Need guidance- am I crazy, thinking about being pilot (long)

eRiCdWoNg

New Member
OK I'm glad I found this page and these forums, looks like alot of good stuff in here.

Now heres my situation.

....I'm a 22 year old college student with zero flying experience other then a first flight. So flight wise I'd start from zero. I'm thinking of the possibility of becoming a commerical cargo or airline pilot.
I'm not that great of a student book wise, but when it
comes to things that are hands on I'm pretty good at. Not trying to sound snobby but I had my IQ tested by a professional psychologist and it was in the "above average" range, although my school work doesnt show it. I hover around a 2.0 GPA, and hate to study stuff that isnt directly related to what I'm trying to learn. But I have taken driver's ed, motorcycle ed, welding and scuba diving to name the major ones and each time I've picked it up very quickly. Probably because they are all very hands on, instead of calculus 3 and differential equations which takes it to the next realm.

My eductation goes like this. I went to a 4 year college out of HS. I didnt do so hot, but I picked up some credits. I went back to the local community college and I have a associates degree in business from there and am now studying engineering there but its getting difficult (and boring). So this got me thinking into perhaps becoming a commercial pilot. Yes, I've read the FAQs around the net like beapilot.com and from this site and from the various flight schools.

Ive gathered so far that 1) flight school is expensive 2) it takes
3000+ hours for you to even be considered by the major airlines or shipping companies and even then the hiring chances are slim. Ss in the meantime you make diddly piddly 3) the market right now for career pilots isnt that hot (also verified by looking at all the airline websites and employment websites for pilots and thers almost none) 4) you're gonna be one poor SOB before you reach the commercial airlines 5) it is VERY competitive out there 6) very very few pilots get to do the 200K+ per year, and make their own schedules and spend time in luxury hotel on a tropical island and work 60 hours a month. Otherwise you'll be lucky to spent 10 nights out of the month at home. Also, my moms friend's neighbor is a commerical airline pilot (not sure what or for who) but she said that he must rent an apartment in boston (not paid for by the airline) cause he's based out of there, in addition to having his home in Virginia where his family is.

On the optimistic side, I'm thinking when/if I got out in 4 or 5 years or so, the market will be better looking. Is it true many of the vietnam and korea pilots will be required to reture by age 60 and this would open up the market some? Also, almost no job just starting out of school is going
to pay the big bucks that you have to work and cilmb up the ladder for. But it seems the low end is pretty low.

It looks like my parents are willing to support me for what I want to do, so money isnt a primary concern. This would be my plan:

I'm would go civilian. I would be trying to get a degree no matter what. I found that Univ. of MD Eastern Shore offers a BS in aviation sciences with a concentration in commercial piloting. Good part is my associates in business would transfer the gen. ed requirements. Also that major has some business courses too (accounting + economics) and I have already taken those. Since I'm and engineering major now, the calculus and physics and computer programming classes should also transfer. So this would be more then 1/2 the academics out of the way. I hope to do that in the spring. In the meantime I would drop dynamics and calculus 3 in engineering and take ground school and flight time for the PPL at the local airpark and that will also transfer. Hopefully I would have that done by early next year. So in the grand scope of things I'll have my commerical license in 2.5 or 3 years, which would make me 25. And by then maybe/hopefully tthe job market will be better then it is now.

I'm at the point now that I just need a BS degree in anything. I hope I'll be able to pass flight school. Worst comes to worse at least I would have a BS degree in SOMETHING (I hope) and I would be certified to have an ultra cool hobby. After all, even if in the end flying isnt for me, how many people have degrees in one thing but wind up doing something totally different?

I've thought alot about this too. I used to be an IT major (goodthing I got out of that), but at this point I need a degree in something and engineering I most likely wont be able or have the desire to go through. I've tried once before (first time at a 4 year mind you) and I'm back at the community college level and courses like dynamics, calculus 3 and calculus based physics are taking a toll not only on my santity but also my GPA. The honest truth is I've never been that good at math to begin with and all that is compounding.

I think what I'm going to do for the time being is at least apply to the other college that way I have somewhere to go. And, take flying lessons cause after all having a pilots license I want to do no matter what. It would be good if I had something else to fall back on, but right
now I have zero but a AS in business.

I know nobody really "knows" me, so this will be hard but what am I getting myself into.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Let me be the first person to say that your first priority should be finishing college. Period.

And there is a lot of book work required in order to get even your private ticket. You have to pass a written exam, and the examiner will ask you a hell of a lot of questions before he even lets you preflight the airplane for your checkride.
 

montanapilot

Well-Known Member
no your not crazy for thinking of becoming a pilot. Since you already have an associates in Business i would go ahead and finish a bachelor in it. A business degree is about as diverse as you can get. The possibilities are infinite with a business degree.

With an aviation degree i would probably be alot more fun to be doing right now because of your interest in aviation, However the airlines don't care and as we have seen with American, Delta, United, Hawaiian, and other majors they have furloughed alot of pilots.

A business degree would be a good safety net if you were to get furloughed you would have skills in another area outside of aviation.

If i were you I would continue with your schooling and take a few lessons at a local FBO and just see how it goes.


sorry if my response seems like alot of rambling on and on
 
Know what dude, you sound Exactly like me. I am 22 also, i have an above average IQ, yet I do terrible in the classroom, I didn't do very well in college, but have 47 credits to work with, and I too am wanting to become a pilot.

Here is my plan. I am going to start training as soon as possible. Then once I am done, I will CFI for a while. During this one to two year period, I can finish up my degree online since an online degree is meant to work around your schedule. My reasoning for this is if I take off two years to finish a degree at Penn State, I will likely miss out on alot of flight time. I want to have as much time as possible when the industry eventually picks back up. Starting flight training first and then finishing up college online after I am a CFI will afford me this opportunity while doing it the more popular way seems to leave an opportunity waste away of getting 1200-2000 hours. Maybe you should consider this too. A four year business degree is one of the most popular online degrees there are. And, the way I understand, you would be surprised at how challenging it can be getting an online degree.

Feel free to Private Message me for any info on this, trust me, all I have been doing for the last couple of months is researching ideas and ways of becoming and staying a good pilot. I have run alot of ideas and plans through my head and this one seems to be the best bet for what position I am in. I think during this time, i asked more questions than any other time in my life. Feels good to finally be soooo interested in something that can become a career.


Good luck
Brian
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
You might want to be carefull. Going to school online takes an awfull lot of self-modivation. If you don't think you are very good in the class room, online might be even worse.

An alternative plan may be to find your CFI job, find a nearby college or university (nearly every one will offer a business degree of some sort) and schedule your students around your class schedule. But by all means, do what you feel is the best plan for you.

Good luck!
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
Being a career changer who already has a 4 year degree and most of a masters, my outlook might be a bit different than yours. Even so, my advice would be to be patient, finish college, and then pursue flight. If you are anxious to get in the air, do your Private now and tackle the rest after your degree is done. I'm also of the opinion that a degree in aviation sciences is unneeded and probably not the best choice. Should you need a fall back for any reason, you won't have another field to turn to. I'd look at a four year degree in business or a trade field. Maybe the most marketable thing that you could do is to look at a 4 year BS as an A and P mechanic. That would not only help with a fall back, but would make learning the systems a WHOLE lot easier.

As a new pilot, I think I can state with certainty that you will need to study like never before. If you don't do well with book work and don't like studying theory or memorizing, you might want to think twice. Yes, you do get to FLY!!!
But . . . you also have to put in 3 or 4 hours of study for every hour in the air. This is not stuff that can be learned and forgotten. You life and the lives of your passengers will depend on knowing a seemingly impossible amount of information. VOR functions to sectional chart legends, airplane systems to V speeds, principals and theory of flight aerodynamics to visibilities, cloud restrictions, and communication requirements in different airspace categories, and on and on.

I have some significant experience as an educator. I recognize and understand that there are many modes and styles of learning. If you don't learn well from bookwork, you will need to find a really good ground instructor or home study supplement. Then, you might want to start working on some mental exercises to help you prepare for the bookwork and study required for airlines and professional pilot classes. On the other had, if you can learn from books and just haven't applied yourself because you haven't felt challenged or interested, prepare for a major commitment.

Know that you're jumping into the deep end. But also know that there are plenty of resources to help you learn to swim. It's a kick ass ride if you're willing to get wet!

Hope to see you at FL32 someday!


-PhotoPilot
 

Giants01

New Member
You're definitely not crazy about pursuing this as a career. At age 22 you have a lot of time to get things done. First of all, finish your degree in anything; the airlines don't care. By the way, if you're not good at numbers, why are you doing engineering? Also, make sure to get decent grades. Most airlines do ask for transcripts from your college. Since your parents will help you out, start by getting your Private. Then you will know if this is what you want to pursue. Just keep in mind the ratings do get tougher after that. The industry will pick up, however, don't get tunnel vison and see yourself as a $200K a year pilot. Do not pursue aviation just because of the potential $$$. Most pilots fly because they love it and understand it is hard starting out, and you make no cake at all. Remember, like anything, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. I also agree with the other responses to your post. Keep positive. Don't worry about what the future will look like in this crazy industry. You have lots of time. Now is a great time to finish your ratings while the industry is down. Then when it picks up again you'll have the ratings and hopefully build the hours to at least fly for a 135 operation (charter on demand, ex: freight). Good Luck.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
If you think you're crazy for wanting to change careers to aviation at 22 - I must me F*#@kin' NUTS at 38...


...


Best of luck! Do what is best for you.

R2F
 

eRiCdWoNg

New Member
Well looks like my parents are going back and forth on supporting the PPL but, but either way I want to get the PPL. That way at least I'll have SOME idea of what its going to be like, not to mention. I already spoke to the credit union about a "education" loan and this would still fall under education. I could buy a supercharger for my car with this $ but this would expand my horizons so to speak.

Im definately considering business school again as well. Engineering definately isnt for me. I do talk to the director of aviation for the aviation degree this tuesday and I'm sure I'll have much more insight into that particular program. Since alot of my credits are already taken care of, I'm thinking of now possibly doing both a BS in business administration and also doing the flight schooling (but not necessarily a degree in aviation).
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
If you think you're crazy for wanting to change careers to aviation at 22 - I must me F*#@kin' NUTS at 38...

Don't even get me started.... I just started my first 135 job @ 45...Oh boy is the in-house banker ever nervous about this
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Hope to see you at FL32 someday!


[/ QUOTE ] Lets hope not!


[/ QUOTE ]

Uuuhhh . . . Oops. Although at this point FL32 is a whole lot more realistic than FL320!
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
I should probably post this in technical talk, but since ya'll brought it up....

Wouldn't FL32 be the same as FL320 (although not technically correct)? I thought FL032 would be 3,200 ft.
 

IT_Pilot

New Member
Go with your heart my friend. I'm you at age 35 who has it in his head that he wants to fly the heavy metal. I get to go back to school and finish my degree (didn't finish my BA/BS) in addition to starting from 0 hours. I'm now at 15 hrs. in my logbook, which was funded by my paycheck. No loans.
Everyone in my family asks why don't I go with what I know and keep my IT career? But everytime I take off I see down the road to 1500 TT, and 15,000 TT when I'm rumbling down the runway in a jet.
If this is your dream, keep putting one foot in front of the other. No one can steal your dream until you give it to them.


Go for it!
 

John_Jones

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
What the H is FL3200

[/ QUOTE ]
Short for "Flight Level 320" which means At 32000 Feet. ATC often uses it to shortren things so instead of saying "CessnaXXX Cleared to 32 Thounsand Feet" they can say "CessnaXXX Cleared to FL320"...
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I should probably post this in technical talk, but since ya'll brought it up....

Wouldn't FL32 be the same as FL320 (although not technically correct)? I thought FL032 would be 3,200 ft.

[/ QUOTE ]

I don't know what, exactly, FL32 would be . . . I just forgot to stick that pesky zero at the end in my original post. 3200 ft. would never be refered to as a "FL" since that reference doesn't start until 18000 ft. Shouldn't have carried on with an incorrect reference . . . Sorry folks!
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
3200 ft. would never be refered to as a "FL" since that reference doesn't start until 18000 ft.



[/ QUOTE ]

Caution on the "never" word. Though true for US ops, FLs are designated overseas below FL180. In Kuwait, for example, the Transition Altitude is 3000' feet (where you switch from QFE to QNE in climb). The Transition Level is FL50 (where you switch from QNE to QFE in descent).
 
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