Trying to Decide

taildragger

New Member
I am about to make my career change and am trying to decide which road to take (Comair Academy or local FBO). If it is going the local FBO route, I would stick with my current job to finance it and fly after work and on weekends. Otherwise I could pack up (with wife) and move to Florida hoping to get done quicker, but be in a lot of debt at the end. Also, I was recently promoted at work (more money to pay for flying), which makes the decision harder. Any advice from others who have been down a similar road would be appreciated.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
You don't want to be paying off debt on a CFI (or even regional pilots) salary. I would suggest going the FBO route and paying as you go. Debt sucks- trust me, I know- I have a lot of it. Pick a good FBO and good instructor, and you'll have it made.
 

taildragger

New Member
I definately agree, the only thing that is keeping the florida one a viable option is the speed to the right seat. I am in my early thirties and I want to get there as quick as possible.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
Even if it takes six months longer to go the FBO route, its probably worth it. Do you want to pay off debt for ten years (or twenty in my case) or finish your training six months later and have no debt? I don't think you have anything to worry about being in your early 30's.
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
My advice, keep the current job and get your ratings at the local FBO. You can do it just as quickly by flying nights and weekends. If things don't work out in the job market once you've completed your ratings then you still have your current job to fall back on.

Two phrases come to mind when I read posts like yours:

a) A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

b) The best time to look for a job is when you already have one.

Unless your wife can fully support you and the family financially or you're independently wealthy, quitting your current job and investing 10's of thousands on flight ratings with no job guarantees when finished is, well...foolish at best!

The pilot job market is the worst I've ever seen it and to be frank, I'm not sure anymore that it's worth the expense and hardship for you or your family. The streets are saturated with high time ex-airline pilots looking for any flying job available. One more 9/11 will probably sink more than a couple airlines currently on shaky ground sending more pilots to the streets.
 

taildragger

New Member
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?" Could you clarify a little, I think I get what your saying. Thanks for the other comments.
 

A300Capt

Freight Dawg
[ QUOTE ]
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?" Could you clarify a little, I think I get what your saying. Thanks for the other comments.


[/ QUOTE ]

Simply put, don't throw away what you already have (a sure thing) for something you "might" get. I've said it and I know Doug and others have said it many times on this forum, don't get caught up in all the hype those academies try to sell you. They're like dealing with used car salesman and all they want is your money. The academies use pretty window dressing and glossy pamphlets to sell you the same service the local FBO's provide.

Granted, the academies probably have newer and better equipped airplanes (due to their high tuition and rental rates) but you'll find most, if not everything you need, at your local FBO. I'm a product of a small FBO and it didn't prevent me from achieving my goals, nor did it cost an arm and a leg.

Besides, if the airlines aren't hiring for the foreseeable future, what good does it do to complete all your ratings in 6 months (academy) versus a year from now (FBO)?
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
If it is going the local FBO route, I would stick with my current job to finance it and fly after work and on weekends

[/ QUOTE ]
This is exactly what I'm doing, and I could not agree more with:

[ QUOTE ]
My advice, keep the current job and get your ratings at the local FBO. You can do it just as quickly by flying nights and weekends.....Unless your wife can fully support you and the family financially or you're independently wealthy, quitting your current job and investing 10's of thousands on flight ratings with no job guarantees when finished is, well...foolish at best!


[/ QUOTE ]

Although part of me would LOVE to hurry up and get all of my ratings, the logical part of me - the part that is controlled by the bank account - says otherwise.

That's just my experience.

Drop me a Private Message if you'd like more details on how we (my wife and I) are going about it.

Best of luck with whatever route you choose.

R2F
 

av8rmsu

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I am about to make my career change and am trying to decide which road to take (Comair Academy or local FBO). If it is going the local FBO route, I would stick with my current job to finance it and fly after work and on weekends. Otherwise I could pack up (with wife) and move to Florida hoping to get done quicker, but be in a lot of debt at the end. Also, I was recently promoted at work (more money to pay for flying), which makes the decision harder. Any advice from others who have been down a similar road would be appreciated.


[/ QUOTE ]


I am at a FSI right now, but I am not taking on any debt. I probably would not be here if I needed a loan to do it. Payments like that scare the hell out out me. The FBO route is a good one, if you can find a good instructor. That is key, my first instructor was no where near as good as my second instructor ( I moved home for a brief period after I graduated college, before I came to FL). He seems to be a lot more attentive to detail. My instructor here at FSA is great. I enjoy FSA and they don't promise jack. I believe I am getting some great training here, and have already started looking for CFI jobs in the Southeast. Just like anything in life...you get out, what you put in...

I would definately recommend "test-driving" some different instructors. That is, if you decide on the FBO route. They all are different. I would also check out all the different academies if you decide the FL thing. I'm not partial to the FBO route or the academy route. I've seen both sides and they both have their pros/cons.


I'm not trying to promote any school over another...I shopped around and believe in "different strokes for different folks".
Just sharing my experience.
 

jrm1493

New Member
I think that you'd be alot better off doing the FBO thing... For my private I used a federal student loan (I was in unrelated grad school at the time), and took out a bigger loan than I needed and did the FBO thing (incidentally I did it 61 at a 141 academy in Texas, but it didnt have the used-car salesman feel that I get from places down here in FL).

Now I'm doing strictly no-debt route - I have a friend who is an inst at DCA and he loves it, but I'm sure he's got a lot of debt. It dosent bother some folks, but even the $7000 debt I have left from my student loan bothers me (even though its a subsidized loan with interest about equal to inflation).

I may end up getting my instrument from my friend at DCA (they're supposed to start offering part-time 141), but I'm going to do it on a no-debt basis for sure.
 

taildragger

New Member
Thanks to all for the, what seems to be, unbiased opinions. Keep the info coming, if there are others out there with similar experiences keep it coming. Good luck to you all.
 

sbe

Well-Known Member
taildragger (nice name!
) I went/am going the FBO route. I second all the opinions of not taking on any debt. I still have a bit of undergraduate debt so chose not to take any more on. Right now I'm working on my commercial at a larger Class D field and although I'm part 61, I've been moving quickly and my CFI (that I've had from the beginning) is quite simply an amazingly talented educator. He like me is part time. I think at the FBOs you can find some great CFIs - there are some that are not so good but I know around here there are a lot of retired airline guys, and people that fly corporate, etc and teach part time (such as my CFI). Lots of experience. I think going part 61 I have to stay on top of myself to keep things moving, because it's easy to let the rest of your life get in the way. You've got to be a good self-motivator. I've also done all of my own studying for writtens, etc - again you've just got to be able to push yourself.

In the end I'm glad I made the choices I have so far, things are working out well albeit slower than an academy. However, I've incurred no debt from flying and have been able to keep my current position and even cram in part time work to help pay for flying. And the size of the field I fly out of as afforded me many chances to network and many opportunities - believe it or not, I won't have my commercial until right after the first of the year but barring an unfortunate turn of events, I already have my first flying job lined up starting next spring. It IS all about who you know so keep in mind what kind of networking can be accomplished at your field or training base when looking at schools. I agree it's different strokes for different folks, some people thrive in an academy setting, so that works well for them.

Good luck....

Sarah
 

Phoenix_Son

New Member
taildragger,
If you still haven't committed to one particular plan, I'd recommend the book "The Complete Guide to Flight Instruction" by Gregory Penglis. Its first couple chapters deal with selecting a flight school and instructor.
Much of its advice emphasizes gaining a variety of experiences during training:
"It is your training - go wherever you want. There is no reason for exclusive loyalty to any one flight school.
"If I had to pick the ideal place to train, it would be a good flying club or small school, moderately priced, at a busy tower-controlled field, with both country airports and busy terminals within easy reach, where the instructors cover a wide range of age and experience, and they have a variety of aircart makes and models in which to train."
If that description brings to mind any schools you've visited, then start there. Hope that helps.
I second what sbe said about networking, in any field of work. It's what got me my (non-aviation) job, and (I'm guessing) probably helped you get your's.
 

Nerdwing

New Member
You know, I also read "the Complete Guide to Flight Instruction" on my vacation. It was kind of interesting in that the author was both very enthusiastic about flying and deeply cynical about the business at the same time. At the time he wrote the book (1993--if I remember correctly) I think he had about enough hours for the ATP, but was still instructing.

So here is my question: Did he make it? Did he get to fly the "heavy metal?"

I'd honestly like to know.

Gregory Penglis, are you out there?
 

Cosmo1999

Well-Known Member
Definitely stick to your current job.. Hiring isnt all that brisk right now and we wont see the brisk hiring levels of the late 1990s for at least a couple more years so its best to stay debt free. I did mine the FBO route, I kept my assistant manager job, finished college and flew at the same time. It took me longer but well worth it as I dont have any debts and can actually live off my CFI salary without having to worry about loan payments and im not hungry is the best part

good luck on your flying.. Blue skies and tail winds
 
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