I am on the wrong track?



As some of you may already know, I hope to fly professionally one day. Everyone I know that also wants to fly professionally has already flown in the actual cockpit of an airline or have connections with pilots and the airport. I live in South Florida, where everytime you look up you will see at least an airplane of a kind. I am 14 years old, and the only connection to real world aviation I got is this forum. I would like to get involved in my local airport (Pompano Beach Airpark), but I don't know how. I know there are a few people that go to my local airport, but I don't know them. I am on the wrong track? How do I get involved? Could someone from my area perhaps help me?
As strange as it may seem what I think you should do is as soon as you are old enough to work, walk over to the airport and ask for a job mowing the lawn cleaning airplanes the hanger or what ever they need.

This would be the first step in getting your foot into the door of aviaiton as the most basic level. as time goes on if you are an employee of the local FBO doing this stuff, they will most likely give you a break on the cost of flight instruction. work hard get your CFI, and hopefully teach at the same place..

All the time you will be meeting others with the same interest.

Others who in the future may be the person to help get your resume on the desk of the decision maker at the airline you are looking to work for.
But I am old enough to work. Is it allowed to just hang out at my local airport?
Sure, many airports have outdoor seating areas to "hang Out" I would go looking for a job, working is always better than hanging out in the eyes of others.
I got a job at the airport when I was 16 fueling planes and such. For you to get a job at 14, it would have to be an odd job sort of thing. A larger airport is going to have maintenance guys who take care of the odd jobs. A flight school might let you wash planes and sweep the hanager some....you could check in at places like that. Smaller airports that only have one small flight school are your best bet as things tend to be more relaxed at those sorts of places and odds are they might let you do more.

Besides getting a job...you could get involved with the local EAA chapter. www.eaa.org If you start going to the meetings and offer to help with the young eagles program, I think you'd find some understanding and helpful pilots that would take you up some.

I'm not a big fan of Civil Air Patrol, but that's an option, too.
Brian the nice thing about aviation is almost every one is friendly. You'll run into one or two jerks, but every one was once the same as you, as I am now except I lucked out and do get to fly. The next time my mom flies into Boca Raton she said she'll show you the jet. I work at the local FBO at the connections you get are amazing. I met a guy with an MU2 and now we fly together all the time. So whatever you do don't be shy and talk to every person you see and ask them for rides, as long as you think they're a safe pilot.
One of the things that has boosted my aviation career, is having my A&P mechanics certificates. The A&P is short for Airframe and Powerplant. While in high school, there are some programs that get you well on your way towards your A&P, even if you have no desire to turn wrench's and get greasy. The A&P is more class-room based and it teaches Federal Regulations, as well as aircraft systems. Trust me on this one, I've *NEVER* met a professional pilot who regretted getting their A&P, and you can do it while you are young. Also, if you can get a job as a mechanics assistant, while you are young, that will also open a lot of doors, early on it will be just in general aviation, but later on it will be business jets, too.

Good luck.
Hey Brian, I am in the same boat you are in, except, yesterday I got a demo flight for my birthday, but other than that, no aviation ties. I actually have 1 tie to a guy I met at Ralph's (yes, the grocery store). I saw he had a shirt on that said something that had to do with "I survived the crosswind landing at Mammoth Airport" and I said hey I went there over there during the summer and as things led on, he was the nicest guy I ever met, has owned three different planes, and flies up to Mammoth area every weekend, and if I ever wanted to go up there with him call him and he'd happily take me. So just do things like that, you never know who can get you a jump start. Good luck.


EDIT: I also have a question though, what is civil air patrol?
I also have a question though, what is civil air patrol?

Do a search at this site and then do a google search.
I am on the wrong track?

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No, many of us were in your shoes not too long ago.

For now, you'll have to play a bit of a waiting game while you work. But save up and around 16 start flying! In the mean time, get to know some of the people around the airport and maybe you'll be able to hitch a few rides.
While in high school, there are some programs that get you well on your way towards your A&P, even if you have no desire to turn wrench's and get greasy.

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Even if your high school does not formally offer one of these, most high schools have internship and other such programs. If you could find a local GA mechanic to "mentor" you, you could get school credit for it, time towards your A&P, and maybe even get paid. It worked for me (though I admit, I was very lucky to have that opportunity).
On my first lesson, I had never been in a small airplane, did not know a single soul at the airport, and absolutely had know idea of what was the cool stuff to know and talk about.

Our FBO has a diner (greasy spoon type). That was a GREAT place to spend prior and or after a lesson. I met a lot of people that way. I got my CFI job here and a lot of my current flying is in part from those early conversations.

And by the way, you dont have to know everything about aviation. It actually turns me off at the airport when some young kid is spouting about somethig technical.

Just hang around, be a good guy and keep your nose clean!
One of the things that has boosted my aviation career, is having my A&P mechanics certificates.

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Does anybody know if there is any way for an adult with a full-time job to get an A&P? I assume colleges must have night classes, but aren't there some significant practical experience requirements?
but aren't there some significant practical experience requirements

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Cleared' can probably answer your main question better than me. But yes, if you are planning on getting your A&P through work experience under an active A&P, you must have 18 months for each- the airframe and the powerplant. If you are doing both simultaneously, the requirement is 30 months. And that is full-time by the way, so not very effective for doing it "on-the-side." It must be documented, and approved by the FAA before you can take any writtens or practicals. As far as other ways to obtain it, I'm not entirely sure...so I'll let someone else chime in on that.

I was unable to quite make it to 30 consecutive months (I think I have 26), so the FAA would only sign me off for my Airframe test (which is probably more practical anyways).
I am considering looking into a job at an FBO at my airport called Northstar Aviation. Their services included fuel, parking, passenger termail and lounge, and more listed on the page. I was just wondering if anybody who has worked at an FBO would know what kind of work/tasks are involved, and how much experience is needed, and other requierments? Thanks.
One of the things that has boosted my aviation career, is having my A&P mechanics certificates.

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Does anybody know if there is any way for an adult with a full-time job to get an A&P? I assume colleges must have night classes, but aren't there some significant practical experience requirements?

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I'd say the A&P is probably one of the toughest certificate to get in terms of commitment, next to the ATP. I'm not knocking CFI's, but the point I'm making is that a student who has never seen an airplane before can become a CFI,CFII, MEI in less than a year, and there is no way to do that with the A&P. It will take at least 18 months of school, or OJT, which takes longer.

If a person has a full time traditional 9-5 job, getting an A&P is all but impossible, I think, maybe there are programs at night, but after working an 8 hour day, do you want to go to school for another 8 hours, 5 days a week? That's real tough.

§ 65.77 Experience requirements.

Each applicant for a mechanic certificate or rating must present either an appropriate graduation certificate or certificate of completion from a certificated cated aviation maintenance technician school or documentary evidence, satisfactory to the Administrator, of --

(a) At least 18 months of practical experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and equipment generally used in constructing, maintaining, or altering airframes, or powerplants appropriate to the rating sought; or

(b) At least 30 months of practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both the airframe and powerplant ratings.
If they hire you, they will teach you.

Seriously, at an FBO you can expect to fuel planes and ground equipment, help the mechanics, take out the trash, clean the bathrooms, load the soda machine, make coffee, drive the van to the hotel to pick up/drop off pilots .........uhm......just about everything.
First off, relax and enjoy being 14 without the need to work. Plus legally you can't (unless it is your family biz). However, when I was your age I went to a sailplane airport and was able to beg, beg and beg for a few rides in a sailplane. I was hooked at that point. Cool thing is that I believe you can solo at 14 in a glider.

If you can, get to know someone that has a plane or join the Civil Air Patrol (if you meet the age, I am not sure on this). There are a ton of organizations that you can volunteer with (I am sure) out there that deal with aviation.

Next, enjoy life. Play sports, Get involved in the arts, chase members of the opposite sex, hang out with friends and kick back. Because you have a long way to go.

I started out wanting to be a pilot, then a lawyer, next a fireman, then a police officer, than a doctor (went pre-med in college for 1semester), then a Speech/Language Pathologist (got my B.A. in that one) became a police officer (now a Sergeant with ten years on) right after graduating from college and am now exploring the part time flying gig. I am taking my Comm Check next week.

The road has been a long winding one, but I am glad for the experiences and sights along the way. No doubt you will change your mind in life's pursuits, but flying will always be in your blood. Just don't worry about making connections quite yet. Free flights yes. Career contacts, No. You probably won't even have contact with the same people you are talking to now (could happen I guess). Anyway, have fun and enjoy the future.
Hang in there and remember to NETWORK. You never know who you're going to meet.

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Boy ain't it the truth!

Perfect example. I'm sitting in the pilot lounge waiting for my plane to come back so I can start my lesson.

As I sit there watching the weather channel and chatting with some of the other people there, I overhear one of the CFI's introducing a new member to the school manager. Turns out he's one of the doctors that teaches at my wife's med school. So I introduce myself to him and chat a little about how smart my wife is. Then I come to find out that the instructor that he's with flies Caravans for FedEx, and that the dr's old CFI is flying for United.

So now I have connections to a FedEx feeder and United.

Also while talking to my CFI I find out that he's hoping to get into one of the Delta Connections next year. Same airline as a friend of mine is flying with right now. So now he's got another name to add to his list of contacts and I may end up with two names at one airline.

Going back a few months. I also met a friend of his who flies for FlightOptions.

It all blows my mind. So yeah, hang in there. Get yourself to the airport when you can. One thing I'll add is this: try not to be a brooding teenager. Be friendly and polite. I see kids out at the airport all the time who pretty much just sit in a chair and either read or play Gameboy. I'm a sly person (even at 28) so I make myself be more outgoing than I normally would be. I wonder sometimes what kind of contacts I'd have now if at 14 I was doing that instead of being a typical moody teen. On the other hand don't be annoying. It's a hard balance to strike, but that's my advice.

Good luck!!