crossroads in career

Crimson37

Member
Hey gang, new member here.

So here's the situation: like most, i've loved aviation for as long as i can remember. I recently graduated with a BS in aviation management and my PPL (about 50 hrs TT). I currently work as an airfield operations officer at a part 139 airport. although i thoroughly enjoy working in airport ops, the ultimate goal is to be a commercial pilot in any way, shape, or form. the issue for me is, of course, how to get there. I was fortunate enough to graduate college with no student debt, so I've got that going for me. also, having the PPL is great because i get to enjoy some flying on the side. but like so many i'm just itching to get into the cockpit as soo as i can and stay there. i just can't figure out if i should continue working and take the slow route and get each rating over time, one by one, and then just slowly build time for a few years OR go to a fast track academy like ATP by saving up some money for a bit, utilize my not having any current debt and maybe take out a small loan to finance a portion of training, and take advantage of their Tuition Reimbursement program to take care of the loan.

honestly i feel like there's an obvious answer here:tinfoil:, but i just would like some extra opinions from those who have been there/done that. thanks for any help.

clear skies and tailwinds
 

WS

Well-Known Member
Hey gang, new member here.

So here's the situation: like most, i've loved aviation for as long as i can remember. I recently graduated with a BS in aviation management and my PPL (about 50 hrs TT). I currently work as an airfield operations officer at a part 139 airport. although i thoroughly enjoy working in airport ops, the ultimate goal is to be a commercial pilot in any way, shape, or form. the issue for me is, of course, how to get there. I was fortunate enough to graduate college with no student debt, so I've got that going for me. also, having the PPL is great because i get to enjoy some flying on the side. but like so many i'm just itching to get into the cockpit as soo as i can and stay there. i just can't figure out if i should continue working and take the slow route and get each rating over time, one by one, and then just slowly build time for a few years OR go to a fast track academy like ATP by saving up some money for a bit, utilize my not having any current debt and maybe take out a small loan to finance a portion of training, and take advantage of their Tuition Reimbursement program to take care of the loan.

honestly i feel like there's an obvious answer here:tinfoil:, but i just would like some extra opinions from those who have been there/done that. thanks for any help.

clear skies and tailwinds
It sounds like you've already looked into this a fair amount, which is good. If you're looking at going the slow route, you need to make sure that your local area can support that with enough airplanes (you'll also need a complex airplane at some point for your commercial and CFI certificates, and a twin for your multi-engine) and instructors so that you're not without an airplane or instructor on a good flying day. I don't know that you'll save much if any money going this route, but you can at least continue earning an income which is good.

I would seriously look into the tuition reimbursement programs though, that may be the way to go at the moment. If you want to go to the airlines, they are really hurting for pilots at the regional level, and are shelling out more money every day to attract pilots. Many of them have agreements with flight schools, sometimes even the local ones, so look into those programs as they are basically free money if it's a place you would want to work anyway, just be aware that the money usually comes with a 2ish year contract. If you're serious about doing this, the way the pilot market is at the moment, you might be well served to just bang out those ratings in a hurry and get the time you need to get hired somewhere. Alot of regional airlines are handing out pretty big signing bonuses to brand new FOs which could help quite a bit with your training costs as well. Those bonuses could also disappear tomorrow if the hiring landscape changes dramatically, however that is pretty unlikely.
 
F

Flying Saluki

Guest
Hey gang, new member here.

So here's the situation: like most, i've loved aviation for as long as i can remember. I recently graduated with a BS in aviation management and my PPL (about 50 hrs TT). I currently work as an airfield operations officer at a part 139 airport. although i thoroughly enjoy working in airport ops, the ultimate goal is to be a commercial pilot in any way, shape, or form. the issue for me is, of course, how to get there. I was fortunate enough to graduate college with no student debt, so I've got that going for me. also, having the PPL is great because i get to enjoy some flying on the side. but like so many i'm just itching to get into the cockpit as soo as i can and stay there. i just can't figure out if i should continue working and take the slow route and get each rating over time, one by one, and then just slowly build time for a few years OR go to a fast track academy like ATP by saving up some money for a bit, utilize my not having any current debt and maybe take out a small loan to finance a portion of training, and take advantage of their Tuition Reimbursement program to take care of the loan.

honestly i feel like there's an obvious answer here:tinfoil:, but i just would like some extra opinions from those who have been there/done that. thanks for any help.

clear skies and tailwinds
Avoid debt! That's advice in general, not just aviation career advice. Next advice is don't get in a hurry. You are in a good position as an airport ops officer to network and immerse yourself in aviation. Take advantage of it. The contacts you make there may be invaluable when it comes time to take the next step; whatever or whenever it is. Airlines will still be there in 5 years.
 

Flyinthrew

Well-Known Member
Great job on earning a degree with no debt. It's a wonderful feeling, and you don't even know you have it! My wife and I both came through with no debt. I'd say look at what you are earning now and how much you can handle putting towards flying on each payday. If you don't have a family to support, make it hurt. Seriously, it's not going to take that long if you can fly like 4 hours a week until you earn your Instructor certificate. Buy block time and split time building trips with like minded people. After that, you'll be a CFI and you can then fly as much as you can handle while making some of that money back, while also probably getting a discount on the rental rate for your MEI and CFII work-ups.

This isn't an instant gratification plan, but it beats going into debt so you can check some boxes and get paid crap.

There are TWO debt caveats I can get behind. First, if you have a LOCAL flight school that can construct a seriously discounted pay up front PPL-to-CFI plan for you, I'd probably go take a loan for that. LOCAL means you can keep your real job and fly on your own timeline. You can also probably have it nearly paid off by the time you decide to leap from your current job into a full time flying gig (picto, freight, med, pilot mill CFI, etc). The second is if you play it right, and find the right fit, buying your own airplane to do the training in can make a lot of sense. I won't go into what the right fit looks like here because it's discussed elsewhere, but a lot of people sell their plane for what they bought it for (or more) after they've put 2-300 hours on it. Obviously that plan involves some risk.
 
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