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No college success story

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Flying my trusty old C-47 to AZO last week, I find out one of pax is an airline pilot. So invite him up to the cockpit to show him the cockpit, part 91 you know. Turns out he is a non-college grad, part 121 TJ Captain who just turned 24 yr. old. He is doing his degree on-line, and when he is 27 yr. old he will have around 6000TT, 5000 MEL 3000 TJ PIC and a four-year degree. This will coincide nicely with the June 2007 hiring boom. How does this compare to a 4-yr. degree guy who at age 23 has a CFII and 350 hr. The current 121 TJ PIC will be hired by CAL/SWA/JB/AirTran, etc., while the college grad will be going to Comair, Pinnacle, Cogan, etc. If you want to be a pilot fly airplanes. Oh I forgot, you go to college to have good time, my mistake.

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Re: College...a related comment:

If you are going to invest time and money in a college education, by all means get a degree that is marketable in and of itself. The best choices are engineering and business administration. These majors will equip you with hard skills that will make you a better aviation business person, but much more important, will give you a back-up in case aviation does not pan out for you. And yes, that happens, for a variety of reasons, much more than we like to think.

Do not under any circumstances buy into a college or university "flight training" major that get you a degree in "Airways Science," or some other euphemism for aviation studies. That "degree" in and of itself is worthless in the market place. Do not be deceived, if you lose your medical you will no longer be a pilot, likewise if you lose your certificate due to difficulties with the Feds. Then try to get a good job with your worthless "Airways" degree.

Also, the "flight training" that you will receive in a college or university program will end up costing you three times as much and take three times longer than if you had gone to a reputable flight training establishment. You will enter the job market crippled by debt.

In summary, university aviation programs are the biggest, phoniest, and most hypocritical scams in aviation today. They make their money off your dreams and it goes to support people who have no experience in the real world and spend their lives sucking off a state-supported tit.
pilotyip, you have the best job in the world flying vitage WW2 aircraft, I am green with envy. My old man was typed in a DC-3, its one cool bird.

As for college, I'd follow onthebeach's advice.
I kinda follow beach's advice also, by all means go to college if that is your desire, but to go for an aviation degree when you want to be a pilot is in my humble opinion, a waste of money and time you could be building a flying career. I have seen too many succeed without a four yr degree.
I have a great flying gig without the 4 yr degree, but it's not where I ultimately want to be. I know it's not required, but I'm sure it's holding me back. I am actively enrolled on-line gaining my degree. One day, hopefully, I want to be able supplement my income doing other things that I enjoy, while still flying:cool: .
A college degree just says that you have the discipline and desire to get it done. I gained more "life knowledge" than book knowledge during my time in college. Before college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I ended up with an ROTC scholarship and got my 4 years courtesy of Uncle Sam.

For the airline pilot in pilotyip's story, to be a 121 TJ PIC at age 24 is impressive. It shows that you don't need that college degree as long as you work hard. I wish I could be in his shoes flying the big rigs.

But then the question arises - why is he working on his college degree now?
schoolio said:
For the airline pilot in pilotyip's story, to be a 121 TJ PIC at age 24 is impressive. It shows that you don't need that college degree as long as you work hard. I wish I could be in his shoes flying the big rigs.

But then the question arises - why is he working on his college degree now?

The "big rig" he is flying is probably a CRJ.
Redmeat said:
The "big rig" he is flying is probably a CRJ.
No kidding, and that is probably as far as he will ever get... PilotYip and his same old song... "2007 hiring boom"... Silly little man, haven't you seen, Oil topping $70 a barrel, Many, MANY airlines already in or on the verge of Chapter 11 (a couple will probably go Chap 7)... The market will be flooded with highly qualified guys... But yes kids, skip college and go fly for some rat a$$ed freight operator in an old rat-a$$ed TJ (Turbo-Jet) so in 2007 you can still be stuck at the rat a$$ed freight operator and have no other options except to continue to work at the rat a$$ed freigh operator...

"Past Performance is no Guarantee of Future Results"... Just because 1997 and 1987 were hiring booms is absolutely no idication that 2007 will be a hiring boom... Things are VERY different today than they were in 1995 (well since 2007 is going to be just like 1997 & 1987 then 2005 must be just like 1995 & 1985, right?)...

Let's review the differences between now and then:
Nearly a dozen airlines in Chap 11...
Several more on the doorstep of Chap 11...
Airlines loosing millions of $$ per day, EACH...
Hurricane Katrina hits the main US Oil portal...
Oil at $70 a barrel... and rising...
Gas at nearly $3.50/gal... Nearly $6.00/gal in Atlanta...
Fuel shortages imminant due to pipeline/refinery shutdowns...
Airlines with thousands on furlough...
Several airlines wanting to furlough more pilots (furloughing is the opposite of a "hiring boom" last time I checked)...
The TSA (need I say more?)...
U.S. Economy still very "soft", skyrocketing energy costs will soften it much further...

Northwest Airlines wants to furlough 1,200 more pilots, if they furloughed them today (which won't happen today, obviously) and started recalls in 6 months from today (unlikely) at a nominal rate of 50 pilots per month (unlikely) it would take them 24 months to recall all the pilots furloughed today, and then another 10 months to recall the 500 or so they currently have on furlough before they could even think of hiring from the street... So that would be 40 months (absolute minimum) from today... September 2005 + 40 months = January 2009 which would be a "best case" scenario... A more realistic timeline would take 9 months to furlough the 1,200 pilots, the most senior pilot furloughed would remain on furlough at least 9 months, recalls of 40 pilots per month on and off to account for attrition and other factors would put the total recall closer to street hiring somewhere in late 2010 or early 2011...

In addition, Northwest has said for every $0.01 jet fuel rises costs them $50 million more per year in fuel costs... Well last week I filled up my car for $2.69/gal and last night on my way home, gas prices were $3.39/gal, which is an increase in one week of $0.70 per gallon... Now let's assume wholesale jet fuel rose 1/2 this amount, or $0.35 per gallon... 35 x 50 = $1,750,000,000.00 per year in additional cost for Northwest airlines alone... Hope they have a lot of money tree's up there in MSP...

Hey, I hope I'm wrong about all this, but I think it's time to take off the rose colored glasses and see the world for what it is...

Go to college, do well, have a back up plan... Today a college degree is like a high school degree was 30 years ago, a LOT of good jobs require one... Inside and outside of aviation... Does having a college degree make you a better pilot (stick and rudder skills)? Nope, but if there are two candidates for a job and the only difference is a college degree, I'd rather be the one with the degree...
I've flown with guys with and without 4 year degrees and there is no discernible difference in their airmanship or stick & rudder or skills. I have respect for guys who put in the time to get their degree but I also have the same respect for guys w/o degrees whose experience commensurates with age. This debate could go on forever but it's the company that dictates who gets hired.

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