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Old 05-09-2017, 07:42 PM   #21
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Joined APC: Jun 2005
Position: Retired
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One thing to always remember: Things can get a lot less fun when they become a job.

I have a thread somewhere in here. I'm one that left. I'm finding that in my current job I have much less time at home than I ever did at the airlines. Working 60+ hours a week will have that effect. I'll never do the regional airline thing again, but I'm seriously considering returning to flying for a living. There are a ton of jobs flying airplanes that have nothing to do with the airlines.

While some here are reading you the riot act about the girlfriend, I think they have some valid points. Never let someone else dictate your course. Especially in your 20s. Support, yes. Question, yes. Dictate, no. I didn't marry until I was in my 30s, and I'm glad I didn't. Honestly, I would have never even dated my wife in my 20s. I probably also wouldn't have a marriage and family right now, let alone a happy and supportive marriage.

Bottom line: you gotta do what's best for you. All you can do is make an informed decision and go for it. Whos to say that you decide to go the engineering route, the economy goes TU and you're out of work for years? I think the current state of affairs is as good for someone getting into aviation as its ever been in my 20 years of it, but its always a crap shoot.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post
tomgoodman, that's the big question I keep asking myself.

If I don't like the life, it'll be hard to leave when I've got some big honking loans that must be paid one way or another. I'm not quite saying "I definitely will hate this career", but rather "I could possibly hate this career, or I could love it to death." But that's a big 80k gamble to play.

However, the benefit to some "normal" college degree is that it's pretty darn flexible, and i'll have the possibility of going into something else if I hate what i'm doing. I've heard many an aviator online say that you should never go to an aviation college, instead get some college degree then get your ratings through part 61...a year ago I would have said "bull****, i'm going part 141 because this is all I want to do with my life.", but I think I see the wisdom in that advice now.

I may still attempt to get all my ratings through my local FBO...if I can scrape up the cash without any loans...

That's the big college dilemma these days anyway. I've got no collateral. Buying a house on a loan doesn't scare me as much (although I reckon some wiser people could set me straight, lol) since you can always sell the house and pay the loan. Assuming you don't go underwater.

A college loan is a ball and chain to your chosen profession. Your future work is your collateral. This is most true with less flexible degrees like aviation.

I remember a discussion with my local FBO's manager. I told him I had my associates degree, and he recommended I finish my Bachelors in engineering. "Why bother?" was my reply. The manager had also gone to a part 141 flight school, and for some reason he is now grounded and works at this FBO. I didn't ask why he doesn't fly anymore, but it seems he is pretty knowledgeable about the consequences of investing in aviation. He's quiet, but a good guy.

My previous post is a pretty extreme example. I believe anyone can change their way of life and even enjoy it, it just may take some adjustment. Just an example of what might be "values" to me.
You have a lot of wisdom. Allow reason to prevail over emotion and make rational decisions. The rational decision is to not get into this career for many of the reasons stated already.

If I ask you, as an engineer, to work 8 hours a day but I will only pay you 4 hours, would you do it? Would the hamburger flipper do it? Yet, every day, hundreds of pilots do it with (butt) cheeks wide open in the brace position.

Walk away from this circus act called commercial flying. But wait, I bet circus workers get paid 8 hours for 8 hours' labor.
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Quarryman View Post

If I ask you, as an engineer, to work 8 hours a day but I will only pay you 4 hours, would you do it? Would the hamburger flipper do it? Yet, every day, hundreds of pilots do it with (butt) cheeks wide open in the brace position.

Walk away from this circus act called commercial flying. But wait, I bet circus workers get paid 8 hours for 8 hours' labor.
My attorney gets a days pay for fifteen minutes work. I get paid a small fortune to stand by, and when I actually do fly, I get paid that small fortune every hour, plus per diem, plus overtime, etc. it quickly becomes a large fortune, and whether it matches hour-for-hour is irrelevant.

The job is the job, and the way pay is scheduled varies by the employer. Some pay by the hour, some by the day, some by the year. Some have trip rigs, some have contract rates. The pay arrepangements are different than an engineer in some cases, but then a pilot is not an engineer.

Some pilots get paid for consultation, others don't. I've been paid for showing up, whether I fly. I've been paid for starting an engine, or taxiing, even if I don't fly. I get paid to simply be available. I've been paid to standby while I penned a novel.

The comparison that one isn't paid as an hourly circus worker while employed as a professional pilot is non sequitur, straw man, and idiotic.

One is welcome to leave aviation to work in a circus if it suits. I guarantee that no circus on earth will come remotely close to my annual wage, or standard of living. If someone feels they'd rather work in a circus, have at it, but don't make the idiotic inferrence that because a circus worker has a simple pay mode, it should apply to aviation, or any other field or job.

The circus worker has neither minimum guarantee, 401K, insurance, seniority, loss of license insurance, or the ability to carry professional certification gained on the job to thousands of other circuses with upward mobility and career pay in the hundreds of thousands per annum. The worlds largest and oldest circus is about to shutter its doors permanently. Aviation, not so much.
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:36 PM   #24
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Default My $.02

Been in your situation; 24 years ago. Always wanted to be a fighter pilot. Only reason I went to college (engineering); got a pilot slot in the Air National Guard (cargo) but dropped out. Same type of reasons as you; gone from home a lot, move to a different city than my parents, maybe not the best future family life, etc. Got an engineering job in my home town, got married, had two kids. Along the way I still flew some, eventually got my CFI/CFII/MEI so I could afford to fly; however I do like instructing even though that is very little now due to living in a rural area. I am now an engineering manager at 48 and still wonder what life would be like as a professional pilot and still look up at every plane that crosses overhead. I have enough hours to apply to the regionals and sometimes consider it but would take a pay cut. Also am building an experimental plane. My point is you may never know if you made the correct choice, if you love flying you will always love flying and will be trying to find a way to do it. Engineering can be a great job and mine has been, however sitting at a desk in a cube or office and dealing with nothing but problems gets old too. Whichever choice you make do your best to make it work; and keep flying at some level if you truly love it.
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:47 PM   #25
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Its like getting married. If you are not 100% sure you want to do this - Do NOT!
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:01 PM   #26
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Going to re-spark this conversation a little if I may as my situation is a bit similar but quite different. I have been flying professionally for 30 years and in all that time, I have always come home every night with my jobs. It's a little more predictable on the helicopter side. Now I have accepted a job in FW flying charter in 737s and I'm starting to get cold feet about the commuting part. I know it's the normal for many of you and lord knows I prowl this site trying to get the best "feel" for doing the same but it doesn't seem to help. Throw in the fact that I'm 56 years old and I'm wondering if maybe I'm biting off a little more than I can chew. Guess there's no real question here. Just looking for a little encouragement.
Safe flights..
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:26 PM   #27
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The Job. I never even thought about these things. I was so hell bent on becoming an airline pilot that I would have done anything. Recently I have been questioning some of my choices. What led me to those choices and how would my life be different if I hadn't made them. But none of them are about my choice of career field. I don't want to do anything else. Being away from home is something I have to deal with so I can't have a job that I love. I have a wonderful supportive wife and two awesome kids and it's really tough when I am away but I still wouldn't dream of doing anything else.

15+ days off per month
-Not sure how "home" you are when you get home at 6pm on Wednesday night and then in 12 hours have to do it all over again. Pilots often get 10+ days off in a row.

Buddy at Jetblue: 18 days off with 88 credit hours.

Scheduling Flexibility
-with some seniorty you pick what days you want to work.

Working Enviroment
-You are the boss bro. Just you the other guy, your crew and ATC. Make it happen. No need to wear a funny tie or be nice to people you can't stand. Don't like the crew, swap the trip.

-United gives you 16% of your salary for retirment. Say you get hired when you are 30: 0n 150k thats a lot of cheese when you are done working. You will average well over that at most legacy carriers. Oh and you will work a little less than half the year.

Lots of benifits buddy, but if you don't mind driving to work everyday, on the the same road, and looking at the same people everyday then maybe giving up on your dream is a good idea. Personally, I couldn't stand it.

I woke up one day and I said to myself "if I don't pursue this I'll regret it the rest of my life." So I closed my eyes and dove straight in and havn't looked back.
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:11 AM   #28
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Adding my $0.02 from the other perspective, even though this is probably a bit old to apply to the original poster's. For anyone else that reads this, they can consider my experiences in their thought process. I was in the OP's shoes in 2005.

I am looking to get into the airlines at age 33 after having worked those cozy Mon-Fri 9-5pm jobs (yea right). I was initially timid about the airlines because I don't want to ruin my passion by making it my work and I also hadn't met an airline pilot prior to 2004 that had never been laid off at least once. The pay was abysmal too at the regionals and I was very concerned about always being gone from home. After having worked for the last ten years in a couple jobs and being around the recruiting industry (getting exposure to other industries and jobs), I've definitely learned that the majority of people think that 'the grass is greener on the other side.' Take anything negative that someone says about their industry with a grain of salt, including my post here.

From my experiences, most of those "Mon-Fri 9am-5pm cozy jobs" now come with a company smartphone tied to your hip, even on your days off. Get used to checking your work email at all hours when you're home including your days off. I've seen plenty that don't involve that, but they don't pay the kind of money that would ideally enable maxing out the annual $18k 401k limit, supporting a family, and supporting a hobby of flying.

My family has come to find that of four weeks in a month (8 weekend days), we're either not mentally engaged in our family or we have weekend rotations. We get 6-8 days off per month, which still involves checking email and making occasional phone calls. Sometimes the stress never stops. From my experience working in an international company, when ex-pats come to work in the US they're shocked at how much we work. There were definitely perks - the pace of work at most jobs I've seen or worked next to had flexibility (need to see the dentist? No sweat, just go when you need to... that type of thing).

Ultimately, I just want to help prevent younger people entering the workforce from being misled into thinking that they're going to be an engineer, earn $100k plus straight out of school, buy their own used single engine piston plane, and not have a care in the world on their days off. That makes the airlines days-off sound pretty amazing. You'll know when you're off and can be mentally disengaged without work politics entering your home life (plus get paid well).

Last edited by Stoked27; 12-31-2017 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:43 PM   #29
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I say this to anyone that asked me about becoming a professional pilot:

Only do it if it's the only way you'll be happy.

Things are WAY better for those just starting today than when I got in 20 years ago but I think that rule still applies. If it's the only way you'll be happy, you'll make it work. And it will work. However, other, more traditional, lifestyles are much easier to make work.

That said, you might consider 135 as your entry point to corporate. 135 operators are getting pretty desperate right now and it's going to get worse. You might be able to get favorable terms for you right away with the right 135 operation but even in a less than ideal situation, you're going to be flying a lot of people that also own their own airplanes that will be desperately looking for pilots. Each corporate gig is very different... some are terrible jobs, some great jobs. I spent the last 17 years flying corporate, spent far FAR more time at home than the average working dad, never missed a Christmas with my kids, and made most birthdays.
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:45 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post

I'm talking something about aviation, and she says "I'm sure going to miss you when you become a professional pilot."
Life isn't easy on the road. It all depends on your spouse. Either it'll be horrible or it'll be amazing. I never did, and wouldn't let a relationship dictate my life's career. That's just me.

Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post
But a family is a major life goal of mine, if not the #1 life goal, and I want to be there for them. Whomever I marry. So I wouldn't ordinarily do any of those traveling jobs.
Well, lots of pilots have families.

Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post
But it's easily 80% of the market for pilots, and corporate jobs require some major "ins" that I just don't have, and i'm not much of a social butterfly.
Who told you this? There's thousands and thousands of corporate jobs listed on the orange site. You'd be surprised how many people you meet once you start flying even as a low time pilot and how many of those people might "know a guy" that can get you that job. So many feet in so many doors. Many more jobs out there than corporate too. 91 gigs, contract freelancers that have the type ratings bring home epic amounts of money and spend 20 days+ a month at home. Corporate jobs don't require ins if you look in the right places. Though they do help.

Originally Posted by Papa Charlie View Post
Am I making the right decision?
That's a question only you know the answer to. You're giving up on your childhood dream for a... Female, that you're not even sure is the one? I don't mean to open up the wrong door but I had a girlfriend that tried keeping me from becoming a pilot. Long story short my career outlasted the relationship. You live and you learn. Typing this from my hotel room. Glad I made the choice. I apologize in advance if this may have offended you. Flying every day as a "job" - I've always wanted to do - Is amazing. Hope this helps some. 10-20 years ago - The pay was much ****er, and the job conditions were too. So now's a great time do it if you can commit to it personal level. Maybe make some sacrifices.

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