Flight training and Career change

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TomSoda
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Flight training and Career change

#1 Post by TomSoda » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:33 pm

Hi everyone,

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 :D

Thanks for your advices.
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ctmorawetz
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Re: Flight training and Career change

#2 Post by ctmorawetz » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:02 am

Congratulations on making that decision! I'm sure it was tough but I think you'll look at it and think it was a great decision.
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!
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maturepilot83
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Re: Flight training and Career change

#3 Post by maturepilot83 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:29 am

You asked great questions. I'm a career changer as well and a current flight instructor who is not too much younger than you are. A couple of tips:

- 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.
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HansDietrich
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Re: Flight training and Career change

#4 Post by HansDietrich » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:58 am

All great responses.

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 :D (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.
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Deves
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Re: Flight training and Career change

#5 Post by Deves » Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:22 am

I am in the same boat. I should have done it years ago but joined the army instead. Have always wanted to be a pilot for a career. With a wife and kids now it seems like this wont ever happen. Almost completed my PPL and bought a Older Piper Cherokee 140 to lower the cost of flight training. Once im done I will sell it, after cleaning it up with a new interior and paint and make a few bucks more I hope. I have a bunch of friends in the industry and they all say to go for it. Only one major road block. (WIFE). I understand her point of view. Out of the army now at 33 and Almost finished a Apprenticeship as an electrician . Going to use the electrician gig as a side gig to make extra cash!
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Roarjo
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Re: Flight training and Career change

#6 Post by Roarjo » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:46 am

Hi...similar story here. I am 34, i am an engineer but i lost my job 2 years ago and had to go into another industry as there were no jobs in my field....which is not anything to do with engineering. Anyhow i had my PPL, and my intention was to always get my CPL. I probably should have went for it more 7-8 years ago when i was in engineering but i kept listening to other people who said i was mad to leave my "great engineering job" even though i hated it and all i wanted to do was be a pilot. Anyhow i have taken out a small loan and i my current job offers me good flexibility, i finish work at 4:30 and im in a plane at 6 pm whenever the weather is good. Its going great at them moment, i study for the CPL and INRAT in the evenings when the weather is bad, and i fly on the evenings when it is good. I have a very supportive wife who has a good stable job and is on good money, she knows this is what i always wanted to do.
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
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