Is it possible to earn a good living while training to become a pilot.

#1
My wife and kids depend on my income as a truck driver. I would like to learn to become a commercial pilot for ultimately a major airline. Is there any way to still earn a decent living while pursuing my newly found career goals?

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Crockrocket94

Well-Known Member
#2
What else do you have in your repertoire? I mean what kind of schedule are you running, what other skills? Flight training can be done on your own time.
 

srn121

Well-Known Member
#4
My wife and kids depend on my income as a truck driver. I would like to learn to become a commercial pilot for ultimately a major airline. Is there any way to still earn a decent living while pursuing my newly found career goals?

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You could get lessons on the side and don't have to give up your job as a truck driver, but it might take longer than you would like it to. Also you might have to wait a decade to get to a major airline, but the pay has gone up to somewhat respectable levels at most places you'd fly along the way there so it shouldn't be too big of a deal. You just might have to move to find your first job and it might be tough to make 40+k a year your first year.
 
#7
What else do you have in your repertoire? I mean what kind of schedule are you running, what other skills? Flight training can be done on your own time.
I'm a truck driver currently making just shy of 100k per year. I'm afraid my pay will go down while learning to fly.

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Finny

Well-Known Member
#8
I'm a truck driver currently making just shy of 100k per year. I'm afraid my pay will go down while learning to fly.

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It will. I started flight training in Jan. 2012 and progressed as fast as I could. Finished upgrade to captain in October 2017 which would be most likely around the income level you are at now. I also incurred debt for my flight training doing it that fast and not paying out of pocket.

Flight training can be good, fast, or cheap, but you can only choose 2 of the 3.
 
#9
During the beginning segment of your career, how much were you earning and did you have extra time to spare to earn income on a side job?

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JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#10
I'm a truck driver currently making just shy of 100k per year. I'm afraid my pay will go down while learning to fly.

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If you’re making just shy of 100k but want to break into the airline industry why don’t you try living off of 35-45k. That will realistically be your wages for the first 3-5 years after you get your ratings (until you upgrade to captain at a regional). Once you upgrade wages will be around 65-75k range and go up about 5k a year. So you’re looking at about 6+ years to make a around 100k at the airline level once you complete your ratings. All of this is based on seniority of course, so getting that magic 1500 asap is going to dictate the length of time you will be stuck making sub 100k wages.

Unless you plan on telling your significant other to start working or you can afford to live on less than 50k the first few years will be rough for sure, but many have done it and are now being rewarded with mainline job offers that will make well into 6 figures for the rest of their careers. If you CAN live offf of let’s say 45k, then perfect save the other 45k and put it towards the ratings! Good luck and keep us updated.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#11
During the beginning segment of your career, how much were you earning and did you have extra time to spare to earn income on a side job?

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Started flight training in 2012:
2012-2014 I lived off of the GI bill and part time jobs at Red Robin or the airport. Made around 20-25k a year

2015- year one at my time building gig I made a sickening 18k

2016- upgraded half way through the year and made 29k

2017- First year at the regionals, I made 55k, however 17k was from new hire bonuses at 2 different airlines. So about 38k minus the bonus

2018- On track to gross around 40-45k taxable income
 
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#12
Started flight training in 2012:
2012-2014 I lived off of the GI bill and part time jobs at Red Robin or the airport. Made around 20-25k a year

2015- year one at my time building gig I made a sickening 18k

2016- upgraded half way through the year and made 29k

2017- First year at the regionals, I made 55k, however 17k was from airline bonuses at 2 different airlines.

2018- On track to gross around 40-45k taxable income
My friend has offered to let me fly his single engine plane. If I took all thy necessary aeronautical college courses and logged 1500 solo, could I skip the regional airlines?

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JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#13
My friend has offered to let me fly his single engine plane. If I took all thy necessary aeronautical college courses and logged 1500 solo, could I skip the regional airlines?

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As in go right to the majors?? Nope, the regionals are a necessary evil for pure civilian trained pilots 90% of the time. Now there are other avenues to make decent money, but those avenues won’t lead to a “major” airline job in the near term like the regionals will. I highly recommend doing a lot of research and peruse some of the threads containing similar questions that have popped up through the years.

Solo or PIC in anything single engine or even light twin won’t hold much weight in that logbook when trying to get a major airline job. They all want Turbine PIC in a transport category aircraft. As far as college goes it’s just a check in the box, those that spent 170k on a degree from a fancy aviation university aren’t much better off than the people who went to mom and pop flights schools and majored in a different area like business or interior design.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
#14
My friend has offered to let me fly his single engine plane. If I took all thy necessary aeronautical college courses and logged 1500 solo, could I skip the regional airlines?

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No. There are other options than the regionals but you won't find an entry level job pays 100K.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
#15
We used to have an ex-truck driver dude that posted here.
desertdog71

His last post was five years ago. He would be a great resource and might have a new screen name.
 
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Cptnchia

Dissatisfied Customer
#16
My friend has offered to let me fly his single engine plane. If I took all thy necessary aeronautical college courses and logged 1500 solo, could I skip the regional airlines?

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Nope. 1500 hours droning around the pattern means nothing when you’re competing for that mainline job against regional pilots with 121 time.
 
#17
As in go right to the majors?? Nope, the regionals are a necessary evil for pure civilian trained pilots 90% of the time. Now there are other avenues to make decent money, but those avenues won’t lead to a “major” airline job in the near term like the regionals will. I highly recommend doing a lot of research and peruse some of the threads containing similar questions that have popped up through the years.

Solo or PIC in anything single engine or even light twin won’t hold much weight in that logbook when trying to get a major airline job. They all want Turbine PIC in a transport category aircraft. As far as college goes it’s just a check in the box, those that spent 170k on a degree from a fancy aviation university aren’t much better off than the people who went to mom and pop flights schools and majored in a different area like business or interior design.
So what is the best way I could set myself up for success in the beginning on my own to where when any company decides they want to pay me to fly, I'm making the most money my first year?

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JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#18
So what is the best way I could set myself up for success in the beginning on my own to where when any company decides they want to pay me to fly, I'm making the most money my first year?

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Honestly that question I can’t answer, I don’t know your situation and everyone has a limit to how low their wages can get to pursue this dream. I will say that you need to communicate to your wife and kids about this new change, not to sound harsh but if you don’t and put all the responsibility on her without letting her know what she’s in for she will become your ex wife quickly.

Not sure if you have savings, but one thing I have noticed is that people without the debt from flight training tend to handle the low wages a bit better. Making a 500-1000 dollar payment a month while taking home maybe 2000 isn’t ideal, so try your best to not finance training
 
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Crockrocket94

Well-Known Member
#19
There are definitely many more jobs out there than the regional life. I mean, there are some decent flight schools you can work out and make a livable wage while building time, or get hired low time at a charter outfit, but you won't build time that quick. Either way you're going to take a pay cut. The best thing to do is stash money away to survive the 4-6 lean years that will mostly happen after and during flight training.
 
#20
Honestly that question I can’t answer, I don’t know your situation and everyone has a limit to how low their wages can get to peruse this dream. I will say that you need to communicate to your wife and kids about this new change, not to sound harsh but if you don’t and put all the responsibility on her without letting her know what she’s in for she will become your ex wife quickly.

Not sure if you have savings, but one thing I have noticed is that people without the debt from flight training tend to handle the low wages a bit better. Making a 500-1000 dollar payment a month while taking home maybe 2000 isn’t ideal, so try your best to not finance training
My wife is all for it. I'm just trying to weigh my options. This may be a dream I have to give up. If it was only me, I would start over and pursue this dream. Unfortunately, I have a family relying on my income. I guess unless some miracle happens where the pilot shortage gets so severe that the majors open up their own ojt academy, I should probably let this dream go.

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