|I got talking to an old pilot who quoted me much, much lower rates for rental than exist now, and got me thinking I could get my commercial license for under 30 grand. I found out he was wrong.
It got me thinking, though, how many corners can I cut? I'm 24 working a low paying job in Toronto, spending my off time playing flight sims. If I were to study at least the ground school stuff on my own, would I be able to take the exams and pass, or would I require a certificate from a school to even attempt it? If I cut out basically all other frivolous spending in my life, I can probably manage an hour, maybe two a week. If I move into a crappier shared apartment, maybe more.
I tried to get into flight school when I was younger but my parents just didn't have the money, and I've never considered it since then. I was always a smart kid, but there wasn't any passion in me for anything else, and it really took the wind out of my sails to not be able to do what I wanted to so badly. There was a fixed wing aviation program in my town, but I couldn't do it, it wasn't where my heart was and flying planes had absolutely no appeal to me.. yet it was so much less expensive.
If I drop everything for this it's still a terrible idea, though, isn't it? I've heard that more young pilots are needed, especially for helos, but I'm seeing no evidence of it, no programs encouraging young people to get their wings, the industry seems dead-set on turning away newcomers at every opportunity. The barrier to entry is insane, and assuming I trickle money into learning over the next two or three years, it'll be another decade of struggling before I make any money, won't it? I can't help but feel like this work is for the rich or insane, I'm definitely not the former, and I'm thinking maybe this conflict going on in my head is evidence I'm not the latter either. For the last 5 years I've been a starving artist, barely making ends meet as I pursue work that I love, making good money when I get some, but never enough. It sounds like aviation is much the same, for the first.. long while, at least.