FSA - non ab-initio worth it?


Well-Known Member
Well here I am, 27 (nearly 28) years old, a computer professional in California who this year will bring in almost six figures. And I have decided to give it up and leave the office rat race and join the flying rat race. I must be crazy, but this is what I have always wanted to do since I was about 4, the son of an airline pilot. The main reason I went to college was to have a 4-year degree that the airline require, and somehow I ended up picking computer science and succumed to the temptation of $65k/year straight out of college. Now, I realize I would rather be poor and doing what I want to for a living.

I have my ppl and insturment rating with about 250 hours, but I have not flown in about 3.5 years. I really need a good refresher, particulary in instrument flying before I tackle the commercial. At my age I know I need to take the fast track to an airline career now to make up for lost time and hours. Would anyone here recommend an academy giving my situation. Cost is a big factor as I have a mortgage and don't want to give up the house.

If there is no real need for the academy it would be more convienient for me to get my CFI part 61 in San Diego (many good instructors) and then get hired on with a local 141 flight school to build my hours. I know several cases of instructors at the local FBO getting hired on by the regionals. At this point I need to be convinced that the extra tens of thousands I will spend in an academy will be worth it since I am not "ab-initio". I do plan to tour several florida schools in early October, my last day on the job is Sept. 30. I would even tour them earlier, but I am temporarily working in Germany.

I am posting to the FSI group because that is the primary school I am considering if I go the academy route.

hey--I know a great instructor up in Ramona, CA if you're interested PM me and I will email you his info. I know it's kind of far from the city... but I think he might fly out of Montgomery as well. In any event-- he has a lot of really good advice and would be happy to talk to you. An ex- MiG pilot from Poland and an awesome pilot. And he does refresher coursework, I believe.

Hello Brett.

I'm in roughly the same boat as you (32 year-old career changer, computer consultant, So. Cal, CSEL 350 hrs). I have done a lot of research and touring and am enrolled to attend FSA in September. Best advice is to scour these boards and tour the facilities in person. You'll get a ton of information you need to sift through, but it really helps.


What's your basis for your advice? The older "career-changer" is the last person who should go the FBO route.

Agreed. Myself and I suspect many others like me in our early 30's go to the big schools so we can start flying quickly, while we still have a shot at a career at the majors. I'm planning on doing my 20 at a major.
Guys, read over Brett's initial post - he's 27 (almost 28), a whole whopping one year older than me. With his hours, a small refresher course would probably be the best choice, then delve right into the comm training. I don't think there's any reason to "fast-track" it at an academy, since he has the required hours, just needs some current training.

Geeeeeeez, I never even considered I was "old" and had to do all my ratings in two months and spend $60K to do it, and do it all multi-engine, then hope that someone will hire me within a year in order to get seniority! Man, now I'm going to start looking for the wrinkles....