I'm a 38 years old IT engineer and I've just started my PPL training.
All the news articles about the pilot shortage (kind of confirmed by my school instructor) and an ongoing mid-life crisis, made me think seriously about the career change which would be the achievement of a life-long dream.
I've seen the threads here and there about the shortage and the type of jobs you can expect as the newly licensed pilot, and I try to manage my expectations but I may be willing to take the risk. Or at least I give me a few months to think about it.
For now, I try to focus on my PPL but I can't help me to start planning for the next step (if any). I'm wondering if, once my PPL obtained, I should invest 100% in my flight training ( find a financing and quit my job for 1 year or so) or I should keep my 9 to 5 job and follow the CPL cursus part time (meaning flying only the weekends).
My instructor tells me that I can totally do it part time but how much time will this realistically take me. Also I'm wondering if I should "accelerate" it in order to try to fly professionally as soon as possible given my advanced age
Thanks for your advices.
There is an industry wide pilot shortage at all levels, so it's a good time to be getting into the industry. Given that, it would be ideal to get to an employable position as soon as possible. However, you do have to live. You don't want to get burned out before you even start working in the industry.
It all depends on your financial situation. From an educational standpoint, the more often you can fly the better your experience will be and the faster you will complete your training and become employable. Even though there is a pilot shortage, it can still be tough to get a job straight out of flight school. These days, getting to 500 hours unlocks a lot of opportunities but you have to get there and financially that be tough on people. Generally you will finish your flight training with 250-300 hours. The rest has to come from somewhere. Either you pay out of pocket, or you get an instructor rating (which costs more money but almost guarantees you a job these days) or you work up north. If you have a family, the move up north can be a deal breaker. Instructing gives you the opportunity to live in civilization while building hours and making enough money for KD everyday. If you work hard as an instructor you can be flying for a regional within 12-18 months after becoming an instructor.
If you do decide to take out a loan and quit your job, do it in the spring. You'll be able to fly a lot more then, then you will over the next few months.
Good luck with your path and remember to have fun along the way!
- think long and hard about this change. You have to really want this. You have to be truly passionate about flying because doing it for the novelty will make your endeavour very short lived
- I suggest you continue with the PPL part time as you keep that job. Or at least find a job that offers you a little more flexibility in terms of hours - - if you can keep both that's great but it will take you much longer. Go the instructing route - - I recommend it to everyone. It's the best job I ever had.
- Know when you need to stop flying and take a day or two off from it - - the fatigue from a busy instructor schedule in addition to another job and family adds up. You need to give yourself a break.
I have also changed careers in my late 20s. I personally regret it a bit (especially from a financial point of view), but I don't know if I could go back to my old job. I did my training part time as well and worked in parallel. It took me almost 3 years. Given that you're 38, the financial rewards will not be there for at least 5 - 10 years (if you're lucky).
My answer to you is: (starts with two questions) "Do you have a family? (spouse / kids?)" and "Does your spouse make good money?"
If my spouse didn't have a well paid career I would have never been able to do this, especially having kids. So, if you are the main provider, forget it. Don't even bother with aviation, mate! It's a sad truth. I make 40K a year... + per diems (- taxes) = f*ck all at the end...
If you're single and really love aviation, go for it. There are a lot of things to do to scratch that midlife crises "itch"... Buy a convertible, get a motorbike, maybe a 25 year old girlfriend (Disclaimer to the easily offended: THAT WAS A JOKE!)
Back to serious business. You need to be financially disciplined and have support of your family if you're to embark on this journey.
The good news is: The aviation job market is really good now, but for the experienced pilot... or the flexible one for that matter.
Anyhow working monday-Friday full time and training in the evenings works for me, i spent the summer doing hour building and now in the shorter evenings i am back with my instructor doing instrument work.
This is a good thread though and it will be interesting to see how some of us later in life career changers progress. Best of luck to everyone