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Career change

fletchersteel

Well-Known Member
#1
I’ve been a member here since ‘08, if I remember correctly. Short story, got my commercial multi back then and haven’t ever flown for hire since passing my checkride. I’ve flown some for fun and have doubled my hours since then. I’m 43 and considering starting my aviation career. I’ve got an ok job now, but really feel the pull towards the airlines. My wife supports me, but thinks I’m crazy. Considering where the industry is now and where it was 10 years ago when I got my ticket, am I getting into this career too late or too old? I realize I’ll never top out at a major, and quite possibly not make the left seat there too, but realistically am I thinking I’ve got a good move to aviation or is my wife right? Lol I know we can’t predict the future, I simply just trying to get a pulse on things. Thanks!
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#2
I’ve been a member here since ‘08, if I remember correctly. Short story, got my commercial multi back then and haven’t ever flown for hire since passing my checkride. I’ve flown some for fun and have doubled my hours since then. I’m 43 and considering starting my aviation career. I’ve got an ok job now, but really feel the pull towards the airlines. My wife supports me, but thinks I’m crazy. Considering where the industry is now and where it was 10 years ago when I got my ticket, am I getting into this career too late or too old? I realize I’ll never top out at a major, and quite possibly not make the left seat there too, but realistically am I thinking I’ve got a good move to aviation or is my wife right? Lol I know we can’t predict the future, I simply just trying to get a pulse on things. Thanks!
As I wasn't necessarily a career changer but held a solid job prior to starting this career, I have felt some highs and lows with the career already. The most depressing days have been paydays, but the best days were getting a new type rating or passing a 121 checkride. Seeing the results of the hard work and sacrifice in this career is very rewarding. The pay is heading in the right direction but aside from one or two regionals the starting pay is still in the mid 30's. That beats the 20's which in my opinion was borderline criminal. Hopefully the upward trend continues but regional management is fighting it hard as paying more will result in no longer being competitive for the discounted outsourcing the regionals provide. I do fly with captains that had it much worse than me, being stuck in the right seat for 10 plus years or have been furloughed. So that really helps keep the chin up as that is not the case at the moment.

Being 43 and already having your ratings I don't see the age being an issue. Go get the 1500 in the next two years and be in a 121 training class by 45 and you still have 20 years to make it to the left seat at a major. If your wife supports you that is good, just make sure she knows all of the bad that is about to happen. The time away from home, the paydays that barely cover the bills and the stress of training and checking events that will distract you from time to time. Also let her know about the good things, like free travel as long as plans can be flexible.

Hope it all works out and best of luck! It is a fun job but you and your wife will need a glass half full attitude to appreciate it.
 
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ElihuSmails

Well-Known Member
#3
If your wife is behind you, go for it, if that’s where your heart truly is. You have almost 22 years left that you can fly 121. Even if you hit a major airline at 55 (you could possibly do it 5 years sooner, if the current pace of things continues), you’ll still have 10 years in which you can enjoy a decent paying career - and you won’t look back wondering what if. As with anything, consider the worst possible outcomes - what if something drastic happens in the industry and you’re stuck at a regional, what if you lose your medical, etc... It’s easy when you’re young and single, but I’d say - as long as you have an out for your potential bad scenarios - take the plunge. I’m about your age and I was a somewhat late-bloomer - started as a CFI just before my 33rd birthday. Due to various, weird circumstances and decisions I made, I feel pretty much relegated to flying a King Air for the rest of my career - but it’s okay. Although not the outcome I ultimately hoped for, it’s way better than crunching numbers on spreadsheets and giving boring presentations in a cubicle. Best of luck.
 

Flying Saluki

Well-Known Member
#4
Even if you don't make it to a major, it's not like the regionals are paying chump change. Make it to Captain, and you can make a 6 figure income.
 

Vyse

BirchJet FO
#5
We're still in the early part of the hiring wave, and the majors will only continue to drop their experience requirements as the wave hits its peak over the next 6-8 years.

If you can get to 1500 hours and a regional by 45, the way things are trending now, it's totally reasonable to have a chance at a major or LCC by the time you're 50. You won't be a 777 Captain, but narrowbody Captain wouldn't be out of the question.

Or if it's a good regional, you can stay there, make 100-150K/year as an RJ skipper, and retire in the top 10% with 18-20 days off/month (and perhaps continue your previous career in a part-time capacity or start a side business if you wish). Good luck!
 

ComplexHiAv8r

Well-Known Member
#6
With the support of your wife, get out there, get the 1500. I’m a career changer, regional hire at 50. Any other questions hit me up. Our regional has interesting programs helping you get here. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

fletchersteel

Well-Known Member
#7
Thank you all for the encouragement! Sometimes I start second guessing myself, especially when I’m planning on dropping a good chunk of change from our tax return on getting current. I think that’s what worries me the most is investing money into getting current then not finding a first flying job that’ll equal my pay now. I’m not making big bucks, but we’re scrapping by. My family can’t move now, but I’m looking all over, and it’s crazy to me how many people are looking to hire! Back in ‘08, I couldn’t get a job mopping the floor. Thanks again and I’ll continue to work towards a regional by 45!
 

ComplexHiAv8r

Well-Known Member
#8
Thank you all for the encouragement! Sometimes I start second guessing myself, especially when I’m planning on dropping a good chunk of change from our tax return on getting current. I think that’s what worries me the most is investing money into getting current then not finding a first flying job that’ll equal my pay now. I’m not making big bucks, but we’re scrapping by. My family can’t move now, but I’m looking all over, and it’s crazy to me how many people are looking to hire! Back in ‘08, I couldn’t get a job mopping the floor. Thanks again and I’ll continue to work towards a regional by 45!
Where are you located? CFI? Willing to relocate? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Flybub

Well-Known Member
#9
I'm just about in the same boat as you. 37 yr. old with MEL/SEL Commercial and Instrument. Getting current in the spring and going for my CFI this summer and shooting for a regional in a couple years. I'm tired of kicking rocks in a cubicle and really not making all that much money. My only concern is missing this big hiring wave. I'm in Ohio with my wife and 3 kids so a relocation is out of the question at this point. Hoping I can get to 1500 hrs in 2 years. Go with your gut. Wish you the best of luck!
 

ComplexHiAv8r

Well-Known Member
#10
I'm just about in the same boat as you. 37 yr. old with MEL/SEL Commercial and Instrument. Getting current in the spring and going for my CFI this summer and shooting for a regional in a couple years. I'm tired of kicking rocks in a cubicle and really not making all that much money. My only concern is missing this big hiring wave. I'm in Ohio with my wife and 3 kids so a relocation is out of the question at this point. Hoping I can get to 1500 hrs in 2 years. Go with your gut. Wish you the best of luck!
What part of OH? I’m CAK, ORD based. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

woodreau

Well-Known Member
#11
Age is really not an issue. and getting a job at a regional airline is not really that hard at the moment.

What is an issue is where are you in terms of retirement planning. How much have to you stashed away so far?

Granted the time spent in a regional airline will not be as long now as it was 10 years ago. It's all different for each person, but being at a regional airline makes it hard to put away for retirement while you still have the advantage of time to grow your investments.

So find a way to keep on track for retirement or keep it in the back of your mind as you make the transition.

Getting a good paycheck for the last 10 years of your career (55-65) doesn't really help if you haven't planned and stashed away from when you were 20-45, all you're doing is playing catch up.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
#13
Age is really not an issue. and getting a job at a regional airline is not really that hard at the moment.

What is an issue is where are you in terms of retirement planning. How much have to you stashed away so far?

Granted the time spent in a regional airline will not be as long now as it was 10 years ago. It's all different for each person, but being at a regional airline makes it hard to put away for retirement while you still have the advantage of time to grow your investments.

So find a way to keep on track for retirement or keep it in the back of your mind as you make the transition.

Getting a good paycheck for the last 10 years of your career (55-65) doesn't really help if you haven't planned and stashed away from when you were 20-45, all you're doing is playing catch up.
This is maybe the biggest hesitation factor I have about pulling that career change trigger.
 

fletchersteel

Well-Known Member
#14
This is maybe the biggest hesitation factor I have about pulling that career change trigger.
I’m feeling it too, but as the direction I’m going now, I’m no better off staying where I am. Unfortunately, I have not made any retirement funds, and my time to let it grow is behind me. I’ve always worked and never had enough to save. I do have some railroad retirement that’ll kick in, but nothing to live off of. It’s looking like a swift career change for the better is what I’ll have to do.
 

woutlaw

Well-Known Member
#16
I made the switch starting back in '06 at about the same age and have zero regrets. There were some lean years financially but we made it work.

Having your better half on board is everything. And I mean everything. Happy wife, happy life.

Flight instructed my butt off for 2 years, flew 135 freight for 5 1/2 because the money was good, did a 2-year stint at a regional and enjoyed the heck out of it, especially being a CA, and drive a 737 around now. It's been a blast.

Now is a much better time to make the switch than when I jumped. Starting pay at the regionals is finally respectable and there's movement everywhere. I would have been perfectly happy finishing my career as a regional CA if my current gig hadn't come up.

Go for it. As an old man you'll only regret the things you didn't try. :)
 

wayway8

Well-Known Member
#17
I’m feeling it too, but as the direction I’m going now, I’m no better off staying where I am. Unfortunately, I have not made any retirement funds, and my time to let it grow is behind me. I’ve always worked and never had enough to save. I do have some railroad retirement that’ll kick in, but nothing to live off of. It’s looking like a swift career change for the better is what I’ll have to do.
While you may have nothing saved for retirement currently and none when you begin flying for money, there's a time-limit on earning years in the 121 world. If you stay in an industry where you can start saving retirement money today and continue beyond age 65, that has some value.
 

fletchersteel

Well-Known Member
#18
While you may have nothing saved for retirement currently and none when you begin flying for money, there's a time-limit on earning years in the 121 world. If you stay in an industry where you can start saving retirement money today and continue beyond age 65, that has some value.
I agree with ya, but I’m looking at maxing out on pay in 4 years here, whereas the regionals are hiring now where my top pay will be in 4 years. I’ve worked my current job a little over a year, and it’s a decent job, but I always have that “what if” and “I should’ve done this long time ago” hanging over me. I just need to make ends meet until I can get into better pay scales with a regional or similar.
 

BrettInLJ

Well-Known Member
#19
I got back into the game recently and am about your age. You aren't too old. The question is simply whether you are up for the lifestyle change and have the support of family.

Getting in somewhere sooner than later does become more important at this stage though, so if you decide to do this find a way to get your hours quickly (flight instructing) and get your apps in early- many places interview well before 1500.

Realistically know the first year or two will be rough and you won't be home much, especially if you don't live in base on reserve. Again, knowing what you are getting into and having support of your SO is key.