Feasibility of flying while in university

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Feasibility of flying while in university

#1 Post by +RA » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:20 pm

Hello,

From what I understand, many bush/float operators do the majority of their flying within a fairly specific season during the summer. What is the viability of completing university classes on the side during the winter? Does anyone have any sort of experience in this regard?

Thanks
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#2 Post by oldncold » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:35 pm

Very good if you can find the right operator , recently met a sharp young pilot and after talking a bit found out he is starting 2nd yr mech engineering in sept,at a well known respected Canadian University . He was hoping to get on here as the operator is biz is busy from may long weekend till mid august but after that slows down . He is a hard worker and rolling drums ,flying 300hrs a season etc.,said "is a good way to stay connected to the real world compared to all the academics" the other 9 months .

Most bush tourism /fishing operators will support you knowing that you will be back for 4 years. Something that is getting harder to find good people willing to do that it ,as takes time to build rapore with their seasonal fishing guests. . Be up front about school start dates etc . expect to be dockhand season one ,ck out season for 2 n fly 180- 185 then maybe beaver season 3 otter season 4. Should have enough saved cash to pay for tuition in books, beer is your problem,lol. With a degree n 1200 1700 hrs pic after 4 yrs you probably will feel like family to the operator. the world may beat a path to your door NO GUARANTEE of course but you are a leg up on the rest. I wish you GOOD LUCK with you choices.hope that helps. :D 8)
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#3 Post by CLguy » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:39 am

Great way to go. Know lots of guys over the years that went that route. They are now business owners, airline captains etc.

Good luck
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#4 Post by xsbank » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:38 am

I did uni. For 6 years while I firebombed. Sometimes I started a bit late in the Fall but I got 'er done. Only p*ssoff was I missed my own grad. as it was in June and they didn't give us time off back then.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#5 Post by +RA » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:57 pm

Thanks for the input from all posters.

I'm glad to hear that the joint piloting-university route is not just within the realm of possibility, but actually is a fairly good option.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#6 Post by +RA » Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:16 pm

Hello,

To supplement my original question, I'm curious as to whether I will be able to get a job outside the hiring months for the summer float season.

As a result of school, I won't be able to do a road trip until late June/early July. I plan on trying to find a job on the dock in northern Ontario or Manitoba. Will most of the hiring be complete by this time, or is there a reasonable chance of me being able to find a job somewhere working on a dock?

Thank you for your time
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#7 Post by xsbank » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:34 pm

I was well-established in my flying career before I went back to school so I did it differently than you. Your barriers are much higher (although I was married with 2 kids and a house so my barriers were, well, pretty high).

It can be done.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#8 Post by Adam Oke » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:39 pm

A good friend of mine did his CPL and worked as a float pilot while doing a degree in engineering. The float flying paid for the degree, and by the end of 4 years he was sitting happy in a Beaver with about 2000 hours and a degree in hand. If you want a degree, this is the smartest way to do it IMO. Not for the faint of heart!

As for the road trip -- start applying to places NOW. Fire off those email's and pick up the phone. Don't wait until June/July to look for a job as that is getting late in the season. You will likely get picked up by someone if you are diligent enough.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#9 Post by +RA » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:04 pm

Thanks for the advice from both of you.

I realize this may be a difficult path to follow as I'd have to look for a fairly specific job. That being said, I'm willing to work hard to make this work, and if it doesn't end up working out, at least I've tried.

I'll start sending out resumes ASAP.

If anyone has any suggestions as to places to work where they're more lenient in terms of duration of season so to fit outside the university semesters, I'd certainly appreciate it.

Thanks
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#10 Post by goldeneagle » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:36 pm

I did the degree, flying in the summer to pay for it, back in the early 80's. Worked well for me. I started with an operator that had a couple floaters, and 4 more at the airport, two of which were used for the school. I had the cpl and instructor rating by the time I finished high school. The place I worked at also ran a bunch of fishing camps on various lakes, primitive plywood cabins. During the summer, things were really busy there, but the work load fell off sharply after the labour day long weekend, fishing camps slowed, and fire patrols were pretty much dried up. They found my schedule to be ideal, because it meant nobody got an early layoff slip at the start of september. I'd come in when spring semester was done, just about the time ice was coming off the lakes. Two of us and the owner would start the season, and the 'other guy' was confident of having the full season, because everybody knew I was leaving at the end of August. It was a win/win all around, owner could scale back staff when things started to slow down, and I went back to school.

Is the concept feasable, very much so. Been there, done that, got that t-shirt. Flying in the summer, school in the winter, got lotsa fond memories of those days.

As an aside, for somebody wanting to stick with the cockpit for a lifetime, it may not be a wise decision. In my case, after some years, when my priorities changed, and feeding a family became a higher priority than flying an airplane, that education gave me lots of options, one of which I took. Tripling my income overnight, by simply changing jobs, was a welcome change in that home at the time. I've never looked back.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#11 Post by +RA » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:03 pm

goldeneagle, thank you for the insight. I'm glad to hear that a joint university-flying avenue is practicable and that you yourself had success doing it. I too hope to find a company where my schedule can be mutually beneficial for me and the employer.

Thanks for the side note as well. The fact I may be persuaded to pursue a higher paying job later in my life due to my degree is something I haven't thought about, but something I'll certainly have to take into consideration.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#12 Post by currysonic » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Hi Ra+

I had to drop university in favor of getting the finances and work done for CPL. I also hope to find something like that you are doing in 2015 to help finish my degree (Takes around 3 years for me).

I sincerely wish you all the best!!!
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#13 Post by +RA » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:35 pm

Hi currysonic,

Thank you - best of luck to you as well.

This certainly isn't an easy route but hopefully it'll be one that'll pay off in the end.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#14 Post by +RA » Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:35 pm

Sorry to bring this thread back.

For financial planning purposes, roughly, what'd be the salary someone could expect to earn per May 1st - Sep 1st season, with the first one on the dock, then hopefully flying floats the next four seasons thereafter?

Thanks!
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#15 Post by rigormortis » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:59 pm

+RA:
The money will never be enough. (Is it ever?) If you go flying for the university summers it will be for fun, responsibility and outrageous adventures.
I did it for 5 years 1969 on starting in Kenora rolling barrels, then Ball Lake doing the minnow run, then Kenora and Red Lake and finally to Gods Lake Narrows with Beaver. OCA and Taylor Airways. I started at $300/month and ended up at $1200/month. Not nearly enough to pay for schooling but great times. Wages have changed but so has tuition.
There can be a slight division between you, a part-time uni guy and the full-time career boys but common sense will pull you through. You will need lots of that in any case flogging around NW Ontario/Manitoba.
Do it anyway. You will love it.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#16 Post by slob driver » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:43 am

Hey there +Ra,

I echo the sentiments of everyone here. This is a very doable situation.
In '97 as I was finishing my 2nd year of university, I was able to score my first job as a dockhand. And later on, because of a professor's fascination with all things flying, I was able to do a course that was taylor made just for me to finish off my degree a bit early.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
As well, the study habits that were acquired when studying for my degree have paid off in my career time and time again. Every little edge that you can give yourself is important.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#17 Post by Mr. North » Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:11 pm

I don't want to take away from what has been said here but I'm left wondering how everyone afforded it? I tried the same thing and after two seasons I just couldn't afford to keep going. I completed the 2 year college course, paid for half, carried the rest. Started on the dock making 2k a month. 3k after three seasons... What I made during the summer barely paid tuition, never mind cost of living for the rest of the year. I baulked at the idea of packing on more debt so I left and started flying full time. Debt free now and have my own place so I don't regret my decision but I still think about it. Would be nice to have the added security of a university education but the additional debt load...? How many guys here went this route and graduated debt free?

A senior float pilot could command enough money to afford this but even then it would be tight!
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#18 Post by Illya Kuryakin » Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:48 pm

Got into instructing before going to uni. Paid my tuition from my instructing job. Ate a Hell of a lot of KD! Did the fire patrol gig during the summer months.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#19 Post by slob driver » Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:02 pm

Two Words for me: Student loans. Flying isn't cheap, and neither is university. But with the help of RBC and the government, I was able to get all my ratings and a degree in 4 years. I was able to pay off all the loans in full once I started flying king air 2.5 years after graduating from school. It isn't a path for the faint of heart. But I doubt that any career worth having is going to have an easy path.
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Re: Feasibility of flying while in university

#20 Post by +RA » Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:01 pm

Thank you for the words of encouragement.

To answer Mr. North's question, I have been fortunate enough to have had a very well paying part-time and summer job for the past four years, allowing me to save up a decent amount of money. Along with possible scholarships and some money saved by my parents, I don't anticipate going too far into dept going this route; however, it is helpful to know the expected salaries for a seasonal float pilot for financial planning.

Thanks again everyone for the help!
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