32 and need to change careers

JJohnson3

New Member
Hello everyone, I am 32 years old, married with no children. I have always wanted to fly since I was a little kid but when I was 19 I had gotten a DUI, which I though would never allow me to become aI pilot. From what I have heard, once the DUI was over 10 years old I could still become a pilot. I have so many questions and would appreciate some input, I have been looking into fast track schools such as ATP and Aeroguard but the financing is looking to be too much for me as I do not have anyone that can cosign on the loan. My wife is on board and we are willing to move anywhere needed for flight school. I currently live in Eastern Washington state. I could really use some advice and/or direction on how I can become a commercial pilot. Thank you.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Where do you live? I'm in Chelan and learned to fly in Wenatchee. I might be able to point you at some pay as you go flight schools or flying clubs. You might look into a two year degree from Big Bend in Moses Lake which includes flight training. Not fast track but it's a better education and reputation.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone, I am 32 years old, married with no children. I have always wanted to fly since I was a little kid but when I was 19 I had gotten a DUI, which I though would never allow me to become aI pilot. From what I have heard, once the DUI was over 10 years old I could still become a pilot. I have so many questions and would appreciate some input, I have been looking into fast track schools such as ATP and Aeroguard but the financing is looking to be too much for me as I do not have anyone that can cosign on the loan. My wife is on board and we are willing to move anywhere needed for flight school. I currently live in Eastern Washington state. I could really use some advice and/or direction on how I can become a commercial pilot. Thank you.
It will be a headwind but not all is lost. My good friend with a DUI offense in 2008 ended up at a wholly owned and will most likely be at American before he is 40. I have a couple things on my record as well, I’ve just come to the reality that places like Delta or United won’t be knocking at my door anytime in the near future. As long as you are okay finding happiness in whatever place offers you a decent wage and qol, you should be able to find a good fit once qualified.

Eastern Washington is pretty good flying weather most of the year, which is pretty important. I learned to fly in western Oregon, in the valley. Ended up with a lot of canceled flights due to weather, extending the training timeline.

My only advice financially is to just be careful how much debt you decide to get into. Those loan payments can be a pretty tall order during the lean years if you don’t have help or a second source of income. You will also notice unless you live in base, you spend more money than the average worker just to go to work. Crashpads/hotel rooms are on your dime, Uber fees or a commuter car will be on you and if you’re commuting to reserve and not being used per diem will not kick in while in base, so your food will be on you as well. Just things to consider, These were things I didn’t consider when I took the dive initially, but when I started commuting I found out real quick! If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me a pm. I’m somewhat local to you (Portland) and recently flew for Horizon Air. A great regional by the way, best option for someone living in the northwest in my opinion. They have a Spokane base on the Q400 if 121 is your goal, also some options for 135 freight (Empire) down the road in that area.

Edit:

Best course of action is to go to a local airport and just talk to a CFI, take a lesson or two and go from there. As stated above, Moses Lake has a good two year program but if you already have a degree may not be worth the money. If you let me know what area of Eastern Washington you reside in I’ll try to find some info for you on different programs as well
 
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JJohnson3

New Member
Thank you for your response and helpful information. I currently live just outside Spokane Wa. The main reason I am looking for a flight training program is mostly financing, I feel if I just go to the small airport and start taking lessons it will take me forever to get all the licenses I need to fly for a regional or become a bush pilot as i dont have a lot of money so would only be able to afford a couple hours of flying per month.
 

JJohnson3

New Member
My wife and I are also thinking of moving back to Wisconsin. I know Oshkosh has the largest airshow so I would think there would be a lot of opportunities for flight training near there.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Thank you for your response and helpful information. I currently live just outside Spokane Wa. The main reason I am looking for a flight training program is mostly financing, I feel if I just go to the small airport and start taking lessons it will take me forever to get all the licenses I need to fly for a regional or become a bush pilot as i dont have a lot of money so would only be able to afford a couple hours of flying per month.
It will end up costing twice as much. The local small airport is the cheapest option. And a couple hours a month still gets you to the same place in the end. The extra time also means that you know more people that can hook you up with jobs in the future.
 

bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
It will end up costing twice as much. The local small airport is the cheapest option. And a couple hours a month still gets you to the same place in the end. The extra time also means that you know more people that can hook you up with jobs in the future.
As much as I’m not a fan of the big pilot factories/big debt a couple of hours a month at an FBO isn’t likely to cut it either. If it is truly only 2-3 hours a month, it ends up costing even more as extended time between lessons means repeating material and taking years to get ratings. I had a few of those type students and they usually struggled but not always.

@JJohnson3 definitely avoid the debt trap as much as practical, if you can find a good small-medium sized school that offers financing that might help your near term goals. $100k in loans vs. say $20-30k is a big difference. This business can be a real crapshoot in terms of timing and taking on debt that you might struggle to pay back is tough. Striking a balance between getting to your career goals affordably and quickly isn’t easy. Keep asking questions and go check out some local flight schools. Others here are more current than I am on what various regionals are offering, but I know some are doing tuition reimbursement which is good but also not guaranteed in the future.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
As much as I’m not a fan of the big pilot factories/big debt a couple of hours a month at an FBO isn’t likely to cut it either. If it is truly only 2-3 hours a month, it ends up costing even more as extended time between lessons means repeating material and taking years to get ratings. I had a few of those type students and they usually struggled but not always.
If it takes a few more hours, who cares? You still need 250 to be a CFI. If you get a few more of them getting instruction instead of sitting in the right seat on a cross country, at least you are learning something. And so what, you save $25k instead of $30k?
 

axlrose

New Member
My only advice financially is to just be careful how much debt you decide to get into. Those loan payments can be a pretty tall order during the lean years if you don’t have help or a second source of income. You will also notice unless you live in base, you spend more money than the average worker just to go to work. Crashpads/hotel rooms are on your dime, Uber fees or a commuter car will be on you and if you’re commuting to reserve and not being used per diem will not kick in while in base, so your food will be on you as well. Just things to consider, These were things I didn’t consider when I took the dive initially, but when I started commuting I found out real quick! If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me a pm. I’m somewhat local to you (Portland) and recently flew for Horizon Air. A great regional by the way, best option for someone living in the northwest in my opinion. They have a Spokane base on the Q400 if 121 is your goal, also some options for 135 freight (Empire) down the road in that area.

"Horizon is a great regional". Been here several years, the QOL is getting worse for me. Reserves this month are almost 50% of the FO's at my base. Scheduling is building the higher paying trips on the weekends and holidays. Lower pay during the week. Experienced pilots are leaving the Q (which needs a skilled flier) for the Embraer in droves. Management from the last pilot meeting seems to be under the impression that new pilots are lining up and waiting months for an interview here. lol youll be sitting reserve getting your rear handed to you in the Q while you build that 100 Turbine PIC to go to Alaska!
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
"Horizon is a great regional". Been here several years, the QOL is getting worse for me. Reserves this month are almost 50% of the FO's at my base. Scheduling is building the higher paying trips on the weekends and holidays. Lower pay during the week. Experienced pilots are leaving the Q (which needs a skilled flier) for the Embraer in droves. Management from the last pilot meeting seems to be under the impression that new pilots are lining up and waiting months for an interview here. lol youll be sitting reserve getting your rear handed to you in the Q while you build that 100 Turbine PIC to go to Alaska!
Can’t argue with that, but....

Two other options for a desired NW base, SkyWest and Compass. SkyWest I have friends that have been there since 2013 that can’t hold CA in the NW, have fun commuting with no commuter clause...(yep still feeling that one). Compass, well we know what will happen to the Seattle base once Delta flying goes. So yes, I really think Horizon is the best option for a regional for someone looking into the career and wanting to know the current climate.
 
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killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Go through the process of getting your medical first.

You will likely have some hoops to jump through before you can get that, but if you're up front about everything and answer all the questions and paperwork truthfully, you should be able to get one barring any other red flags.

Don't move or spend a dime on your flight training until you do this.
 
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