DC10Widebody
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Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 09, 2007 6:10 pm

I really wasn't sure where to post this so I hope this is an ok forum, I apologize if it isn't.

Until recently I wasn't entirely sure that becoming a pilot was going to be an option for me. I have recently come into some money and I can afford flight school completely. I am in college right now pursuing a non aviation related field. I have worked for a large corporate bank for four years and I am a pretty stable individual, I am 24, in good shape; no health problems and have no criminal background. I can't think of any reason that would bar me from becoming a commercial airline pilot. I have been reading about all the projections for shortages of pilots around the world etc in the years to come.....it seems like something that I could do. I have a couple of concerns here though, first off I am wondering about the personal implications of being away from home and what it does to your romantic and family relationships. Also, I am responsible now but I have some blemishes on my credit report, I have read books in the past (one book in particular) said that airlines could look at your credit to judge you; as I said everything is good now but could this hurt me? Those are the two things I am thinking about right now, but any other possible pit falls and cautions are greatly appreciated. Or can think of any possible setbacks I need to watch out for, I would really value any input!

Thank you in advance,
-L
Cheers thanks a lot.
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 09, 2007 7:15 pm

Tough question, but I will try to give you my perspective.

I knew from the age of about 4 I wanted to be a pilot. I was planned my education around that desire and was fortunate enough to succeed. I had a AFROTC Scholarship, got my PPL when I was 16. When I graduated from University went to UPT and got my first choice of aircraft to fly. Spent 10 years in the military and loved every day of it. Sadly, my ex-wife didn't and we were divorced just after 3 years of the military. Luckily several years later I met and married a women who was a military brat. I entered commercial aviation about 25 years ago and it's been very good to me.

However, I have three children one who is in his second year at Uni. They've asked me for my opinion on careers and I've told them if I had to do it all over again in today's world I wouldn't. I'd be in a completely different profession.

My own opinion is the profession has continually been eroded over the years. The erosion has happened in many areas, pay, benefits, working conditions, saftey, Captain's authority, the list is endless. It is hard on the families too. Don't plan on having Christmas or any big holidays off, children's birthdays become a thing of the past, especially when you're junior.

When you apply to an airline you grant them the right to look at your credit file, I don't know if they do. It's really irrelavant and I've never heard of a problem with someone not getting hired. They're more concerned about speeding tickets and DWI/DUI issues.

Setbacks face you every day. The biggest one is the medical. One bad exam can ruin your career. I know several people who have had that happen. It's not a great experience.

Just my thoughts, if I were you I'd look elsewhere.
Fly fast, live slow
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 09, 2007 8:07 pm

When I was young I longed to be a pilot, but in my day the only way to the airlines was through the military and the military would not accept anyone for flight training who wore glasses, and I have worn glasses since age 10, even though my corrected vision has always been somewhat better than 20/20. I therefore did not pursue it; but I got my private license in my 30's. PhilSquares brings up some excellent points; consider them carefully, he has been there. As to the credit issues, if you are now responsible and keep that way I'm sure it will not be an issue. It will be a while before you are applying for a job and if you maintain a good record your past will not be held against you. One suggestion: if you ever defaulted on anything and are in a position to make it right now, do so, even if you are not legally required to. It will make you feel better about yourself if nothing else. In any case, good luck!
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
pilotpip
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:15 pm

Being at the bottom of the aviation world (CFI) sucks. The pay is terrible, I work very long hours and I have a second job to make ends meet. I plan on moving to a regional in the near future but to be honest the only things that will see improvement are a little bit of time off and I'll finally be able to pay my bills, but that's about it. It's a long road.

I took a year away from flying to see if there was anything else I liked to do and it ultimately came back to the fact that everytime something with wings went over I looked up and wished I was flying that instead of doing whatever I was doing.
DMI
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 09, 2007 11:23 pm

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 3):
I took a year away from flying to see if there was anything else I liked to do and it ultimately came back to the fact that everytime something with wings went over I looked up and wished I was flying that instead of doing whatever I was doing.

When you come down to it, that is the most important thing. Chances are you'll spend the largest number of hours of your waking life in your chosen profession; if you can do that doing something you love doing you will have the best chance of being happy. That is far more important than money. I am fortunate in that while I would have loved to be a pilot, I did find something else that I love.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 12:50 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 2):
if you ever defaulted on anything and are in a position to make it right now, do so, even if you are not legally required to.

Yes and no. Say you defaulted on $200 with a credit card or something 3 yrs ago. Leave it- don't touch it. The longer the account goes without being touched, the better- once 7 yrs comes, it's off. If you pay it off it'll show new activity and the deragatory things are still there.

Just a suggestion. Like they said,

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
2H4
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 1:05 am



You might be able to have the best of both worlds.

You could pursue a career that you enjoy, and that allows you extra time and money. Then you could purchase an aircraft of your own and go nuts with your new hobby.....traveling, working toward advanced ratings, etc.

You could also pursue a career that allows you to incorporate aviation into your job duties. For example, if you became a consultant, you (or your business) could purchase an aircraft to be used for business-related travel.


2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
113312
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 1:09 am

It is interesting that you are concerned that you have less than perfect credit and yet you are considering placing all of your economic future in the hands of corporations, most of which, are not financially responsible. For most airline pilots today, the biggest downside to an airline career is economic uncertainty. People used to aspire to the airlines for a top paycheck, travel, prestige, and job security. Most of those reasons are not part of the picture today.

It is most difficult to sustain personal relationships unless they are with partners who truly understand the business. However, some airline situations can provide a nearly normal lifestyle if you choose your residence and company with that in mind (if you even have a choice). But, sacrifices will always be made either in pay ranges or family activity.

Do not be a dreamer. If you like airplanes and like to fly, then an aviation career might be for you so long as you understand all of the trade offs. I get great satisfaction from being a master at my craft. But, over a span of 30 years, I've been employed by 10 companies, had many economic ups and downs, much unemployment time, and have not been able to have a family.

Consider your priorities carefully and be realistic in your expectations.
 
ShyFlyer
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 2:28 am

Also keep in mind that the airlines are not the only game in town. There's air ambulance providers (both fixed and rotary wing) and corporate flying out there.
I lift things up and put them down.
 
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SEPilot
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 4:47 am

Actually, the best pilot jobs are probably with the freight companies. I have one friend who flies for FedEx and one who flies for UPS, and both are doing very well and love their jobs.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
lowrider
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 12:05 pm

Quoting DC10Widebody (Thread starter):
I am in college right now pursuing a non aviation related field.

I would finish that degree, no matter what.

Quoting DC10Widebody (Thread starter):
first off I am wondering about the personal implications of being away from home and what it does to your romantic and family relationships.

They call it AIDS. Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome. Many have been through it. You significant other needs to have a clear understanding as to what they are getting into. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are when you make them, and have little relation to a calender. If you are going to have a significant other, they need to be fairly independent, trustworthy, and trusting. It also helps if they are not tightly tied to a particular location. I married a great airline wife. They are hard to find. You also have to be comfortable with a relative lack of financial security. If you are going to be fiscally successful, you need a high tolerance for risk, the ability to retain cash, and a higher than normal aversion to debt.

Quoting DC10Widebody (Thread starter):
said that airlines could look at your credit to judge you;

As long as you don't have any recent bankruptcies or currently deliquent accounts, you should be fine.
Proud OOTSK member
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 3:45 pm

As far as I am concerned the upsides outweigh the downsides. The downsides are you will be away from your family for alot of the time, you will work for minimum pay, you will work long hours and it is a long steep hill to climb. The upsides are you get to fly (alone this makes it a winner for me), the top end is good with time off, though pay is not that great anymore (in Canada for a captain on AC you are looking at a top end around the $200,000, which has decreased substantially from where it was) but it is still better then many jobs, you can choose where you want your layovers (seniority) and when working an airline job you get the awsome travel benefits. As far as I am concerned the fact that I can go fly an airplane will keep me satisfied... I would rather fly an airplane making 10 bucks an hour for long shifts and never get to see a family, then work at a office job or somewhere where you get paid 35 bucks an hour work flexible hours when you want and get to be home every night, for me its about the flying.

With aviation rember that while the low end is really low the high end is better then alot of other jobs out there so it is a trade off. Either way good luck, and good luck with your flight training.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
mrocktor
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 10, 2007 9:14 pm

Keep in mind that your career advancement will be based on seniority and politics, not on your skill, ability or work ethic.
 
320tech
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 9:00 am

Being a commercial pilot is kind of like making it in professional sports. For every player who makes it to the NHL/NFL/MLB, etc, there are hundreds or thousands who have the dream but never make it past the minors. That's not to say it can't be satisfying, of course, but $200,000 is something most commercial pilots will never see (unless you add up ten years' paycheques  Smile ).

I never flew commercially, but I have a private licence. Aviation as a hobby can easily take over your life in a way that I've never seen with anything else. The downsides are that you'll spend a ton of money, and 97% of females will think you're, at best, a nerd. But it's still worth it.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
 
PGNCS
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 9:14 am

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 11):
I would rather fly an airplane making 10 bucks an hour for long shifts and never get to see a family, then work at a office job or somewhere where you get paid 35 bucks an hour work flexible hours when you want and get to be home every night, for me its about the flying.

After looking at you age I believe you are sincere. You will very likely not feel this way when you are 40.

I would never recommend the career. Ever.
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 10:15 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 14):
After looking at you age I believe you are sincere. You will very likely not feel this way when you are 40.

I sent you a PM but that is how our family is.

Quoting 320tech (Reply 13):
I never flew commercially, but I have a private licence. Aviation as a hobby can easily take over your life in a way that I've never seen with anything else. The downsides are that you'll spend a ton of money, and 97% of females will think you're, at best, a nerd. But it's still worth it.

Aviation can take over, and "fortunately" I have been hit by the bug. I just got home from the airport, and I will be going flying again tomorrow, VERY expensive but hey when I am up in the air, nothing else maters. As far as the females... If you take them flying, show up with the Ray Bans have some fun (rolls etc) there is a decent chance of having a fun "de-brief" or join the MHC (P.S. a 152 is not the best for MHC activities and I am 6'4 I dont know how I pulled it off).

Quoting 320tech (Reply 13):
of course, but $200,000 is something most commercial pilots will never see

From seeing lots of relatives and friends of the family who work for AC as pilots, it is very do able my ex-stepdad is the captain on the 340/330, soon going over to the 77W/77L and let me tell you that figure is defiantly within reach once you get your mainline job.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
pilotpip
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 10:17 am

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 11):
As far as I am concerned the fact that I can go fly an airplane will keep me satisfied... I would rather fly an airplane making 10 bucks an hour for long shifts and never get to see a family, then work at a office job or somewhere where you get paid 35 bucks an hour work flexible hours when you want and get to be home every night, for me its about the flying.

Please stay out of the industry. Those feelings are the reason that they can get away with paying so little. You won't have much hope of having a family, a life, or being able to see the places you're shuttling people to and from. Oh yeah, you're on the road too, how are you going to afford eating on that $10 an hour?
DMI
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 10:37 am

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 11):
I would rather fly an airplane making 10 bucks an hour for long shifts and never get to see a family, then work at a office job or somewhere where you get paid 35 bucks an hour work flexible hours when you want and get to be home every night, for me its about the flying.

And then you turn 30. Not to sound too avuncular from the ripe pedestal of 35 with a wife and two very cute young daughters, but you will probably feel differently in a while.

I'm not a pilot but I have done the 125k miles/year, 200 travel days dance. A rush in some way, but a drag in others.

I recommend you chase your dreams but don't settle for 10 bucks an hour in the long run.  Wink
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 11:12 am

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 16):
Please stay out of the industry. Those feelings are the reason that they can get away with paying so little. You won't have much hope of having a family, a life, or being able to see the places you're shuttling people to and from. Oh yeah, you're on the road too, how are you going to afford eating on that $10 an hour?

To be honest I was making a point I would not be at all satisfied with the employer if I was getting paid that low treated like crap etc. I would demand that respect is given to me however what I more or less was mentioning that I would rather work for less in an aviation job then in an office job, obviously I failed to convey that but none-the-less thats what I ment. I will not work for anyone who does not respect me as a professional pilot enough to treat me like how I feel I should be treated, I was just making the comparison.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 17):
And then you turn 30. Not to sound too avuncular from the ripe pedestal of 35 with a wife and two very cute young daughters, but you will probably feel differently in a while.

This is how I grew up both my mom and my step-dad where in the industry. To me this is how my life has always been so I do not think that it will be a shock to me. My mother has been an f/a and step-dad a pilot, I have been born and raised with parents that sometimes miss special sporting events, birthdays, holidays etc. However I feel this has benefited me as a person, as I believe that I know do more things for myself, I can take care of anything I could ever want, where other people my age 19-22 ish are still living at home getting home cooked meals etc. But as I was saying for me anyways it is a way of life, I do not see the other side because this is how I have been brought up.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
EssentialPowr
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 11:59 am

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 16):
Please stay out of the industry.

Chalk one up for newbie!

I don't kow how many people that have responded here are career pilots, but I would offer this: if you are more concerned about the lifestyle than the actual career, not only should you not consider the career but you should recognize the fact that you won't end up as an airline pilot. Bumping around in a C172 for $10/hr, just to go to a regional that, at the moment is solid but will always be subcontacted...

You have to be more willing to fly than anything, and I see more "career ambiguity" in you than willingness to be a pilot. That may sound harsh, but it takes a tremendous amount of perserverance to make it to the majors, and that is the only financially feasible (and drastically dwindling) option in this career. Many, many regional pilots will never make it to the majors after a huge investment in time and $$...

Glamorous; it's not.

[Edited 2007-05-11 05:03:12]
 
PGNCS
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 1:34 pm

Quoting Essentialpowr (Reply 19):
Glamorous; it's not.

 checkmark 
 
SB
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Fri May 11, 2007 4:06 pm

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 20):
Glamorous; it's not.

Absolutely. But the view of our planet, or seeing an endless sunset from several thousand feet, and the sense of freedom that comes with lift off is hard to match, and that's why I'm in it. I know I won't have much of a family, or a steady life but I don't care.

People who do care should think really hard before taking the step, there are many other jobs, even in aviation, that are less taxing on ones self and ones family.

S.
"Confirm leave the hold and maintain 320kts?!"
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 3:50 am

Quoting SB (Reply 21):
But the view of our planet, or seeing an endless sunset from several thousand feet, and the sense of freedom that comes with lift off is hard to match, and that's why I'm in it. I know I won't have much of a family, or a steady life but I don't care.

I guess that's what makes people. The smile on my 11 year olds faces when she sees me or when I am hi audience and can watch her performance, or hen I can attend my son's sports tournament and watch games, that's when it's all worth wile for me....or when my 20 year old Son who is in Uni in the UK tries to hit me up for 100GBP. Even that's worth it.

I love watching the sun set while you're going to SYD, there nothing than having your eyes burned out on the arrival to HNL where you get in 7 hours prior to your departure time.

But it's all been good, but for me it's quality of MY life. I've seen too many pilots in the military and in the civilian side who are trapped in their profession. They're not safe, they are not happy. It's just another thing you have to deal with in the cockpit. Give me a junior fist officer, they know their stuff and it's my responsibility to translate that into flying skills.
Fly fast, live slow
 
YWG
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 4:06 am

Quoting 320tech (Reply 13):
and 97% of females will think you're, at best, a nerd

I beg to differ....

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 15):
As far as the females... If you take them flying, show up with the Ray Bans have some fun (rolls etc) there is a decent chance of having a fun "de-brief" or join the MHC (P.S. a 152 is not the best for MHC activities and I am 6'4 I dont know how I pulled it off).

I'm surprised the shift in the C of G didn't bring you down in that little thing  Wink I'm 6' 7", and I dare not even try it in a 172
Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 6:16 am

Quoting 320tech (Reply 13):
and 97% of females will think you're, at best, a nerd.

So true...

Quoting YWG (Reply 23):
I beg to differ....

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 15):
As far as the females... If you take them flying, show up with the Ray Bans have some fun (rolls etc) there is a decent chance of having a fun "de-brief" or join the MHC (P.S. a 152 is not the best for MHC activities and I am 6'4 I dont know how I pulled it off).

So he got lucky and ran into the remaining 3%. I always end up meeting the 97% somehow  banghead 
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 2:24 pm

Quoting YWG (Reply 23):
I'm surprised the shift in the C of G didn't bring you down in that little thing

HAHA yea well it was not too bad... just slide over from the right seat right over to the left seat and basically it was trimmed... lets just say that it was not 100% intimate as I had to keep my eyes on the airplane, but just for fun right....

Quoting YWG (Reply 23):
I'm 6' 7", and I dare not even try it in a 172

Most of my height is in my torso, so while my head maybe scraping the roof, my legs are comfortable in a C152.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 24):
I always end up meeting the 97% somehow

When out a club, bar or anywhere else and you meet a chick and you get talking about flying and she has never been tell her well if she wants you can take her for a spin, even though she may not take you up on the offer (expense out of your pocket) she will like your answer and then you may get a better chance.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
SB
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 3:38 pm

I see your point of view PhilSquares, and maybe in 20 years I will have grown weary of the sunsets.

Then again I work with some pilots who came out of retirement because they were bored, and missed being up there. All to their own I suppose...

S.
"Confirm leave the hold and maintain 320kts?!"
 
DC10Widebody
Topic Author
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sat May 12, 2007 6:16 pm

Thanks for all the responses guys, it gives me a lot to think about. Still really exciting stuff...it really just makes me smile when I think about it.  Big grin
Cheers thanks a lot.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 4:15 am

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 25):
When out a club, bar or anywhere else and you meet a chick and you get talking about flying and she has never been tell her well if she wants you can take her for a spin, even though she may not take you up on the offer (expense out of your pocket) she will like your answer and then you may get a better chance.

The thing is, I try not to talk about flying to not sound too nerdy, unless I get asked what I do. Then I'll say I'm a pilot, then they'll be like "Oh, interesting" and be quiet for like 5 mins and then change topic. O well...

Nice girls in PRC are hard to find anyways and their always either married, weeks pregnant or just downright fugly  yuck 

Anyways, that's for non-av Big grin
 
rwy04lga
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 4:16 am

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 11):
I would rather fly an airplane making 10 bucks an hour for long shifts and never get to see a family, then work at a office job or somewhere where you get paid 35 bucks an hour work flexible hours when you want and get to be home every night, for me its about the flying.



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 10):
I would finish that degree, no matter what.



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 3):
everytime something with wings went over I looked up and wished I was flying that instead of doing whatever I was doing.

Color-blindness prevented me from following my Dads contrails in the USAF. I would've been a LtCol flying C-5s by now. There was a program on the Discovery Channel titled 'The Secret World of Air Freight' showcasing the flights of a NW 747F and another about the 777 in which an AA captain makes his last flight into DFW just before his mandatory retirement. I cried while watching both.  cry  Right now I'm worth a little more than a million dollars (on paper) but I would've gladly given up all that I achieved to have lived the life as a commercial or military pilot.

Leo said it best....

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Leonardo da Vinci
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 4:22 am

Unless you have an understanding gf or wife, relationships will suck. It helps to get into a relation after you're a pilot and to individuals that like to conform, those are more successful.

Right now the only possible way you could jeopardizes your ability to get flying job is if you've been to jail or have had a DUI. Especially DUI.

Also you have to remember that what you will be flying initially is entry level to get the experience needed. Those companies rarely care about anything else other that flight experience. Credit reports, personal attributes will come later on when you're applying to a place where they care more about who they're hiring rather than the flight experience since everybody is overqualified like the major airlines. If you love flying then go for it, if you just like the image/idea of being a pilot then don't bother, you won't make it through the tough times.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 1:00 pm

Majority of Pilots I've talked to state that the biggest drawback is being away from their loved ones continously.
They are a Family when they plan their Annual Vacation.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
pilotaydin
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 2:29 pm

i love it, wouldn't change a thing about my job, uniform is nice, the women are nice, the view is nice...and damn did i say the women are nice  Smile

heaven off earth is the flight deck  Smile
The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Sun May 13, 2007 4:22 pm

Quoting Pilotaydin (Reply 32):
and damn did i say the women are nice

OK then I'll have to move to Turkey after I graduate Big grin
 
Pihero
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 7:00 am

I find quite amazing the fact that no one has mentioned that there are a lot of jobs in which one spends a lot of time away from home.
Sales people come to mind
Also I know quite a few passeengers I kept meeting over the years who spend a lot more time in airplanes than I do.
As a matter of fact, leading a family life could be a hell of a job of organisation as basically we work the most when people are on holidays.
A few weeks ago, one of us was having a baby while on a long haul conversion course ....the worst that could happen and the Mrs could well take it as a major case of treason... and then comes Baby's growing-up : miss his first steps... come home after a week (or +) away, not being recognised by Junior who could well be upset by that strange man stealing his mother...I was a long hauler when my son arrived...My wife and I made a deal that he would be mine when I was home - bath feeding cleaning play and sleep - the result was I never lost a tremenduous rapport with my son.
The main danger for us is the "growing apart" syndrome which is the main cause for divorces ...and the loss of old friends. Nothing that good communication skills couldn't solve !

The rest of the time, I feel priviledged to have been allowed such a life, doing what is probably one of the most satisfying jobs around...
And I still don't tire of sunsets...auroras...glories...rainbows and haloes...a full rated take off or a manual approach to minima...
One day I 'll grow up, I promise !
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 5:20 pm

Quoting SB (Reply 26):
see your point of view PhilSquares, and maybe in 20 years I will have grown weary of the sunsets.

Then again I work with some pilots who came out of retirement because they were bored, and missed being up there. All to their own I suppose...

There's no doubt that once flying is in your blood it never leaves and as I approach that magic age I know everyday that when it's over I will miss my favorite cafes in Paris, the ale in London and the friends in Mainz, ANC, SYD and more HOWEVER as PhilSquares said as you go thru life priorities do change or shift and when I walk in the door and am met by my daughters that is a thrill that can't be matched by a sunset or the view of the app. lites at 100'. Also you constantly make excuses for missing school programs, birthdays and anniversaries but you try to make it up somehow. After 20+ years I still love it but when it's month after month after month you do get weary and find that when the day before a trip arrives I'm wishing I had 2 more days off. When I'm on the 8th day of a 14 dayer (I'm on the 11th day as we speak) and you have a 2:30 alert call for a 9 hr. leg you start thinking I've had enough. BUT then I think of the first sentence above.
 
LAXspotter
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 5:38 pm

I too until recently realized that i could pursue a career as a commercial pilot. However some of the drawbacks that scare me most are the unavailability of jobs, the rather uncertainty of the job and the low pay.

Things that i really dont care about now is staying away from home or loved ones, as a person who would probably be a pilot in his mid 20's, that isnt a worry at all.

The foremost fear that i have is the low pay of regional airlines which in turn would mean a longer period to payoff my debts. By the time I enter flight school at the age of 21, i plan to have about 2/3 of the money required, however the rest i plan to take a loan. For me, there is nothing more thrilling, nothing more awesome than being at the controls of an aicraft, most regular jobs are quite boring IMO and id rather not pursue another career goal. Getting hired by regional airlines and then not being able to move up the chain to mainline aicraft is really something i dont look forward to.

I noticed someone mentioned $200,000 yr, salaries. For me, money is something that will be quite important during the beginning part of my aviaton career in order to repay my debt, but not earning full blown quarter of a million dollar salary isnt really a bad outlook for me, as long as the job provides benefits that are unmatched by almost any other profession, the work enivornment that is unparalled by none, a salary that isnt astronomical but enough to live comfortably on is something that will suffice by financial goals.

IMO, people who plan to become a pilot solely for making tonnes of money need to look elsewhere, if it is the uniqueness and the awesome setting and type of job, then i belive it is right for those who are truly passionate about it.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
 
jamesbuk
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 8:06 pm

Hey guys and girls,

Just a simple question, How much harder/easier is it to get into Freight flying rather than passenger flying?

Rgds--James--
You cant have your cake and eat it... What the hells the point in having it then!!!
 
David L
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 8:57 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 34):
I find quite amazing the fact that no one has mentioned that there are a lot of jobs in which one spends a lot of time away from home.

True. I've also seen relationships break down between people who don't travel but work different shifts. They just ended up leading separate lives. My last job involved working 9 to 5 plus overnight support. And for what? An average IT salary and no life. Well, never again!

I'm not saying flying long-haul's a breeze but there are worse jobs out there.  Smile

Quoting Pihero (Reply 34):
One day I 'll grow up, I promise !

Phew! So I'm not the only one affected by flying that way.  biggrin 
 
brettbrett21
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Mon May 14, 2007 11:40 pm

Quoting 320tech (Reply 13):
97% of females will think you're, at best, a nerd.

That would actually be a reduction for me!
i'm so excited i wish i could wet my pants!
 
tom775257
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Tue May 15, 2007 11:02 pm

Flying is fun, however it certainly wasn't worth the effort/money required to become an airline pilot. I won't go into details but along the way there were certainly very bad times. It is good as far as jobs go, however it is just a job. The comradery is very good in the job though I might add. Sometimes I see some very nice sights, but most of the time I am working hard for a relatively poor wage flying around the overly congested skies of Europe in an A320 working early or late. If I could turn back time, I certainly wouldn't become a professional pilot; flying as a PPL is a lot more fun.

If you are a PPL and really want to fly a jet, hire a level D sim, they are very good. Hell, I'm 25, I would like to try and make captain, fly for a year, then quit and open a restaurant. That would be my dream now - with some luck quit aviation by age 30. By the way I paid probably £70,000 in training, and earn about £20,000 per annum, pretty piss poor. Also going to university gave myself other debts so I will be crippled financially for many many years. Sorry guys, I'm in a bad mood today.

JamesBuk: Getting into freight is no easier than flying pax. Also passengers can be fun, and you can meet some nice people (and girls). That said some are not so nice...
 
flyboy80
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Tue May 15, 2007 11:48 pm

Hey,

I will say, as others have, the job is cut out for some, and not for others. As far as your personal life goes, you know that doesn't shift a lot. There are all these stereotypes about the industry that everyone is sex deprived and promiscuous. That is not the case, every airline has its "go to" boys and girls. It's important to remember there are a lot of other people out there in the company with similar interests to yourself, and I think those types of relationships, from what I have seen work ( a lot of pilots and F/As are in good, compatible, long term relationships) Also, everything gets around in an airline within a couple weeks, so the worry of them cheating, IMO, is actually a lot less in the airline than two people dating from different sides of that spectrum.

I'm a F/A so its different for me on the flying side, I have my PPL, and that is something I like doing on my off time. However while flying the line I always have at least a three day weekend, and often four or five off. My friends working downtown after college. They always have two day weekends (lol), and working lunches. Me? I'll have breakfast in Mexico, and Dinner in Seattle. Plus I get to meet some cool people along the way. As far as I'm concerned, this lifestyle is addicting. Once you get a taste of it, you either hate it and your gone in a year, or plan on spending a lot more time. I've excepted that for myself, I was born to fly in some way, shape, or form. My life revolves around aviation. Aviation pays my bills, is in my hobbies, and I still find my self going to corporate previews on the weekends, and airshows. Planes...I love em!

I wish you luck in whatever you decide to do, and I would encourage you to research thoroughly, as your doing, and remember that happiness is often more important that money.

P.S. Something nice about flying (for me anyways) is getting out of town ( I LOVE ALONE TIME). At a lot of carriers there is good incentives to pick up some open time. Its always nice cause you can get a "piece" of a trip as opposed to the whole thing!

Flyboy 80.
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 1:14 am

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 36):
as long as the job provides benefits that are unmatched by almost any other profession

Well from what I have seen at the airline level is you get full Medical, Dental and Flight Benefits as well as other smaller things but those where the top three things one could ask for right there.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 2:48 am

Quoting David L (Reply 38):
True. I've also seen relationships break down between people who don't travel but work different shifts

I've seen a lot of that too in Maintenance also.I met quite a few AMes from US & Europe & 80% were seperated.They call it "AIDS" [Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome].

Out here its not as high currently Thankfully.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
ContnlEliteCMH
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 4:23 am

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 10):
They call it AIDS. Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome. Many have been through it. You significant other needs to have a clear understanding as to what they are getting into. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are when you make them, and have little relation to a calender. If you are going to have a significant other, they need to be fairly independent, trustworthy, and trusting. It also helps if they are not tightly tied to a particular location. I married a great airline wife. They are hard to find. You also have to be comfortable with a relative lack of financial security. If you are going to be fiscally successful, you need a high tolerance for risk, the ability to retain cash, and a higher than normal aversion to debt.

I'm not a professional pilot and I never will be, so this is an outsider's view, but...

...everything that you've listed above is true for everybody, in any profession. My wife and I have been married for 8 years and while we may celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, we have no hangups about the particular day. That's not important.

All significant others need to be independent, trustworthy, and trusting. Your spouse can cheat on you even when you're at home with your children. Happens all the time.

To be fiscally successful, you need to retain cash and have an aversion to debt. With the exception of my smallish home mortgage, I live a debt-free life and it's GREAT. I did this when I made very little money, and I'm doing it now while I'm raking it in.

There have been multiple threads in Civ Av about the life of pilots. They tell us on the outside that we have no idea what their life is like. That's merely self-serving rhetoric and easily dismissed. As others have mentioned in *this* thread, some of us have spent 200 days per year on the road. If you like to go places (and especially fly) it's absolutely fantastic. But you're away from home and if you have family, that is really tough. I gave up the travelling life and a sizable paycut because I never intended to be a father away from home. It was the right decision.

For me, the single biggest issue affecting pilots is the whole seniority thing. To work in an environment where my pay has nothing to do with comparative merit would drive me out in a hurry.
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PGNCS
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 7:26 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
Quoting Lowrider (Reply 10):
They call it AIDS. Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome. Many have been through it. You significant other needs to have a clear understanding as to what they are getting into. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are when you make them, and have little relation to a calender. If you are going to have a significant other, they need to be fairly independent, trustworthy, and trusting. It also helps if they are not tightly tied to a particular location. I married a great airline wife. They are hard to find. You also have to be comfortable with a relative lack of financial security. If you are going to be fiscally successful, you need a high tolerance for risk, the ability to retain cash, and a higher than normal aversion to debt.

I'm not a professional pilot and I never will be, so this is an outsider's view, but...

...everything that you've listed above is true for everybody, in any profession.

That is blatantly untrue. While it's true that many professions require travel, as a percentage of the working population, very few travel as frequently as airline crews.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
To be fiscally successful, you need to retain cash and have an aversion to debt.

That IS true. I have a small mortgage and no other debt, which is where you need to be in general, and definitely if you are employed by an airline.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
There have been multiple threads in Civ Av about the life of pilots. They tell us on the outside that we have no idea what their life is like. That's merely self-serving rhetoric and easily dismissed. As others have mentioned in *this* thread, some of us have spent 200 days per year on the road.

Well apparently it is easy for you to dismiss, even though you aren't qualified to offer an opinion on the downsides of being an airline pilot, which was the subject under discussion.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
For me, the single biggest issue affecting pilots is the whole seniority thing. To work in an environment where my pay has nothing to do with comparative merit would drive me out in a hurry.

You don't need to be here if you can't accept this fact of life. The seniority system was developed to prevent undue punitive actions by management. It isn't perfect, but it's the way it is.
 
lowrider
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 7:51 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
I'm not a professional pilot and I never will be, so this is an outsider's view, but...

...everything that you've listed above is true for everybody, in any profession.

Perhaps it is true for some, but I doubt it is true for everyone. Last year I set a personal record of 280 nights away from home. We were so busy at times I didn't even realize my own birthday had passed until I was doing paperwork a few days after the fact. I was gone for every single holiday, birthday, and anniversary. It was a rough year. If you don't think it takes a special sort to be the spouse of someone who works this schedule, you are sadly delusional. The original poster asked about the downsides. I consider this a downside.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
They tell us on the outside that we have no idea what their life is like. That's merely self-serving rhetoric and easily dismissed.

Its easily dismissed because you have no idea. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can pass judgement on what they know so little about. Much of the stress and many of the negatives are not in the public view.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
o be fiscally successful, you need to retain cash and have an aversion to debt.

True, but we have found it helpful to live more conservatively than others at our income level. You have to live like your company could go under tomorrow, and the only flying available is flying checks for $20K. That means larger than normal cash reserves. Eventually I hope to have 9-10 months living expenses in savings.

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 44):
For me, the single biggest issue affecting pilots is the whole seniority thing. To work in an environment where my pay has nothing to do with comparative merit would drive me out in a hurry

Define what competative merit would be in this case? Passing a checkride? Congrats, we all do that. To me, the seniority system is far less odious and less corrupt than the office politics stories I have been privy to.
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tom775257
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 8:05 am

Lowrider: *Its easily dismissed because you have no idea. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can pass judgement on what they know so little about. Much of the stress and many of the negatives are not in the public view.*

Too true my friend, too true. If only people knew the truth. Being so tired you can barely keep eyes open, dodging CBs, landing in nasty weather working maximum hours, all nice and legal....until you mess up. All your fault.

I was watching sparks across the windscreen the other day in moderate turb descending next to a CB thinking WTF am I doing here. Also airline scheduling trying to push you to work beyond your legal limits...another job for you to do to keep yourself legal.

[Edited 2007-05-16 01:06:26]
 
David L
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Wed May 16, 2007 10:20 pm

Quoting Tom775257 (Reply 47):
Too true my friend, too true. If only people knew the truth.

In my defence, I was just agreeing a point made by someone else (who does know) by offering some views from other professions. I sometimes forget that not everyone here knows full well I'm in no position to judge the lifestyles of long-haul pilots.  Smile
 
Kay
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RE: Being A Pilot, The Downsides?

Thu May 17, 2007 1:25 am

Wow the downsides of aviation are sharply criticized in this thread.

Well I work in a multinational organization, and that's another job where family life takes a hit, since I'm on the move every few years to another country. Opportunities come up in duty stations all across the globe, and turning them down is refusing the essence of the organization which is working at the global level, being exposed and on the move all the time. Otherwise things stagnate, rank wise. My current gf always worries that I'll say "would you go with me to XXX for a few years, I got an unbelievable position, sorry baby I gotta go."
Since discovering new countries is what keeps me ticking in this world, I've decided a few years ago that this is what I would be doing, since aviation was never a possibility, until I'm tired of it.

The only aviation interview I was able to get (due to many circumstances/war/etc) for an FO was at 30. By then, I already had my engineering degree and MBA and let's say a lucky path, and the F/O salary mentioned to me on that interview was a bit more than one third of my salary back then. I was surprised, but imagined this startup salary would double and triple quickly once one goes up the ranks.
It is a firm conception that captains are extremely well paid individuals. I still have (maybe wrongly) this image today. I never gave much thought to the family problems, and I guess still have the old image ($$$, prestige, etc).

Anyway, a PPL partly fixed my flying satisfaction and love for airplanes, the only downside being that it is self driven and not a commercial need, removing some of its meaning, leading to some periods of inactivity.


Kay

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