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Multi/and or turbine time

Discussion in 'Changing Careers' started by DForney, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. DForney

    DForney Well-Known Member

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    About me , thanks for any advice. I'm 45 self employed, directional boring and water wells. I enjoy what I do but its getting tough in the Texas heat wearing all the PPE. It's also tough finding good employees, there's a lot of liability in directional boring. I have a great contract with Union Pacific railroad , that pays well.
    So my dream job has always been flying, 4th generation pilot. I own a cirrus SR-22 that carries us to KAXX angelfire 2nd home, quite nicely. I have 600 hrs, instrument rated and working on commercial. I have looked for cheap twins but most are over valued, I'll keep looking. My plan was to fly an Apache or travel air for 200 hrs to add to my resume.
    I will always drill holes in the ground but I'm looking to do something I love, ready to pay the dues and ultimately would love to fly 121 as my primary career with drilling as additional income. Wife is on board with this plan. I'm no trust fund kid, and worked for everything I have. Any advice / mentoring /recommendations/expectations are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Flyinthrew

    Flyinthrew Well-Known Member

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    In the current hiring environment, and somebody correct me if I'm wrong, the regionals will be happy to have you with 25 hours of multi. Don't let chasing 121 be the reason you blow a ton of money on 8x the required number of multi hours.

    Now how to get that other 900 hours...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. based

    based Well-Known Member

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    Its true, I just got hired at a regional with 25 multi and the rest of the 1,500 as single piston.
     
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  4. Jordan93

    Jordan93 Well-Known Member

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    Yea man just get 25 hours multi then you're good to go. No need to spend a ton of money on multi time.
     
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  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Well-Known Member

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    Don't put "drilling holes in the ground" on your aviation resume. :eek:
     
  6. gotWXdagain

    gotWXdagain Highly Visible Member

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    Get your multi/comm and then a decently used TBM?
     
  7. ppragman

    ppragman Direct BOOKE

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    So, you're 45, you've got a business you enjoy, you make enough to own an SR-22, and you have a second house.

    Look, I love flying, it's in my blood, but I wish I had a career like that. This stuff is totally unstable, and your health (and my health in my case) and the economy are two of the single greatest factors in whether or not you get to continue enjoying this. Right now things are good "in the industry" - in 5 years? Who knows. I have an awesome career - but it certainly isn't what I thought it would be, and I have buddies who "had it all" who are now at their second or third 121 carrier hoping that they don't have "too much" flight time to be taken seriously at the majors. For me, I never really wanted to be an airline pilot other that at a few places, and have enjoyed a career in AK, but the frustration at being at the mercy of things outside of your control is difficult for a lot of guys who do this for a living.

    I remember all this kind of rosy optimism about how quick upgrades were and how quickly you could make it to "the majors" in 2006 and 2007. It wasn't what it is now, but it was similar. That ended in 2008. Again, I'm not complaining, but if you've got something that can support the kind of lifestyle you describe...well, I don't think I'd make flying my "full time thing." Honestly, if anything, I'd work part-time or seasonally (if well digging season is the winter, I don't know, probably not), and enjoy flying still being "fun." Nothing takes the fun out of flying like having to fly 100 hours in a month, or multiple nights away from home, or yet another MEL sticker. Nothing takes the fun out of flying like getting home after a 7.9 flight hours in a 14 hour day knowing you're going to be doing that for another 4 days in a row (this may not be possible at the regionals since 117, but I don't know). Nothing takes the fun out of flying like getting paired up with a douchebag for multiple days.

    Honestly I'm envious of you. I'd absolutely love to know a trade like you do that was lucrative enough to support a family, because flying "ain't" always. What you do sounds cool, and interesting, and a lot of work with your hands. While I imagine it's a ton of work, and the view isn't as good, you probably have a lot of autonomy in your life owning your own business. Speaking of which, after a 4 day long "trip from hell" are you really going to want to run your business drilling wells? Don't get me wrong - I love flying and if you can't see yourself doing anything else, then go fly! You only get one life to live, enjoy it. But flying for fun and flight training fly vis-a-vis flying for a living are wildly different things. A lot of the things that made me want to do this for a living - the challenge, the interesting technical education, the constant need to practice and improve yourself - these things are often hard to find "on the job" unless you look for it. The job is a lot of the same stuff over and over again. Granted, this is the way "most" jobs are, but for me, this is why I was always drawn to flying in Alaska - the dirty secret is that much of flying is mind-numbing punctuated by brief moments of terror.

    And the thing is, that's a good thing - after a while, you learn that it SHOULD be boring. The interesting stuff is going to ground school, flying new airplanes, going someplace you've never been before. The real interesting flying is done in your own airplane off duty. If it's exciting or interesting, you're probably doing something wrong if you've got paying customers in the back. Flying is about the least creative job and most repetitious job there is - I imagine it's like working in a factory with great views. Again - I love flying, it's an amazing job and you do learn something new every day if you pay attention, but spending a little time out of the cockpit has been good for my perspective on this sort of thing. If you enjoy the autonomy that your work gives you right now, and if you enjoy how much creativity you use from day to day at work (I don't know much about drilling, but I imagine running your own business is challenging but satisfying), then I wouldn't recommend flying professionally as your full-time gig.

    If I had a business that was lucrative enough to own a SR-22, I'd probably get a cheaper airplane without a payment, then go and learn something cool every 4 months, like aerobatics, or floats, or whatever. I'd get a CFI and instruct a couple days a week, then try to get a part time job doing charter or something so you could dip your toe into it, but if I had a successful business that I enjoyed I'd maximize my potential there. If your business could grow to support it, you could justify a really cool airplane to shuttle between offices in different parts of the country.

    A friend of mine is a self-made man. He sells airplanes for a living now, but I doubt he has to work after he wound down his old business (he used to manufacture high-end cabinets and was very...very successful at it for a long time). He's got at least 3000 hours flying his own personal 206s (he's got two of them) around the country, and puts one on floats every summer. He uses his airplanes to travel, he uses his airplanes for business when he can justify it, and he uses his airplanes to play. If he had become a pilot for a living instead of doing it for fun then I doubt he'd enjoy it as much, and he damn sure wouldn't own more than one airplane unless he "made it" and then only after decades of hard work. He also takes whatever days off he wants (customers permitting obviously) he doesn't work any holidays, and he goes to every recital, soccer game, and school play. Just some things to think about.
     
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  8. DForney

    DForney Well-Known Member

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    Pprag
    Thank you sir , exactly what I need to hear. Sounds like I could ruin a hobby, by making it a career .
    And yes my plan is to slowly get my feet wet. What would be perfect is to have a large helicopter to haul a boring machine, but my smallest one weighs 9k so, we will keep hauling it.
    Your correct I get board with things, drilling isn't a challenge anymore, every hole is different but I've seen nearly all. I could see where flying a RJ could get monatinous.
    Seriously thank you for your honest 2 cents.
     
  9. ppragman

    ppragman Direct BOOKE

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    That's exactly what I would say.

    I don't know how your industry works and how your equipment operates, but if you have a 9k lb apparatus for drilling, nothing to stop you from having your crew drive it to the worksite then meeting them at one of the nearby airports in your TBM or something. How many jobs do you run simultaneously?

    If the work is lucrative enough you could seriously have a badass airplane like a TBM or a PC12 and fly around to a couple jobs per day to supervise your crew before returning home - but that's probably wishful thinking.

    What you do sounds seriously cool. Flying is too, but I actually don't know any pilots who can afford an SR22 AND have a second home in a ski resort town. One or the other, sure but not both. Maybe some guys are doing that well, but not the vast majority in my experience. A better bet would be to go have more fun throughout the year - if you have competent employees who can handle stuff while you're gone, take more vacations. That sense of "what the hell am I doing with my life" will dull a little bit of you go and have some fun that's not related to work.

    To me it sounds like you may be starting to burn out a little bit - if you're like most small business owners I know you're probably trying to do too much yourself and haven't delegated enough to your employees. There's nothing wrong with this as most small businesses are labors of love, but when you reach a certain critical mass it's pretty much impossible to handle any additional details yourself. These owners find themselves doing a bunch of mundane troubleshooting and problem solving every day as they put out fires. They end up getting bored with it because every day looks "the same" from where they sit and there's nothing new and exciting, and the stress and excitement of the successes and failures they had establishing their business are distant memories. Find someone in your company you can trust from your employees and promote them, then you can start to move from a more direct role to a more supervisory position where you can take on new challenges and find new business. Then I guarantee you it will be a challenge again.

    Just my thoughts
     
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  10. DForney

    DForney Well-Known Member

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    Pprag I think your psychic.
    Union Pacific works pretty well for me. They are okay if it's a week before I get to them. I have and will probably give up water wells, everyone wants 50 gallons / minute and the best tasting water they've every had for the least amount of money. It's profitable but also comes with lots of headaches, most people would rather have water than electricity. After you've drilled 4-500 wells you become a small utility company. Which is great on the service side, but in Texas the oil field has stolen most good help. A decent 20 yr old can go to the oil field and make $50-60k and only work half a year.

    Another thing about being a pilot is it's a job you can be done when your done. I'm the boss, mechanic, HR, accts recievable and payable, etc, etc.

    The glass is half full, and I've been blessed.
    There are 2 retired American pilots that encourage and mentor me at my airport, my dpe also an American pilot has encouraged me as well.

    Just for S & giggles.
    Let's say I had 1500 hrs and went to a regional.

    American eagle claims $60 k 1st year. Which is great compared to 10 yrs ago $18k and food stamps.
    What would one expect after 5 years, 10 years
    I hear it's usually 6 years before most get opportunity to move to American. Would that be a cut in pay?

    I honestly feel like the biggest hurdle for me would be the corporate crap and a CEO that makes 100 times or more than I make.

    Has there been much success with owner operators 135, Kinda like truck drivers in the trucking industry?

    Thanks again
     
  11. TrustMeI'maPilot

    TrustMeI'maPilot Well-Known Member

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    I've flown with three Captains this year that own/owned a business. All three are happier flying at a regional. Once you've made Captain, it's like you're the boss of a small business, but you get to completely turn off when your trip is done. Yes it's true you have people to report to, but if you show up on time and do your job you'll never hear from them.

    Just want to give a different view than above.
     
  12. ppragman

    ppragman Direct BOOKE

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    This is really interesting. I have nothing to add - it's just interesting.

    It is and it isn't. I have found that "just being a pilot" typically isn't enough for me to keep from getting bored. It was OK for the first couple years, then I started saying, "this is messed up, I'm going to figure out how to fix it" and started working towards managerial or training department roles. Also, while you can "just go home" I have yet to find a segment of aviation where the office doesn't somehow follow me home - even if it is the interview prep and career progression stuff you have to do to be successful and stay sharp.

    I wasn't an airline guy, and I flew 135 my whole career, so your mileage is obviously going to vary.

    This is a good place to be in, for sure, but I'd still rather be my own boss than work for someone else.

    If you can get to American you will probably have a pretty nice QoL. You will have an "ok" QoL at the Regionals. But I wouldn't count on that much progression in the future.

    Everyone is saying, "ohhh this is the time come on board! You'll be to a major in 5 years." If you miss the wave, or the economy tanks, you may never get to a "great job." There are plenty of good jobs in aviation, but there are a lot of unknowns.

    It is impossible to know what the industry will look like then. Long term planning is fundamentally not possible.

    If there is another "9/11" god forbid, the industry could be in shambles again and AA could be 20 years out, or they could go out of business. Impossible to know.

    10 years ago we had Northwest, US Air, ATA, Aloha, Air Midwest, Continental, and many more. While those pilots are mostly alright, the truth is, you can't plot a safe or steady course in this industry.

    You'd probably take a small pay cut for a year or so then make VASTLY MORE than what you made in your regional job.

    As for small time air taxis, you can make a solid middle class income doing this (and if your savvy you can do even better) - though it is all consuming.

    Honestly that was my plan if I hadn't gotten sick, I may still go that direction at some point. A mentor of mine started with a Navajo and a Seneca - now he has 2 pilatuses and 2 caravans and is looking at more pilatuses. He loves his life but he is very busy.
     
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  13. ppragman

    ppragman Direct BOOKE

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    I just want to say I don't know how it is 121, but I've flown as PIC for the last 10 years and I have never found it to be like being your own boss at a small business.

    its rewarding and fun, but you have very little autonomy as PIC and that's a good thing.
     
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  14. milleR

    milleR Well-Known Member

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    Just for some perspective as a guy who went in the opposite direction-

    I left the regionals in 2014 to take over a family business. Since that time I've watched my last carrier get a CCP with United, Jets in exchange for props, and based on my old seniority number I would either be in the top 10% of the captains list or at UAL today.

    But .....

    Aviation is a fickle beast, and after a bankruptcy, furlough, divorce, and 3 different carriers I decided it was a better feeling to be in control of my own destiny. As a member of the training department I watched a steady stream of guys from airlines that had gone under come through the doors to start over, so when the opportunity to change careers came I got out.

    There have been no shortage of days I've wished we had just sold the business when there was a chance to (that's a long story). The feeling of stepping off the curb and being untouchable for the next couple of days was amazing. The mindless lack of responsibility being just a cog in the machine is something I miss occasionally, but the freedom and control that comes with being in charge completely makes up for it. Without question, the single most satisfying accomplishment I've had professionally is building a management team that allows me to dial back the number of hours I have to work every week.

    I'm incredibly fortunate that I still get to fly about 150 hours per year which is plenty so scratch the itch. Every time I start feeling nostalgic for the airlines I remind myself that this is about building something for my family, and that as the architect of my future I get to make the decisions about what that future looks like. At a personal level, I also would have never met my current wife if I'd stayed flying, so that's a very nice added bonus to the deal too :)
     
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