Career Path

Got a hot employment or interview tip to help a fellow aviator find a job or looking for a little job advice place your posting here.

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Puc
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Career Path

Post by Puc » Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:46 pm

Hello Everyone! I just discovered this website after about a week of online research on how to get into the aviation industry. It seems to be the best place to ask a few questions about what to expect. Let's start with an introduction of myself. I am 29 years old, always wanted to be a pilot but was not fortunate enough to find funding until now, came close about five years ago but slipped one pass the goalie and got my old lady pregnant... Anyways, I am now finishing up my electrical apprenticeship, hold a crane operator certificate, and have put aside enough money to cover at least 2/3rds of the training cost to get a CPL ME IFR (I figure about 50-55k for the whole thing). From what I understand this is the minimum to be able to get a job as a pilot. My questions are:
What kind of a job can I look forward to after completing my training? I understand it will probably be a step backwards from where I am financially right now but how much? Less then 40k? I have no idea what flying actually pays, just know enough that that's what I want to do. How much you make is also relevant to where you live, at about 60k I consider myself poor in Vancouver.
What are my chances of landing a job that gets me in the air right away? All the job ads I've seen for pilots with less then 250hr are working the ramp. At 29 and probably not getting my CPL until 31 I really feel the clock ticking, I would hate to lose time on the ground, would much prefer to go up north for a couple of years (I would actually love to go there) if opportunities are better there.
How about working abroad? I have a EU passport and I'm also quite flexible and adventurous, and so is my partner.... Soooo many questions but I'll stop for now.
Any further advice is welcome and much appreciated.

Thank you
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North Shore
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Re: Career Path

Post by North Shore » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:41 am

Lots of questions! HAve a look using the search function - that will give you a fair bit of info, as many of your questions have been asked before 8)

In general, though: with a bit of effort (road trip?), you should be able to get a seat. Your 'other skills' should help in that regard..first jobs can pay poorly - I started out at $1800/mo + room in '97. I doubt it's changed much since then.

No, 31 is not 'too old' ..you won't end up being a 25-year captain on the 787 at Air Canada, but you are not over-the-hill!

Abroad has its possibilities, but don't forget that there's a 29yo crane operator in the EU/Africa/Asia who's dreaming about flying also, and people generally prefer to hire 'locals'.

Are you *sure* that your partner is on board with this? Vancity is a great place to live (poverty issues notwithstanding :wink: ) and elsewhere can be less so, depending on your priorities...

Good Luck!
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Saxub
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Re: Career Path

Post by Saxub » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:27 am

I know lots of pilots who got started late 20's, myself included. If you can cut working for $25,000/yr for two years after flight school then go for it. After that, if you're creative you can find turbine jobs that pay well in the right seat or left seat light twins.
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Puc
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Re: Career Path

Post by Puc » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:29 pm

Well at $25,000 a year, it will definitely take some further discussion and planning with the wife, but not a deal breaker. She is definitely on board with a move to the north for a couple of years. Perhaps being a tradesman might help be bring some money on the side too, I'm no stranger to working over 60 hours a week.
What are your thoughts on flying floats? Could you make a career out of it? From what I understand it is a seasonal job here on the west coast, which would enable me to make some decent money in the winter. A career in Air Canada would not be something I'll turn down but I would be quite content making a decent living flying around BC some day.
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7ECA
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Re: Career Path

Post by 7ECA » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:44 pm

I'd say finish off that apprenticeship, and continue on to becoming a red-seal journeyman. There's great money to be made in the trades, certainly more than in aviation for a number of years. And, you've got a much more stable job in the trades - especially if you are unionized. I seem to recall journeymen are pulling close to $40/hr these days, and in the union you've got good benefits and a pension to look forward to on retirement.

My advice would be, pursue flying with recreation in mind instead of a career. Get your PPL, and fly as much as you can outside of work for fun. Get your float rating, tail wheel experience, and have fun. With a good paying job, your in a great position to be one of those guys in aviation who can afford to fly for fun, instead of just as a job.
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Saxub
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Re: Career Path

Post by Saxub » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:05 pm

I see posts like the above on this site quite often. I started flying late too, and left a great paying job with career progression to do it. Some people just want to do it as a career. Before flying commercially it was never really a recreational interest for me and in all honesty still isn't. It's a job... a GREAT one.

I pursued flying because I wanted to be a career pilot, and knew the downsides and salary trade offs in the beginning. So I'm basically saying not everyone wants to keep their normal job and fly on the side. Is being an electrician a good job? Absolutely. But not everyone wants to be working trades, or whatever they are doing for the rest of their life. Take a chance, chase your dream. There is no better time to get into the industry than right now.

When I wake up at 4am, am I grumpy and groggy? Sure. But when I'm flying and the sun rises, and everything around me is calm it makes me remember why I got into this. I don't regret a second.

Just my two cents.
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Puc
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Re: Career Path

Post by Puc » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:48 pm

I will definitely finish my apprenticeship and get my red-seal, it would be silly to give it up at the end, specially when it's basically free education. Perhaps even stick around the trade to get my FSR, whilst working on my CPL. Having hobbies is great but if I have a chance to make a career out of one, I'll take it, and since hiking, rock climbing, and snowboarding don't hold much potential I'll put my money (like the majority of it) on flying. :D
As a great man once said "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Let's not get all hyped up though I haven't even gone for my class 1 medical, this career might not even be an option for me :roll:
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bigEh
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Re: Career Path

Post by bigEh » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:44 pm

I started flying at 29 with a lot of the same questions you had. I did about 6 months of researching/thinking/convincing myself before I started my training. There was acouple times during training where I thought I might quit when I looked at my debt accumulating. It took me a year and half to finish my CPL and float rating. I didn't bother with the multiIFR. I wanted to fly floats. Once I was finished I took an oil job in Alberta and made money for 6 months and to pay down the debt. Lived as frugally as possible. I was lucky that the oil prices were super high and getting that job was easy and the money was great. During those 6 months I was sending resumes and phoning constantly.
I got really lucky in my first job, moved up North and started to fly right away. And I've slowly moved up and gained more experience and started to make more and more money. Debt is paid off. I did my Multi during one winter while laid off for a couple months and then did the IFR the next winter.
My girlfriend didn't move up with me so we did the long distance for a couple years. It will probably make it easier if you have someone with you. So that's a bonus.
It can certainly be done. I have had some great times and some really shit days. But I did in other jobs as well. Except my great days now are really really great. I get to fly around for a living.
And if you complete your apprenticeship it will help you up north. There is always a need for people with skills like yours. If you get laid off you could stick around and do work around town. Or get a temporary job down south.

There are lots of different ways to move up in this industry. Lots of it has to do with luck, but most of it, IMO is based on your work ethic and ability to get along and make friends.

Finish your apprenticeship and do training at the same time. It's totally possible.
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Re: Career Path

Post by EPR » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:23 pm

Get your red seal, your ratings and apply to North wright Airways in Norman Wells, you'll make a killing working on the side in your trade and time from ramp to check-out is fairly short, not to mention excellent flying experience!
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