Trucker to Airline Pilot

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
Wait, what's wrong with engineers?
Different field, but same idea.


Engineers and other highly intellectual people tend to struggle with the "just eyeball it" part of flying. They tend to get bogged down in the theory of all the aerodynamics so they have a lot of difficulty in primary. Some of the most difficult students I've ever worked with were the type that over thinks everything. In the classroom they get it fine, but once they walk out on the ramp and lose 50 IQ points they are hopeless.

When I teach students, I adhere to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) as much as possible. In the airplane, a new student has the learning potential of a high functioning Downs Syndrome kid. All your lessons for the first 10 hours need to be geared for that level of intellectual potential. In an emergency, even a veteran pilot will loose his ability to exercise his higher order brain functions.


A trucker who has driven a loaded trailer down a mountain pass (or a surfer, fishing boat captain, or football player) isn't trying to calculate anything, but is instinctively able to "see" where their angle of descent, rate of turn, and speed will lead.



Thats not to say that the theory isn't important, it absolutely is.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
Spoken like an engineer who never had to work on something he designed.
Meh. I think I’ve come across more pilots with engineering degrees than almost any other degree (other than aviation specific degrees of course). Pretty much every test pilot and astronaut has an engineering/science degree as well.

As a former flight instructor, my young engineering students were awesome. Very good at studying and knocking out the other monotonous stuff that hold most people back. The flying skills ranged from average to well above average. I don’t recall anything below that.

I bet the original comment stems from dealing with a couple of older career changers (or students) that happened to have engineering degrees. The issue here of course is the older career changer. They aren’t always problematic, but they are more often than not.
 
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Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
Meh. I think I’ve come across more pilots with engineering degrees than almost any other degree (other than aviation specific degrees of course). Pretty much every test pilot and astronaut has an engineering/science degree as well.

As a former flight instructor, my young engineering students were awesome. Very good at studying and knocking out the other monotonous stuff that hold most people back. The flying skills ranged from average to well above average. I don’t recall anything below that.

I bet the original comment stems from dealing with a couple of older career changers (or students) that happened to have engineering degrees. The issue here of course is the older career changer. They aren’t always problematic, but they are more often than not.
And my comment stems from a couple decades working on airplanes, cars, electronics, appliances.

If you’ve done any of the above and not cursed engineers and their ancestors, descendants, and pets, then you’re special and or lucky.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Different field, but same idea.


Engineers and other highly intellectual people tend to struggle with the "just eyeball it" part of flying. They tend to get bogged down in the theory of all the aerodynamics so they have a lot of difficulty in primary. Some of the most difficult students I've ever worked with were the type that over thinks everything. In the classroom they get it fine, but once they walk out on the ramp and lose 50 IQ points they are hopeless.

When I teach students, I adhere to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) as much as possible. In the airplane, a new student has the learning potential of a high functioning Downs Syndrome kid. All your lessons for the first 10 hours need to be geared for that level of intellectual potential. In an emergency, even a veteran pilot will loose his ability to exercise his higher order brain functions.


A trucker who has driven a loaded trailer down a mountain pass (or a surfer, fishing boat captain, or football player) isn't trying to calculate anything, but is instinctively able to "see" where their angle of descent, rate of turn, and speed will lead.



Thats not to say that the theory isn't important, it absolutely is.
Ok I see now. But not all engineers are like that :)

Meh. I think I’ve come across more pilots with engineering degrees than almost any other degree (other than aviation specific degrees of course). Pretty much every test pilot and astronaut has an engineering/science degree as well.

As a former flight instructor, my young engineering students were awesome. Very good at studying and knocking out the other monotonous stuff that hold most people back. The flying skills ranged from average to well above average. I don’t recall anything below that.

I bet the original comment stems from dealing with a couple of older career changers (or students) that happened to have engineering degrees. The issue here of course is the older career changer. They aren’t always problematic, but they are more often than not.
I can see a point about those who are younger versus older career changers. I think in general people are more adaptable and can learn easier + more at a younger age. The older you get the worse it seems to get.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
And my comment stems from a couple decades working on airplanes, cars, electronics, appliances.

If you’ve done any of the above and not cursed engineers and their ancestors, descendants, and pets, then you’re special and or lucky.
I wrenched on cars/motorcycles for many years, and even built a couple of race cars, so I get it. But the bean counters are more to blame than the engineers for most of your complaints.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
Yes, I agree. Engineers who have a mechanical background and/or an athletic background generally do well. Most of the astronauts were jocks/gearheads/engineers.

It's the "Sheldons", software engineers, ect. that don't do well.
Agreed completely. If they’re an engineer or doctor that are super smart but have no common sense, good luck. We used to call them theory monkeys.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
And my comment stems from a couple decades working on airplanes, cars, electronics, appliances.
DFM - Design For Manufacturing is one of the biggest considerations. Maintenance? Yeah, not really so much. Lots of things are cheaper to make a new one than to fix. Depends entirely on the product though
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
DFM - Design For Manufacturing is one of the biggest considerations. Maintenance? Yeah, not really so much. Lots of things are cheaper to make a new one than to fix. Depends entirely on the product though
Chicken and egg...lots of things are cheaper to build than to fix, because they’ve been designed to be so. Because the net profit on spare parts isn’t nearly what can be made selling a new one, especially if it’s an industry where the manufacturer gets a cut of the interest from financing a purchase (like automotive), and because absolutely eff any kind of effort towards environmental responsibility. If some of those pesky customers DO absolutely insist that they want to fix, you can always bury them in proprietary software, specialty tooling, etc so at least the mfer gets a cut of the repair bill too.
 

Yetti

New Member
Get a sporty's, King ground school kit and get to studying. Be sad that your CDL medical and aviation medical aren't transferable, but get one an aviation medical, you are going to need that. Deal with any problems before you see your AME. Go take a Intro flight at your local airport. Find a flight school that is close to home so you will fly more.
 

Freightshaker

Active Member
Thanks for the wonderful advice guys it is much appreciated. Based on everything I've read I'm going to ditch the dispatcher plan, I thought that it would give me a leg up down the line, but it's clear that flying and getting my ratings is more important. The plan now is to find a good instructor in Raleigh, NC. A pilot friend of mind recommended Flightgest out of RDU, he know's one of the instructors there and had a positive experience. Perhaps you guys know of some other good places as well? As far as frequency of flying goes, I'm only going to be able to fly on the weekends. Given the circumstances, how much will this affect my ability to get through training, and is there anything I can do in between lessons to help me along?

A few of you mentioned getting a first class medical, I compared that to the DOT medical and the requirements of the first class are fairly similar to a DOT 2 year certificate which I already possess. I'm assuming I'll need to have one before I solo?
 

nibake

Powder hound
Only flying on the weekends makes things a little tough. If you stick with it, though, you will progress all right. The problem is if you have a bunch of times where the weather is bad on the weekends, you might go a month or more with very little flying. One way to augment the weekend flying would be using vacation or PTO if possible. Finally, although this is risky, I was able to get to a financial position where I could leave my job and dedicate myself full time to finishing up flight training. If you are very careful with your finances now in order to make that possible, it could shave a lot of time off. I wouldn't recommend it at all unless you have a good buffer and are also reasonably close to finishing. I think I was within 2-3 months of commercial when I left my truck driving job. Over the next half year I did commerical, ASES, instrument, and CFI and never looked back. I did some work during that period, just not full time.

Another thing to think about, in addition to what you can do, you have 3 other things that must always align for quick training: instructor, airplane, weather.

Small FBO with limited scheduling or airplanes down for mechanical problems (heck, even at a college program where I used to instruct we had bottlenecks that pushed some students back a half year or more); instructor availability; these can both be huge. Even the weather can be figured in, as well: just go to Pheonix for concentrated training and not Duluth. :bounce:
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Only flying on the weekends makes things a little tough. If you stick with it, though, you will progress all right. The problem is if you have a bunch of times where the weather is bad on the weekends, you might go a month or more with very little flying. One way to augment the weekend flying would be using vacation or PTO if possible. Finally, although this is risky, I was able to get to a financial position where I could leave my job and dedicate myself full time to finishing up flight training. If you are very careful with your finances now in order to make that possible, it could shave a lot of time off. I wouldn't recommend it at all unless you have a good buffer and are also reasonably close to finishing. I think I was within 2-3 months of commercial when I left my truck driving job. Over the next half year I did commerical, ASES, instrument, and CFI and never looked back. I did some work during that period, just not full time.

Another thing to think about, in addition to what you can do, you have 3 other things that must always align for quick training: instructor, airplane, weather.

Small FBO with limited scheduling or airplanes down for mechanical problems (heck, even at a college program where I used to instruct we had bottlenecks that pushed some students back a half year or more); instructor availability; these can both be huge. Even the weather can be figured in, as well: just go to Pheonix for concentrated training and not Duluth. :bounce:
I was going to post this but you pretty much summed it up and I confirm it's real problem right now. I'm trying to find somewhere reliable to do a FW instrument addon rating on the weekends and having an extremely difficult time finding CFII's willing to work weekends or evenings. I'm tired of getting the run around and have come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to drive 150 miles to school that has a wait list. I think if you can't get your hours per week siginificantly cut in your current line of work it's not going to work out for you. Even at 45 hours a week, if you have to deal with a lot of BS at work, you'll find yourself mentally drained by the time you get home. Not that you can't keep slogging through it but it will slow you down a lot in my experience. I'm not in a position where I can risk quitting to power through training, I imagine most of us aren't, but I would suggest that you find a school that has their act together and not waste time with possibly more convenient options.
 

ppragman

Direct Yeska
It's been my experience that truck drivers make excellent pilots. The one thing that's worth mentioning is that the culture, while similar, is often very different with respect to safety, risk management, and "git-r'-dun" mentality. Truckers typically do really well in this industry and it's a similar sort of work that has similar workflows.
 
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