I know, another career move thread. Please indulge me. . . .

Conan

New Member
I’ve been perusing this forum and other aviator forums for the past month now. Suffice it to say that this forum is one of the best, if not "the best" at informing, educating, and cultivating an 'aviation dream'. My newfound interest, like many others in here, stems from a lack of content. Put simply, I’m not satisfied with my career and subsequently, my life.

I’m 26, and currently employed by Verizon as a network analyst. I started off at age 20 and have steadily climbed the ranks to where I am now. I make a minimum of $90,000 and have yet to make 6 figures which within another year or so, I’ll be making. I’m also currently finishing my degree at NYU.

When I was young, I used to dream about being a pilot. I started traveling when I was 4, and by the time I was 15, I’ve traversed 12 countries. I’ve always entertained the notion of being a pilot, but, being young and misinformed, I’ve always thought that you had to fly with the military, and that there was no other way. Up until recently, I’ve started entertaining again the notion of being a pilot. And through perusing, reading, ingesting, I’ve realized that I can do this, I really can! It’s not far-fetched as I thought!

After taking into consideration all the many factors, this is my plan of action: I have one more year to finish my degree. While I’m finishing it, I’m going to save up like a mad-man and try to accumulate $20,000 dollars. After the year, I’m going to take a 2 year leave-of -absence from my current job, and enroll myself in a flight school. Preferably an accelerated program. "Regional Airline Academy." Has anyone heard of that school? They have a program that will give me every rating I need, including a type rating. Also, I'll have about 700 TT, and 150 ME. It costs about $70,000. Does that sound about right?

Am I crazy? Well, I have pretty much contemplated everything. I figure by the time I’m done with everything, the downward trend, will pick up. This is the route I’ve decided thus far in order to make it to a regional before I’m 30. What do you think? What are you doing if you’re in a similar situation? What would you recommend if you’ve been through it already? Or conversely, what do you think?

A couple of thoughts: I have about 3 speeding tickets, and a reckless driving ticket. I have been keeping my nose clean for a whole 4 months now. Considering the fact that I’m a responsible driver now, will it still hinder my chances with the heavies, or even, the regionals?

Thanks
 

braidkid

New Member
Hello and welcome,
First of all....I would highly advise against no more driving tickets. Becoming employeed by the airlines is tough enough without the extra problems. I think you should be fine as long as you keep your nose clean from here on out and explain everything during your interview. You have to remember that airline interviewers are people just like you and me and make mistakes as well.

Second of all....whatever you, DO NOT spend $70k for your ratings. You can get all of your ratings for half that if not less than that even. The type rating will be utterly useless and you'd be better off accumulating total hours and multi time and let a future employer pay for the type because noone is going to hire you to fly a type rated aircraft with under 1k hours because of insurance reasons.

Have you considered going the FBO route? I'm sure there is a reputable FBO in your area. You could actually keep your day job, fly on the side, and be done with no debt and $70k in your pocket. You could easily get all your ratings up through MEI for under $30k at an FBO.

If you are bent on going to an academy I would highly suggest checking out ATP at www.allatps.com Their program takes you up to MEI for around $35k and you walk away with about 150 hours of multi. This is half the cost of Regional Airline Academy.

There are so many different paths to the cockpit and everyone is in a different situation both financially and personally. If you don't have your private yet, find your local FBO and get that first. You may decide that after spending $5k this isn't something you want to do. Also it will give you a chance to see how your FBO operates and may be a place you'll want to continue your ratings. You're young enough so don't feel you need to be in a hurry. Good luck and again, welcome to the boards.
 

Grumpy01

New Member
Let me see if I have got this right. You're going to leave a $90,000 per year job. Go to some flight academy with pretty pictures in the brochure and spend up-wards of $70,000 to get a ticket.

This ticket will give you the GREAT oppurtunity to compete with thousands of other new/low time pilots in an attempt to land a job.

The job you are trying for is also being sought by thousands of furloughed pilots with more qualifications than you will have if you do nothing but fly for the next 5 or 6 years.

Also, this GREAT job will [if you are lucky] pay you somewhare around 30 - 35,000 per year for the first 3-5 years. Assuming you can even get a job.

But, if you ever do get the job, the view from the front office is great. Then you can look for a flop pad and live with 5 other "PILOTS" until you are furloughed.

Makes me want to grab $70,000 and go for it.
 

jon007

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
After the year, I’m going to take a 2 year leave-of -absence from my current job, and enroll myself in a flight school.

[/ QUOTE ]


How are you going to obtain a 2 years leave?

I know that every company is different, but i'm sure that a company will only grant you a leave for more then 30 days for valid reasons. I.e Death in the family, medical conditions etc...

Im sure that every company will do whats in THEIR best interest but granting a two year leave - I like to learn more.
 

Conan

New Member
Hi there Braid,

Thanks a lot for your advise, I’ve somewhat gone back to the drawing board and have realistically tallied all my options. I’m looking around my area for a reputable FBO. Unfortunately, they’re few and scattered. I’m looking around the Jersey area considering there are more, and closer to me than Upstate New York. Can anyone recommend a good, reputable FBO around the New York City area? Or even a FBO around the Jersey area? Relatively close to New York?

Hi there Grumpy, Mr. Naysayer himself. . . . lol

I should have seen it coming a mile away, just from your nick. But alas, someone has to interject some realism now and then, aye? Well, your resigned depiction of a pilot’s life, albeit a newbie, does provide some succor for me. Yes the life is a daunting with regards to the paying of dues (time) and of course, a volatile economy. Slap that together and also add on expenditures to acquire all the licences necessary for the dream job. It’s no wonder why people don’t pursue their dreams (being cynical). Grumps, I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it for the dream. I thank you for your caustic advise, I welcome them all the same.

H Jon,

My companies’ policy towards leave of absences are very much pliable. I have to call H.R. for Q’s and A’s, but from what I’ve learned so far, A two year L.O.A. is the maximum, and it does require high-level management approval. That’s not a foreseeable problem as far as I know.

Take care
 

jonnyb

Well-Known Member
You say you don't care about the money, but unless you have an inheritance, trust me, you'll care about the money. Believe me man, it sucks starting out, I've been there. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, you just better love it more than anything you've loved before, because if you don't, you'll hate it after a while. Just some food for thought, you need to hear the truth, you know what I mean? Take care Conan and let me know if I can help.
 

seasmoke

New Member
First, if you are making so much now, and have been, why is it tough to save the 20 gs? K, not my business. Nevermind. Second, you are still young. I envy you in that you made this kind of decision at your age and have plenty of time to PURSUE it, really, at your leisure.

Best of luck.
 

Conan

New Member
Hi Jonny,

Well, I didn’t really say I don’t care about the money. I did however allude to the fact that money isn’t everything. I was responding to Grump’s inability to fathom me leaving a $90,000 per year job. To me, it isn’t the capital, rather the substance. I have a real vivid dream of becoming a pilot, and in that, I am ready to face the grueling, sacrificial slaughter that is necessary. I am more than willing, and able to pay my dues. And like all fairly conservative thinkers, I am more focused on the end-result, more so than the initial onslaught. I wish I had an inheritance, but, I’m not that lucky. Thanks for your post Jonny, You’re right when you say that money does matter, and to tell you the truth, I love flying purely from the traveling I’ve done thus far. I haven’t been in the pilot’s seat yet. But, I can’t wait! Thanks again for your thoughts, I appreciate every insight I can get.

Hi Smoke,

To be quite honest, this is the first year I’ve made $90,000. I remember when I first started with Verizon (Nynex back then). I started off as a coin collector, I collected coins from public telephones. And due to my lack of funds, as in “wheels”, I remember waking up at 4:00am every morning to make an eight am start time. To save $20,000 is going to be very hard, considering the fact that my school expenses exceed $7000 a semester. Throw in rent at about $1000, and other legitimate, (illegitimate) factors, and don’t forget Uncle Sam squeezing me like a sponge because of my age, tax bracket, etc., etc., I’ll be lucky if I hit my goal. Oh, okay, My company does help me with school. . . . lol. After a lot of reading, I can agree with you that I can do it at my leisure, that’s why I’m looking for a FBO. Thanks a lot Smoke, I appreciate your thoughts.
 

montanapilot

Well-Known Member
welcome to the boards conan

if i were in your shoes i would stay at your current job and and go the FBO route on the side on evenings and weekends. if you are really dedicated you can do it in a reasonable amount of time, however not as quickly as an academy but you will be able to stay somewhat financially stable versus enormous debt.

there are three main things i look for in an FBO: instructors, equipment (well maintained, doesnt have to be new and pretty), and price. just go to a few FBOs and take a couple of intro lessons and see how you like the instructors and what kind of a genral feel you have of the places you visit.

getting a degree is your first step in the right direction, because of the need for a 4 year to be considered at majors.

if you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask or PM me.
 

ShoreFly

Well-Known Member
Conan,

I have a buddy (a USAF flight surgeon) who's a student at Century Flight Academy on Essex County Airport (a.k.a. Caldwell Airport - CDW) in Northern New Jersey. Only 20 minutes from New York City.

He likes it at Century, but says to stay away from anything at Teterboro. You'll end up spending most of your training time waiting for departure clearance.
 

Conan

New Member
Hi Montana,

Thanks for the advise, You’re right when you say to get the degree, I see it as putting on a parachute, in case I have to eject. . . lol Many thanks.

Hi Shore,

WoW, what a coincidence, I just came back from visiting Teterboro. I even took a discovery flight! I was talking to the instructor and he did say that one of the pros about Teterboro is you get familiar with talking to the tower. I saw all the corporate jets there, but I didn’t know that they were that busy. Thanks for the info Shore, I'm going to check out that school you mentioned. Much appreciated.

A question for everybody,

Hypothetically, let’s say I take a leave of absence from my job and go to one of the academies in Florida. I get all my licenses including CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP. If I came back 14 months later, picked up where I left off from my job, and flew recreational only on the weekends, for about 2 years. When I finally decide to make the full commitment to working as a CFI, or try to work for the regionals (if I’m lucky), will I need training again? Do I need to log in several hours a week to maintain those licences? I’m thinking if I go to the academy, I could come back to this job I have, and pay off as much as I can for two years, while I’m doing that I’ll take a cessna out about once a month, once a week or so. Basically, I’m asking how long are the licenses good for, ex., CFI, CFII, MEI, ATP, and do you need to meet a minimum of hours weekly/monthly to retain them?

Thanks guys
 

montanapilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Hypothetically, let’s say I take a leave of absence from my job and go to one of the academies in Florida. I get all my licenses including CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP.

[/ QUOTE ]

ATP you need 1500 hours built up

[ QUOTE ]
If I came back 14 months later, picked up where I left off from my job, and flew recreational only on the weekends, for about 2 years. When I finally decide to make the full commitment to working as a CFI, or try to work for the regionals (if I’m lucky), will I need training again?

[/ QUOTE ]

hmm i m not sure i follow you on this part?

you will need to work as a CFI for about 1000-1500 hours to be considered for a regional. No you wouldnt need training but you would be awful rusty and you wouldnt have retained alot of the info you learned while at the academy.


[ QUOTE ]
I’m thinking if I go to the academy, I could come back to this job I have, and pay off as much as I can for two years, while I’m doing that I’ll take a cessna out about once a month, once a week or so. Basically, I’m asking how long are the licenses good for, ex., CFI, CFII, MEI, ATP, and do you need to meet a minimum of hours weekly/monthly to retain them?

[/ QUOTE ]

forever as long as you have a medical and are current


one other thing, as i have read your posts i realize you are excited and want to get it done quickly, but be careful with all the literature that the big academies sent you. the career outlook is very diffent then the pretty four color brochures these places send out. and the academies carrry a hefty price tag. airlines dont care where you train as long as you have the ratings.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
The Instructor cert needs to be renewed every 24 months.

The rest of the licenses and rating don't expire, per se, but there are currency requirements on day & night & IFR flying. If they lapse they are, in general, pretty easy to pick back up with a little bit of time with an instructor.

Instead of going the route you outlined, I'd highly recommend doing all of your ratings locally at an FBO instead of going to an Academy, especially if you're not going to be jumping on the career change bandwagon immediately. You'll save a ton of money; you can continue working your current job while you work your way through the ratings; and you'll have a good chance of doing some part time Instructing (or full time if you want) at your local airport while you are getting situated for the career change. This way your flying skills stay sharp and you can better control your own destiny as times and the economy change.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
Well, if you play your cards right, you can renew it for free!


The guidlines for renewing a flight instructor certificate are outlined in FAR 61.197.

Provided you hold a current certificate, you can renew one of the following ways:

<ul type="square">
[*]Receiving an additional flight instructor rating automatically starts over the 24 months. [Not free]

[*]Over a period of 24 months, endorse at least 5 students for checkrides and have at least 80% of them pass on the first attempt. [Free]

[*]Show that, over a period of 24 months, you've served as a check pilot, chief instructor, 121/135 instructor, or a position involving the regular evaluation of pilots. [Free]

[*]A graduation certificate from an approved Flight Instructor Refresher Course (AOPA does them). [Cost varies...probably around $250]
[/list]

If you let your CFI expire, you CANNOT renew it without re-taking a checkride for at least one of the ratings on the CFI certificate (i.e., if you are a CFI/CFII/MEI and you let it expire, you can renew all of them by just taking the CFII ride again). Don't let it expire!
 

Tired

New Member
FIRC courses cost about $100-150 these days, and there are many you can do online. American Flyers offers an online program that costs $125 for lifetime renewals.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
Oh, OK...I guess they're cheaper than I thought.

Even though my pass rate's good enough to renew for free, I'll probably end up doing the most expensive renewal option (MEI) anyways.
 

farwellbooth

Well-Known Member
Before anything I'd get your private pilot certificate locally and see if you even like it...

With your cash flow you may want to think about doing it for fun. Flying your own plane when you want to fly where you want to fly is probably more enjoyable than flying the line.

Seriously, keep the job, finish the degree, buy a couple rentals, buy plane, buy more rentals, get promotion, more properties, use plane to seek and support other investments, another promotion, etc.
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
I agree with farwellbooth. Stay at your current job, get your ratings at a fun pace, buy a plane, if you get a piloting job that's icing on the cook.
I'm doing the exact same thing because in all honesty, with the airline industry the way it is I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket.
 
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