Hello all, thoughts and opinions needed

RUNNINHORN

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Wow, i just found this website and must say, ive found a plethora of information; I can sit here and read threads for hours and not get bored:) Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself and get everyone's opinion. Ive been scouring the past threads, trying to get answers to some of my questions, and havent found too many direct answers--so I thought i would ask away. If these questions are asked often by many 'posters,' please forgive me. Im currently a Senior at the Univ. Of Texas in Austin, Texas and will be graduating with an Undergrad in Psychology and Business Administration. Im currently facing a crossroads in my life, in regard to career path, and was wondering if you could please give me your thoughts. I have this huge passion for flying and cant really explain it. My friends think im weird, but some nights ill go out to the airport and just watch planes take off for an hour or two--i just love it that much. From what i can tell, the pilot job market isnt too hot right now, which is understandable, but I was wondering if now would be a bad time to start getting my certifications and licenses? If i chose to pursue flying, ive heard it can be a long road, is that true? How long does it take to get all of your certs. going from no-time to ATP if i went and got some loans and went to one of those schools? My goal would be to fly the big ones someday, is it achieveable with hard work and not coming from the military? How long does it take to work your way up to the big boys-- on average? What could a person look to make say the first 2,5,10 years of flying as a profession? I guess im just trying to decide between my passion and my degree. I have this passion for flying, and would do it if i werent going to get payed a penny, but my degree has an emphasis on management, and everyone of my career counselors tells me to pursue a career in management because it will pay off more in the long run (more $$)more than flying. They also tell me there is more stability in that field versus flying, but are there alot of unemployed, highly qualified pilots? Is there an over abundance of pilots right now, and will it remain that way for sometime? If you had to do it all over again, would you be a pilot? Basically, im just trying to decide what to do in life, and am looking for your thoughts and opinions. If what i wrote doesnt make much sense, i apologize, sometimes i have a hard time writing exactly what im thinking. Feel free to message me with any info or post a reply.
Thanks:)
 

Hazel

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By all means, get your mgmt/psych degree and keep on working on your private as much as possible. It's very important to have a back up when times get lean (such as now!) After finishing up your private, you'll have a better handle on what is involved especially if you keep up on this board, "hangar" talk in the coming months with your instructor and other pilots, etc... There are lots of posts on this board, just pullup the search mode. You'll have to find some way to fund your training after you finish school but you don't want to step away from it too much or you'll lose your focus. This is vital! There are many here who went thru the last hard times in the 90's and I'm sure you'll hear from some of them. For myself, I had a lot of jobs I wasn't thrilled to be doing (restaurant, Substituting, etc) but I knew if I involved myself in a "career type job" I'd never get the time I needed to move on. It's been a long road, and sometimes I think of the $$ I could have made if I'd gone a different way, but I've had some of the best times of my life doing this! Good luck!

Hazel
 

bobbysamd

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Aviation Careers 101

I know exactly how you feel about flying. I've loved airplanes and flying since I've been old enough to read and watch TV. I am old enough to remember my first airline flights on DC-7s and Connies, so now you have an idea of how long that's been. I haven't flown in more than eight years, and my wife doesn't quite understand why I'm thinking about starting again.

You are certainly off to a good start getting your four-year degree. You need a degree to amount to something in aviation. Now, maybe I should give you what may be bad news mixed with good news. First, the bad news. If you've followed the news at all or know any professional pilots, you're aware that the industry is on a down cycle. The economy was already in recession before 911, and its aftermath accelerated the downturn, in terms of prompting furloughs of thousands of airline pilots. Two airlines, Midway and Emery, already had folded and put hundreds of well-qualified, experienced pilots on the street. You're right - with Midway and Embry folding and furloughs there is a glut of well-qualified pilots looking for work. But that is always true, even in the best of times. There are always tons of qualified pilots available to fill every job. Moreover, pilot hiring industry-wide tends to hinge on airline hiring. The economy will get better because it always does and airlines will do better, but it may be a couple of years before the industry absorbs all the pilots on furlough and needs more pilots. I can tell you that I've been there, because I was pursuing a professional aviation career ten years ago, during the last war and recession.

The good news is that if you are at all serious about the career, now is the time to prepare. During your last semester, check out flight training opportunites. There are many proven paths that lead to success in the career. They generally boil down to military and civilian career paths.

While I don't intend to reopen the military v. civilian career path debate, you should at least consider the military. Ex-military pilots seem to get preferential treatment by airlines for many reasons. These reasons include (1) military pilots are trained to and must perform to strict, rigid standards, which the airlines find attractive in a pilot candidate; (2) military flight training is standardized and is a known quantity to airlines; (3) military officers exhibit personality traits the airlines find attractive. Not everyone is accepted as a military officer and not everyone is given the chance to fly Uncle Sam's airplanes, so the military has, in effect, prescreened applicants for airlines (once again, I'm not trying to start a debate). The downsides to the military career path include but are not limited to (1) you may be accepted in the military but not necessarily get a pilot slot, even though you were "guaranteed" one; (2) you might wash out of military flight training (which is not necessarily a deterrent to pursuing a civilian career); (3) the military is your career. Flying is what you do in the military. What you do after you leave the military is a career change.

On the other hand, the military isn't for everyone and there are thousands of great civilian pilots flyiing for the airlines. The civilian career path is also a path to success. I would have been in that category. The career path begins with flight training for your Commercial Pilot certificate, Instrument rating, and instructor certificates and ratings. You can train at your local airport or go to a flight school to train for these certificates. Then, it becomes a matter of going to work and building hours. You will work hard and pay your dues to build time, especially in these times. You need 1500 hours and other time requirements to get your ATP. In the current economic climate, your first flying job may be flight instructing, and you may be flight instructing for a couple of years before conditions loosen sufficiently for you to take the next step. During that time, assuming you're working and flying steadily, you can expect to get your ATP.

I'll say this. Your career counselors are correct about aviation being unstable compared to other industries. The industry is inextricably tied to the economy. It has its ups and downs, and more downs than ups. Not everyone who tries an aviation career is successful. Luck and timing are everything. If you start training right after graduation, and are patient, have a high tolerance for nonsense and BS, and are willing to work hard, willing to accept horrendous pay for longer than you think you should, persevere, and have a little luck, you'll make it. You'll always have your degree to fall back on.

Hope this helps. Lots of luck with your decision.
 
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TurboS7

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If you love it you will never regret it. With a businsess degree general aviation all kinds of business venture's that can make money. If you love to fly even being a pilot is a worthwhile venture, it just takes a lot of time. Enjoy it.
 

pilotyip

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Military Pilot

When considering themilitary consider all branches, including USMC and Army rotor wing. We hire these guys to fly our Falcon jets and they are great pilots. We have found that a military rotor wing pilots with 150 hours fixed wing piston time is easier to train than some 10,000 hour civilian types because of their professional training background. So if you want to fly professionally go for anything you can find in the military. Go see an officer recruiter, they sometimes come to your campus, or get the local recruiter to give you the officer recrutier's phone #. By the way if you go Army go Warrent Officer they get more flight time than the Officer's. You do not have to join if you don't get a flight spot, so if someone tells you to join and see what happens, they are blowin' smoke up your etc.
 

RUNNINHORN

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Thanks for the info. I talked to an air force recruiter, and he said id have to commit to 9 years service, and that there is no garantee that i would get a shot at being a pilot, so that discouraged me a bit. I dont know what i will do. Id like to just get a loan and go get it all done at once, but then again, i dont know if military experience would look alot better or not........
 

avbug

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Tell me, Jefe, how many hats would you say there are, in a Plethora?

Sorry. It leaped to mind.

("Wow, i just found this website and must say, ive found a plethora of information;...")
 

fulcrum

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plato

choose a job that you will love -- and you will never work a single day in your life
plato
 

rattler

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Here's another idea. Establish a civilian career at a regional or national airline that hires low time pilots that you could spend your career at if all else fails. Once you are on the seniority list...go for a job in the Air National Guard. You can chose the a/c and location you want. While you are away on active duty in the guard you keep your seniority number at your civilian job. After your initial investment (approx 2 yrs active) you will have a military back ground and a great seniority number at your airline. Then aim for the majors. Just another idea. Good luck.
 

skydiverdriver

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I would suggest you get a good job with your degree, and that will pay enough to get your ratings. Get a CFI then, and instruct on the side. Then, if the airline hiring picks up, you can go full time, live on your savings and persue your goal. If the aviation career doesn't work out, you will have experience and credentials to fall back on. Also, you could become a dispatcher and move into a pilot's slot at some airlines. Be sure to research this first, as I worked at one place that never hired dispatchers as pilots. Now I work at one that does.

I also think ATP Inc's program is a good one. You get the multi time right away, which is very difficult to get later on. So is a college degree, so no matter what, finish that first!! Good luck to you.
 

Otto

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Here's my thoughts on the subject. First of all...no matter what road you decide to take, it will be long and it will involve sacrifice. If there is one thing I've learned in life, however, it's that the things you are truly proud of are the things you had to work the most for. A career in aviation is like the stock market...with risk comes rewards, but also greater failure. Now with that said, you have two roads...civillian or military. I look at like this...the military is the more conservative route but the civilian route may (I emphasize MAY) pay off more quickly. The time it takes to pay off has nothing to do with your skills as a pilot assuming you make wise decisions. It has everything to do with the state of the economy and if you can predict that, your skills would be put to better use outside of aviation.
Now with that said...you said your goal was to fly big planes. If that's the case, the Air Force could have you flying big planes (really big planes) in three years whereas with the civilian route, it will be a very long time. Some more advantages...you will be well paid and the places you fly to will be much more interesting than flying for a commuter and flight instructing. Would you rather be flying to Germany and Australia or back and forth to some hub? That's what I thought. The downside...it's a nine year commitment after wings, so in reality it's really more like eleven once you include flight training. Another downside...you have no control over where you live, you have to move around a lot (I'm overseas on Christmas day as I write this), and oh yeah, there's lot's of guys all over the planet who would love to stick a SAM up your butt. Personally the thought of being $30,000 in debt scares me a lot more than the chance of a SAM but that's just my opinion. Imagine what $30K would be 30 years from now if you invested it-Yikes!
I view the civillian route as the riskier option simply because it involves a lot of money (unless you have a rich grandfather or something) that you have to pay where there is no guaranteed payoff at the end. It's not like law school or medical school where you know it will pay off someday....your betting that it might pay off. For whatever reason, right or wrong, the majors seem to prefer military guys so there are a lot of guys who spent a lot of money who may never get to the majors. There simply are a lot more pilots out there than the majors have a need for. Don't believe the hype about a "pilot shortage"...when they say that, everyone thinks Delta and United are hurting but in reality it means Joe's Flight School is hurting for CFI's. Okay, before civilian guys get mad at me, I must emphasize that with risk comes reward and I can tell you that there are 27 year old pilots at American and Delta right now who took the civilian route and it paid off handsomely. They are the exception rather than the rule but I'm sure they'll be laughing at me some day when I'm their First Officer and they're in the Captains seat.
So what it comes down to is that the route you decide to take really depends on how much risk you are comfortable living with and whether you will be satisfied in your flying career with just flying people or if you want something in addition such as serving your country, etc. I'll admit I'm biased but I love serving in the military. I came in through the Reserves so I can answer any questions you have about that. My advice would be to get your private as fast as you can (first to make sure you really enjoy flying) and go from there. You said you're in Austin...it wouldn't hurt to call up a Reserve recruiter at Lackland in San Antonio and tell him you're interested in a pilots slot. He'll steer you to the flying squadron and then it's a lot like rushing a fraternity. They fly C-5's there so that would satisfy your 'big aircraft' appetite. Don't be fooled by the Guard and Reserve option...they fly as much or more than active duty...the trick is getting a slot which is especially tough these days due to the economic situation. Also, whether you are interested in the Reserve or active duty, don't believe the bunk the recruiters tell you about having to join without knowing you have a pilot's slot. I applied four years ago for a pilots slot (active duty) and got shot down (I had no flying time at that point) so I never committed to a thing. Another final word...don't be discouraged by the state of the industry right now. Look at it as an oppurtunity to catch up since nobody is getting hired in front of you. Sorry this got long winded but I have a lot of time on my hands down here!
:)
 

bobbysamd

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Great analysis, especially your comments about the pilot "shortage" :rolleyes: and your analysis of the risk v. rewards for military v. civilian.
 
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skydiverdriver

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Otto,
I'm sure no younger pilot will be laughing at you for serving your country. We are all in your debt. I hope you and everyone you know comes back safely and has a long and happy career after the military.

SDD
 

Wiggums

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Otto said:
You said you're in Austin...it wouldn't hurt to call up a Reserve recruiter at Lackland in San Antonio and tell him you're interested in a pilots slot. He'll steer you to the flying squadron and then it's a lot like rushing a fraternity.
Does anyone know of a site that lists all the Reserve units? Is the ANG any more or less competitive then the reserves? I am looking at over the long-term, 3-5 years in the future.
 

FSIGRAD

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I just couldn't help but comment on the above advertisement for ATP......specifically the time table of "from private to all your instructor ratings in 3 or 4 months!" What kind of diploma factory are you guys running? 3 months from freshly minted private to MEII? I not sure how that works...and what kind of instructor comes out of that program? I really don't want to debate which 141 program is best (ATP lost their 141 status for forging student paper work) But I will quote my college economics professor "there is no such thing as a free lunch" You get what you pay for, and if you pay for a MEII in 3 months you will end up with just that, a very inexpierenced instructor who rushed through all his/her tickets. Ask yourself, as a student would you want that person as your instructor?
 

kilomike

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Dear Runninhorn,

Bobbysamd wrote some very helpful information for you. Pursuing a pilot career is very difficult at best and not everyone can make it into the major airlines. There is the situation of years of low pay and many expenses such as hotel costs etc. when interviewing for jobs.

I have decided to leave the airline industry and fly for pleasure only, and perhaps in the future as a part of supporting my own business ventures. With your business degree, you could very well obtain the Private, instrument and multi and put that to good use supporting your own company. I know someone who owns a wire company, and years ago he flew an Aerostar to support his business. He is still very active in general aviation. Not once did I ever hear him complain about his great life flying for fun and for business, or lamenting that he did not get on with the airlines. He is one of the happiest people I know. I also can tell of an electrician/pilot friend who did interview with the major airlines years ago and was accepted by all the majors with whom he interviewed. He ended up declining to join the airlines after he weighed out the pros and cons. He ended up making millions in the electrical trade. At one time he used a Cessna 310 to support his business. Again, no regrets on his part. Going for a trade after college is one way to become highly successful and able to well afford a fantastic lifestyle. One of my father's friends with whom he went to college got his economics degree, took up plumbing and ended up playing polo for a hobby and living in a splendid mansion. Whatever you do you can always enjoy flying for pleasure. It does not have to be a means to an end.

I would encourage you regardless of your ultimate decision to at least go for the private and instrument ratings. Flying is great pleasure and you will never be sorry that you can fly for fun. Flying someplace for the classic $100 hamburger with friends or taking a day trip someplace is so enjoyable! Getting the ratings is never a waste. Even though I no longer fly for a career, I am sure glad I have the ratings!

Fly safe and never stop enjoying the blue skies above

Kilomike
 

Wiggums

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FSIGRAD said:
I just couldn't help but comment on the above advertisement for ATP......specifically the time table of "from private to all your instructor ratings in 3 or 4 months!" What kind of diploma factory are you guys running? 3 months from freshly minted private to MEII? I not sure how that works...and what kind of instructor comes out of that program? I really don't want to debate which 141 program is best (ATP lost their 141 status for forging student paper work) But I will quote my college economics professor "there is no such thing as a free lunch" You get what you pay for, and if you pay for a MEII in 3 months you will end up with just that, a very inexpierenced instructor who rushed through all his/her tickets. Ask yourself, as a student would you want that person as your instructor?
I think that you might be mistaken on ATP losing 141 status, as far back as I know ATP was NEVER a 141 school. Maybe your thinking about ATA, a school that did lose 141 status. Also, it is possible to go from private to MEII in 95 days. You'll fly every day, and study every night, but all of the former ATP students I've meet have been pretty sharp. Think about this, it takes a reasonable intelligent person to get their ratings in 95 days, if they can't hack it they get washed out.

We can sit here all day and call ATP and Sheble's diploma mills or pilot factories, however, it comes down to how hard the student worked, and how good their instructor was.
 

FSIGRAD

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You are right I should of done my homework before going on a rant! I was thinking of ATA not ATP. My apologizes, my intent was not to bash a school without reason. I just honestly feel that timetable is way too fast. The purpose of professional flight training, especially at the instructor level should be to build solid foundations of knowledge and expierence. Not to rush through taking every shortcut. Lets say you took your private at a school that offers a fast 2 week program, then right into the 95 day program. You could have someone who is teaching instruments in a multi-engine airplanes who only starting flying 3.5 months ago? I guess it's all legal but I personally would not recomend that course of action.
Thats just my thoughts on the subject, I could be wrong!
 

bobbysamd

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Accelerated training?

I second FSIGRAD from the standpoint that he and I have FSI in common. I taught at FSI. FSI has a six-month program, zero time to Commercial Multi Instrument. That course alone is a lot to learn in six months simply because it takes time for your mind to absorb so much new information and to learn an unnatural skill (yeah, even for you Chuck Yeager types :) ). Some people can absorb learning and training like a sponge. Some people can and will learn, but need time. These people will fall behind or become discouraged or both, and will be sent home or quit, unfairly. The rest of us learn at an average rate, no matter how smart we are or how hard we study or how well we apply ourselves.

You indeed want to build a solid foundation, and experience, because the rest of your flying career will rest upon it. 95 days is very little time to go from Private to MEI, in my $30K flight school cost opinion. Think about it. How many different kinds of flying conditions can you experience as a student in three months?

I will say the pros of such a course is it can prepare you for the real world of aviation. Once you get to ground school, the instructors will place your mouth against a fire hose and turn on the flow of information. You need to know how to learn to keep up with an airline ground school.

Once again, just my $30K flight school cost opinion.
 
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