Is it just a little boy's dream or a real job?

skidz

Well-Known Member
I don't wanna be judgmental or biased, but I'm trying to figure out why people leave their good paying respectable jobs to go fly airplanes for a living even though they pretty much knew from the very beginning that the industry is notorious for its dramatic ups and downs? Is this childhood dream so strong that people just have to do it no matter what or otherwise they would never be happy or what? And then there is this thing about having a back up degree "just in case" things go wrong. It's like a mercenary job, or like taking a survival gear on a hiking trip. Doesn't even sound like a real job...more like an adventure, a journey to the middle of the earth if you will. I have a great respect for those who survived all the ups and downs. To me, they look like they chose a profession, not just an adventure and they survived. Maybe they couldn't see themselves ever doing anything else? Maybe they just took a punch waiting for better times, or they were just plain lucky to be at the right place at the right time? Why people want to be pilots? Is being a pilot a profession or an adventure? Any thoughts?
 

Hernandezcfi

Well-Known Member
I for one just love to drive machines. I love to drive planes, trains, bikes and automobiles. Give me a bulldozer and I will drive the hell out of it and have a great time. Pay me to do it and it will be even more fun!
 

DenverPilot8

Well-Known Member
I don't wanna be judgmental or biased, but I'm trying to figure out why people leave their good paying respectable jobs to go fly airplanes for a living even though they pretty much knew from the very beginning that the industry is notorious for its dramatic ups and downs? Is this childhood dream so strong that people just have to do it no matter what or otherwise they would never be happy or what? And then there is this thing about having a back up degree "just in case" things go wrong. It's like a mercenary job, or like taking a survival gear on a hiking trip. Doesn't even sound like a real job...more like an adventure, a journey to the middle of the earth if you will. I have a great respect for those who survived all the ups and downs. To me, they look like they chose a profession, not just an adventure and they survived. Maybe they couldn't see themselves ever doing anything else? Maybe they just took a punch waiting for better times, or they were just plain lucky to be at the right place at the right time? Why people want to be pilots? Is being a pilot a profession or an adventure? Any thoughts?
I grapple with these questions all the time. I think it's good to question yourself from time to time and really get down to the real reasons why you are making so many changes and sacrifices to fly airplanes. I suppose the childhood dream thing is a big factor but I think it has to be more than that if you want to survive. There is no doubt it takes passion and dedication and maybe a little insanity.
 

skidz

Well-Known Member
So little boy achieves his dream of being an airline pilot. And he soon discovers that pay sucks and familly hates him. Is it still a dream or a nightmare? The things just aren't as he thought they would be.
It's perfectly fine to fall back on that IT degree now (or work at Mcdonnalds in case he had an aeronautical degree :) ) Good idea. So what? He wanted a dream, he has gotten a dream, now he's back to real life and whining all over jc how airlines suck :)
Well, that's the price of dreams. They don't come cheap these days, and as we all know, there is a price on everything.
But, there are few things that are priceless. The little boy now needs to find now what's really priceless for him and let others chase their own little boy's dreams.

Thank you,
I feel better now,
my therapist said this might work
:D
 

mikecweb

Well-Known Member
I think if you truly love to fly you'll be able to find a segment of the industry that satisfies you.
Some guys love Airlines, some love Charter/Corporate, and some love freight. Hell some even choose to be career CFIs. It's fun to bitch and get a group of people together and it's easy to be negative.
They are people that love their job, they just aren't the ones screaming about cross country commutes and low pay.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
Honestly I think no matter how much you love your job, compared to all the other things you could be doing, it's still a job. There are politics and someone looking over you shoulder. There's always someone to answer to and some task to be done. I have had one job that I truly loved, but I still complained about it. I never EVER thought about quitting (well, until love got the best of me) but that didn't mean I liked all my coworkers or that my boss didn't ever tick me off, or that I didn't wish I made more money or that I wouldn't have rather been in bed at home some days. Loving to fly and choosing to do that over all the other jobs still doesn't mean there won't ever be a time when it doesn't suck. You're not doing it for hobby anymore, you're doing it because someone is telling you how, when and where.
 

skidz

Well-Known Member
OK, not to mention only boys...I'll let my little girl be a pilot first before she decides to get a real job, just to make sure she gets over that phase :D
 

PaulRix

Well-Known Member
I wanted to be a pilot since I was about 5 years old. I spent my 20's working in ATC (while in the Royal Air Force) and then IT Tech support for 3 years. I was never truly satisfied at work and the desire to be a pilot was always nagging away in the back of my mind. Fast forward to the present... I have been flying professionally for 4 years now and I still enjoy it immensely. Pt 135 Charter is where it's at as far as I am concerned (reasonable salary, good equipment, variety of destinations and I get to sleep in my own bed most nights).

Bottom line, for me, it was well worth hanging on to the dream. I have been very fortunate to get in with the company I work for (I started there doing Line Service when I first moved to the States in 2002).
 

3green

Well-Known Member
Skidz,

I left a very well paying job with a good QOL to fly 121 for a living. Yes, like many its something you want to do since your a kid and you just have to do it. It was eating me up inside wondering "what if?". Now that I did it, I can move on. Notcoolenoughtofly summed it up best in his post. Once your gone away from your loved ones for periods at a time and start missing events the flying really feels like a job. Its all about priorities in the end...

Its not all bad though, the people I flew with were some of the most intelligent, friendly, and dedicated co-workers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Another positive is the flying is some of the most challenging and fun you'll have(especially if you come from a GA background). And I do have plenty of friends who are very happy with their 121 gigs and couldn't think of doing anything else for a living.
 

mooneyguy

been around forever
I believe we are ALL “pre-wired” with our own abilities, desires. Some of us will become surgeons (and I thank God for them, because I could NOT go cutting on people…just nasty), some like working with numbers while sitting inside 4 walls day in and day out, some others can operate a backhoe so smooth its like an extension to their arm. The point is we/you are hard wired to do something and to do it well. It took me 18 years at a previous career before I decided to go for it. Flying even though I have only been doing it for a few years now has been in my blood since childhood. Flying is just as real a profession as any other. Every profession has its up and downs, positives and negatives. I think what you as an individual make it what it is! I saw a story not long ago of a man who has worked at a hotdog restaurant for something like 30 years. Not as a manager, or the owner, just as an employee serving, or cooking, or cleaning whatever…Just because he enjoyed it and it was what HE wanted to do, and he has loved doing it!
 

3green

Well-Known Member
Flying is just as real a profession as any other"
And as a highly skilled profession we should be paid as such. The companies know we all love to fly and its "in our blood". Hence, they take advantage of that fact and abuse those they need most. I'm not trying to be completely negative about the industry. But the boyhood dream of airline flying meets reality when your trying to pay bills.

But, hey what do I know I left my good paying job to fly planes for a living? But, if its a boyhood dream you just gotta do it and find out for yourself. You'll be able to say that you've seen and done things only others only dream of...
 

3enginejock

Well-Known Member
You can make money as a pilot, it just takes years of work and dedication. Get on with a company that lets you fly big jets or long haul flights and you will be making good money shortly.

World MD-11 FO's make about 50-60k a year, World MD-11 Captains make upwards of 150k a year which is pretty good.

My uncle is a world captain right now with no college degree. He makes over 160k a year now. There are ups and downs, he was a captain at Pan Am shortly before they went under making good money, then he was laid off and lived very poorly for a few years before he did a quick stint at Carnival Airlines. He got laid off from Carnival and had another brief time where he lived poorly, but then he got this job at World Airways.

Being an airline pilot is a skilled profession yes, but supply and demand kicks in at this point. I saw this once in a post, correct me if I posted it wrong.

For every regional FO there is 1000 CFI's who want his job.
For every regional captain there is 100 regional FO's that want his job.
For every major FO there is 100 regional captains that want his job.
For every major airline captain there is 100 major airline FO's that want his job.

In short there are tons of pilots now and not enough jobs. Airlines can afford to be choosy and pay less because they know that there will always be someone to fill the position regardless of the pay.

Regionals/Small Part 135 freight are not where the money is at. Every pilot (if there goal is to make money), should strive to eventually fly big jets on long haul flights. QOL may not be so great and you will be away from home a lot, but thats where the money is at right now.

If you do not care about money then it doesnt matter, continue flying what you want.
 

Avalon781ML

Well-Known Member
You can make money as a pilot, it just takes years of work and dedication. Get on with a company that lets you fly big jets or long haul flights and you will be making good money shortly.

World MD-11 FO's make about 50-60k a year, World MD-11 Captains make upwards of 150k a year which is pretty good.

My uncle is a world captain right now with no college degree. He makes over 160k a year now. There are ups and downs, he was a captain at Pan Am shortly before they went under making good money, then he was laid off and lived very poorly for a few years before he did a quick stint at Carnival Airlines. He got laid off from Carnival and had another brief time where he lived poorly, but then he got this job at World Airways.

Being an airline pilot is a skilled profession yes, but supply and demand kicks in at this point. I saw this once in a post, correct me if I posted it wrong.

For every regional FO there is 1000 CFI's who want his job.
For every regional captain there is 100 regional FO's that want his job.
For every major FO there is 100 regional captains that want his job.
For every major airline captain there is 100 major airline FO's that want his job.

In short there are tons of pilots now and not enough jobs. Airlines can afford to be choosy and pay less because they know that there will always be someone to fill the position regardless of the pay.

Regionals/Small Part 135 freight are not where the money is at. Every pilot (if there goal is to make money), should strive to eventually fly big jets on long haul flights. QOL may not be so great and you will be away from home a lot, but thats where the money is at right now.

If you do not care about money then it doesnt matter, continue flying what you want.

Call me crazy but if regionals were to raise their mins up to 1500-2500TT and 500-1000ME I think we would see a definite drop in those pursuing the airline occupation. I figure that the first few years after attaining your ratings is like grad school or med. school. Instructing, banner tow, aerial mapping, and the like aren't the glamorous jobs that people think of when you mention that you are a pilot. There are some days when I have to tell myself "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job" in an effort to keep a positive attitude and accept the fact that I will not always be doing what I am doing. One day I will move on to something bigger and better.... I think a lot of "low time" pilots have been spoiled in a sense by being able to go straight to the regionals... and thus the reason they moan and groan... if they had "paid their dues" maybe they would have a different perspective on life and their job.
But what do I know..... I am young, dumb, naive, and staying positive.:rawk:
 

3enginejock

Well-Known Member
There is no reason to moan and groan if your a low time pilot working at a regional. You are lucky to be there. My uncle worked for free to build time when he started, Im lucky enough to have some connections and might get a job flying a metro for 20k a year. A lot of people refuse to take jobs that are not local or dont pay well simply because they think its beneath them.

Think of getting your ratings as finishing high school and working at a regional or instructing as college. Do your time and eventually you will get the good paying job.
 
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