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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 6/15/2002 9:54:30 AM EST
I'm 36, have 3 kids (ages 6 months to 11 years) and am in a mid-mangement marketing position at a Fortune 50 company. I've always wanted to fly and be a pilot but never got around to it. Anyone have any knowledge of the airline industry to be able to tell me if it is "too late" to go through all the training and become a commercial pilot. I'm just wondering if anyone will hire someone with limited experience at my age. I know I'll have to start from scratch and claw my way up the ladder so a major salary cut is a given . . . .
Link Posted: 6/15/2002 10:06:12 AM EST
IMO, it's a little late but could be done. I've been in aviation for 18 years (airline/corporate maintenance tech) and pilots are the most under worked, over paid people I know. Many I've met are a little stuck on themselves. Some have been told where to get off as well! It's a high tech taxi, not rocket science!
Link Posted: 6/15/2002 10:08:19 AM EST
The biggest problem you'll have is trying to get hired. Companies of all industries don't like to hire entry-level old guys because they aren't around long enough before they retire. Also consider the time spent in training, and the time spent buildign your hours to the point that they'd even look at you. I don't want to disuade you, I think you should go for it if that's what you want, but don't go in thinking you're going to be Captain of a trans-Atlantic 747 anytime soon. I think a safer direction would be to just larn to fly first and find out if that's what you want to do. I don't know of anyone who really HATES flying, but some folks find out that they aren't interested in doing it day-in and day-out. It'd be a bad thing to start down that road, and find out it wasn't for you given the cost and time invovled. Ross
Link Posted: 6/15/2002 10:09:51 AM EST
you know the answer. why ask? get your private liscence and fly where you want!!!
Link Posted: 6/15/2002 10:18:43 AM EST
I would say it is too late. Sorry, but the work necessary is so immense that the path through civilian channels is generally embarked upon only by stupid youngsters. I have single engine commercial rating, A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization and nearly 3000Hrs of flight time and I couldn't get a job flying anything bigger than a Cessna 210 without significantly more training. I started at age 15 and am now 29... 30 next month.
Link Posted: 6/15/2002 5:31:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2002 5:33:29 PM EST by Badseed]
[url]http://www.comairacademy.com[/url] Chack out Comair... I'm thinking about enrolling. You take their course, and when you come out you have an instructor and multi rating. So you gain mega hours by flying w/ students + they pay you for any time instructing. (not much, but free hours considering no aircraft rental - fuel costs involved.) This is from ComAir for pilotes:
Our minimum qualifications are: Commercial Pilot Certificate with a Multi-engine airplane & Instrument Rating ATP Preferred - ATP Written Required Current First Class Medical Certificate FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit Valid Passport High School Graduate, College Degree Preferred Minimum Age - 21 Legally authorized to work in the U.S.A. 1200 Total Flight Hours 200 Multi-Engine Hours
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Link Posted: 6/16/2002 7:51:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2002 7:53:16 AM EST by Fingers]
You are a bit behind the power curve but you can do it if you want it bad enough. I fly for Northwest Airlines and we hired a guy 70 years old a while back. They can't not hire you because of your age any more. Keep in mind you can only fly as a pilot until age 60. At least until they change the law. The 3 man aircraft are slowly going away at least at the major airlines. I'd plan on about a 10 year process getting your tickets and experience and most of that time you won't be making much money and then its a crap shoot on whether the airlines will be hiring. Its a very cyclical industry. [b]ipschoser1[/b]had it right we are the most over paid, underworked, arrogant people around next to airplane maintenance techs.[;)]
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 7:55:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2002 8:01:52 AM EST by zonan]
Originally Posted By ipschoser1: IMO, it's a little late but could be done. I've been in aviation for 18 years (airline/corporate maintenance tech) and pilots are the most under worked, over paid people I know. Many I've met are a little stuck on themselves. Some have been told where to get off as well! It's a high tech taxi, not rocket science!
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Sounds like someone who wishes he was a pilot instead of a tech. Yes, my brother is just getting into the industry and I've seen all the hard work he's had to put in to get there. Sure, airline captains have a pretty easy job, but it is a long path to get there. Edit: As others have mentioned, it costs a lot to get started. You're looking at 10s of thousands of dollars. My brother has a debt of about 100k after getting his certifications at a 4 year university along with his degree and is now getting paid about 18k a year as a new-hire pilot at a regional airline.
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 8:15:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2002 8:18:57 PM EST by BillofRights]
Finally, a question that I can answer. My short answer don't do it. Not because you cannot get hired by a commuter/regional airline, but because the risk isn't worth the reward. I will give you the average career path, and you can decide for yourself. First you will need 2 years and $30-100 thousand to get your commercial, instrument, multiengine, instructor tickets. The quickest way to success in also the most expensive. Commair has been already mentioned. There are many other operations where you can get training and then possibly a job instructing. You have about 300 hours when you graduate, and you need 800-2000 hours to become competitive, so instructing is the way most civilian pilots build their time. Multiengine and turboprop/jet time is key to getting the first commercial flying job, but it is very difficult to come by, even if you are working for free. There are companies where you actually pay them, to fly as an F/O. This is frowned on by Many who do the hiring in the airlines though. The biggest problem in the business is the insurance requirements. On my aircraft for example, You need 2500 hours, 500 turboprop or jet, plus specific training at an additional $10,000 just to qualify to fly it. So you get into a catch 22. You need the flight time to get hired, but you can't get it if you have no experience. If you know people, or you have access to unlimited funds, you can jump this hurdle with relative ease. For the rest of us, it becomes a waiting game where you try to survive until you get a break. The hiring situation right now is a lot like 1989 when I started. The Airlines were loosing money, and had thousands of pilots on furlough. The commuters pilots were not going to the majors, so all hiring, from Flight Instructor on up was stagnant. By 1996, it was improving. The average experience level in my class at a commuter was 2500 hours with 800 multiengine. By 1999 hiring was breaking records, and you could get the same job at 700/100. So the industry is very cyclical, and 9/11 brought us down hard from the highest peak we ever had.
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 8:19:03 PM EST
I know a guy your age who changed careers and became a pilot for United Artists' (movie company) private jet. He was in his mid 30's when he decided to become a pilot, like you, everyone said he couldn't do it.
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 8:23:07 PM EST
Just a few other thoughts. Hours/experience is often talked about, but what really matters is who you know, and how good you are at job seeking. Also, aptitude plays a part. You need skill to pass an airline simulator ride, and it's hard to tell whether you have it until after you have devoted much years and $$ into it. All pro pilots start out by basically whoring themselves out. They want the career so badly, that they are willing to move anywhere and risk their lives flying practically for free just to get ahead. A majority never make it to the majors. You have to be ready to enter the fray with that kind of fanatical devotion. Pilots spend 12 to 16 days/nights per month away from home. This may sound good to a lot of guys, but believe me, it gets old. The days are never the same ones. Weekends and holidays do not exist until seniority allows. There is rampant AIDS. Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome. There is mandatory retirement at age 60. There are also FAA busts, accidents, incidents, medical problems, Drunk Driving, and criminal convictions that will end your career. If you are a white male, that is a strike against you. Not as much at the regional level, but very much at the airline level. Affirmative action is a tall hurdle to jump. You will see "minorities" with 1/5 the experience, getting hired, when you cannot even get an interview. All of the above is not meant to dissuade you. On the contrary, if you still want to do it, maybe it really is for you. Most that succeed have something innate that drives them. It's hard to define, but it's a lot more than just the $$ paid at the top of the food chain. Basically, they cannot imagine doing anything else. The piloting profession is one of the best jobs in the world, which I guess is why it's so hard to break into. I am one of the lucky ones, and certainly have moments where I think "I can't believe I get paid for doing this" However, If I had to start over again, I'm not sure if I would have the strength and motivation get me through the hard times. If you want to get into flying, my advice would be to keep your job, go to the local flight school and start working on your ratings. If you decide to make the jump, or have any other questions, I would be happy to help. Happy flying!
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 6:06:58 AM EST
I agree with just about everything BillofRights says. The only part that isn't true is that all professional pilots have to whore themselves out to get a job. That not true for the about 50% of the pilots that came from the military. I came out of the USAF and walked right into a job with a major airline. It probably is true for the FLAPs though. FLAP is what we affectionately call the civilian pilots. F***in Light Airplane Pilot. It is pretty much impossible to get hired now, and being a white male makes it worse. But nobody knows what the picture will look like in a few years. The long term trend is for a bunch of pilots to be needed. So it all comes down to how much do you want to do this?
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 7:27:34 PM EST
I'm an Asian American - born in Columbia South Carolina - is this ethnic enough to get any affirm action breaks from the airlines ? If so, I'll take any advantage I can get. .. if I can, then I figure it payback for all the times the kids in school used to call me "chink" or "sneaky Jap".
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 7:31:40 PM EST
Do it. The three worst words in the English language: - Should've - Could've - Would've I wish you the best.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 7:49:17 PM EST
Get your multi-engine commercial rating, go to Alaska, and fly cargo until you've built up enough hours to get hired by a regional airline. I've got a friend going this exact route right now. Also, having been able to handle flying small cargo planes in Alaska for any significant amount of time is generally looked upon with respect by fellow pilots. Just a step or two below fighter pilots.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 8:20:39 PM EST
ESP, I'm 42...started flying with the airlines at 40. Gave up the $100K job to live the dream. Ok...here's my opinion. You are going to hate yourself in 10-20 years if you don't try. My office beats a cubicle any day...and the personal feelings/rewards that come from the accomplishment, can't be matched any other way for me. The downside: I hope you have a supporting wife. You are going to be away from your family during your "junior" years...and you will miss the kids(or maybe not (g)). The pay sucks...regional First Officers start at a base of roughly $16K...that is per year unfortunately. You don't say what your current time is. There are a lot of ways to improve your flying time. Consider something like the San Juan program at Mesa. If you have the money saved, you can bypass years of struggling for time and head to the line with frightening low time. The airlines are going to come back to pre 9/11 levels. We only have 66 guys left on furlough out of 300+ originally furloughed. It looks like we will be picking the last few up within the next few months...and the school will start sending more bodies soon. I did not use the San Juan program...but in retrospect...I would have cut substantial time and money off my investment. Good luck on your decision. Feel free to email me with questions if you want. - Anarki
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 8:52:13 PM EST
ESP, I'm almost positive that you get no points for being Asian-American. I had several friends who were longtime commuter pilots, their Asain heritage didn't seem to help them whatsoever. If they had been black, or female, recruiters would have been knocking down their doors. Most of the applications ask you to self identify yourself as a minority, and they list specific catagories. I suggest you try for "Native American" All the Airlines care about is filling the quota, so they can avoid lawsuits by the EEOC. They have no interest in disproving your claim. I always wanted to try for "African American" myself, since I am part Italian, and Italy was conquered by the Mores, way back when. I don't hold it against anyone who uses the racecard to get ahead, because, as I said before, pilots are a competitive bunch, and would sell their own Grandma if they thought it could get them into the cockpit of a cool airplane. I do however, have great disgust for the divisive, racist, and discriminatory Afirmative Action policies that the liberals in government employ. I was sing'in "We Shall Overcome" for 6 years, and you know what? I finally did! Reverse discrimination builds character- welcome to the club. - anyway, you Asians brought it on yourself: what with your work ethic, innate mathmatical ability and high test scores- your throwing the curve off for everybody for Christsake! BTW, Try to get to know the corporate pilots at your company, if you get to be friends with them, it's possible that they could hook you up with a co-pilot job, with relativily little experiance. This is a shortcut into the game, but as always, it's who you know. If your company uses Exec-jet, Flex-jet or some other fractional, you are SOL. Good luck, now go out and network.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 4:15:53 AM EST
Pilots don't make crap for wages until the later years of their career. I know American pilots who rarely fly and make over six figures, but you have dues to pay before you get to that level. I changed my aviation major to a minor at a 4 year university when I found out flight instructors make mimumum wage and pilots for regional carriers didn't get paid much. It's not until you get to the major airlines flying the big jets that you make decent money. I'm sure there are exceptions. I didn't see how I could pay off loans with minimum wage. The good news is that you could still become a pilot for around $3-4k. Start lessons to get your private pilots license. You will not regret it. You don't have to make a career of flying to still enjoy it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 8:28:53 AM EST
Anyone know of any other niche flying positions besides for a major airline and the military ? I was thinking that flying for a major airline doesn't have to be the only option - I was thinking maybe corporate, flying jets for private owners like Bruce Willis (btw is he pro or anti firearms ? ) And how much do these other niche positions pay ? Like how much does a Bush pilot or a cargo pilot in Alaska make or how much does a TV News helicopter pilot make ? etc. . .
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 2:19:40 PM EST
I hear there is a need for Helicopter pilots. (lot of retireing Nam vets) Its expensive to become a commercial Heli pilot as well. About $60K, half that for private. I've always liked Helicopters, but paying roughly $30k just to have a private license is too steep for me. ...Perhaps someday.... lib
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 4:24:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By ESP: If so, I'll take any advantage I can get. .. if I can, then I figure it payback for all the times the kids in school used to call me "chink" or "sneaky Jap".
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Yes, and then when will the more qualified pilot that has the misfortune of being white get his payback on you for stealing his job?
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 4:48:24 PM EST
I promise not to get pissed off when his kids call my kids "chink" and "sneaky jap" at school. Anyway, I doubt that there will be a better pilot out there than me. (sorry for the attitude, just practicing to be a pilot). ... oh, and BTW, I bet my AR15 is bigger than yours.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 5:01:58 PM EST
Try [url]http://forums.flightinfo.com/[/url]. Alot of people in your situation have asked the same question and received loads of feedback over there. I'm an instructor now, building time, loving the flying, but gritting my teeth casue teaching is HARD. I've got about 45-50k and 4 years invested right now, and make about 16k/year. Stagnation is the name of the game right now, unfortunately. But when it picks back up you have to be able to ride the wave, i.e. have the ratings and the experience. But start small. $40 at your local airport and you can get your first taste.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 7:43:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By ESP: I promise not to get pissed off when his kids call my kids "chink" and "sneaky jap" at school.
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I don't know where you went to school, but it must have been on the wrong side of the train tracks. The only mainstream racism I've ever encountered is aimed at whites.
Anyway, I doubt that there will be a better pilot out there than me. (sorry for the attitude, just practicing to be a pilot).
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You can't be an arrogant pilot until you've made it, otherwise you won't. Come back when you've actually flown a plane once.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 3:19:56 AM EST
Originally Posted By zonan: You can't be an arrogant pilot until you've made it, otherwise you won't. Come back when you've actually flown a plane once.
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Based upon my own experience in a college offering a 4-year aviation degree, 80% of the student pilots thought they were S*** Hot. It was amusing. Most all were great guys though.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 5:08:58 AM EST
Zonan - I suppose I can respond in one of two ways: 1) mainstream racism ? 'cmon bud, we're talking about reality, not ethereal politics and ivory tower socialism. Ignorant kids calling other kids names at school because of their ethnicity and affirmative action are both unfair and inherently racist - they both exist. . . so the f*** what? Its also unfair that the kiss ass at work gets promoted over the person that is smarter and works harder but doesn't kiss ass or just happens to be a womann. Boo-hoo-hoo, that's not fair, but it does happen to be F'n reality that everyone, no matter what their color, social status, gender or whatever has to deal with. . . .life can be fair, but many times, LIFE IS UNFAIR. 2) Relax buddy, its all mostly sarcasm on my part - no need to get worked up over someone that's just yanking your chain. BTW, thanks for taking the bait. On the pilot arrogance thing - what better show of absolute arrogance than to be cocky when I've never even flown a plane before, even though I did ground crew for two summers with a traveling helicopter crop dusting outfit ? .. . hey, the shit flows downhill, right ? Gotta agree with Guess, though, the cockiness is pretty funny at times.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 6:34:04 AM EST
Yes, my apologies. Some things hit a nerve for various reasons....
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 11:17:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By Pontius: I've got about 45-50k and 4 years invested right now, and make about 16k/year.
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I feel for you. I got my private license and then decided to bail because of the situation you are in right now. I didn't love it enough to pay the dues. I might have done it if my parents were rich enough or I could possibly pay back loans without living on Raman Noodles. You'll be making the big bucks someday. An American pilot I know flys international, makes six figures and only works 3-6 days a month. He's a senior guy. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. As far as arrogance, most pilots in training were nice but very cocky. They would get out of a Cessna 152 after a cross country and strut around like they had just flown a successful combat mission in an F-16!! I could never get into the ego thing. It was funny. Some of those guys were good friends.
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