Talk me out of it

jrh

Well-Known Member
I have a job opportunity. I'm leaning towards taking it, yet am really torn. I'm at a point in my career where it could either be one of the best decisions I make, or derail me for a few years. Here's the deal:

My former employer, an aircraft broker/flight school owner, has offered me a position working as a full time ferry pilot / instructor / demo pilot / general assistant to the aircraft sales side of the business.

Basically, my role would be to deepen the business's relationships with clients face-to-face. There are a lot of clients who buy a nice, modern aircraft, then don't have an easy way to get trained how to fly it. If you buy a Cessna Corvalis, it's kind of dumb to try to get some local 400 hour CFI with no time in the plane, no G1000 experience, etc., to give your transition training.

The broker's idea is to have me deliver aircraft and spend a few days with the new owner training them. This would take the brokerage a step beyond the usual services of paperwork, advertising, and such, over the phone and internet, to an actual face to face service. Not only would it be better for the customer, it would also build long term loyalty with the customer for when they want to buy or sell aircraft in the future. With most sales commissions ranging from $5-10k, repeat business can really add up.

Outside of flying, I'd also help with things like photographing aircraft/logbooks for listing aircraft, talking to potential buyers and sellers of some of the more oddball aircraft the broker doesn't normally specialize in, etc.

There are many things I'm attracted to in this position. It's a huge variety of flying. I'd be going all over the country in all sorts of aircraft on a regular basis. I'd become CSIP certified (Cirrus instructor) and be the only CSIP for quite a distance. I'd get to fly all sorts of cool airplanes and be an expert on all the latest and greatest avionics. Down the road, there's potential for putting something like an SR-22 on an already established charter certificate and have me fly it. The broker might also start dealing with 300/400-series twin Cessnas, as he's never had the staff to handle those until I came around with my 402 time.

I'd get to live in a city I spent four years in and really enjoy. I'd get to settle in to a place and not be at the whim of the seniority list, needing to move to a new base every six months. I'd get to set my own schedule, within reason. I'd personally get a bit more satisfaction out of my day to day work, as I feel like training pilots to fly safely is more rewarding than shuttling people in and out of a hub city all day.

The downsides are that I'd stop building multi/IFR/airline time. I'd probably lose multi-engine currency. There'd be little chance for turbine time. I'd no longer have my cushy four day work week with CASS jumpseat travel benefits, which I've grown to love. I'd actually have to work...ferrying and training is a lot harder work than showing up at an airline and flying a line. Although I'd be networking with aircraft owners, this job is kind of "stand alone" in that it doesn't directly lead anywhere--not to the airlines, not to corporate aviation. I have no idea if or how I'd ever get back in to airline flying after doing this. There are no guarantees with this job...it's very dependent on my own skills, rather than sitting on a seniority list.

Pay is livable. ~30k to start, with realistic potential to be making ~50-60k within a couple years, at which point I'd top out. Definitely lower than an airline career, but we're really talking about an entirely different lifestyle along with it, so kind of comparing apples to oranges.

I have a decent job at a really solid commuter airline. I'm not miserable. Working my way up the seniority list, getting good experience, slowly getting better pay and QOL. Everyone keeps saying the floodgates will open soon. Maybe if I stick with it, I'll be in a 737 with a great life ten years from now....although I'm skeptical. I feel crazy for wanting to leave, but I feel crazier for wanting to stay.

Any advice on how to decide?
 

A150K

Well-Known Member
All depends on what your end goal is. If your end goal is to work for a major airline, I'd stay where you're at. If your end goal is to settle in somewhere and possibly get in some networking,tak the offer. People often land big time corperate gigs by simply being in the right place at the right time.
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
Do what you enjoy the most for work, let the money be secondary (as long as you're not in poverty or punishing your family)... you'll be much happier in the end.
 

TwoTwoLeft

o- - - - - - -l


Seriously, it may seem all new and different but it sounds like a dead end. Cirri and such are fun and all for about the first 5 minutes... This deal would be great the END of your career. If your goal is the airlines then you gotta stay on course.
 

GX

Well-Known Member
The single biggest question is:

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

There's upsides, and downsides with everything. An example; I own 3 businesses. I am my own boss. Wake up when I want to, call clients when I want to, deal with who I want to, return emails when I want to, go to bed when I want to, etc. I love my life, but there's a level of suck in it too. There is A LOT of responsibility. Animals get sick. Animals die. We lost a mother and baby this year. I have some incredibly difficult, demanding, and very high profile clients who expect nothing less than perfection. It's a give and take, but I'm happy doing this. I'm content.

I'm in flight school to chase a dream I've had since I was born. Why? Because it makes me happy, and brings joy to my life. I am pursuing a career flying airplanes because getting paid to do what I love will make me even more happy. I know that there is going to be some suck in it, but that's life. And those things will help me become a better person.

Do what YOU want. Do what you love. If you LOVE flying the commuter, do it. And do it with vigor. If you love flying the commuter, but hate being away from home, and everything else across the board is equal, it sounds like this gig may not be a bad deal. Write all of the pro's and cons on a sheet of paper, and compare them. Go over those with whoever the decision will affect the most. Ultimately, your wife, if you have one is going to say, "I like this option better, but do whatever you feel the most comfortable doing." And you need to do that. If the decision affects nobody other than you, than do whatever is going to be the most rewarding (rewarding for YOU, not your wallet) and get in 100%. If you've had a dream to fly in the airlines, do whatever it is that will help you obtain that goal. If it's flying commuters, do that. If this gig will help you fly in the airlines, and everything is equal, do that.

Take all of the external pressures out of your mind (wife, gf, kids, co-workers, etc.), and just try to identify what you want, and what will make you happy. You don't need to make a decision today. Or tomorrow. Just make sure that whatever decision you make is yours, and yours alone, for whatever reason those reasons are. And then do it with a smile, and enthusiasm. It's easier to smile, and be enthusiastic when you know that you made a decision that is best for you. If you do this, everyone that is behind will get behind you and support whatever decision you make.

That's what I think. Hope it helps.
 

cmill

Cold Ass Honky
I think the best part of the job would be the network opportunity. It's a risk; a big one, but I think the payoff could be pretty good. As they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. I think if making it to the majors is your ultimate goal though, you should stay where you're at.
 
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Boris Badenov

He comes to save the day in a broken truck.
Agree that if you're wedded to the "majors", you should stick. On the other hand, that sounds like the sort of job that lands the right guy in the right seat of a cushy 91 gig after a few years. Corporate is all about who you know, and you could very well find yourself instructing guys who fly their Corvalis on the weekends, but ride in the back of a Gulfstream during the week. It's definitely less certain than the airline route, but some people thrive on uncertainty. So basically I agree with everyone else: Depends on what you want to do.
 

C150J

Well-Known Member
It sounds like a neat opportunity, however:

- Personal opinion, but I think $30,000 is pretty weak for a job that requires that much work. Have you worked out what type of hotels/food budget is acceptable for when you conduct entry-into-service training?

- Your concerns about acquiring more time are valid.
 

jhugz

#lighttwin Mafia
That pay scale seems very very low. I'm all for staying away or leaving the airlines but not for a job that starts at 30k and tops out at a very low pay bump.

Your top end should be your starting pay scale.
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
Honestly, I wouldn't leave a solid job to "try" out a new idea for an owner. If he has a guy that left, and had been doing it ( successfully) for a while, then sure. I get the feeling that this job won't end up being what you think it is,

And then you might well be stuck looking for another new job.
 

Houston

Well-Known Member
Talk to your wife and really listen to what she says. Then put a lot of weight on what she says, a little weight on what you feel, and if there is any weight left over, you can put it on the advice from others. Then go where the scale says most of the weight is.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
To answer a few comments I've seen pop up...

I'm not actively going for, nor am I avoiding airlines. I'm just trying to get a decent job where I enjoy going in to work, don't have to worry about having enough money to pay my bills, and I'm not working like a dog all the time. If there really is a pilot shortage, the airlines might be the way for me to get these things. If things stay as they are, probably not.

I don't have a wife, girlfriend, or anyone else to consider.

Pay seems low to me as well, but it's kind of the nature of working in a new small business. Plus, this is in Nebraska, with a low cost of living. $30k here has the buying power of $50k in a major metro area on the coasts.

I wouldn't be doing anything with twin Cessnas off the bat. We just talked about how it's one area we could possibly expand in to, based on my skills. I'm sure the pay would increase if this actually happened.

Thanks for all the advice. Keep the thoughts coming if you have them.
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
That job, given the amount of work involved and the time spent on the road away from home, should pay $80k minimum. If you're a really good salesman, and you can make those $5-10k commissions on top of that $50k salary, it might be worth it. But personally I'd stay the course with MOCHA HAGoTDI airlines, since they seem like one of the few good companies left.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
Sounds like an opportunity to expand lots of different skills for yourself. If you trust and like the owner I'd dive in and see how it goes. Reference my signature line.
 

BTpilot

Living the...dream?
Pay is a no go for me. I know a guy in Minnesota who does the exact same job for 60k starting...

You're at Cape Air right? Stick with it and move on up.
 

FlyingScot

Spanish Proficient
Sounds like a dead end one way street.

I was offered a similar position with Lanceair experimental in 2005, chose not to do it because of the reasons you stated, low flight time lack of quality resume building flight. I wanted to be a pilot not a salesman when I grew up. I also wanted to maintain some integrity, not sure I could do that as a salesman. I don't feel that everyone who can afford a cirrus or Corvallis should be in one.

I don't think the numbers add up either. 50-60k someday is not worth giving up your exciting career in an airline for.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Thanks for more feedback, everyone. One comment stuck out at me here...

I also wanted to maintain some integrity, not sure I could do that as a salesman. I don't feel that everyone who can afford a cirrus or Corvallis should be in one.
For what it's worth, that's one of the reasons I'm attracted to this job. This broker in particular is one of the most straight up, sincere, honest guys I've met. He's told pilots on more than one occasion why they probably ought not get behind the wheel of a 200 knot rocket ship with 50 hours in their logbook when a nice 182 can do 80% of what they want. He really does care about matching the right aircraft to the buyer, based not just on mission, but on their skill level as a pilot as well. He sees his role as a salesman to be one of advising/mentoring more than just pushing planes out the door.

Plus, at least initially, my role in the company would be more with training the buyer who's already purchased an aircraft, rather than making the initial sale. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping somebody use their plane safely and efficiently. Knowing a pilot will come home to their family at night as a result of the lesson I taught means more to me than shuttling people at an airline.

Again, keep the thoughts coming if you have them. Hearing all these comments has been helpful.
 

JEP

Malko In Charge
Staff member
In all honesty, from the sounds of it AND the title of the thread, you have made your decision. Now it seems like you are looking for others to justify that decision...Do whatever is best for you and don't look back.
 
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