Entering Aviation Now


New Member
My wife and I are about to make the step of enrolling me into DCA.

1)How do you all feel the aviation environment is now and will be in a couple years?

2)Is the only reason that the regionals are hiring is that they are overtaking the major's routes?

3)What would another 9-11 do to the industry, especially regionals?

4)When do you all think the majors will start hiring again?

5)How successful are DCA students, i.e. what is the approximate time from 0 hrs to flying for a regional carrier?

I really appreciate all of you guys' help.
I think you need a voodoo doctor to answer those questions!

No one really knows.

But let me give you some good advice though. Anyone who thinks they know the answer to the above questions probably has your wallet on their mind.
Thanks for your help. If you had to start from scratch today, would you enter aviation again? Or would you wait a couple years? Oh, and are there really 'a ton' of people retiring the airlines in the next couple years?

I believe that the best time to train is when things are slow. Hopefully when your training is complete, the airlines will be hiring like crazy. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
If you had to start from scratch today, would you enter aviation again?

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Depends on your age, funds and the heart felt burning desire to make it in this career field.

Oh, and are there really 'a ton' of people retiring the airlines in the next couple years?

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No more than normal and for every person retiring there's probably several qualified pilots competing for that spot. They've been using that "a ton" of folks retiring line ever since I got into aviation. I have NEVER seen a shortage of pilots...only a shortage of jobs.
I was so dedicated to the career when I was young that nothing would have stopped me from flying....yes, I would do it over again in today's envrionment.

3)What would another 9-11 do to the industry, especially regionals?

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I would be more concerned about what the industry is doing to itself, especially the majors.
If a person started now with zero time, is 7 years from now to be hired by a major unrealistic?
When you ask about "0 hours to major in 7 years?"--have you and your wife set a very rigid timetable or plan/goals . . . I'm afraid there are no quick answers or probabilities.

One must be able to roll with the changes, and due to training for whatever reason, or the industry for whatever reason, you could be in a major anywhere from 6-10 years.

It just kinda sounds like you want to do it IF it can fit into some sort of overall schedule, and training to fly is something that will take A LOT of flexibility.
I don't know how to answer the question. A most definite "maybe"?

The industry has always been in a constant state of flux.

Things may have hit the bottom last year, but then it might just be a temporary ledge before the industry stumbles again, it's very hard to predict.

But absolutely "maybe".
It's impossible to really answer your question. During the best of times I would have said it was possible, not really likely, but possible, to go from zero time to a major in seven years if you already had a degree. Now...I'd say there is no chance to do it in that time frame. I'd say you could be a regional Capt in that time frame, though.
According to the latest Delta Connection Academy add, "Delta Connection plans on Hiring over 1000 pilots and adding over 100 new jets in the next 12 months alone."

I wonder what 12 months they are talking about.

My question to you: Can you afford a student loan payment of $600/month and still live, while only earning $1,833/month gross, First Officer's pay? Take home pay is estimated at only $1,166. Take a look at what it will cost you per month on average.

Car payment..$300
Car Ins.........$300


More than likely the example is conservative and it probably will cost you more to live than what I estimated. I did not include monthly items such as clothing, gas, beer, movies, tolls, diapers, A lot depends on base domicile
Where are you going to get the extra $1,184 take home pay per month for living expenses? Is you wife working full time?

Even the loan companies say that a student loan payment per month should not be more that 10% of monthly gross pay.
My wife is going to be in law school, so I need to support her while she studies. Once a lawyer, though, she wants to work for special interest and other activism jobs helping people, rather than some high-paying corporate gig. For that reason, she shouldn't make much money, but enough to pay the bills. However, I don't like the thought of living off of her. She said she'd do the corporate thing if I became a pilot to support us, though it is not what she really wants to do.

I guess I'm just scared of not having a job or having to end up in a situation like the Mesaba pilot in that article Doug posted. I want to have a family and be able to provide the same life my parents provided for me. My dad's a doctor, and I want to still provide that same quality of life for my family.

Thanks for your help though guys.
I hate to say it, but it sounds like your concerns are answering your questions. Like everyone has so far said, it takes a burning desire to succeed and there are no hard and fast rules except for the "maybe" syndrome. If you need to start making money quickly to support your wife's education, you're looking at the wrong field. Chances are very good that you'll be one of those Mesaba guys, a poor flight instructor, or a cargo junkie flying canceled checks for peanuts for a long time. I don't think flying is something you pursue as a career unless you're willing to make a lot of sacrifices and flying is THE most important thing to you. Even then, everyone should have a solid backup plan waiting in the wings. (Get it? WINGS!
) Though there are a lot of good schools out there, remember that their marketing and recruiting departments are designed to get your money. Shortcuts are, from what I have seen, heard, and read, for the most part hooey. Dedication, sacrifice, hard work, and time are the only real roads to success.

Flying might be one of those things that you should do for fun as a hobby instead of a career.

Then again, everything that I just said could be wrong . . .
Thanks for you help. You are right. I appreciate you help. I guess since I'm married, I can't fly professionally, since my family's more important. However, I hope to do it for fun on the side.
I think that getting a wife who supported my flying addiction and would encourage me to pursue it would be great. Of course, that might be why I am still single.
I've always been one of the 'plan for the worst/hope for the best' types.

Like I'm more apt to dial in the decision height into the radar altimeter, until I'm on final approach, the weather is perfecto and I'll turn it off.

But I digress.