Moderators: richierich, ua900, hOMSaR

 
RedArrows
Topic Author
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:34 am

Life As A Pilot-questions

Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:54 am

Hey,i'm just over a week away from my medical so I'm running out of time to have it called off if needs be,basically theres a few things I need cleared up before i go ahead with all this.At 17 I know alot about planes but little about the people who fly them so my questions may come across a bit immature but anyway any help from current pilots or ex pilots is greatly appreciated

1.I know that airline pilots dont have your typical 9-5 hours but how time consuming is it?Do you still manage to have a good family and social life?

2.Do you guys find your pay satisfying for the work you do?

3.I was told by an ex pilot that he found domestic flying on turboprops more enjoyable then flying jets long haul with major airlines as he felt the jets consisted of more monitoring then hands on flying,would you guys agree with that?

4.Overall are you happy you chose to be a pilot?any regrets?

again pardon my immaturity lol,

RedArrows
 
wilco737
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:28 pm

Hi RedArrows,

well, basically I can say: I am really happy that I am a pilot and I enjoy everyday of it.

About your questions. There are different opinions. I used to fly 737s around Europe, max 5 days away from home. Now I am on MD11F and max 12 days away from home. Some people like the short haul flying, the other the long haul flying. I guess you have to find out by yourself. I enjoy long haul at the moment, less stressfull, but you are regularly tired because of jet lags  Wink But you get used to that.
You can have a social life! Stay in touch with your friends and family! Even after a long day, meet up with them for a beer and dont say: nah, I am too tired, need some sleep! Then someday they might not ask you again if you want to share a beer with them. Your cell phone bill will rise! Because you send text messages (SMS) from everywhere on this planet, well I do, and they are more expensive than in your home country. But its a good way to say: Hello, I was just thining about you and I hope to see you soon again. Email is a very good way as well. In most hotels around the world you have internet access, so you can share a lot with your friends. And since skype came up, even better  Wink
Salery is different among every airline. I am flying MD11Fs for LH Cargo and I am happy with what I get at my age. But I heard about some US airlines when you start its about $30k a year, which isnt too much... But it is getting more over the years...
In total spoken: I regret nothing!! I would do that job again anytime without even thinking about it! I love that job!

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 
 
ZB330
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:37 pm

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:36 am

Hey RedArrows,

You ask some valid questions and they are not immature! Remember there are no dumb questions only dumb answers.

The same as WILCO737 i am happy to be a pilot and enjoy going to work.

Now back to the answers with regard to your questions:

1) Depending on what type of flying you do it sometimes can be hard to keep a good social and family life. Personally i fly a mixture of short- and longhaul on the Airbus (32x and 330). And working for a 'charter' airline has its disadvantages. I have had rosters where i was away for 7 days/ 2 days home/ 7 days away/ 2 days home/ 7 days awa. As you can imagine with these rosters its hard to have a good social and family life. But fortunately this only happened once and normally we do a fairly good mix of shorthaul and longhaul. But even with a good mix it still happens that i have to work every weekend of the month. So if your friends give a party or BBQ than you cant go. However your real friends will understand and dont make a problem out of it.

2) Pay could always be better but in general i cant complain. An average roster has me working between 10 and 16 days month. This includes spending a week on a beach downroute.

3) Yep, agree with the pilot you spoke to. I do much more handflying on the shorthaul sectors than that i do on the longhaul (10 hours +) flights.

4) As mentioned before i am happy to be a pilot.

Cheerio, ZB330
 
RedArrows
Topic Author
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:34 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:05 am

Thanks for the replies guys,good to see people happy to be airline pilots,after talking to the last guy I was worried,he said he retired from airline flying to become an instructor in Ireland as his wife became pregnant and he felt he needed to be home more often,said he was unhappy with his hours,flying long haul across the atlantic and spending days without seeing home.Anyway more opinions are much appreciated

Red Arrows
 
newagebird
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:51 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:47 pm

hey mate
i cant answer the first question cuz i aint upto that level yet, regarding the pay.
The first few jobs ull work (unless your lucky) wont be that satisfying in terms of pay, everyones gotta do the hard yards to get ahead unless you got a bit of dosh and can pay your way through (frowned upon in the industry though). When you join the airline you probably will know what kinda money your gonna get and most of the time its not bad. When you start to compare what youre getting to other carriers is when you start to hate your pay packet, but then again you knew what you were getting into when u joined up.
Loads of people say the first few years will be the most fun you have...also you wouldnt put in all the effort that flying needs if you didnt like it, since i started ive been working my way up and since i got a job i feel as if all my hard work has paid off finally and i definitely wanna experience the whole package, go international.
in the end its upto the individual, if its what you wanna do, do it. I learnt that asking people if they liked it made me form an opinion about something i didnt know anything about and with everything theres always two sides.

anyways hope that helps
good luck for the future
newagebird
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 30067
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:28 am

Any observations on A.I.D.S [Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome]  Smile
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
wilco737
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:42 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
Any observations on A.I.D.S [Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome]

I heard about that and it is quite common... It is hard to have a stable and good working relationship if you are away from home so often. I am on a 7 day trip at the moment, thank god there is internet to stay in contact with friends... I am single though, my last relationship didnt survive my job... We just saw each other 4 days a months or so, because my ex gf was flying herself too... Lets see what the future brings...

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
Posts: 30067
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 10:05 pm

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:25 pm

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 6):
I heard about that and it is quite common...

True.
And it stretches to Mx too.Recently the Mx folks from UK I met 90% had all been seperated,which was really high.
Its the sad part of this field.Luckily out here its not as serious in Mx as it is in Flt ops.
But the strain to find quality time with family does exist.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
User avatar
fxramper
Posts: 5839
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 pm

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:08 am

Quoting RedArrows (Thread starter):
1.I know that airline pilots dont have your typical 9-5 hours but how time consuming is it?Do you still manage to have a good family and social life?

Uncle got divorced many years ago.

Quoting RedArrows (Thread starter):
2.Do you guys find your pay satisfying for the work you do?

Uncle makes over $200k/yr and still enjoys flying.

Quoting RedArrows (Thread starter):
4.Overall are you happy you chose to be a pilot?any regrets?

Uncle experiences bouts with depression on occasion.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome

see above.

Hold on tight to your dreams.
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2260
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:58 am

Hate to be the dissenter; but I have been flying for a living for 21 years now, currently flying 767 International. If I had to do it again I would definitely not get into the career field. The stresses on family life are severe. I have not been divorced, but there have been times that I have seen my wife 2 days per month. Many of my friends that fly have been divorced. This may not seem like a big career dilemma at a young age, but it is later on.

I loved to fly in my teens and twenties; I thought flying was OK in my thirties; I hate flying in my forties. It is my job, it's how I pay the bills, and that's all it is. I have just finished a second graduate degree in an unrelated field to attempt to get out of aviation altogether. I work for a good company that never has missed a payroll (although I was furloughed for four years at one time), but our compensation is around half what it used to be, and there's no pension to speak of now. I still make enough to live on, but it is no longer a clearly more lucrative career than others I have interest in. The love of flying does hold some allure and can make you happy to a degree, but it won't carry you through a 30 year career. There are now other career fields that are as interesting to me that pay better.

The flying itself is variable: different people like different things. I am doing International now, and have flown many years on narrowbody multi-leg day trips as well. They both have their drawbacks, but I disagree with WILCO737 who claims that you get used to jet lag. I don't, and neither do most of the people I fly with. We learn to COPE with the effects of jet lag, but in truth a six day international trip makes me feel awful, and a 12 day trip makes me feel like I'm on death's doorstep. There's a lot of research out there supporting the premise that long range pilots have enormous quantities of cumulative sleep debt. It gets harder to deal with as you get older, too. I would get off the airplane (when I got on it it was primarily used domestically, with some Hawaii; now it's mostly long range European trips) except I am frozen (seat lock) for six more months. The domestic flying is more work in the sense that there are more legs, but is much easier on me personally as I know I will be within three time zones of home at all times. I this particular instance, I also have no particular love of the 767, which adds to my desire to return to the MD-80.

In short, MOST of the people I fly with ARE still happy with their career choice overall, inasmuch as most of them have never considered what they could possibly do besides being a pilot, if that's what you want to hear. I don't define myself as being a pilot, and don't volunteer that information unless specifically asked about my job. There are plenty of other things I have interests in, I just happen to make the bulk of my income flying planes. As for me, if I was 17 again, there is absolutely no possible way that I would even consider this career.
 
wilco737
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:19 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):

Hey there,

I have to agree with some points you said. Lets say: I can deal with the jetlag pretty good so far... but as you said its getting hard when getting older. I am only 29, so ask me again in 15 years how I can deal with it Big grin
Having a relationship is indeed hard and my last gf and I parted because we just saw each other 3-5 days a month... Not good... And since then I am single, and I doubt there are too many women out there who loves the thought that their husband is on the road for so long.. But I still hope to find one...

On the other hand: I will never ever do a different job!! I love it flying around the world, even when I was flying without Europe on 737s, I enjoyed it so much! was always looking forward to my next trips! I dont want to work in an office 8-5 everyday, seeing the same people everyday again and again... Only having off on the weekends... Nah, not good for me...
But thats the choice of yourself, some love it... I dont Big grin
And I hope that I can do this job for another 31 years until retirement... It has been my dream since I was born Big grin

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 
 
ZKSUJ
Posts: 6879
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:15 pm

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:51 pm

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 10):

Any chance of you getting onto the 748is mate?  Wink
 
wilco737
Posts: 7275
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:21 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:29 pm

Quoting ZKSUJ (Reply 11):

I do hope so Big grin in about 3 years LH owns 748s and it seems to be that they are flown with the same rating as the 744, so 744 and 748 will it be in 3 years (I Hope)

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 
 
wrighbrothers
Posts: 1807
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:15 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:43 pm

I'm not a pilot (although I do fly), my brother is training to be a pilot, my dad was in aircraft maintenance for nearly 37years as was his dad, my God-father was a Flight Engineer and I'm possibly going to be an aircraft engineer plus I know loads of people who are pilots, so this is just through my personal opinion.

1. Depending on what you do, it can be very time consuming, Long-Haul of course can take up more time than short-haul, (and I'd recommend you start on Short-Haul just to build your hours up) but Long-Haul earns more money (in general) so you've got to find the balance, lots of pilots prefer Short-Haul because it generally doesn't involve so much time away from home and earns you more stick time, so you get to actually fly more, not have so much jet lag (since you aren't flying across so many time zones) and allows you to have a better social life. However, others would say they prefer Long-Haul because you get to visit more places and earn more money. So really it's up to you to find out which one you prefer, going onto a mix fleet (like the Airbus where you can fly all types so can do both long and short-haul) would be good.
As for the relationships, unfortunately, there are lots of pilots on their second divorce with 2 families and are flying because it's a way to earn money to support these. That isn't to say it will happen to you (if you choose to get married), there are many long time, happily married pilots flying 744's and other heavies. The same happens in maintenance, my dad's only been married been married once, to the same woman (my mum) for over 25yrs and we are a happy family with no divorces or extended family but there are those that do have that, that is, unfortunatly, the way of life.

2. As always and it's true with every job, people would say their pay could be better, but on the whole, most pilots earn a decent wage.

3.I would agree with him, but again, you might find it different, when you're 40yrs old with lots of stick time and you just want to do less flying.

4. I'm always happy when I fly, but all the pilots I've spoken to are happy with their career choice, there are always people that aren't but on the whole it's a good career.

Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2260
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: Life As A Pilot-questions

Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:22 am

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 13):
3.I would agree with him, but again, you might find it different, when you're 40yrs old with lots of stick time and you just want to do less flying.

This is exactly on the money.

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 13):
4. I'm always happy when I fly, but all the pilots I've spoken to are happy with their career choice, there are always people that aren't but on the whole it's a good career.

It's a job. Plenty of people still like it but PLENTY of pilots regret their career decision. Most of them don't bother to visit sites like this because they no longer care about it at all. I still find the technical aspects interesting.

Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 10):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):


Hey there,

I have to agree with some points you said. Lets say: I can deal with the jetlag pretty good so far... but as you said its getting hard when getting older. I am only 29, so ask me again in 15 years how I can deal with it
Having a relationship is indeed hard and my last gf and I parted because we just saw each other 3-5 days a month... Not good... And since then I am single, and I doubt there are too many women out there who loves the thought that their husband is on the road for so long.. But I still hope to find one...

On the other hand: I will never ever do a different job!! I love it flying around the world, even when I was flying without Europe on 737s, I enjoyed it so much! was always looking forward to my next trips! I dont want to work in an office 8-5 everyday, seeing the same people everyday again and again... Only having off on the weekends... Nah, not good for me...
But thats the choice of yourself, some love it... I dont
And I hope that I can do this job for another 31 years until retirement... It has been my dream since I was born

Always to hear another professional's views!  Smile

Good luck finding that woman...you will need to look VERY hard!

I appreciate that you still love to fly; I did too when I was your age. I also don't want to work in a 9-5 office environment, but there are plenty of jobs that don't require banker's hours that are well compensated and very interesting. I am now pursuing opportunities on the safety side of the commercial nuclear power industry, for instance. I can retire anytime I want now that we no longer have a retirement plan, and I count the days. I plan to be gone no later than age 51; that's been my goal for the last 15 years or so, as it will give me 25 years with my carrier, although we only have to be 50 to get retirement benefits like standby travel. (I am aggressively working on age 50 retirement savings now.)

Good luck to you; I hope that you still love it in 31 years!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 36 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos