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Hello all, thoughts and opinions needed

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Hook em Horns!
Dec 23, 2001
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 $$)more than flying. They also tell me there is more stability in that field versus flying, but are there alot of unemployed, highly qualified pilots? Is there an over abundance of pilots right now, and will it remain that way for sometime? If you had to do it all over again, would you be a pilot? Basically, im just trying to decide what to do in life, and am looking for your thoughts and opinions. If what i wrote doesnt make much sense, i apologize, sometimes i have a hard time writing exactly what im thinking. Feel free to message me with any info or post a reply.
By all means, get your mgmt/psych degree and keep on working on your private as much as possible. It's very important to have a back up when times get lean (such as now!) After finishing up your private, you'll have a better handle on what is involved especially if you keep up on this board, "hangar" talk in the coming months with your instructor and other pilots, etc... There are lots of posts on this board, just pullup the search mode. You'll have to find some way to fund your training after you finish school but you don't want to step away from it too much or you'll lose your focus. This is vital! There are many here who went thru the last hard times in the 90's and I'm sure you'll hear from some of them. For myself, I had a lot of jobs I wasn't thrilled to be doing (restaurant, Substituting, etc) but I knew if I involved myself in a "career type job" I'd never get the time I needed to move on. It's been a long road, and sometimes I think of the $$ 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!

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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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.
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.
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........
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;...")

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

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