JohnA11
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Worth it being a pilot?

Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:59 pm

Hello all. I am currently on the fence on whether I should start training to become a professional pilot or not. Aviation and planes in general have always been a big interest for me but I don't know if I have what it takes to eventually become a professional pilot one day when I will have to juggle family, work, schooling etc. What are the pros of cons of being a professional pilot? Is it worth it? If so, any advice?
 
spacecadet
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:59 am

It's a very personal decision and I don't think anyone can tell you if it's worth it for you. I'm in training in an airline program right now and already it's way more of a lifestyle than it is just a job, and I'm already away from my family and friends a lot of the time. My situation is about as good as it gets, though; most people train through third party schools or even individual instructors so there's a lot less structure and you're not really part of anything until you actually have your experience built up and can get hired somewhere.

I don't know any professional pilots that wish they were anything else, though. And personally, there aren't many other jobs I'd want to get up in the morning for, and the ones that do exist are both equally hard to get and just as intense. So I think it's one of those things where if you know you want to do it, then you know. But it is hard to get started and spend the time and money it takes to get your training and experience.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:14 am

If you want to be a pilot more than anything else, yes. If you think it’s an easy job, pays and doesn’t put big demands and risks on you, no.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:08 am

You have to juggle family, work and schooling with any job. It's just a different kind of juggling. If you are passionate about your job, it makes the juggling much easier.

Cons:
- Nights, weekends and holidays spent away from family.
- Risk of losing your license, and thus means of making a living, if you have certain health issues.
- You will from time to time be completely exhausted, in the wrong time zone, and unable to sleep.

Pros:
- If you love aviation, you're pretty likely to enjoy going to work. Can't say the same for many of my friends who work in an office.
- Typically not fighting with rush hour traffic.
- Lots of variation. No day is the same as the previous one.
- If you dislike your co-workers, they'll be swapped out by the next duty cycle.
- Snazzy hat.

My advice would be to get your PPL and see how you like it. Flying a Cessna 172 around is rather different from being a professional pilot, but it certainly gives you an introduction to the skills you will need to develop. Even 2-3 "trial lessons" would be a good intro.

And det a first-class medical. You don't want to plonk down serious coin if there's some issue that precludes you from working as a pilot.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:49 am

I'd very much talk my kids out of becoming a pilot.

Wages and benefits are generally decreasing (in most markets) and automation is knocking at the door of the industry, likely about to start decreasing the crewing requirements soon and put further downward pressure on conditions of service.

Then there is always the inherent risk involved with dedicating your professional career to a job which can be taken away from you after an random illness or condition that would, in any other profession, not be an issue. In most cases, losing your medical after 20 years of airline flying leaves you with little professional opportunities (no experience doing much else, few transferable skills, too old to learn a new trade...) and can throw your whole life upside down.

I'm happy I did it, but I know I've been lucky so far, and I also know that my career will never be as rewarding as for the generation before me, and more rewarding than for the kids signing up today.

Do yourself a favor: study hard, find a good career in a future-proof field and save some money to fly GA. That's where the fun is anyway, not looking at a seemingly paused EFIS screen for hours at the time in the middle of the night while struggling to stay awake.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:07 am

Francoflier wrote:
I'd very much talk my kids out of becoming a pilot.

Wages and benefits are generally decreasing (in most markets) and automation is knocking at the door of the industry, likely about to start decreasing the crewing requirements soon and put further downward pressure on conditions of service.

Then there is always the inherent risk involved with dedicating your professional career to a job which can be taken away from you after an random illness or condition that would, in any other profession, not be an issue. In most cases, losing your medical after 20 years of airline flying leaves you with little professional opportunities (no experience doing much else, few transferable skills, too old to learn a new trade...) and can throw your whole life upside down.

I'm happy I did it, but I know I've been lucky so far, and I also know that my career will never be as rewarding as for the generation before me, and more rewarding than for the kids signing up today.

Do yourself a favor: study hard, find a good career in a future-proof field and save some money to fly GA. That's where the fun is anyway, not looking at a seemingly paused EFIS screen for hours at the time in the middle of the night while struggling to stay awake.


I don't think there is such a thing as a truly future proof field especially with how technology is advancing exponentially. I went to college for something completely different from flying and it seems like every fear in commercial aviation is the exact same as any true professional field minus medical concerns. I think that if you truly love it, it is still an absolutely awesome carrier that is worth pursuing.

Honestly as someone who is heavily involved in the GA scene, I believe GA won't exist in 20 years but that's another discussion.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:20 pm

Don't know your age or educational background but if you in the US, and have the preliminary quals the military route is always a good option. Excellent training, friendships for life in many cases and obviously a great offering when you start looking for jobs. Take a look at the Air National Guard, or in some cases Air Force Reserves. Careful that you don't get stuck in drones but that might be viable career path as well. depending on your needs. Either way it's going to take some hard work and dedication.

Might consider leaving the family life behind for awhile until you get on track as it will make some decisions a lot easier.
 
e38
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:20 am

JohnA11, you come to Airliners.net seeking career advice, but for those of us who want to provide it to you, you give us no information at all concerning your age, education level, geographical location, or prior flight experience (i.e., private pilot who desires to upgrade to Commercial, CFI, and/or ATP ratings, or no prior flight experience).

That being said, I agree with the information that has already been provided in the previous six posts. Here is my "two cents worth," (coming from a perspective in the United States):

As GalaxyFlyer implied in Reply # 3, if you want to be a professional pilot, you really have to have a PASSION for flying, because it will take an enormous amount of time, hard work, dedication, sacrifice (both on your part and on the part of your family, if applicable), and money (unless you go the military route). Is it worth it? Well, I think so and if I had to do it all over again, I certainly would. But, obviously, it's not for everyone.

In Reply # 4, Starlionblue listed some "pros" and "cons" of being a professional pilot--and there are more. Keep in mind, sometimes those are somewhat personal in the sense that what may be a "pro" for one pilot may not be for another pilot. For example, Starlionblue mentioned a possible "con" being flying at night and I agree with that--I do not particularly enjoy flights that depart the airport around 2300 hrs (11:00 p.m.) and arrive at the destination at 0500 (5:00 a.m.). Well, they are OK; just not my favorite flights. But, I know many pilots who enjoy that very much (in the U.S., think FedEx or UPS for example and at the company where I work, I know quite a few pilots who specifically bid for the "redeye" flights).

If you have no flight experience at all at this point, I also agree with Starlionblue's recommendation to take a few introductory lessons. True, flying a Cessna 172 is different than flying a Boeing 757, but some introductory flying lessons, or even earning your Private Pilot certificate will help you determine your comfort level with flying. I have known a few folks that looked up at an airplane flying overhead and thought how great it would be to be a professional pilot, but when they actually started flying, discovered they didn't enjoy the sensation of actually controlling the aircraft and that a career as a pilot might not be the best path for them. Of course, others have taken an introductory flight and exclaimed, "Yes! This is for me!"

If you have no flight experience at all, at this point, much of your life journey is based on "self-discovery" and taking some chances in life.

And, the advice to get a Class I physical exam is "spot on" as well. In the U.S., you have to pass a Class I physical exam either once or twice a year (depending on age and position--Captain or First Officer). Also, the need to have a back-up career plan in place is outstanding advice as well.

In your opening paragraph, you stated, "when I will have to juggle family, work, schooling, etc."

JohnA11, you're going to have to do that regardless of what career you choose. But, I understand your point . . .in a flying career, sometimes juggling those variables can be more challenging than in other careers.

Here's my recommendation: Try to find some professional pilots to talk with IN PERSON; face to face--pilots who fly for passenger airlines, cargo airlines, corporate pilots, charter/on-demand operations (in the U.S., NetJets, for example), go out to a nearby airport--the FBO perhaps, and visit with flight instructors. Ask a lot of questions--what was your path to becoming a pilot, what is your schedule like, how often are you away from home and for how long, how does your family feel about your work, etc. You may have to do some "networking" to find a cross section of professional pilots.

And, if you happen to be in a location where there are no pilots, well, come back here and we'll do our best to help.

If you think you might enjoy a career as a professional pilot, pursue it a little further. Go for it, JohnA11.

e38
 
VSMUT
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:02 am

Starlionblue wrote:
- Snazzy hat.


Wow, an airline in 2020 that still gives hats?
 
gtae07
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:09 pm

Francoflier wrote:
Do yourself a favor: study hard, find a good career in a future-proof field and save some money to fly GA. That's where the fun is anyway, not looking at a seemingly paused EFIS screen for hours at the time in the middle of the night while struggling to stay awake.


My dad (captain at US major, close to retirement) gave me the same advice 18 years ago when I was finishing high school--he was burned out from the airlines then, and only building and flying his own little airplane saved flying for him. I followed his advice. Now I'm an engineer at an OEM and building my own airplane.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:03 pm

VSMUT wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
- Snazzy hat.


Wow, an airline in 2020 that still gives hats?




There are plenty that still do. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
JohnA11
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:27 am

Thank you all for your responses! They all have helped. I am currently a freshman in a college that has a prestigious aviation program and because of my love for just aviation in general, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to pursue something in that field. I just wanted to know about the pros and cons of being a pilot. Another question I have. Is going the military route to become a pilot (or joining the military with some flight experience) a better way to set up a pilot's future?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:04 am

I don’t know if it’s better, but the training is better, the experience gained is better and path to career much more likely.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:22 am

In the military, you tend to get excellent training, plus you get a lot of responsibility rather early on. And, important point, you're not paying. A potential employer will also see you as a relatively known quantity, which helps. If you can deal with the ethics involved, and the potential risk of being sent off to war, I'd go for it.

I ask one favour though. If you get to fly pointy jets in the military, once you're at the airlines please don't find ways to drop that fact into the conversation every five minutes. ;)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:19 am

SierraPacific wrote:

I don't think there is such a thing as a truly future proof field especially with how technology is advancing exponentially. I went to college for something completely different from flying and it seems like every fear in commercial aviation is the exact same as any true professional field minus medical concerns. I think that if you truly love it, it is still an absolutely awesome carrier that is worth pursuing.

Honestly as someone who is heavily involved in the GA scene, I believe GA won't exist in 20 years but that's another discussion.


I agree that few jobs are safe from automation, though in the case of flying airliners, plans are basically being written up as we type. Single pilot cruise is coming shortly, likely leading to single pilot cockpits eventually. Small automated cargo airplanes are being tested, which will lead to all large ones eventually being operated this way. Once the safety levels of those are proven to be high enough, the pax fleet will eventually follow suit.

There is no telling how long this will take, but I'm pretty sure the pressure on manning levels (and consequently wages) will start to be felt shortly. The drive is there, the airlines demand nothing more.

Ultimately, we can all talk about our own experience with the pilot job/career, but my point is that our experience is different from that of the generation before us, and different from that of those who will come after us. And the trend is going the wrong way. What might still be an ok and rewarding enough job for someone today might be very different for the next guy 10 or 15 years later.

I know I'm quite bearish on the prospects of the pilot career. A lot of it is from direct observation of what is happening in the airlines around the World. This is why I'd rather talk people out of it.
That said, there is little I can say to talk someone with the aviation bug out of it... but at least they'll be warned.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:31 am

Francoflier wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:

I don't think there is such a thing as a truly future proof field especially with how technology is advancing exponentially. I went to college for something completely different from flying and it seems like every fear in commercial aviation is the exact same as any true professional field minus medical concerns. I think that if you truly love it, it is still an absolutely awesome carrier that is worth pursuing.

Honestly as someone who is heavily involved in the GA scene, I believe GA won't exist in 20 years but that's another discussion.


I agree that few jobs are safe from automation, though in the case of flying airliners, plans are basically being written up as we type. Single pilot cruise is coming shortly, likely leading to single pilot cockpits eventually. Small automated cargo airplanes are being tested, which will lead to all large ones eventually being operated this way. Once the safety levels of those are proven to be high enough, the pax fleet will eventually follow suit.

There is no telling how long this will take, but I'm pretty sure the pressure on manning levels (and consequently wages) will start to be felt shortly. The drive is there, the airlines demand nothing more.

Ultimately, we can all talk about our own experience with the pilot job/career, but my point is that our experience is different from that of the generation before us, and different from that of those who will come after us. And the trend is going the wrong way. What might still be an ok and rewarding enough job for someone today might be very different for the next guy 10 or 15 years later.

I know I'm quite bearish on the prospects of the pilot career. A lot of it is from direct observation of what is happening in the airlines around the World. This is why I'd rather talk people out of it.
That said, there is little I can say to talk someone with the aviation bug out of it... but at least they'll be warned.


I agree I think that getting into this 10-20 years down the road would be a much different discussion.

The bug is one hard thing to cure though as you said and in my case, I just can't get rid of it :lol:
 
Woodreau
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:30 am

JohnA11 wrote:
Thank you all for your responses! They all have helped. I am currently a freshman in a college that has a prestigious aviation program and because of my love for just aviation in general, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to pursue something in that field. I just wanted to know about the pros and cons of being a pilot. Another question I have. Is going the military route to become a pilot (or joining the military with some flight experience) a better way to set up a pilot's future?


Like everything in life there are trade offs.

Pilots that come out of the military and choose to pursue a career in aviation tend to have at least 10 years of a military career before their transition because that is the minimum service obligation for a military aviator. It is also a different life style that will be just as demanding as a professional pilot lifestyle of which you have expressed a concern.

You have to decide whether the trade offs are worth it or not.

What do you want to do as a professional pilot, there are many different careers in aviation as a pilot. Contract pilot, corporate pilot, airline pilot?

If you choose to be an airline pilot, the thing that dictates/controls everything in your career as an airline pilot is your seniority. Everything is based on it, what you fly, what position, your days off, your schedule, your vacation days, your priority for nonrev travel (at some airlines) your priority for the jumpseat, etc.

your experience as an airline pilot is not portable from one airline to another. If you are a wide body captain at one airline, and say you decide you want to fly for another airline, you don’t get to become a widebody captain at another airline the next day, you start back over at the bottom of the seniority list as a first officer on the junior airplane.

You can choose to do your flight training with the military but that will put a 10 year hold on your ability to transition from the military to a civilian pilot career.
There are no guarantees that you will even be able to fly as a military aviator as the needs of the service come first. There are many aspiring pilots Hoping to fly airplanes that were all tracked to become UAV pilots... so there are pitfalls. Though if you are able to get a pilot slot there is no better experience anywhere.

so someone who pursues the airline career as a civilian today, can pretty much get to a major airline sooner than a military aviator and get their seniority sooner. the tradeoff is that they have to fund their own training.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:06 pm

Not if you go to UPT thru the Guard or Reserves. For AD, you’ll be guaranteed a pilot slot prior to entry, fail out and you owe just the officer’s service commitment of, I think, five years. If you fail in the Guard, you’ll be termed “.excess to unit requirements “ and released.
 
DALMD80
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:20 pm

SierraPacific wrote:
Francoflier wrote:
I'd very much talk my kids out of becoming a pilot.


I believe GA won't exist in 20 years but that's another discussion.

Yikes.
SAVE THE MAD DOGS!! Seriously, get a ride on one while you can. They'll be gone by the end of the year.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:58 pm

DALMD80 wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:
Francoflier wrote:
I'd very much talk my kids out of becoming a pilot.


I believe GA won't exist in 20 years but that's another discussion.

Yikes.


That is 100 percent my opinion based on what I have seen as an instructor and volunteer at one of the busiest GA airports in the country. My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:08 am

No. Get into airline management.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:19 am

SierraPacific wrote:
DALMD80 wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:

Yikes.


That is 100 percent my opinion based on what I have seen as an instructor and volunteer at one of the busiest GA airports in the country. My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.


Hint: it was never cheap and these predictions about the demise of GA have been made since at least 1968 when I solo’d
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:58 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:
DALMD80 wrote:
Yikes.


That is 100 percent my opinion based on what I have seen as an instructor and volunteer at one of the busiest GA airports in the country. My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.


Hint: it was never cheap and these predictions about the demise of GA have been made since at least 1968 when I solo’d


I hope you are correct. The GA airport by my house is one of my favorite places and I hope that people in the future are able to enjoy GA as much as I have.

It also doesn't hurt that I no longer have to pay for flights in GA airplanes anymore :D
 
Aceskywalker
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:04 am

No way.

Piloting as a way to make money is dying, to be one of the first victims of the wave of automation that will kill jobs. It will be around the same time when driving to make money (trucking, ride share apps) will go extinct.

Even if it isn’t, I very much am wary of jobs that are dependent upon owning a piece of paper issue by the government that can be taken away at any time. Health issues that wouldn’t stop a businessman or a doctor will leave a pilot on unemployment benefits.
 
Max Q
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:32 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
If you want to be a pilot more than anything else, yes. If you think it’s an easy job, pays and doesn’t put big demands and risks on you, no.



Couldn’t be put better.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
BravoOne
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:49 am

Forget all the doomsayers, If you really want it, go for it, If you're not really sure, you give up the idea now before you get burned and bitter. Very competitive and not for the unmotivated. If you're not really committed for the long term, forget it.

Still think the ANG or USAF Reserves are the best but as others have said there are alternative ways to get there. I would not worry to much about the AI issues that are being tossed out by some, including myself in the past.
 
virage
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:20 pm

If you really love aviation, then I recommend the military route, for the following reasons:

1) Your employment with the military will be more assured in case of a medical mishap.

2) Flying military missions is a much more diverse and involving experience than flying a bus or a cargo truck.

3) Civil aviation equipment has been stagnant for decades (except information technology), while military constantly innovates.

4) If you're fortunate enough, you will go supersonic! No chance of that in civil aviation as long as beancounters rule above everything else.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:31 am

I'll dispute #3. Civil aviation equipment is certainly not stagnant. Not only are aircraft progressing, but so are things like approaches and operational procedures. The only constant is change.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
LH707330
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:46 am

SierraPacific wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:

That is 100 percent my opinion based on what I have seen as an instructor and volunteer at one of the busiest GA airports in the country. My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.


Hint: it was never cheap and these predictions about the demise of GA have been made since at least 1968 when I solo’d


I hope you are correct. The GA airport by my house is one of my favorite places and I hope that people in the future are able to enjoy GA as much as I have.

It also doesn't hurt that I no longer have to pay for flights in GA airplanes anymore :D

I think GA will be fine, where I live the flight schools are all packed with well-paid software industry people. I doubt you'll see as many people buying planes as opposed to renting or doing a frac, people don't want to deal with the administration of all of it. Hopefully this model continues to grow, it would increase utilization, and thereby use the space more effectively.

Also, regarding the hats: those are to hide your messed up headset hair from passengers, that's why they still hand those out.
 
gtae07
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:46 am

SierraPacific wrote:
DALMD80 wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:

Yikes.
My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.


Enter homebuilts. They're the future of personally-owned GA for all but the "buy a new Cirrus" crowd. As an example, you can find well-built two-seat RVs for well under $100k, they're far cheaper to own and operate than certified airplanes, they handle much better, and cruise a whole lot faster than 90 knots. And the homebuilt market has examples to suit almost any intended use, from lazy evening flights to long-distance travel to aerobatics to bush flying.

Homebuilt completions now outpace certified piston deliveries in the US. The ageing Cessna/Piper with soul-crushing maintenance bills and stodgy performance is no longer the heart of light GA.
 
AABusDrvr
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Re: Worth it being a pilot?

Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:22 pm

gtae07 wrote:
SierraPacific wrote:
DALMD80 wrote:
Yikes.
My generation (Gen Z) will never be able to pay 100k-900k for a single engine piston aircraft compared to previous generations having reduced costs when it comes to COL. It is the reason why most of the time the only young people in GA are only interested in being a commercial pilot rather than just flying as a hobby.

I love flying and would recommend it as a career to someone that obviously has the bug but I couldn't imagine spending 10k to 15k for a PPL combined with thousands of dollars a month in costs to fly 90 knots between PHX and LA.


Enter homebuilts. They're the future of personally-owned GA for all but the "buy a new Cirrus" crowd. As an example, you can find well-built two-seat RVs for well under $100k, they're far cheaper to own and operate than certified airplanes, they handle much better, and cruise a whole lot faster than 90 knots. And the homebuilt market has examples to suit almost any intended use, from lazy evening flights to long-distance travel to aerobatics to bush flying.

Homebuilt completions now outpace certified piston deliveries in the US. The ageing Cessna/Piper with soul-crushing maintenance bills and stodgy performance is no longer the heart of light GA.



I have not seen a completed, flying RV-8 for sale under $100K, ever. Any homebuilt that will carry more than two people, and that has any reasonable utility will be well over that amount. Most people will take years, or decades to complete a build, if they even complete it all.

I inherited a homebuilt, and honestly most days I wish one of our many tornadoes would roll over my hangar and end my ownership misery. It's problematic to find any A&P's willing to preform condition inspections, or work on the airplane. Underwriters willing to insure homebuilts are limited, and it's still expensive to fly and maintain, without any utility.

I've considered a partnership in an F-33 bonanza, at least it's capable of good weather, reasonable distance weekend trips with the family. But I don't want the hassles of aircraft ownership any more. I'll airline or drive instead.

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