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I'm considering flying

Discussion in 'Changing Careers' started by Matt1162, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Matt1162

    Matt1162 New Member

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    I'm 43 years old and have always wanted to fly. Sadly, I have spent most of my working years in the business world. I lost my job at a .com three years ago and have run out of money. I had been living off of my 401K. Does anyone know how someone in my position could get financial aid to learn to fly.
     
  2. awbmof

    awbmof Well-Known Member

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    ATP has a student loan program, but to really provide guidance some more background information would be helpful. Do you have a 4-year degree and prior certs and ratings? Perhaps share what your ultimate flying goal is?
     
  3. Matt1162

    Matt1162 New Member

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    I do have a 4 year degree in geology but the only geology work experience I have was an internship. I don't have any ratings or certifications. Ultimately I'd like to just make a living being in the cockpit, whether it's a large passenger plane or small plane. I don't mind being a co-pilot either.
     
  4. Cptnchia

    Cptnchia Well-Known Member

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    After 43 years, why aviation? Have you given it any thought through the years? Is there a yearning somewhere to go fly? Or did you hear how much pilots can make and thought, "I can do that."

    The reason I ask is that it's a long, hard road in the beginning. There will be dark days and frustrating setbacks. The thing that gets you through those is a need to fly. It's an itch that needs to be scratched, regardless. Whether the end result is just being a weekend bug smasher or in the left seat of a 777 for Conglobomega Air Lines, the innate driving force was a love of aviation.
     
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  5. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    So I'm gonna be 42 at the end of the month. I am not telling you that you cannot do this - you absolutely can, and guys considerably older than both of us have done so.

    I would encourage you to take the two decades you've got of adult life experience and weigh the decision accordingly. As a disclaimer - I have not yet decided what I want to do with aviation, and I've just recently broken 250 hours of total time in my logbook. It's often a question of resources more than anything else, and it sounds like you're a bit thin on them right now.

    Financial aid is out there, and there's even a stronger case for it than there was 7 years ago because it's a lot cheaper to buy the money than it used to be. However, it's going to be tough to get one of these loans without demonstrating a capacity for paying it back. You're conservatively looking at about $45-50K to get to some flavor of Commercial license - could be done for a little less, could be done for a lot more - a lot depends on you, where you are, and what opportunities there are.

    But debt can be a dreamkiller. And you're already taking a double-hit on living on your 401k - because you're losing that retirement money and taking the 10% penalty hit on it plus the taxes. From where I stand, that's a form of bleeding and you need to stop that with a job - any job - before you pursue something as expensive as flying. End of lecture on that.

    Given your situation - I would suggest you FIRST see if you can hold at least a 3rd class medical - which should be relatively easy. If you can, then look at something like a mom and pop flying school or a local flying club and earn your Private Certificate. Get a sense of being in the air and decide if it's something you REALLY want to do. If it is, then move forward. If not, then you have had a great experience and now have a unique hobby that will show you things the ground-borne will never really appreciate.

    Good luck. This website is a terrific resource itself. Ask questions in good faith.
     
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  6. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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    Only thing I would change, is See if you can hold a First class medical. No sense spending the dollars if something would prevent you from using it.
     
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  7. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    Well, it really depends on his goals, right? I mean, he doesn't need a first class for every flying job out there. That's why I suggested a 3rd class - he can use that to get all the Private stuff done, and by then he'll know if he needs a 1st or 2nd for what he needs/wants to do.
     
  8. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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    But the cost difference is so minor, since he is below EKG age. My AME charges the same no matter what.

    Best to know up front what the possibilities are. I mean if he has his heart set on 121, might want to know before you start.

    Then again, life brings fun and could still change down the road. Hell I drink four pots of coffee a day and still pass the BP and EKG :)
     
  9. Cptnchia

    Cptnchia Well-Known Member

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    @jskibo is right. He wants to fly to earn money. No sense in going through the expense of learning to fly is you can't hold a first class.
     
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  10. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    Okay - question - this is where I need some education.

    Let's say you apply for a first class, and the result is that you're denied for a first. Can you get a second if you meet THAT criteria? Or are you screwed?

    If you can still get a Second while being denied a First, then I completely agree with you both about applying for a First. I may have an incorrect understanding of how that works - would love to know the answer since, age-wise, I'm in the same boat. :)
     
  11. Cptnchia

    Cptnchia Well-Known Member

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    AFAIK yes. If you meet the criteria for a second, but not a first, you can still be issued a second. The thing is, almost every employer is going to require a first class as a prerequisite for hiring. There are those that won't, but why limit your potential pool of jobs right out of the gate?

    .
     
  12. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    I don't disagree. Clearly, my misunderstanding of the way the medical rules work affected my opinion.
     
  13. Jordan93

    Jordan93 Well-Known Member

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    This may sound like a dumb question but have you taken an intro flight to see if this is actually something you want to pursue? I also agree with getting your medical before you pour any money into this. Get a consultation with an AME first. DO NOT schedule your medical unless you are 110% sure he'll issue you a first class medical.
     
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  14. SpiceWeasel

    SpiceWeasel Tre Kronor

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    The advice is all going to seem very Debbie Downer but it pays to be realistic:

    I started learning to fly in 2001. 6 years later I had a regional job (old flight time rules). I spent 7 years at that job and my peak earning before bankruptcy as a mid-senior FO was $50,000. I never held upgrade. Year 7 flying professionally I found a job that would pay 6 figures right seat.

    At Minimum Monthly Guarantee (the number all life decisions SHOULD be based on at the airlines), I will break $100,000 at year 11. If I can credit 83 1/3 hours per month a year, I can get $100,000 at year 4.

    Assumptions made: won't leave my current aircraft and won't upgrade. You have to be comfortable in what you are assigned or bid because you could be stuck with it.

    To recap: best case scenario for ME for day 1 flight training to $100,000 income in a year is 17 years. Worst case is 24 years.
     
  15. awbmof

    awbmof Well-Known Member

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    I would also add that you are looking at an average of 9 years from zero hours to ATP marketable (according to one of our local DPEs), it could be less depending upon how much you power through.
     
  16. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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    Not sure where he's getting his data, but Zero to CFI in a year if you're dedicated, then maybe 18 months at one of the high volume schools and you're at 1500.

    Now if you were on my old plan it was 0-100, sit 9 years, 100-300, continue to ponder the income loss :)
     
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  17. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    With the exception of the all the rugrats, you and I are living strikingly parallel lives....
     
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  18. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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    I'll be damned if I can figure out what causes them.......
     
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  19. SpiceWeasel

    SpiceWeasel Tre Kronor

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    I said worst case ;)

    I did my ratings in 4.5 years attending college. So if you can cut that down to 2 years including 1500 hours you've only got 15 years to $100,000.
     
  20. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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    Yeah not aimed at your comment. Was at the "DPE says 9 years to ATP" comment.
     

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