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engineering to flying

Discussion in 'Changing Careers' started by jetstar242, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. jetstar242

    jetstar242 Well-Known Member

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    So yesterday I have been given an offer by Air Wisconsin. I am still few hours short of 1000 and need at least 5 month to get to ATP minimums before I can attend class. Anyway, I have been working as a full time mechanical engineer and part time CFII for the past 3 years. Flying is everything I ever wanted to do and the idea of doing it full time is beyond imaginable. I really enjoyed CFII'ng and pretty much have worked without any days off for the past 6 month (thanks for an understanding fiancé). However, I've got somewhat accustomed to financial side of engineering over the past few years (now my first engineering job payed slightly more than 38k so I know I can survive). I don't really enjoy engineering much, as well as the people I have worked with in the past years at 2 different companies..... I wanted to get your opinion as to my decision based on the way industry is at the time. Do you thing this a good or a bad move? Also I'm 25 years old.
     
  2. AA34

    AA34 Well-Known Member

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    Similar position but different fields.

    GypsyPilot has a good take on switching from engineer to pro pilot.
     
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  3. ShortField

    ShortField No one of consequence

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    I was an engineer for a big construction company before I switched to flying. I have found flying to be much more rewarding. There are some things I miss about construction, but not so much about engineering. I haven't really looked back since leaving that career field. It's also nice to have some practical experience instead of just a random degree to fall back on should flying ever not be viable either temporarily or indefinitely for whatever reason.
     
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  4. GypsyPilot

    GypsyPilot Well-Known Member

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    I spent almost six years as a mechanical engineer before making the change to aviation... I was 29 when I had all of my ratings and quit the industry to go work as a CFI. That was 10 years ago, and I'm finally making more than I was as an engineer.

    Of course, I'm definitely behind financially when looking at cumulative earnings over the past 10 years. But I managed to stay out of debt, set aside money for retirement, and still have plenty of "play" money that whole time too, as I prepared for it before I left engineering.

    I don't regret the decision to switch careers at all - I would absolutely make that decision again. I'm MUCH happier now, and I have more free time (a lot more).

    Feel free to ask me any questions, I'd be glad to help however I can!
     
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  5. Adler

    Adler Well-Known Member

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  6. Beefy McGee

    Beefy McGee Well-Known Member

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    Go for it. There are a lot of us who made the same move. I am a bit behind financially but way ahead in enjoying my career.
     
  7. jetstar242

    jetstar242 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, this is a great inspiration. After all, there is a plan B, and it is better to start sooner than later! Seems like everyone here, and everyone who I met at AWA interview are happy to be where they are!!
     
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  8. inigo88

    inigo88 Composite-lover

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    Go for it man. The engineering degree will always be there. I went aerospace engineering in college in lieu of an aviation degree because of the recession and horrible state of the regionals at the time. Now things in the industry are looking great and it seems like now is a great time to get in and get a seniority number. During school I figured that engineering would be the "backup career", except that my first gig out of school took me to the desert to a company where all my coworkers are pilots and the projects are... very cool. :) Moral of the story is go where you want to go. Maybe this will get old one day and I'll make the career change to flying (like I originally intended), but right now I'm still very much enjoying the ride.
     
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  9. jskibo

    jskibo Old

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  10. ComplexHiAv8r

    ComplexHiAv8r Well-Known Member

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    I'm a late career changer from Engineering, ending with over 10 years owning my own company. I'll never make the money flying to engineer, but you have to be happy. I saved to allow the switch to be easier. I'm now on second year pay, so its better. If you want to make the move, start reducing you budget to what 2nd year pay is, saving the other to allow to make that first year without the burden. Enjoy the ride!
     
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  11. modernicarus

    modernicarus Well-Known Member

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    Do it. You'll regret it later if you don't.
    You can fall back on engineering later if things don't work out for you, but you can't get younger and redo those years.
     
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  12. Eddie_X59

    Eddie_X59 Well-Known Member

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    You are only 25 years old, LAUGH MY ASS OFF , you can do whatever the hell you want with your life at that age, and at almost any age. I am 43 years old with a BS,MS and MBA. I was an engineer working on satellites and military communications equipment for 15 years and I gave up a job paying over 6 figures. I was an engineer, manager, financial analyst, etc, etc. Now I am time building and at 400 hours working on flight instructor ratings, I want to retire as a pilot. If I can do it at 43, you can do it at 25- and from talking to my friends who are airline pilots, now is as good a time as any to start an aviation career, even at my age. And you are too young to worry about money, do what you have to do to financially to get thru it- it will work out in the end.

    And consider this, there are technical jobs out there for pilots who have an engineering degree, not as much competition for these jobs so they are good paying jobs. Go for it !
     
  13. ComplexHiAv8r

    ComplexHiAv8r Well-Known Member

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    I did it at 50! 8)
     
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  14. jetstar242

    jetstar242 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you guys!! This is going slightly off topic, but how do major airlines look at exam failures and incidents? I was involved in an incident where my student screwed on takeoff having some kind of stress attack and pulled back the yoke as hard as you can...long story short we hit a light without knowing on a 40' wide strip as i recovered and came for a landing with broken brake which ran us off the rwy. I wad 709ed after the event but there were no damages or injuries. Also i have a failure on my private IFR and initial CFI (thanks to brutal NY FSDO :) ). Thank you all for your comments and great opinions!
     
  15. GypsyPilot

    GypsyPilot Well-Known Member

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    Regarding both the accident and checkride failures, you need to get past the "it wasn't my fault" mentality. Take ownership of them, and explain what you learned about them and how they made you a better pilot.
     
  16. jetstar242

    jetstar242 Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong, totally my fault as I was the PIC and was there for a reason and MANY things learned from those experiences! I've become thousands times better pilot/ CFI just because I went through the whole experience, even though it was not pleasant one in any way.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  17. GypsyPilot

    GypsyPilot Well-Known Member

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    You'll be fine then... That's the mentality interviewers want to see. Lots of people out there with similar circumstances (many times much worse), so don't sweat it.
     
  18. hook_dupin

    hook_dupin Well-Known Member

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    This. There are some rather unique jobs out there that combine both aviation and engineering.
     

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