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What would YOU do?

Earl Williams

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Mar 17, 2002
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75
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I was hoping to get your advice and collective wisdom on my situation. I'm currently working in the advertising agency biz (gosh, I hate admitting that!) and am routinely pulling unpredictable, late hours, and oftentimes weekends. I'm certainly not complaining...that's just the way this business is. I know I want to eventually...one day...achieve my dream of flying for a living, yet being 32 realize that the clock is ticking.

Fortunately, for the last several years I've been penny-pinching, and saving up every dime I could in hopes of accumulating the sufficient funds to complete my training (also helps that I'm single with no family to support). I'm not "there" yet, but will hopefully be soon. I didn't want to start training and have to stop, or routinely post-pone, due to a lack of funds. So, I pretty much reverted back to my college days of eating ramen and not buying a lot of stuff in hopes of saving every cent I could for future training purposes.

Anyhow, back to my question. With my work hours the way they are, I'm having severe difficulty scheduling flights, and am lucky to get 2-3 flights in per month. As I'm currently beginning work on my Instrument rating, I'm finding that I'm having to continually re-learn the previous lesson based on this lack of continuity. And given this schedule of flights per month, am thinking it's probably going to take another 3 years to get the remainder of my ratings (realizing that, after that, I'll still need to instruct for XX years in order to eventually get 135 min's)

If you were in my shoes, would you (a) keep the current job and continue to fly sparingly in working toward the ratings, or (B) once you have the funds, quit the job and work towards the ratings full-time? (while maybe picking up a part-time job so the well doesn't run completely dry in the process).

Thanks in advance for everyone's replies...I really appreciate it!

-Earl
 

j41driver

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If you ask me....

I would get the ratings as quick as possible and start instructing ASAP so you will be able to get a 135 or 121 job when the industry is on the upside. So I guess that means quit the job if you are sure that you want to fly for a living.
 

troy

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Feb 20, 2002
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If you don't mind outside work, look at working at the local FBO. I get good discounts on my flying, am always at the airport, and am always thinking of flying. If it were me, I'd quit (training is not working as it is). It's just my opinion. Good luck.:D
 

Earl Williams

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Mar 17, 2002
Posts
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that's how I'm leaning

thanks for the replies...I feel the same way. Of course, when I bring up the concept of quitting my job/career in hopes of pursuing my training, friends and family outside of aviation want to throw me in a straight-jacket and lock me up in a padded cell! I guess that's why I'm starting to hang out more and more with fellow pilot wanna-be's! :D

Some of the pilots I've talked to have recommended the same approach...get some job...ANY job...at the local airport and start making connections and getting totally immersed in aviation. As long as fuelers don't have to wear a suit and tie, I'm totally up for it! (can't wait to permanently get out of this monkey suit!)
 

FL000

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Nov 26, 2001
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Earl,

I'd quit the job and do something more flexible. In fact, that's exactly what I did 5 years ago. I've never been happier than the day my old boss took my brand new company car and all my files and gave me my last decent paycheck. I then waited tables at a place that let me work around my training schedule.

Train at a good FBO if you can. You'll save at least $20,000 over a 141 school if you do it right. Plus you'll be able to work that new, flexible job.

In general, people in flight training either have the time or the money. It's tough to have both. I realized that the time was more important and was able to secure low interest loans for the financial side. My personal opinion is that the industry will be in an upswing by the time you are ready to start looking at airlines. Get on it.

FL000

by the way, all my family and friends thought I was insane also, but they let me give it a shot, waiting to see me fall flat on my face. Now they are all begging me for buddy passes.
 

bobbysamd

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Nov 26, 2001
Posts
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Full-time job v. Full-time training

I did it the way you are trying to do it, although I had been flying for several years before I decided to switch careers. At the time I really had no choice. I needed my day job to pay for my lessons and training. I only needed to earn my multi ratings to be finished and ready, but pay-as-you-go doesn't always cut it for serious-minded training.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have found a way to quit working, finish my two multi ratings, and have gone back to college for a B.S. in Aero Science. I didn't think I needed another B.S. to go with my other four-year degree because I figured I had that square checked, but, looking back, I feel that I missed out on a great deal of learning and education.

Having said all that, if it were me, I'd leave full-time work and flight-train full time. You will build momentum if you have even just three training activities a week. Momentum will eliminate much of the repetition.

Good luck with your FULL-TIME training.
 

Joseph II

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Mar 11, 2002
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2.8e2
All I can tell you is that I was (and still am) married when I quit a job making $38,000/year to pursue flight training.

It was scarry as hell, but it was what I wanted to do.

I did get my Commercial and CFI-A, I haven't been able to use it.

I must be a product of bad timing eh?

I sorta lucked out and currently work for Jepp but I don't like it. Flying the desk sucks especially after you've spent a LOT of money in training to have it slowly fade from disuse.

Good luck!
 

newmei

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Do it MAN! You won't regret. Wait tables, work at a FBO but get your ratings. If there is one thing I have learned is that its all about hours and timing. I worked a data entry job, flight trained and went to school. Its just now that I've got my AA and a steady flying job flying 20 or so hours a week. I have a my CFI CFII MEI and all, it was difficult but worth it and I think *some* of the tough times are over.
 

HPaul3

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Jan 11, 2002
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126
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40+
Go for it...

Go for it, buddy. You want to catch the industry on the inevitable upswing in 2 to 4 years. The airline industry is not going away, and 37 or 38 is not too old to get into it, although I'd hope you'll be able to make it to a regional for your requisite hours before that age so you're ready to go when the majors hit their stride in the next swing of the pendulum.

Good luck...and remember, flying beats working any day.

Cheers!
 

Aeronca

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Nov 27, 2001
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Earl,

You are in the same position as me three years ago. Same age, same time etc., with one exception. I am married and have children.

Definately, if you can afford it, train full-time. You will be much better off in the long run. I trained part-time around family and work. It took me 2 years for the instrument, commercial and cfi. Training part-time there were times I went two weeks or more without flying.

Good luck, you won't regret it.
 

skydiverdriver

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Nov 26, 2001
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I once met a captain at my airline who never took a flight lesson until he turned 40. He wanted to know about my previous cargo job, so he could keep flying after 60. He was a real aviator, and a fun person to fly with as well. So, don't give up.

If I had it to do over again, I would give up your job and go to an aviation college full time. That way, you can get all of your ratings, meet people who can help you, and get students loans for all of the costs. You can probably work there as a CFI as well, to build your time. You will probably have to work part-time as well, but that's okay. You can also get a BS degree if you don't have one, and if you do, get your masters. By the time you finish, the airlines may be hiring again, and you can catch the next wave.

Also, I would recommend the book "I could do anything, if I only knew what it was," by Barbara Sher. It talks about leaving your "safe" job in order to persue your dream, and about the fact that there is no such thing as a safe job anyway. Good luck, and I hope this helps.
 

aero99

just a member, not senior
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Nov 26, 2001
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Earl,

The most successfull people are those that take chances.

I was in the same position about a year ago. Had a job I hated but made incredilbe money. My two "new" choices were to drop everything and train full time, or go into business for myself and hope to be able to afford to fly for fun instead of for a living. With family in hand, I had to take what was my second choice (starting a new business) with no regrets, but some disappointment that I would probably never be a "professional" pilot.

This all came together in August, and Sept. 10th, was the first day of the "new" business venture. Not a good week to start a business or start flight training. I know that with either choice I would have made it happen. I have made a 10th of what I made a year ago, but couldn't be happier. Still get to fly now and again and hopefully it will be more in the future.

My point, after all this rambling, is do what you want to do and do it now. There is no tomorrow and we are only as good as we are right now. If you want to fly, drop the job, start training and never look back. Being single allows you much more freedom in your choices and the ease of moving around.

Good luck with your choice whatever it may be.
 

A1FlyBoy

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Enough
Earl,

It sounds like you're in a situation many of us are in or have been in. Maintaining a full time occupation and flying on the side works for some individuals, but not others. Like you mentioned, it is hard to find time in a busy schedule and balance flying between your family and other commitments, not to mention unwind time from the office.

Flying, as you know, is expensive and regardless of whether you puruse it via the local FBO or a big school, money keeps airplanes flying.

If you are in a situation where you have the means to quit your job and fly / train full time - do it. You'll learn faster and most likely complete your objectives far sooner and at less cost than if you only flew once or twice a week. Finding part time jobs around your flight / training schedule are not difficult to find, but depending on your study habbits, may change when you study.

In a nut shell, if its what you love and your passion, I think many of us are telling you to DO it full time if you can... you'll get where you want to be faster. No regrets.
 

AeroBoy

Cereal Killer
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Nov 27, 2001
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'Nuf
Any chance your employer would let you take a six-month sabatical? A half year is plenty of time to get your instrument, commercial, multi and instructor ratings (as a full-time student, that is). And if you don't have a CFI gig at the end of that time, you could go back to the grind until you find a flying job.

Anyway, after spending 2.5 years to get my private license while working, I decided to quit and flight train full time. 3.5 months later I had my instrument, commercial, CFI and CFII tickets in hand. And now...I work for an aviation magazine...go figure.
 

Earl Williams

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Mar 17, 2002
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thanks to all!

As always, I appreciate everyone's replies. I tell ya, this board is, amongst other things, a great sanity check! I continue to be amazed at how fellow aviators are so willing to offer advice and insight to those like me that are in the process of getting on with this journey! VERY valuable advice, I might add!

Again, thanks for the sanity check...it doesn't seem like such a crazy idea now to just get out of the current career, and focus all my energies on training. Others outside of aviation will continue to think I'm off my rocker...but, to each their own, I guess.

And thanks for the book recommendation Skydiverdriver...sounds right up my alley!

-Earl
 

list2002

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Apr 24, 2002
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323
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***
Putting in a plug here for the company i now work for... look up www.allatps.com and request information on their career pilot program, it is a great deal and the quickest way to become a paid pilot. I am very glad I found the program.
 

Earl Williams

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Mar 17, 2002
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All ATP...

coincidentally, All ATP is at the airport I train at...I see their Seminoles cutting in front of me at the run-up area all the time :D

Actually, I've heard nothing but good things about the program, and of course it's nice to get all that multi-time. However, for me personally, getting all those ratings in 95 days sounds super-human! But, since people are able to do it, I guess it's possible.

What were your thoughts on the program? (and it's fast-pace?)

- Earl
 

skydiverdriver

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Posts
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Oh, one other thing, I did the slow way on my ratings, by working a regular job and paying them off one by one. It took over ten years. I gave up several times, and would not recommend this track. I think doing it all at once like ATP's or an aviation college makes a lot more sense. I also worked at ATP and think it's an excellent program. The time frame sounds superhuman, but it's not that bad. I had a problem forgetting things with my ratings, and the regs changed a lot during that time. No such difficulty with the quicker programs. Hope this helps, and good luck.
 

Earl Williams

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Joined
Mar 17, 2002
Posts
75
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Another ATP question...

I'll definitely check out the ATP program...but had one question for those who had any experience there. I've heard that it's somewhat common to bust (at least) one checkride there (probably due to the fast-paced nature of the program). I know that's it's possible to bust a checkride WHEREVER you train, but that it's just a little more common at ATP. Again, this is just what I've heard...maybe I'm totally wrong!

I know based on my PPL training, there are some days you fly well, and others not so well. I fortunately flew quite possibly the best I've ever flown on my checkride, yet the day prior in prep probably flew my worst! So, I know one can have just "one of those days" on a ride, and it by no means reflects improper training.

Obviously, I'm trying as hard as possible to never bust a ride, yet have heard the old saying "there are those that have busted checkrides, and those that will". I would assume that potential employers would question whether or not one has busted a ride, and may understand if you busted one (as long as there's a reasonable explanation for doing so, and most importantly you learned from the experience, etc). Then again, since I've never interviewed for a pilot job, busting any ride may be a big black eye?

Anyhow, just curious if you found this to be somewhat common at ATP?

Thanks again for your time!
-Earl
 

Socal

Member
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Apr 24, 2002
Posts
11
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BUSTED RIDES

Don't sweat the busted ride thing. A Delta Captian once told me that busted checkrides are like poor SAT scores after getting your college degree. Of course it helps your confidence to get um all done well. But like you said you have bad days and good days. We once had an ATP applicant bust 2 rides in a row because he forgot to gear up, and this was a guy with tons of time in light twins. I will admit that ATP is accelerated and relies on the student to be a fairly self-motivated and disciplined person. When I went through it was hectic at times, but at the same time you fly so often that you really start to feel like a pro. After you get your instrument and multi-engine rating you go through a cross-country phase where you talk to dispatch every day, fly all over the country, stay at hotels near airports... it was very fun. I didn't bust any checkrides and neither did my flight partner, and of the people who did, they just did a little more flight training and took the ride the next day. But I must emphasize that they will help you out, answer any questions , and cover everything you need to know, but it is up to you to go home and comit it to memory. ATP emphasizes hands on experiential training. So it really depends on what pace you are most comfortable with. But ATP is the only school I know that has a guaranteed fixed price as well. Oh yeah, you get to fly a CE-501 too.
 
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