Advice needed; Doug help!

ncm4y

New Member
Ok, I need some input. I'm 28 and have a PPL with about 68 hours. I'm looking to change professions into aviation. I've been accepted into the Mesa Pilot Development Program in New Mexico (I currently live on the east coast). (There is a discussion group on the program) In short, it is 19 months long and you come out CIME rated. If you pass the program you are guaranteed an interview (currently a 97% hire rate of grads) and once they start hiring you get a slot as a FO. Question is, at my age (I don't think I'm old) is this program a good bet or am I better off at a flight school (FSI, ComAir, etc.) and go the instructor, cargo, etc. route? Also, my goal is not the majors, I'd be happy with a little ol' government flying job. Any advice is appreciated.
 

Eagle

New Member
Well I am not Doug. BUT:

Eitherway is a good route. I think I would stick with the Mesa route myself. But I like it down there. with a 97% rate of being picked up it sounds like you will fit in well after a year and a half.

Some of the other schools offer some of the same things. but *MY* reading of the literature leads me to believe that Mesa has the best program because it is a college as well.

HOWEVER.

If you want to fly for the government. you are quite ,limited. Take a look at the government pilot jobs, the most common are DEA and Customs. both of which you can not be any older than 35 years old unless you have P-3 time. Other jobs like fire work and the like are quite difficult to get into. but the FAA does have a bunch of pilots. and to get those jobs you need some serious time and ratings.

Regionals may be a good deal. if you stick it out you can make a good living, but I suspect you will like flying with the majors at 40.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

Ok, I need some input. I'm 28 and have a PPL with about 68 hours. I'm looking to change professions into aviation. I've been accepted into the Mesa Pilot Development Program in New Mexico (I currently live on the east coast). (There is a discussion group on the program) In short, it is 19 months long and you come out CIME rated. If you pass the program you are guaranteed an interview (currently a 97% hire rate of grads) and once they start hiring you get a slot as a FO. Question is, at my age (I don't think I'm old) is this program a good bet or am I better off at a flight school (FSI, ComAir, etc.) and go the instructor, cargo, etc. route? Also, my goal is not the majors, I'd be happy with a little ol' government flying job. Any advice is appreciated.

<hr></blockquote>

I really don't know a heck of a lot about Mesa, but if you feel it's a good program and independent of the hype if you think it will be a good deal, go for it.

Only one caveat though. Only if you come out with a 4-year degree.

A two year degree is as bad as having no degree at all when it comes to the majors hiring requirements and all the pic jet time in the world will not placate the requirement.

Also, the 97% hired thing may be fairly misleading.

Talk to them and ask them these questions and unless you get a straight answer, give them the "finger":

a. How many people in the past three months that have graduated the program has Mesa Airlines hired?
b. Of those that were hired in the past three months, did they immediately go into training or were they placed in a pool?
c. Of the pilots that were placed in a pool (if they have one), how long has the average guy waited in the pool prior to his first line flight?
d. Which Mesa affiliate are you currently hiring for? (personally, I'd avoid 'Freedom Air' like the plague)

Schools will promise interviews -- they can promise to interview my 13 year old nephew, but they probably wouldn't hire him, but having interviewed him will satisfy their contractural obligation.

Schools will also promise that a particular airline will hire you upon completion of their program. Does the cost quote include ALL program costs in order to be eligible for hire?

And if a student does complete training successfully, interviews and is hired, how long does he wait until he actually gets paid?

During my regional days, I know a lot of pilots that were "hired", but only said unpaid in a hiring pool for two to 14 months or more until a position opened up.

If you get placed in a pool, it puts you in a delimma. Do you take a job at another outfit that will hire you NOW but requires that you resign from Mesa? Or do you stop sending out resumes because Mesa says they'll hire you in another 5 months?

Always play "devil's advocate" and ask the hard questions.
 

socal

New Member
One of the instructors here at ATP has a good friend who went through the Mesa Program. While he was hired by Mesa with only 300 hours, his furlough after 9/11 highlighted a deficiency in the program: You will not receive your flight instructor ratings at Mesa. If you are furloughed or terminated, your total time will be way under the mins of every other airline -- and most likely any paying flight job. Without your CFI's, you have no way to build hours without paying for it.

If you end up at Mesa, make sure you get the CFI's on your own. That way if you end up jobless for reasons beyond your control, you can still make a living in aviation and continue to build hours.
 

ncm4y

New Member
Thanks for the replies. I already have a four year degree so the 2 year that they give would just be a freebie (yeah, like anything is free, lol). I know that hiring is cyclical in the industry, and I can only imagine that most places have more people in the hiring pool right now than ever. However, I would think that the next 6 months or so would be a good time to start training with the thought that the pools would start to thin out here in the coming times? Any thoughts?
 

Astin

New Member
by the time you are done w/ the 19 month program, I would be very surprised if they weren't hiring by then.
 

GliderPilot

New Member
Astin is right, the pool will have PROBABLY thined. It's a pretty big gamble in my mind.

I was in a similar dilema last fall and seriously considered Mesa. I had a friend who finished there last August and thought I should go to Mesa as well. He's currently delivering packages for UPS and has no word as to when he might acutally go through training. I think he's been 'hired' and is in a pool as Doug described. Mesa still has lots of furloughed pilots waiting to be recalled.

As a college grad (4 year) this program seemed like a gamble and a lot of class work I didn't want. I'm completing my COM rating as we speak at an FBO at Denver's largest executive airport. I chose this flight school because the head instructor (he's also my CFI) said he'd hire me after I finished my ratings. I've flown full time since Oct, 2001 and I've gone from 0 time to 235 hours. I'll be a CFI shortly and getting paid to fly instead waiting in a pool. I'm really looking forward to teaching. Just because the big flight schools pay CFI's $8/hr doesn't mean they all get paid that. Most CFI in the Denver area are independent contractors (your students pay you directly) and bill between $25 and $40 an hour. For college grads in their late 20's I really think the FBO route is the way to go. Become a better pilot by teaching others, build hours, get paid, and network towards your next step.

The cherry on top is that I'll have spent $21K when I finish up my CFII. After my CMEL/MEI rating, some aerobatics training, and a tail wheel endorsment I expect to have paid around 28K for my ratings. This is a lot better than 45 to 60K in AZ, NM, or FL to a company that's promising you a job that might not be there for you when you finish your training. Just my two cents. Good Luck
 

ncm4y

New Member
Thanks again for all the replies. Anyone have any opinions as to part 61 or 141? I know it is a trade-off as far as less time 141 but usually the same or if not more cost than 61. Do future employers care where or how you got your ratings? Thanks Doug, great website!!
 

RickVF

New Member
Since you already have a degree, why would you want to spend 19 months flying only 300 hours to get another degree? Only a two year one at that. Why not look into the ATP career pilot program, which will allow you to go from VFR Private to MEI in about 95 days. You can then instruct and within 12 months have over 1,000 hours. At that point you couls apply for several Regionals.
 

Eagle

New Member
No one cares, EVER if you are 141 or 61. the only advantages are
Veterans benefits,
and you can do certain things like apply for your comml with 225 hrs vs 250, (something like that look it up if you care)

Part 61 will save you some serious cash tho.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Actually, I think part-141, besides being able to get VA benfits, is over rated.

With part-141, there is already a set syllabus. You can get your flight training done a little quicker, but have you noticed that the part-141 schools are more expensive? Not a cost advantage at all.

I taught part-61 training. That way I had more control over what I could train my students on, had more flexibility and didn't have to worry about the bureaucracy of the part-141 training environment.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Part 61 baby!! I looked at a Part 141, and while I like the structure, I didn't like the cost. I started my Private Certificate training on April 20th, fly 3 to 4 times a week and am on a very good pace. I started studying the text work about two months prior to my first training flight and felt VERY prepared for the first lessons.

Whatever your choice is, I wish you luck.
 

ncm4y

New Member
I did my PPL part 61 as well and didn't have a problem getting through it at all. Unfortunately, my local FBO does not have the resources (IMHO) to be able to get the rest of my ratings in the amount of time that I would want to get them done. So..... I am looking at becoming unemployed and taking the plunge. Thanks to all for the input. Keep it coming.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Whoah! Careful!

The industry, right now, is like the front lines at Utah beach in Normandy! Take your time getting out of the boat and keep your head low! /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

I really wouldn't suggest quitting your job and diving into flight training full time. Try and balance out paying the bills and flight training.

An accelerated program is only a benefit if the airlines are hiring feverishly, which they're not at the moment.

There are a lot of highly qualified unemployed pilots on the market now. In fact, one of my close friends is furloughed by Delta, former Skywest Brasilia captain with 737 training that is having trouble finding a job to feed his family.

If this guy is having problems with thousands of hours of PIC turbine and experience, I'm more than sure that a pilot, fresh out of flight school with 300 hours is going to have worse of a time.

I don't mean to sound negative, but the flight school propoganda machine is swinging full speed again, just like 1993.
 

ncm4y

New Member
Point very well taken Doug. That is actually part of my dillema (sp?). I have a very stable job right now (law enforcement), but on the other hand, if, and hopefully when, the industry starts to come back, I don't want to be still sitting here with only a PPL wishing I had gotten the ratings earlier. My former instructor is now flying cargo and going that route. In your humble opinion, do you think that the cargo flying will see less ups and downs? I had one more question, but this post is long enough as it is. I'll save it for after Miller time.
 

Eagle

New Member
the think Doug is trying to say (i hope) is do not give up on the advanced training, rather put the effort into finding a different flight school that you can work with. with your sked, i suspect you have larger blocks of time off than most (like I do grin) and have the time to get to the other school.

It may suck but driving an hour one way to get to flt school is easier when you have a job to pay for the gas.

your profile says you are in NC I have some good contacts down that way if you want to drop me a note with your details and I may be able to help you out some.


mathew@jetcareers.com
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
Eagle is absolutely right.

It's a tough, but not impossible, job market out there currently.

Keep your job until you're able to find stable employment. Actually, I'd highly suggest keeping your job after you find stable employment.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
What Doug and Eagle just touched on is exactly another reason why I'm going the FBO route. The Part 141 school I was all set to go to was about a 30-40 minute drive from home, would have required me to quit my job and go full time, and would have run me about $30 - $35K (probably more after uniforms, headsets, flight bag, etc., etc. etc.).

Fortunately (for me, not them) they went belly up after 9/11 (for serveral reasons unrelated to 9/11) and I had to find an alternate route. So, here I am. Flying 3 to 4 times a week at a FBO that is less than 10 miles from my house. I still have my job where I make *decent* money (pays the bills with room for a few extras), I will NOT be spending $30-35K all said and done (good Lord willing) and I can wait to leave this job until I know that I have a CFI job one day.

And maybe - MAYBE - by the time I've got 900-1000 CFI hours under my belt......... time will tell.
 
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