This sucks!!!!!!!!!!!

Matt777

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I've wanted to be a pilot since I was 11 but couldn't ever afford it... but now that I have experienced all the non-pilot of jobs that are available over the last 12 years and know that they make me miserable I have just taken the plunge on a $50,000 loan to go to ATP.

Lots of debt for a paycheck that is extrememly low- for at least the first year at a regional... and probably lower than that while instructing in order to even get to the regional. But there is nothing else I'd rather do.

Whether or not it is right for someone depends on their priorities. If you have a family or a wife or a mortgage it is probably a really terrible idea.

If you think that happiness is dependant upon your income level instead of knowing that happiness comes from doing what you love- then it is a really bad idea to be a pilot.
If you don't like travelling or have a family that you will be missing while you are away it is a really bad idea to pursue being a pilot.

But I don't have any of those problems. :)


Hey I have a newbie "low-timer" question... when a pilot gets hired at an airline they know they are going to be on reserve so why don't they just move to that city instead of making their life a miserable stress-filled commuting hell? just curious.
 
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Matt777

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Gulfstream 200 said:
No offense, but you have to be a fool to be making your goal the Airlines these days.

Unless you have been living under a rock since 2000 you would know that this is not a "downturn" that is coming back anytime soon. Why would one continue to pursue aviation as a career when there is a strong possibility that he/she may sit in some RJ indefinitly?

The "commuters" are no longer a stepping stone where pilots suffered for a few years until mainline called them, they are now a life sentence.
While the majors are downturing the regionals appear to be hiring plenty (check my info on the left to see my level of inexperience and naivete :))...

I'm sure that an RJ "life sentence" sounds like hell to an established professional pilot, but to guys just starting out it sounds MUCH more attractive than working in a cubicle chained to a computer and phone! :)

In fact, I'd even be happy flying a Q400!!! That's not even an RJ!

I must be crazy, huh?
Certifiably plane crazy actually.

Perhaps I should point out that I'm not some moron who simply thinks airplanes are "neato"... I love flying IMC- particularly precision approaches at minimums. That's my idea of fun. I did tell you I was crazy, right?
 

mayday1

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Matt777, it certainly sounds like you have a good sense of what some of the challenges are... poor pay, QOL issues, industry instability/volatility, etc. However, there are many pilots who will tell you that after some time passes (and I guess this is different for everyone), and the excitement/novelty of flying an RJ around wears a bit, you're now left with a JOB.. and a job that has poor pay and QOL issues in a volatile industry.
 

erj-145mech

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THUGLIFE said:
I wish I had really known what this was all about long ago, I wasted so much time and money!!!! Yeah we all love flying but when you can't afford to pay your meager bills and qualify for food stamps, you really begin to wonder. *#&# I cant even afford to pay rent!!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck......
You didn't listen you your guidance councelor did you? Welcome to life. There are very few jobs that are really hobbies that pay well. Shouda done some career homework while you were in school.

Wish you well in your future endeavors, and I hate to say it, but I don't think that this industry will miss you much.
 

THUGLIFE

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Mccube, you have a great attitude just like I did during training. I don’t thing any of us went into the industry thinking we would make 100k a year or 30k for that matter. But when you just landed your dream job and your making 16k a year( 19k -3 months no pay) you begin to wonder. That works out to be about 8 dollars and hour full time.
I would be very careful about Delta Academy, I worked with a few instructors from there most were 70k+ indebt one 90K+, sounds pretty expensive. They are excellent at marketing and just want your money.
I understand nothing in life is free, I paid my way through college fighting forest fires, just like every one else. Worked endless 15 hour days to get paid for 5. Your right it will get better, some day I will earn a livable wage.
I’m so excited I get to see my girlfriend(soon to be fiancé) this Saturday, for 12 hours. I have only spent a week or so with her in the last 4 months. I have 2 days off reserve, so 3/4 of day one will be spent traveling to her. I get to spend one night with her, then day two will be spent traveling home. Not to bad considering I will get to see her again next week for 12 hours. Wish I could afford to by her buddy passes to come and see me. Maybe I should just put it on the card, like everything else. Hopefully I will be home within the next 2 months, things will be better then.
I’m sorry if this is not what Delta Academy told you life would be like. But I wish I would have known all this before I started traing. My fault though. I’m not sure what you are planning on earning, but if 70k is enough for ya, then you will be fine. Good luck finishing up your CFI and congrats on all your other ratings and licenses.

currently on city arrest
 

Matt777

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mayday1 said:
Matt777, it certainly sounds like you have a good sense of what some of the challenges are... poor pay, QOL issues, industry instability/volatility, etc. However, there are many pilots who will tell you that after some time passes (and I guess this is different for everyone), and the excitement/novelty of flying an RJ around wears a bit, you're now left with a JOB.. and a job that has poor pay and QOL issues in a volatile industry.
Yeah, I have a friend who is a pilot and has been tired of it for years. I know another pilot who doesn't mind it at all... he says that for what they pay him he'd wear a clown suit- he doesn't care! He likes flying.

But yes, I know it becomes just another job. Compared to all the other things I could choose to do - and have them turn into another boring job too- I'd rather fly. Even if all I ever did was instruct, that is prefereable to everything else that I know is out there for jobs.

This pay doesn't look too bad- $35 in the second year- of course year 1 is difficult if you don't have an inexpensive lifestyle... or even if you do! :)

http://www.pilotjobs.com/default.lasso?page=airline&airline=9

Maybe I'll even get there this decade- that would be cool (ATP instructors log tons of multi time).

I'd rather be travelling and crashing in hotels (or flight instructing) than working in customer service.
 

THUGLIFE

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erj-mec, Yeah I did listen to my advisors, they painted a bit different picture. If this is life I have been living it for 3 years now, thanks for the welcome in. I knew what I was getting into when In interviewed. Yeah life sucks sometimes.
I reached my goal, time to set new ones.
 

Almerick07

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The airlines will recover in one way or another. These crusty old majors operating under chapter 11 will be forced to reinvent their business models and given the resources they already have will flourish once again. Despite what everyone says there are airlines out there making money. We will probably never see the $250k/yr pay we once saw but after paying some dues we will all be able to call somewhere home, send suzy to college and buy a new car. Most of the pilots who were making $250k/yr paid their dues along the way as well either in the military or flying freight in the middle of the night. It is just this generations mind set of instant gratification that gets these SJS kids in trouble. Regional airlines have ALWAYS been a civilian stepping stone to the majors, and they have all paid crap through out the history of time. Stop whining and either suck it up and work for what you want or get out, if you cant be happy making $20 an hour in a brand new RJ with only 1500 hours you do need to re-evaluate your career decision and move on if you want to go make the big bucks instantly....something tells me you will be on some real estate forum wondering why the bottom fell out of the housing industry as soon as you got your real estate license.
 

Tram

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Falcon Capt said:
I didn't have a first "airline" job... I refused to go work at the "commuters" for less money than I was making as a CFI at the time... I waited until the job I wanted came along (Charter) and took that, it paid about 50% more than what the "Commuters" of the day were paying... As for the "Kids who passed me by" and went to the "Commuters"... Unfortunately, most of them are either furloughed or have moved on to a different industry...
Well, it sounds like I have done some things similar to you. Where I am instructing, I am surrounded by guys with 500 hours who all wonder "why haven't you left yet?" "why are you still instructing?" Simply because I am waiting on the job I want, to come along.. That is why I am still here.. I even passed up Colgan.. ;)

I am not trying to argue or anything of the sort, I am asking in all honesty, what guys in my position should do.. Alot of you guys are the ones who have "been there, done that" and can lend some very valuable advice..



Gulfstream 200 said:
No offense, but you have to be a fool to be making your goal the Airlines these days.
There is nothing wrong with making it a "goal." Is it achieveable? Who knows, but I might as well try to get there, afterall - I definitely won't get there if I never try.. I will go ahead and tell you my "goal." FedEx.. My dad loves it, all his friends love it - and they all are very encouraging.. Will I make it? Who knows, I'll come back in 15 years and let you know. :)
 

Cat3C

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Falcon Capt said:
My first flying job was as a CFI, making $14,000 a year salary (about $21,000 a year in today's dollars), back in 1991... It was as entry level as entry level gets...
Those were the days!!!! And that included Bob Chinns on the IFR days
 

Regul8r

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While I am still building my time to get a flying job I have got to ask: does it wear thin after a while? It seems like when I speak to my friends, who graduated from XYZ Aviation College, they are looking ancy to move somewhere else i.e. another airline for better pay, better schedule, better equipment, etc. Does it eventually turn into a "chasing your tail" scenario? I can't comprehend it because like I said, never worked there before. Call me crazy, but I don't want to go look at CRTs when flying. I'd be content with the ole' six pack and other steam gauges. I will admit, before I even have a job, my rose colored glasses are on and I KNOW it's going to be paradise to fly for a living...
 

typhoonpilot

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THUGLIFE:

You may want to get out of this industry because to succeed you need to have a variety of factors on your side. One of them is a good attitude and another is the willingness to move for the right job. Other factors would be: decent flying skills, a good ability to network, and a little luck. Aviation is a very small industry and I have found that networking and having a good attitude are invaluable. Once those factors get you the interview you then need to display some technical competence and again, a good attitude. Maybe your rant doesn't depict you, maybe it is temporary. Obviously you did something right to get to a regional, but if you are young and already displaying the attitude of your post, you won't get much further.

This career isn't easy. I've moved 10 times since 1988, and I'm not talking about small moves. Two have been cross country and two have been overseas. For me it has paid off; I was 23 when I first upgraded at a regional, 24 when hired by a major (later furloughed and unemployed for a year), 28 when I made captain on the DC-9, and 39 when I made captain on the 777. I haven't made less than $100,000 per year since 1995.

Some lucky few get to stay with a good company or airline from when they are young to when they retire, but that really only makes up about 5% of the people who get into this business. The rest of us have to network, display a good attitude, and be competent pilots to succeed. All of my friends in this industry are successful. They have all had to work hard at it and all had to make moves to go to the right job. It hasn't been easy for most, but if you have the desire to do it, it is possible to succeed.


Typhoonpilot
 

Tram

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Great post Typhoonpilot...
 

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Cat3C said:
Those were the days!!!! And that included Bob Chinns on the IFR days
Amen Brother! We need to find old T.B. and have him take us to Bob Chinn's, or at least give us his credit card number!

Cat3C and I CFI'ed together, and have followed VERY similar career paths at different companies... and have both ended up in nearly identical positions... It all comes down to what you want and what you are willing to work for...
 

THUGLIFE

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Amerilick7, Instant gratification? Your crazy man. I’m just looking for a livable wage.... Don’t you think I have put in dues yet? 5 years of eating ramen and sleeping on couches to hope for 30k a year. I’m 30 years old, the last six years of my live have been devoted to getting this job. I worked for this company for six months for free. I cant afford a 100k condo, and I have 700+ fica! I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, many have it much worse, but what I do want others to see a different perspective before investing 70k on flight lessons.
Don’t sell yourself short, is because of people like you that we make 20 dollars an hour to fly an Rj. Duty time figured, in your making 12 dollars and hour to fly a 20 million $ jet. I’m no sjs kid, I just wanted to complete the goal I sacrificed so much for.
Moving on.
 

mayday1

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THUGLIFE said:
I’m just looking for a livable wage.... Don’t you think I have put in dues yet? 5 years of eating ramen and sleeping on couches to hope for 30k a year. I’m 30 years old, the last six years of my live have been devoted to getting this job. I worked for this company for six months for free.
supply and demand my friend... why should the airlines pay more when they can have a long line of qualified applicants to fill FO slots at $18k/yr.?

THUGLIFE said:
Don’t sell yourself short, is because of people like you that we make 20 dollars an hour to fly an Rj. Duty time figured, in your making 12 dollars and hour to fly a 20 million $ jet. I’m no sjs kid, I just wanted to complete the goal I sacrificed so much for.
Moving on.
What? How did you get there? As long as you continue to fly for those wages, you're validating management's price point on pilot wages. It gets tiring hearing pilots complain about their poor wages at the regionals... I for one, chose not to pursue an airline career because I could not bear the thought of working my a$$ off for below poverty level wages. Now, if the throngs of qualified pilots out there who line up for these $hit wages would do the same, things might change. But until then, supply and demand, the most fundamental economic principle will govern pilot salaries.
 

THUGLIFE

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Typhoonpilot, thanks for the post, and congratulations on your sucess and determination. You give us some hope.
 

fussle

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I don't think aiming for the airlines is such a bad idea...if you're smart about it. (I relatives who have gone to Comair and some who are captains for United). If you go to some $75,000 part 141 school to get your ratings, then you may regret when you get less than what you expect with a heap of debt surrounding you. One of the downfalls to doing it this way is that you are left without a college degree, so your future absolutely rides on how the airline industry performs. In other words...you're stuck! Let's say that you make it to an airline as captain, and that airline goes broke/you get furloughed. Then you can't just go to another airline as captain making the same money. You start all the way at the bottom again if you even find another flying job. What I would recommend doing is getting all your ratings on the side, while going to school/work, at a part 61 school. Believe it or not, the airlines don't care where you got your training from, but how much experience you have. I have gotten all of my ratings (Private-CFII) at a part 61 school for around $25,000. Now I am instructing at a part 61 school, while in college full-time working towards my degree. My point is, if flying doesn't work out, then I have something to fall back on (besides aviation), and I don't have to rely on the airlines. I won't be stuck! Just advice for people thinking about getting into the airlines.
 

NYCPilot

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The simple solution is to leave your job. Open a position up for someone who isn't going to complain. And if they aren't satisfied, they'll leave and give someone else the opportunity.

The trend it seems is that a lot of careers will top off at the regional level and at some places the high-end of the salary isn't too bad for some. In time, the QOL will improve. Presently the regionals are experiencing some growing pains with the jet transitions and reorganization of the majors. Eventually regionals will account for a more substantial amount of the flying as they increase in size. Once stabilization occurs, pay and QOL will slowly become more comfortable. This may take a good 10 years but it will occur. The dynamics of air travel in the last 5-10 years has changed quite a bit in many different ways.

There are many pilots who don't mind the low pay since it beats having to work for a living. Obviously the first few years will be tough, but eventually you will have a salary that is very liveable, especially if you have a dual income household. I don't believe that it will ever return to the historical levels of the past, but it is what it is.
 
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