1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Midlife Crisis?

Discussion in 'Changing Careers' started by DrobKGB, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. DrobKGB

    DrobKGB Hopeless Optimist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been lurking for a bit here, and have most of the answers I need, but wanted to get some input on my specific situation. I see that there are a thousand "where's the magic road to being a rich pilot" posts, and I offer my sincere apologies for starting what, in my estimation, is another.

    I'll keep the background as brief as possible....
    I am 38 years old (I actually had to check). My father had his IFR and some of my first memories were on the little 172 he learned in. He gave it up, probably because I was expensive, and hasn't pursued it since. He's spent the last 36 years in the Insurance industry, which is probably what got me started in sales.
    I have been in some combination of sales, management, training, and tech for the last... well, I started selling at 14... so... Got my AAS in Telecomm.. mostly useless as I see it now...
    Fast forward to about 5 years ago...I'm Director of Sales for an engineering company in Des Moines, we had an SR-22 that we used for everything within about 800 miles of here, and my nagging passion for flying was rekindled. The plane was a spoiler. Avidyne glass dash, TKS, the works... But I sell, not fly, right?

    My most recent gig was as an Outside Account Manager for a distribution company. Nice job, 25% travel, solid pay... and I was let go in June due to a buyout and Reduction in Force... last in, first out, regardless of revenue, it seems.

    I've had some reality checks since then, which leads me here. The thought of working at every job I interview for in the sales field makes me want to suck-start my pistol. I just can't do it anymore.. I love the sale, the negotiation... but the prospecting.. I just can't anymore. So, fall back on my Tech background? I love travel too much.. the idea of sitting at a desk soldering or scribbling out schematics kills my soul.

    I've read and agree with what everyone has said about "pay as you go", and the experience of it. However, I have 4 kids to feed, and I don't have the luxury of that much time. If I'm going to do this, I have to go all in. What I've discovered is that the local Community College's 141 program is in DESPERATE need of CFII's. My plan is/was this: Get my IFR and 100hrs here locally in Ankeny, head to ATP in SoCal to knock out everything else up to CFII (multi, ect). CFI here says that could be in as little as 90-100 days if I push (which I will). I have 100% of my time to devote to gaining certifications now, and my hope was to be able to go to work for the college as a CFI in the spring.

    Here are the catches... I can't entertain a Regional job after my 1500 due to time away from home. My better half's ex was a truck driver and it didn't work out. I'd have to stay CFI until something with less than 50% travel opened up.. Des Moines has a LOT of corporate headquarters... Wells Fargo, Farm Bureau, John Deere, Pella Windows, Dwolla, even FaceBook and Google now.. and they're needing pilots pretty regularly from what I see. That's the good news.

    Here's the only catch... I'm going to have to finance the school and probably put bills on the credit card until the CFI thing hits. I've seen the finance options through Wells Fargo and Sally Mae for ATP.. I can't seem to get a clear answer on whether or not Federal Aid is available... are there any other options I'm missing? Grants? Employer contracts willing to pay for training?

    Am I nuts to think this is a good switch at this age with 4 kids? (12, 11, 10, and 8). If I'm not portable, am I nuts to think that Des Moines is a place I can make a paycheck? Is my timeline completely out of whack?

    Bottom line, I want to fly for the passion, but I also have to pay the bills. This is my dream, but it has to be financially feasible, even if it doesn't make financial good sense.. :)

    Any honest feedback requested and welcome.
     
  2. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    7,369
    Likes Received:
    2,888
    Flying, at least starting out, is not terribly lucrative. I would not borrow money to do it. Get another sales job, as much as you don't like it, and fly on the weekends. Doing it on the side, you should be able to get a CFI/CFI-I within a year, and then instruct part-time until you find something more permanent. Once you have 250 hours and an instrument rating, getting the Commercial and CFI ratings isn't actually that much more work. A lot of studying, but not really all that much flying. You certainly don't need to travel to get it done.

    Another reason I would look for something in sales- you are looking at best case making around 30k for about 3 years after getting the CFI. So you probably want to save quite a bit to make it through that.
     
    killbilly and Stone Cold like this.
  3. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    9,724
    Likes Received:
    3,393
    Hear the beagle, my friend.

    Debt is the dreamkiller.

    Don't do it.

    Here's another option: if you do have the income, could you scratch the itch by buying an airplane and earning time, ratings, fun flying on that? You'd then be able to sell it later. You could also take the wife/kids flying and keep them engaged in your process.

    Sales is the only real pure meritocracy left in business. I'm not wild about it either, but I'm still doing it as a means to an end. Got a 3 year plan. :)
     
    bigD1031 likes this.
  4. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    7,369
    Likes Received:
    2,888
    You would think so, but management is always looking for new "metrics" to justify bonuses that seem to ignore P&L and revenue...
     
  5. Old Pete

    Old Pete curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    315
    Women are dreamkillers.

    If she is jealous of lot lizards and her ex husband sleeping in a truck cab. She will go crazy thinking of hotels and flight attendants.
     
  6. DrobKGB

    DrobKGB Hopeless Optimist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks all for the honest feedback. Still open to hear more if someone else wants to chip in. Couple of good new ideas so far...

    Accepted an offer last night. Managed print services and IT solutions. Sigh. Traded in my jeans and polo for a suit and tie. Again. Sigh.
    Worked a deal with her, I'll be flying on weekends. Only upside is the aggressive commission schedule. Well.. that and it beats retail hours.

    Stunning idea, pissed that I didn't think of it. Skyhawk 2 up here... I think its a 6 cyl? asking $35k, seems pretty clean. Will investigate more tomorrow.
    Have never looked into a 6 seater... what's a decent one run?

    Yes.

    But no. In line with reccomendations on other threads here, I've found a good one. She's not the jealous type.. just wants to raise kids with someone, not alone, and frankly so do I.
    I'm willing to live on less, but I'm not willing to miss the kids growing up. I've lived in my fair share of hotels while we've been together, doesn't seem to be an issue.
    And as far as flight attendants go, the ones on your shift must be better than the ones on the regionals I fly... yeesh.

    We've got a Winnebago for the weekends, but never had the time to take it far.. maybe flying them sounds fun... but then again, I bought the RV so that they could be farther away on long drives than in the SUV... hmmm....
     
  7. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Messages:
    9,724
    Likes Received:
    3,393
    It's likely a 4-cylinder. You can spend anywhere from very little to a whole metric ass-ton of money.

    Buying an airplane is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish worth its own thread, and there are LOTS of articles and books on the subject. The acquisition cost is only part of it.

    A good middle ground - and what I've done - is to join a flying club or buy an equity stake in an aircraft. Defraying costs among multiple partners is a really, really good way to go for some people. You might check around for clubs/memberships - most good ones welcome new/student pilots.

    There are 4 that I can think of at my home airport. Lots of them out there.
     
  8. DrobKGB

    DrobKGB Hopeless Optimist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    The local FOB has an equity stake program, and we had a spare plane at the old gig that way. The primary was a purchase. Granted, I've only seen one purchase, but at least I've seen it.

    Called on the 172 today, it's a Continental 6 cyl... have to do some research on fuel consumption vs. power vs. maintenance cost, etc..

    I'll ask about the equity, but it was a pain scheduling time...
    Thought I was the only one who used that unit of measure :)
     
  9. KVNC

    KVNC Average Joe

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    201
    Dang, a Hawk XP. The cheapest part of buying an airplane is the initial purchase...
     
  10. DE727UPS

    DE727UPS Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2000
    Messages:
    8,632
    Likes Received:
    2,505
    67 and older 172's had a O-300 Continental which was 6 cylinder. 35K might be a bit much unless it's very nice and well equipped. I don't think it's a bad idea to buy a plane to build time and finish off ratings. I'd suggest to the OP you take your time and fly on the side while earning a living in your current field. Don't jump in with both feet if you have a family to feed and support. You can stick your toe and and see how it goes with little investment.
     
  11. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    7,369
    Likes Received:
    2,888
    Another option is a lease-back to a flight school. Don't expect to make any money on it - those agreements favor the flight school in pretty much every way, but like anything, they are negotiable. At least you won't bleed as much money owning the thing, and it can be a viable option if you don't have any emotional attachment to the plane. The strategy is to have something similar to what they normally use as a trainer, but just nicer enough that it will tend to be what everyone wants to fly. Best case, you can get every rating you want, and walk away making a few bucks. Worst case, it probably won't cost that much more than renting for 200 hours.
     
  12. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    647
    If you can't go to a regional because you'll be gone more than 50% of the time this career isn't for you. Pilots travel. A lot. That's what we do.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Vyse

    Vyse BirchJet FO

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    168
    This, unless you are very very senior at the airline.

    Also, if you go the corporate route, your schedule is pretty much at the beck and call of the owner/company. You'll fly fewer hours but expect to be on call/reserve more.

    I'd advise buying your own plane, build time flying for fun (and consider the previous posts to save $$$), and then re-assess when your kids are older such that you can be away from home.
     
    tcco94 likes this.
  14. z987k

    z987k TeamANC

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    11,043
    Likes Received:
    6,669
    I am not a fan of that engine personally. Mx is outrageous and the O-320 is 1000x a better engine.

    You're most likely not going to go from CFI to a nice corporate job. It just doesn't really happen. A CFI doesn't even know what they don't know about commercial aviation.

    Also, if you can't travel 50% for work, this just isn't the field for you. It really isn't. There is a chance you could build to that, but almost no paths include it from start to finish.
     
  15. DrobKGB

    DrobKGB Hopeless Optimist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Understood. Like a tiny, expensive, RV in the sky.

    It is VERY nice, looks brand new, less than 500 hours on current rebuild.

    This is actually exactly the plan. I don't expect to make money, but if it can mitigate the cost and allow me to build hours and ladder up to bigger planes, then I'm in.


    As far as the "not for you" comments... I'm sure you're not wrong... the thing is, this is a VERY heavy corporate city, and I've got time.... and contacts... the advantage of being in the corporate world, I suppose. If they know me as a good, responsible DoS, RM, or DM, then it should translate. I know every one of them has thought of getting out somehow, some way.
     
  16. Prospect

    Prospect New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    That pretty much is the same situation I'm in- 30, married 3 kids, hate my job. My wife is supportive of the crazy schedule and has already had a taste of it. I was in law enforcement for almost 6 years and was maybe home 1 day a week.
     
  17. Bob Ridpath

    Bob Ridpath Pit Bull love

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,496
    Likes Received:
    2,216

    Your life. Not hers. Not ours. The compromises you make for relative contentment belong to no one else.

    What do YOU want? What is it worth losing, to either achieve or lose?

    Is the deal you worked a good one for you? How so?
     
  18. Lunchbox

    Lunchbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    104
    I used to think that also, until I figured out it doesn't have to be that way.
     
  19. kcartwright27

    kcartwright27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    Was in a similar situation myself about a year ago. I had a good few years at the old career so decided to jump ship and go all in with quitting my fancy jobby job at a mega large tech company whos operating system you are probably reading this from..
    Raw facts :
    me 44 years old and starting a new aviation career.. no i dont have any dreams of living a cushy life with seniority at the majors.. maybe but not counting on it.. actually have not decided on if im going 121 or elsewhere.. the idustry is changing so fast, it might be different 8 months from now.. i will decide when i hit 1500 hours.
    had plenty of reserves in the bank
    2 kids in high school
    wife with very good tech sales job.. can you say suga mama..
    I decided to buy a plane.. got tired of dealing with rental MX, constant scheduling issues, etc.. it was a very good decision for me personally but its not for everyone. I learned a metric ass ton in the last year about plane ownership.. its expensive. When you take out the 12k i spent on a used 430w, G106a indicator, new audio panel, and installation for it all. i have still spent roughly 7k this year just on mainenance( 4k at annual and 3k along the way). Now i knew it would be about that as the plane was in need of some TLC and i got it at a great price.. but writing those checks still hurt
    The plane-- 1966 182J -- love it and i wanted something to take me, the wife, and kids all over the place in with bags and full fuel.. so i upped my spend limit and got a 182 insteaed of a cherokee 140 or 180, cessna 172 or 152 etc. Been to every corner of the US with it last year.
    In a end unit covered T hangar with walls on 2 sides and power outlets for my Tannis heater and battery tender. $120/month
    Insurance is $720/year at my renewal a few months ago.. down from $940 when i just had my private
    Oil changes-- you can do them your self if you want. i do and it is still $100 bucks and a few hours per.. i have changed the oil MANY times in the last year.
    I burn 12g/hour at $3.75 for resident fuel cost. I have flown about 400 hours in it the past year. Take out some safety pilot fuel sharing time and i have still spent about 15k on fuel in the last year. ( you would spend less just getting to comm/CFI minimums, but i wanted to keep mine until i hit the 500 hour mark..
    then--- just had my private now-- commercial single and multi with a little over 500 hours both cfi writtens done and prepping for CFI initial checkride.
    Still spent about another 4k in rentals for complex and multi time as well..

    it adds up bro.. but if you want it, you will find a way. At the end of the day I could have spent 60k to to to a place like ATP or maybe 45k at a smaller mom and pop flight school..
    I will sell my plane for at least what its worth and i have in it.. it was that good of a deal for me.. so when you factor in fuel, insurance, maintenance, hangar, instruction .. I am still coming in around 15-20k cheaper that if i would have gone to a school..
    follow your dreams.. be patient and find a way. :)
    kc
     

Share This Page