings while juggling a career and family?

Any tips for success are appreciated!
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:34 PM   #2
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Save up the money and start chipping away at your ratings while you are still employed. I wouldn't advise getting into debt.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:10 PM   #3
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Is the local FBO where you flew before? With your experience, and critically depending on what training you have already logged, you might not be too far away from your private ticket. Talk to them about this, and maybe you and them could come up with a custom syllabus of 15-20 hours to get you there. Save a couple grand, then when spring comes go fly as frequently as possible to get that first rating. After that, who knows? Make some friends you can fly with and find opportunities to log time toward the next step.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by prwest View Post
Save up the money and start chipping away at your ratings while you are still employed. I wouldn't advise getting into debt.
I was thinking the same thing... Thanks for the reply
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by EasternATC View Post
Is the local FBO where you flew before? With your experience, and critically depending on what training you have already logged, you might not be too far away from your private ticket. Talk to them about this, and maybe you and them could come up with a custom syllabus of 15-20 hours to get you there. Save a couple grand, then when spring comes go fly as frequently as possible to get that first rating. After that, who knows? Make some friends you can fly with and find opportunities to log time toward the next step.
Yes, that is my previous flight school. I really like the idea of them creating a custom syllabus with my previous experience. I liked my CFI, but at no point did I ever feel like my training was nearing an endgame (The fact that he recommended changing from 172 to an Archer halfway through training didn't help either). I think having a predrafted plan will be extremely helpful. Thanks for the reply!
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:45 PM   #6
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It's gonna be tough to get away with not paying for private through commercial. There are some flight schools around, especially in FL that will pay for CFI/II if you sign a contract to instruct with them for a certain number of years. If thats how you want to build your hours. If you want it to go as fast as possible through the instructor route, you'll probably have to pull out a loan and go to a place like ATP or an equivalent that'll get you zero-hero (CFII) as fast as you're willing to go. What I would recommend, if you want to go corporate, is finding a flight school that also has a part 91 charter operation. Something with a pilatus or king air 90 or something like that which doesnt need a type rating. Once you get your commercial they may get you trained on those and build hours that way. Best advice I can give you is to call the flight schools in your area and see what they have to offer.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by EFBprobs View Post
It's gonna be tough to get away with not paying for private through commercial. There are some flight schools around, especially in FL that will pay for CFI/II if you sign a contract to instruct with them for a certain number of years. If thats how you want to build your hours. If you want it to go as fast as possible through the instructor route, you'll probably have to pull out a loan and go to a place like ATP or an equivalent that'll get you zero-hero (CFII) as fast as you're willing to go. What I would recommend, if you want to go corporate, is finding a flight school that also has a part 91 charter operation. Something with a pilatus or king air 90 or something like that which doesnt need a type rating. Once you get your commercial they may get you trained on those and build hours that way. Best advice I can give you is to call the flight schools in your area and see what they have to offer.
I can't do the CFI route because that would come with a huge drop in income, which I can't afford to absorb. Again, as much as I want to achieve my goal, albeit later in life, I can't do it at the expense of too much sacrifice on my family's part.

The funds I have available to me are as follows: I have $5,000 in my student account at the FBO.

To complete my PPL, I can use that $5,000, as well as an additional $3,000 per year in tuition assistance benefits from the National Guard.

After I get my PPL, my GI Bill from the VA kicks in, I get another $9,000-$12,000 per year in addition to the $3,000 military tuition assistance benefit to complete my other ratings.

I'm pretty sure if I take a regimented approach, I could minimize the out of pocket costs as I get my ratings, while juggling a full-time career, but as someone who has been there and done that, I appreciate your insight.
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