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If you had the chance would you do it again (aviation?)

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Mmmm, I look good.
Jul 4, 2005
I'd make a poll out of this but I can't find the poll button.

I'm starting to wonder if this industry is worth it... the volatility, the unperdictability... not to mention the low pay (at the regional or 135 level - where the jobs are), crappy schedules, medical, government and media scrutiny, and checkrides. The companies with relatively good pay are either not hiring, going under, or unbelievably competitive - to the point that getting a 'dream job' is like winning the lottery. And even with that dream job, who's to say the company won't be so rosy 10 years down the road...

I'm wondering if the best thing is to cut my losses, find a better career and keep flying fun - as a hobby. Thoughts?
Ya know...there is NOTHING I enjoy like flying as far as "work" goes...and its absolutely my top passion (besides family, wife, etc.). However...

Probably 90% of my pilot friends have dropped out....yeah.....90%...and being from the big pilot factory up north Id like to think I knew a lot of pilots. One by one they fell...and I thought..."meh, guess they couldnt hack it." Not that they didnt have the talent, most were awesome pilots and great people...I just thought they couldnt suffer through the BS to "make it."

Now they all have high paying jobs (anything above $75k is high paying to me now lol), are home every night, weekends, holidays, etc. Who is the sucker now I guess. :(

I dont know what I would have done different...I still love flying and dont really feel like I ever "work"...but I am young and have many years in front of me. I talk to guys in their "higher" age and they have devoted 20+ years to the industry and have NOTHING to show for it. No retirement, broken family, and for many NO JOB! Im feeling good now...but it makes me wonder what the next 20 years are going to do to me!

Then I think...screw it...Ill get into a regional and try to hang out and maybe make a career. How the hell can you do that when they keep tumbling! Nobody is safe! Even if I did somehow make it to the "bigs" (whatever that may be nowadays) it seems like my career is always in the balance. How many guys thought they had it made when the peak of their career took them to NWA, United, USAir, TWA, etc. and now they are furloughed and watching their money get taken away from them.

I seriously have this conversation with myself every day it seems. I want whats best for my FAMILY not for me...but I dont know that I could ever be happy doing anything else...

what are we to do!? :(
Thanks those are my thoughts exactly. I may go back to school and get something more than aero science.
When I was about 4 years old I took a trip with my parents to visit my grandparents. It was one of the earliest memories that I have. I still remember watching the engines start and the propeller blades spinning. (Years later my dad told me it was a United DC-6) Like many kids, I had an innate interest in airplanes.

I have been fortunate, I've been able to act on my interest and have a very rewarding and productive career. I've always been able to land on my feet during the inevitable cycles.

I don't know what it is about flying. There's the challenge, the romance, the skill, the travel, the sights and sounds, the sensations - you know, all of the stuff that draws (sucks) us in.

A while back, in a doctor's waiting room, I ran across an article in on old magazine that talked about alcoholism and how recognize it. The article used a series of a dozen or so questions to help identify wheither or not a person was a problem drinker. Just for grins I substituted the words "airplane" and "aviation" for "alcohol" and "drink" when I answered the questions. That afternoon I realized that I am an full blown aircraftoholic. I have been unable to remain "on the wagon" for any significant period of time for over 40 years - heck, I'm not even trying to give it up!

Would I have done anything different? No way. To paraphrase the old Saturday Night Live skit - Aviation has been very very good to me.

Felice Ano Nuevo


This subject has been discussed in detail in other threads. You will find many posts of pilots who left aviation myself included and then after 5 years realized that they had made a mistake and returned to the cockpit.
If I knew then what I know now...

I would've studied some other field. I've always had an interest in law. I might have made a talented attorney. I might have made a good air traffic controller. I might have made a good journalist.

But I didn't. I went and flew freight. Then I flew for the commuters. Then I flew for the nationals. Then I flew for the majors....then I flew for the commuters again....and again...

If I had it all to do over again, would I? No.

But I do love flying, so nomatter WHAT I did, I would have found a way to fly recreationally. The fact is, I don't need to be in the cockpit professionally to satisfy my urge to fly.

Now if I could only figure out a way to get out. (That aviation management degree has not left me with much in the way of marketable skills)...
Would I do it over again. Yes, but a lot differently. Like a lot of other posters I'd still fly, but on a recreational basis. The demands of the job, even the good ones, really get in the way of raising a family and having much of a home life. Flying professionally is really a job for young people or single people and that isn't me anymore. I'm trying to figure out the next step as well.
I certainly would not start out in civilian aviation and go through all the crap of light airplane instruction and the regional slaveship operations. You could find yourself as a career FO, like at Eagle seems to be now.

If you like flying, go military for a career, then get out with a military retirement and go directly to the heavy jets.
For every former pilot that bailed out and got a high paying job I could probably dig one up that is stuck in a cubicle making $35K and hating that life too. I don't disagree that a flying career isn't for the faint of heart, but if I have to work then I prefer to work as a pilot. Most jobs have their pros and cons and aviation is no exception. So far the pros still outweigh the cons for me.

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