Gotta preach again


Apparently a "terse" writer
Staff member
I get into a lot of debates about having a back-up plan in case an aviation career doesn't work out. Primarily getting a good solid four-year degree as a back-up to your aviation career goals.

Some people think I'm full of sh*t, others want to argue, and a flight school or two has told some of their visitors that I don't know what I'm talking about because specifically they don't require one.

Well, I got the news today that my brother is both diabetic and hypertensive. He's active, rides his bike to work daily and doesn't lounge around the house all day watching television on his off days.

Luckily, we're all behind him and fortunately his job doesn't depend on his ability to pass a First Class medical every six months.

That hit real close to home, because mine does.

And so does (or will) yours.

Where does this all relate to you? Well, if it were me, I'd be out of a job.

And McDonalds doesn't care if I've got 7000 hours of total time and 4500 hours of jet.

If you're thinking about this career without a viable back-up, you're not only crazy, you're downright stupid.
Does CFIing count as a backup? I ask b/c I dont know how far a History degree eventhough from an Ivy League university is going to get me in life. Kind of regret choosing that field of study now- very little practicality in real life unless you're going to be a teacher and make slightly more than a CFI would. Guess I am holding out hope that this big dream of mine doesnt go sour.
I totally agree Doug. My 29 year old neighbor also just found out he has diabetes with no family history or other signs. Anything could happen at any time and I think that not only should the primary provider have a back up plan but the spouse (ESPECIALLY stay at home moms) also need a back up plan cause you never know if the primary will be totally unable to work. I don't have time or money for college right now but I will as soon as I can incase something happens to Corbin I will be able to get a job other then a $8 hour office assistant.
You'd be surprised, man, and I'd have to disagree that a history degree doesn't have much practicality. It might not be the best vocational program, but I found that it helped me in many ways I never thought of while I was in college.

In this economy, you might be right, but frankly in this economy a degree in Computer Science isn't even worth much. This economy won't last forever though....
I studied Aeronautical Science in college so I'd be your competition for that $8/hr office assistant job.

Man, what a way to start your day. Sheesh.
So sorry about your brother, Doug, but way to go for sharing this with everyone. I'm also only 36, and I can tell you my life has taken some twists and turns already that I didn't see coming. Who knows what the future will bring for any of us...

No matter what your profession you always need a back-up plan, and every plan should begin with a solid education.
Preach on Doug!

If there is one thing I learned growing up with a father who woke up one morning (Christmas morning, no less) paralyzed from the waist down from Multiple Schlerosis (at age 34 - with two kids and a budding career as well as being an officer in the National Guard)... it's that you absolutely CANNOT take your health for granted.

You guys that are in your early 20's and feel like you're invincible (not knockin' it guys - I was like that too) - LISTEN when Doug or someone else says "Get the degree" and/or "Have a back up plan" because NOONE is guaranteed that they'll wake up tomorrow as they were when they went to bed tonight.

Not trying to be fatalistic - just realistic.

K - I'm through.

Nuff of my $0.03

That is a bummer in so many ways.

this is a great time to bring up Medical Insurance tho.

Did you know you can get an Insurance policy to cover you should you lose your Medical?

I don’t have my policy in front of me but for $30 or so a month I get five years coverage if I lose my class 2 or better.

It is not enough to supplement the income in it’s entirety but it is enough to help defer the cost of the other things that will be going on…

If you have questions about this or want details PM me and I will dig out the paperwork
I was damned near in a panic a few hours ago until my mom had me pull out the physical results for when I applied for term life insurance earlier this year. My numbers look great, but still that doesn't bring much solace when it hits that close to home.

I mean, that's REAL close to home.
Actually, my sister said that if you have heart disease in your family... anyone can have a heart attack or stroke - doesn't matter how many push ups you do or how healthy you are...

probably something we need to check for! I betcha it's in there with all the heavy set people we have in our families!!

that's scary!!
Actually, no heart disease in my family at all. All four of my grandparents died from natural causes at 85 to 90 years-plus.

Well the grandma on my mom's side broke a hip, and everyone knows what happens when grandma breaks a hip!
I always panic inside when i have to take my blood pressure and its always higher then the readings i get @ home. This happen to anyone else?
I always panic inside when i have to take my blood pressure and its always higher then the readings i get @ home. This happen to anyone else?

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I have spymamoter-a-phobia. A guaranteed way to get my blood pressure to shoot up 20 pts is to put that cuff on my arm.

But my doctor is aware of it and actually it's extremely common with pilots.
Re: Papa Don\'t preach

As far as back up plans go, I am considering doing LPN (nurse) program after I graduate while i am trying to build hours towards a job. Nice thing about it is that I can work for an agency whenever I am available (ie i get the big bad furlough) fmy pay sucked that month that kind of stuff.
Me too. My blood pressure was "a tad high" when I got my medical. I had my wife take it when I got home and it was normal.

Heart disease/stroke is prominent on my Father's side of the family.. cancer on my mohters side.

Very scary. One of the reasons why I TRY to stay somewhat in shape. The only "good thing" (if there is a good part to having that in your family) is that all my relatives with heart/stroke problems didn't experience any symptoms until WELL into their 80's.
OK if you get to say 55 and can't pass your exam anymore would you be SOL or would you be "let go" with some kind of compensation/retirement??
Preach all you can Doug, maybe a few people will listen if you do it enough.

I developed asthma pretty bad a 14 months old. Ended up in a pediatric (sp) intensive care unit for a few weeks. Word on the street is that most the other kids in there didn't make it out and that I was a rare care of someone who bounced back really well. 20 some odd years later I'm kickin' and as healthy as I could probably be; but this asthma gig keeps chasing after me. Will it come back to get me years down the road and make me just stop breathing one day? Probably not, but it's still a very small chance. That's why it took me 5 months to get my first medical, but at the same time because it's been something like 15 years since I had a good attack it means I can obtain and hold a first class without an SI.

Furthermore, that's why at this point I'm probably doing law as a backup career. I'm getting out of my undergrad in about two years, and heading to a law school. I plan on passing the bar, MAYBE practicing for a few years to make some cash to get myself out of debt if I have incurred any; and go right to instructing as much as I can.

Don't believe that because you're young that you are invincible. I had the unfortunate chance to find out that being young does not mean anything when it comes to your health.

Get that backup degree.


John Herreshoff
OK if you get to say 55 and can't pass your exam anymore would you be SOL or would you be "let go" with some kind of compensation/retirement??

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Depends on the company you're working for.
Preach all you can Doug, maybe a few people will listen if you do it enough.

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Thanks bro.

I know a captain at a major with Asthma, but it's well under control so it's "doable".

I've been preaching the same mantra since 1996, but I can guarantee you I'll continue to get emails from pilots that think if they go to XYZ School, that they don't need a backup plan.

And when I bring up Braniff (one and two), Pan Am, Westair/United Express, Muse Airlines, USAir (ouch!), Inland Empire Airlines, Golden State Airlines, Air Florida, Kiwi, etc, I get a blank stare.