Which path are YOU taking?


New Member
In response to Al's popular thread, I thought it might be a good idea for us to each share a little bit about how each of us plan to eventually make it to an airline cockpit. That way, future people like him with no prior knowledge of where to start can get some useful initial guidance. I guess I'll start.

I went on my first flight when I was 15, and was definately hooked on flying from then on. At that time, I wasn't yet sure that I wanted to fly for the airlines, but I certainly wanted to fly light planes for the rest of my life at least. However, since I wasn't yet old enough to solo or get a PPL, I decided to wait a couple more years before officially beginning training.

When I finally started training, I had a blast. I started training out of Centennial Airport because it was the closest GA airport to my house. Luckily, it was also (and still is) the busiest GA airport in the country. This gave me an incredible advantage of learning to fly with busy airport traffic and to make my radio skills top notch.

I ran into a pitfall during my private training for a couple of reasons. One was due to life circumstances during high school that are too off topic to discuss. The second was the fact that I couldn't find a decent instructor. Without me knowing it, most of the instructors at the school seemed to only care about building hours for themselves rather than seeing me succeed as a new pilot. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until it was too late, and I had already paid for more flight time and dual instruction hours than necessary.

So I left the flight school at Centennial and took my private training to the Fort Collins/Loveland airport. I took it there for two reasons. One, the flight school seemed to have a better operation going. Two, I figured I may as well get started there because I would be going to school there at Colorado State University in the fall (which is where I'm still attending school now). With excellent help from my new instructor, I was able to get out of my pitfall and passed my private checkride in July 2001.

I still fly out of that airport, and am taking my checkride for my instrument rating on Monday. But now that I'm short on cash, I've taken up a job here at the Fort Collins K-Mart for only a little more than minimum wage. But I don't care, its money for me to fly on, and the job really isn't that bad. Its giving me good customer service experience, improving my abilities to pay attention to small details (a very important skill in flying), and it feels great to actually work and EARN something for a change. The money I get from there will be used to build time towards my commercial certificate, and hopefully my CFI as well.

That's all I have planned for aviation in the short-run. I figure from then on, I'll be able to build adequate time as a CFI to eventually fly for a regional and then a major. But I obviously have not planned that out in detail yet. I'm working on a degree in business with a concentration in computer information systems, and may also do a minor in computer science. I'm doing it because computers are another big passion of mine, and I feel that if I had gone for an aviation degree, I would always wonder what I could have learned about computers that I didn't.

Well that's my story. Fire away boys.
I started taking flying lessons when I was 14. I had ridden horses all my life, and I decided the money I used to ride would be better put towards flying. It really worked out well as shortly after I decided that I was invited to ride some horse for free.

I had flown RC planes since I was kid, so some would say it was a natural progression. I had also been up with friends and on a trail flight, but nothing was as awesome as taking flying lessons frequently.

When I was 16 I got a job to fly more often, soloed July 10th 1999, and got my license May 31st 2000.

I was going to go the civilian route, hopefully through British Airways sponsorship (that is what I had aimed for), but if that had not worked out I was willing to do it the more traditional US way. Train, instruct, regional, then up.

While in college, I decided I wanted to keep flying as a hobby. I did not like the politics involved with the airline, or the thought of being away 3-4 days a week. I was also crossing the pond frequently and these trips became very old very quickly, especially the things like time changes, dehydration, etc. Most want to be airline pilots would love the opportunity to have a ride on a new 777, I dreaded it! I take of my hat to the AA crews who fly LAX-LHR 24 hours in London to fly home. Doing that 3 times a month must be hard work!! I have done a 3 day trip to London, and I thought that was intense.

Right now I am a finance broker, making pretty good money (mainly considering I do not have rent to worry about). I do keep flying frequently for fun, and hope to get my instrument rating in the next couple of years (come on Ed get your CFII!! ;-) ). I can certainly see why people get tired of pushing paper, so I do not want to close the door to an aviation career.

I think I am still growing up, and putting my finger on what I want to do is very difficult. I have ambitions of owning my own company, which I think I would be good at and would be certainly down my alley. I am not worried about not being sure of what I want to do. I am young, have a degree, and am constantly moving forward, learning, and experiencing things. By the age of 25 I hope to know what I want to be do, and be focused on it. It could well be flying, maybe the more I will regain my passion for it, or I might just keep it as a hobby!
Ok... I caught the bug, very early in life... however my first flight EVER in a plane was when I was 16 and it was in a KC-135 flying out of Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth, Texas... We were refueling F-4's and AWACS over New Mexico. I got to get down on the floor next to the boom operator and watch the refueling process! Totally Awesome!

I was actually in Air Force ROTC for 4 years in High School and had intended on being a military career pilot. The above flight was part of a "Field Trip" that our Commander coordinated for us.

I excelled in ROTC, ended up as the Cadet Deputy Commander of our detachment, and then went on to Texas Tech University, where I continued in ROTC. I was up for a Pilot's slot and just had my flight physical out at Reese AFB, when the Detachment Commander called all the cadets into the auditorium one day for an announcement.

This was just before the Gulf War... Spring 1990... He told us that all aviation slots (Pilot & Nav) were being pulled from all ROTC detachements across the US, due to a downsizing of the military, and the closing of several AF Bases. This was the other Bush's doing. The only Aviation slots left were going to AF Academy Grads and/or OCS candidates only.

Since I wasn't working toward a technical or engineering degree, the only slot available to me was a Missileer slot... and I didn't want to end up spending 6 years in a Missile Silo in Podunk, Iowa with my hand on a Key... So I didn't sign on with Uncle Sam. That was probably one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life... instead I took the glorious route of Retail Management!

Not the wise thing to do Grasshopper.... Since then I have been a Police Officer, Retail Loss Prevention Director, Retail Operations Manager, Retail Inventory Manager, Restaurant General Manager, and my last gig is/was a manager for LL Bean in Freeport, Maine.

Where the heck does flying come back into the picture?? Well two years ago for my birthday my wonderful wife gave me flying lessons and told me to go get my pilot's license! What a woman! I was working full time but worked very diligently flying out of PWM when I could... I had @ 50 hours of flight time, all my requisites completed and was 3 weeks away from a scheduled checkride when September 11th hit and the sky's went quite.

Our FBO didn't allow students back up for two months... That put us smack dab in the middle of the holidays, so I didn't fly but maybe once more prior to the end of the year... Then February 12th, 2002 came along and I became a father for the first time!
That has since been the most rewarding and time consuming part of my life.

Cut to the present... LL Bean laid off over 250 workers in February of this year. I didn't loose my job, but I did loose about 3 paygrades... so I knew it was time for a career change. After, many sleepless nights, long conversations with my wife, parents, & friends, I decided to jump into aviation full time, which is what I have wanted to do for the past 15 years.

I just passed my PPL Written 2 weeks ago, have a checkride scheduled in 3 weeks, then I'm flying with a buddy, (So we can both log PIC time while working on our IFR under the hood) to Manassas, VA for an interview with ATP.

We are then moving the day before Memorial Day weekend to DFW where I will spend the next month to 6 weeks studying my A** off get my Instrument and Commercial wirttens done and out of the way prior to starting with ATP @ the 2nd week of July.

My hope is to obviously get hired on as an instructor with ATP, but I'll be taking much of the advice I have found here at JC and hitting the pavement HARD to network and fly as much as possible.

Frankly... I can't think of a better way to blow through @ $40,000 just to hope for a job that pays around $1,000/mo... but if that job is in the air... ahhhh yes... that's the reason now isn't it.

My hope is the airlines... But I have dreams of creating my own charter service back up in Maine and taking Hunters & Fisherman with lot's of money from PWM to anywhere in backwoods of Maine they would like to go. A nice fleet of Caravan's on floats....
a boy can dream can't he.

Until then... my feet are grounded heavily in reality... This is a mid-life career change for me, and I am an extremely dedicated and hard working person. To me it's not a question of if... it's a question of when.

That's my story...

It was nice to read the ones above, and I hope to see others here as well.

If anyone has any questions or would like to chat about my story, my decisions, or my life in general, you can e-mail me at any time.

Bob, your story closely resembles mine. However, I think you are a bit older than I.

I am 22.

Hooked at age 8 by a Thunderbirds commerical. I joined CAP at 13, grabbed 23.0 hours in gliders, hot air balloons and 172 for a combined total of 350.00 bucks, and sniffed JP-8 for 5 years. I planned on going to the AF academy in hopes to land and F-16 slot and live a fighter jock life. Well God had different plans for mwah. In March of 1999 I started dating my wife, and things moved along fast for us and we ended up having a baby before we were married at the ripe age of 21, she was 20. That threw a monkey wrench in the works...Well, we got married in August of 2000 and I went to work. Had my son, Michael in Nov of 2000 and I enjoy every one of inquisical (sp?) faces and temper tantrums.

Struggling along with no sort of direction, working a 3-11 shift at Signature ORD, I got the break I was praying for. I got a hefty loan, quit my job and started flight training full time January '03. As of today, I am about 10 hours short of my Commercial Certificate, and I will be moving right into the ME, CFIA-I, and MEI right afterwards. I have an Instructing job lined up as soon as I get the CFIA-I.

That is as far as I am going to take the whole thought process, because I don't know what the Lord has in store for me these next few years, but it ought to be a bumpy ride. No autopilot on this airplane

Wow, those are some stories!!
Well here's my story if anyone is interested. It's not as interesting as the ones above that's for sure. I've been facintated with
airplanes all my life. Both of my Uncles are airline captains and my grandfather was a captain for Braniff so I guess it runs
in the family.
While growing up I always was more excited about the airline trip than I was about the trip itself. I made airplane models and
flew RC airplanes as well. I always had the dream to fly F-14's off of aircraft carriers, probably inspired by Top Gun!! Then for x-mas
1993 my parents bought me my private pilots license!! I was so excited. I got my private license a year later and then it was
time to head off to college. During college I didnt have money to fly and I got distracted with the other possible jobs in life.
I thought being a business man with an office would be cool and exciting. After changing majors 3 times I finally decided on
engineering as a major. I majored in mechanical engineering and got hired on with Boeing as a flight test engineer. The job
was ok. I got to fly in the jump seat of a 747-400 a total of 8 times during testing. That was a blast. During this time I also
started my MBA. The job was ok but I found myself bored most of the time. I had always dreamed of flying the airplanes and not
building them. I decided the desk job wasn't for me and that I wanted to fly for a living. I applied to Cessna Aircraft because
they have an excellent flying club with awesome rates ($36/hour 172R) and got the job last September. While I was at Cessna
I flew after work almost everyday and sometimes during lunch as well!! During that time I earned my instrument and commercial ratings
and started my CFI back in February. About 4 weeks ago I got laid off from Cessna because of downsizing and now I'm about 3 weeks
away from my CFI checkride.
So that's where I've been. As far as where to go from here......my plan is to get my CFI in a couple weeks and then find another
engineering job somewhere in the country. That way I can still have a decent income while obtaining my CFII - MEI while staying
out of debt. Then after saving up a good $6k or so I'll take the plunge into finding a CFI job and give my future students my
full attention while gaining hours. I think going to Alaska during that time may be a possiblity as well. I hear you can gain a lot
of multi time up there with very little total time to begin with. Once I have about 1500TT 200MT I'll start applying to the
regionals and the rest will be history!!!!

I think my ultimate goal would be captain for skywest or another good regional. I'm not sure if I'll take the leap for the majors or not.
It will be hard to give up that seniority number. I also wouldnt mind flying corporate for a good company.
So I guess after being stuck behind a desk for 2 years after college I decided I wanted to see more things and obtain the satisfaction
that comes from working for something. I believe the journey should be just as much fun as the destination.
Ok, my fingers are tired now....that's my story.....what's yours?
Being a professional pilot was never really on my radar. I have a masters in health administration (sort of an MBA for running hospitals etc.) and was working in Seattle for a mini Enron sort of place. (Half the people including the CEO are now gone). I lived with a Fed. Ex. pilot who has buddies at Alaska, United etc. and I was really attracted to their lifestyles. While he had maybe 10 days on, 10 DAYS OFF, I was busting my ass 6 days a week often with meetings at night and early mornings. So I shopped around a little in Seattle with the mindset that I wanted to learn how to fly but not necessarily drop 60K in the sun belt.

Moved to Oregon, got my private, fell in love. Working on my instrument now and hope to teach where I'm training. I'm just building the candidacy but not completely sure I want to fly professionally. There are so many more hoops to jump through than I ever imagined but I suppose if it were easy everyone would do it... I definitely want to teach so if I only fly recreationaly hopefully I'll have acquired enough experience to stay alive. However I'd love to jump on with Horizon or Ameriflight in town some day!!!!
I'm already with the airlines (for the moment), but I'll look back on how I got here.

I took my first flying lesson as a high school senior. It took me a little over a year to earn my private license (at TOC), which I earned between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I realized that having an instrument rating would make me a better and safer pilot, so I started slowly training for that at AHN.. At the time, I was also enrolled in college and working at a drugstore.

When I earned my instrument ticket, the FBO owner told me that if I got my CFI, I could work for him. This was really the first time that I had seriously thought about flying professionally.

I took about two quarters off from college and worked on my CSEL and CFI. I earned my CFI after slightly less than three years of flying and promptly went to work at AHN. I re-enrolled in college at the University of Georgia at the time and lived off student loans and the HOPE scholarship.

When I graduated from college in 1995, the industry was not in good shape, especially for someone with less than twenty hours of ME time (even though I had enough total time for an ATP). The few jobs that were out there required pay for training, which I could not bring myself to accept.

At that point, I had also been instructing for over two years while working on my degree. I worked and studied seven days per week with long hours. I was burnt out on flying.

I got a job in insurance and planned to fly enough to stay current. Eventually I joined the CAP where I became a Check Pilot and met several flying buddies. I also worked several other full time jobs in mortgages and insurance. I also owned a C150 for a couple of years. Through it all, I instructed part time, and for about a year I flew weekend forest fire patrols in a Georgia Foresty C182.

When my wife and I flew Delta to Miami for our honeymoon, the fire of commercial flying was rekindled. I started polishing up my resume and went to ALL ATPS at RDU for a weekend, ATP course which gave me a grand total of 22 hours multi.

After a bit of searching, I found a job instructing at FSA in VRB. The money and working conditions fell far short of what I had hoped, but I got my MEI and soon was adding that precious ME time to my logbook. To be fair, part of the problem was that I finished standardization shortly before 9-11.

It was through Flight Safety that I got my interview for my current job at ACA.

And it was all worth it.
Jeez, long stories!

Here's my short one, because It's too hot to sit at the PC for more than a few moments.

I started flying (as a passenger) at a fairly young age, 3 times before I was a year old. I think that had some doing, but I have no idea honestly! My mother was a travel agent when I was young, so she was always bringing home small toy and model planes. While it was rather limited, I had an early exposure to aviation.

I have honestly no idea when I first stated I wanted to be a pilot. I had always had a love for planes, suppose it outletted it's self when I got deeply involved in the simulation community when I was 11, I think the 2 years I was with it watered the seeds and created my strong desire to be a pilot.

While my certainty has had it's up and downs over the years, I have never felt like I did not want to fly. Doing fairly poorly in school (I'm in homeschool now, for about 2 more months) was probably not the smartest option, but it did open my brain to many options other than collegiate flying. When I was young and in the simulation community I was very targetted on going to Embry, but a few years of poor school and realizing that the cost was not worth the name, I have for the last year been looking at as many options as my brain can handle.

I first looked around SUNY (State University of New York) schools for aviation programs, I believe there are three schools, none of which I was overly interested in, especially after hearing an exceeding amount of advice not to get a degree in aviation.

I have looked over several different flight academies- all which sound great, but the pricetag is not something I can handle. While I am paying for my flying on 100% loans (it's the only way I will ever afford it), I don't want to go overboard. I spent about 4 months finding one program, going to my friend, saying "this looks great!", repeat, repeat repeat. I must have changed my planned school 100 times.

I came by luck to talk to a 1900 Capt. from XYZ, which was probably, as I'm standing now, an extremely important discussion. He told me simply; do not go to an academy, A part 61 school can do just as good for half the cost, some here would say duh, I would too, but I was still keeping my options open. I talked to him for awhile, he told me where he went to school and recommended a couple others, then he had an instant click and remembered ATP. He said several of his friends had gone there, and that is where he had wanted to go. Gave me the information for the website, and that's where my new target did (and does) lie.

Since then I have talked to a couple other people who have said ATP is a very good school and recommended it again to me when I mentioned it. Earlier this month, someone from the Airliners.net chat told me there was an ATP section on the forum over at JetCareers.com, and that's how I got here today.

I am currently planning, if plans ever work out, to go to ATP in the fall and start college next year- I am 17, and while traditionally I would start college this fall, I have for years planned to take one year off before starting college; to leave my self a window, explore the country, whatever I was able to do before I start. I want to be able to spend my time while in college building hours, instead of ever so crazily waiting until I graduate. I hope this works for me, god knows I've had my fair share of frustrations and stress before even starting to fly.

As the old saying flyers know "Ad astra per aspara" . Thanks to the pilots who have told me that and given me advice related. I think I will paint it on the first plane I own.

So okay, that was not so short- I am sorry
Keeping it short.....

-Went through Riddle with Doug and Copaman as roomies.

-Did first two years AFROTC in 89-90, but no pilot slots and maybe 1-2 NAV slots. Didn't want to sit in a Titan silo, so I dropped out.

-After grad, worked as a morning/afternoon traffic-report pilot for a PHX radio station for 2 years.

-Got a job flying cargo out of Chandler-Stellar field in C-207/PA-32/32R and upgraded to the PA-31 series; flew runs all around AZ and NM. 1.5 years.

--------Also enlisted in West Virginia Air Guard for extra money and a C-130 pilot slot. Slot start date kept getting deferred due to limited UPT -guard slots. Easy to travel via jumpseat from AZ to WV for drill.

-Got a job with Skywest/Scenic Air Cargo division out of PHX Sky Harbor starting out in the PA-31 and moved into the C-208 Grand Caravan. Hauled UPS all around AZ/NM/CA/ NV and UT. Got laid off in 97 when UPS went on strike.

-Got an OCS slot for active duty after a couple months unemployed. Had first applied in 1993. Still slim pickings for pilots at this time, but getting better.

-Gradded #70/72 from OCS at Maxwell AFB, AL but didn't give a rats a$$, since I had my pilot slot going in, and I just had to pass OCS as a formality, UPT was where I'd make my money. Was chastised for gradding so low in class when the other two pilot candidates were #1 and #2 in my class and I should "strive to follow their example".....both of them washed out of UPT.

-Did UPT at Laughlin AFB, TX. T-37 phase was simple. Got T-38 and fighter track out of Tweets. 38 track was simple. Got first choice of A-10. Went back to AZ for 3 months of A-10 training then 1 year to Korea and back to AZ again. Am up for another assignment shortly and am waiting to see which of my choices I get.

Great stories, all different.It seems as though I have a JC'er also from Port. Ore,Farewellbooth. Here's my story...
Once upon a time there was a boy from New York who loved airplanes so much that when he was 8 or so he would bike the seemingly long distance of 4 or 5 miles to LaGuardia to watch the airliners like Connies take off and land. I'm 49 now so those big four engine prop dinosaurs where still flying. Mom and Dad of course would never let me bike that far but I had the fever.
Then of course when I was out at our summer house next to Suffolk County AirForce Base on Long Island, I would make the long ride to watch the delta wings take off and land with chutes open. Very cool.
In 6th grade when someone told me I couldn't be a pilot because I just got glasses I gave up on the dream. In my late 20's I was set straight on that but was too busy gettin' high and partying to be able to do it.
In '95 I gave up the partying becase it was getting me nowhere and and decided it was time to aviate.
I went and trained at Pearson Airfield in Vancouver WA., got my PPL in 2000 and have been fling since. Became a member of the Oregon Pilots Ass.in 2000. Just got laid off off April 14 the day b4 my birthday and decided that I was going to go professional. Because my late start and age I'm doing the accelerated training and have pretty much chosen Flight Safety. I will tour this summer to see. Word of mouth says it's the best and all the forum info says it's great so we'll see.Matter of opinion somewhat and whats right for you but sounds good to me.
Hi guys! Great posts, really everyone has a great way of getting to that 777 cockpit. But here is my way of getting there. I'm now 16 turning 17 next month and I started training just after my 15th birthday. I knew this is what I wanted to do and seniority is a big thing in this career so the only to be ahead is to start early. I'm in Canada and so we here have a Recreational license which you can have at 16 and you can solo at 14 in Canada. I had got my recreational license requirements done before I turned 16 and on my 16th birthday I got my license. I continued to train and in January I got my private pilot flight test done, and the written. Now I have to wait to my birthday next month to get it signed off! Last year in the summer I got a job as the dispatched or the desk guy at my flight school! This was crucial as everybody who did this became an instructor as soon as they got their instructor rating! My plan is to finsish my Commercial Multi-IFR and instructor rating before I enter University at 18 so I can instruct part time and go to university this way I can earn my hours and graduate from University with my ATPL! I plan on taking Chemical Engineering as it seems fun and something good to fall back on. Well that's my story of getting there! I hope everyone succeeds in this career as it takes dedication and hard work! I work 5 days a week to pay for flight training, and my parents are low income it's hard on us but it'll be worth it. I still manage a 93 average all through highschool. Remember where there is a will there is a way! Good luck to everyone!

Always nice to see another Canadian at JetCareers. I never knew that you could solo at 14 in Canada, thats fairly young. I am from London, and would like to know where the hell Lonson is
. Where are you doing your training? I will be starting my PPL at Empire fairly soon.
Anyways, we can use some more Canadians here at JC.

started flying airplanes when I was 19 then I fiddledicked around till got my private when I was 21 then about 6 months after I got my private I started my other ratings and I picked them all (com. inst. cfi) before I was twenty two. Now I instruct pretty infrequently and I am going to try and cram 42 credit hours into the next year so I can get my basket weaving degree and start applying for AF and guard slots. I used to want to work for a regional but have totally changed my mind. All that appeals to me is being an officer in the military and flying every once in a while when they let me. I also won't mind getting a normal job without the politics and swings and away time of the airlines and just instructing 3-4 hours a week just for the love of flying.
Hey flycanuck! I am from london that was a typo, i fixed it, I'm at aero academy, just accross the street from you, are you on the UWO program? great to see my neighbour here, jeez what are the odds!
If you read my post you will see my path, or what I like to call my blueprint. The thread is Hi everyone. Tell me what you think. Please help me out.
I've been around aviation all my life really, my Dad was a glider instructor on the weekends and my Uncle is a flight instructor. So I always had an interest in aviation but until my final year in high school I didn't really think of it as a career path.

I took my Intro flight in 1995 and started flying lessons during the Easter school holidays of 1996. I had my PPL by the end of 1996 and started doing my Night Rating over the clearer summer months.

I completed my Night Rating and CPL over a reasonably long period due to lack of funds, 1997-1998. I went on a flight though and around Australia in a Mooney, to build hours for the CPL, which turned out to be a fantastic two weeks of sightseeing and talking to GA pilots all around the country.

I got my CPL in August 1998. Then didn't have a clue where to go from there, I thought about doing either an Instructor Rating or an Instrument Rating... I decided to go with the Instrument Rating and the initial plan was to head to the outback and get a job flying charter in a C210 or whatever! Well, I got the Instrument Rating in Dec, 1998 then followed that up with getting rated on a few twins (C310, Seneca and Partenavia) and after all that I decided not to head to the outback, I like my City living and lifestyle too much!

After months of saving and deliberation about whether I made the right choices about my career path, I realized I wasn't going to be able to get a job as a charter pilot in the city with a fresh CPL/IFR, so the Instructor Rating came into the picture again.
I started the Instructor course in late 1999, 6 weeks later I was on the market with a new rating and trying to find a job.

After 3 months searching for my break as an Instructor, things weren't looking too good, I saved enough to be able to afford my Instrument rating renewal, so I did it. After the de-brief and the stamp in my logbook, my Instructor told me to think about doing a type rating course on a B1900 that their flying school was offering! He gave me the spiel on the course... and a week later I signed up, a big risk at the time, and everyone thought I was nuts... but I believe that in aviation you have to make your own opportunities. The course included 50hrs paid line training with a local B1900 company.

After I did the course and passed the line training, and with only 350 hours total and a B1900 type, I started the search for a job. It wasn't going all that well at first, then after 4 months of hanging around and also being in the right place at the right time... I landed a casual slot on a B1900 as a First Officer!

Well, 3 years later I'm still there! Having accrued a total of 1800 hrs, 1200 hrs B1900, and a decent chunk of Navajo flying in there too. The flying is great, getting to see a lot of Australia most people will never get a chance to see, flying in all types of weather with a good bunch of pilots!
All the airline applications are out there now, so hopefully in the next year or two, I'll be able to update this with stories of an airline job!
Like many of you, I was an aviation geek as a kid. I LIVED the stuff and always wanted to fly someday.

Then came high school, sports, girls, and eventually - college. In college, I got sidetracked into thinking I wanted to be an attorney and completely lost sight of the aviation bug.

After graduating my B.A., I worked in Atlanta for two years in sales and then returned to Tampa and got my A.S. and became a Paralegal to (1) pay down the Private College undergrad, and (2) decide what kind of law I wanted to practice.

After 5 years of being a paralegal - I discovered I did NOT want to be an attorney.

Fast forward to five years of wandering and wondering "what do I want to be when I grow up?" - later ....

BAM - epiphany! - I always wanted to fly!!

So, here I am - doing the paralegal thing until I finish my ratings and begin instructing.

Where I end up is anyone's guess, but I'm loving it and look forward to wherever it takes me.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Ok...I think my story is a little bit different from most of ya'll. This is for those like me, who never chose the life they chose, who are still dying to see the day they are going to solo, whose dreams seem shattered and but only HOPE and the LOVE of AVIATION is keeping them alive. This is my tale:
I remember my Saturday afternoons when I was about 10 quite vaguely. My dad used to take us (me & my brothers) to a local airport just to sit by the balcony and watch the planes land, taxi, park, take-off etc.
To be honest, I dont really know why my dad took us to the airport so often, but when I think of it now, I just cant help strongly thinking that perhaps he'd wanted to be a pilot earlier in his youth.
Anyway, like any other average kid at school, when I was asked what my ambition was I would say, I wanna be a pilot/doctor.
The years went by and as I grew up I felt I needed to make a career decision. At that time I was only about 14 and everyone I spoke to seemed to have something negative to say about flying. Something like, "You can never be a Pilot unless you are an 'A' student" or "its a dangerous profession".
Since some of these negative comments were coming from people whom I trusted and who were older than me, I thought there was no way I was ever gonna make it. By the time I was 17 I had made some friends (2guys) who also shared the same dream. They told me and taught me a lot of staff I never knew regarding persuing a career in flying WE teamed up on how we would make dreams come true. They told me about their friend who had recently started training in Arizona. I started calling him for advice, guidance and just for inspiration sometimes. However, our luck never changed. 2 years ago I decided to go to college and do a degree.
Im in my 2nd year at the moment. When I qualify I in Aug 2004 Im going to be able to fund myself to fly.
These 3 years Im doing for my degree just seem like an eternity but thats what Ive decided to do and I just cant wait for the day I will solo.
Well, here is my story...

I had the flying bug before I can remember. Seriously. Before I could really speak, I was toting around a toy helicopter, calling it a "commyom." I didn't know words really yet, so that's kinda the word I created for it. That love for airplanes lasted throughout my childhood. I was always facinated by planes. Living under the visual approach paths for 31C at MDW, I was always looking into the sky.

In my sophomore year in HS, I joined CAP. That got me much more involved in flying. I went to Space Camp once, and Aviation Challenge twice. I even won Top Gun there. I flew gliders in CAP, and had great exposure to flying. Did some orientation rides in C-172s, Mooneys, and Cherokees. It was great.

So then came college. I applied to the USAF Academy, St. Louis University, ERAU, and University of Illinois. I also applied for an AFROTC scholarship. I turned down the Academy, and decided on SLU... then a month before college was to start, changed my mind to U of I and NROTC. That summer before college I was working ramp for ATA at MDW. Got to pushback a B727 which was cool! It was an AWESOME summer.

Here at college, I decided in freshman year to drop NROTC, and stay in civil aviation. Military just didn't interest me anymore at all. I worked for Trans States Airlines, which gave me HUGE exposure to the airlines, and also did an internship with Chicago Express Airlines. I got all my ratings here, from Private to MEI. Got to fly a BE-200 here, learned about BE-200 and ERJ systems, trained on the B737 at CAL in Houston, then came back to teach everyone here how to fly the B737 trying to create a class. I also have been helping teach ERJ systems.

So that brings me to today... I'm 2 weeks from graduation, and no flying jobs around really. I've applied a bunch of places for CFI, and nothing. Applied for charters, nothing. Cargo, nothing. Airlines... well Chicago Express called and wanted to know my availability for possible class dates this summer. So that right now is my only chance it seems... which I'm not complaining about! But it is giving me an ulcer, waiting for that phone to ring with SOME news. If that falls through, then I think I'm going to become a police officer for a while possibly. I'm working for our university police right now, and things have been going well. Some exciting stuff, some scary stuff... what I like about it is that in the interm, it would give me enough money to keep flying on the side, and it would keep me mentally and physically fresh. But for the next month it's application city for flying jobs. Hopefully by the grace of God something will turn up.

I'm just looking forward to the ride ahead. It's going to be a blast.