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Author Topic: Some questions for pilots.  (Read 2231 times)

Penguin

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Some questions for pilots.
« on: July 27, 2012, 05:23:19 pm »
So it has become very clear to me that my current job sucks. I have been looking for a new job for quite some time with out any real luck unless I want to work for very little money. :banghead Several people have sugested to me that I should go back to school. On the one hand I have to concede the fact that it looks like I would need some schooling if I want to get a better job. In the past I hated school though and never did well. Without knowing what I really wanted to do it seemed stupid to me to spend the time and money to aimlessly go back to school.

Not so long ago my brother game me an airplane magazine that he got in his junk mail. In it, were adds for several different flight schools, which has got me thinking. :hmm I could probably hack going to a flight school. The idea of becoming an airplane pilot has a certian apeal to me.

I however wonder how fesable it really is. I have several questions. My main concern is we are basicly winding down two wars right now and, will almost certinily cut the size of the military in the near future. In my mind this would mean there very well could be lots of very experincied pilots with lots of hours looking for work in the civilian work force soon. Is that a valid concern?

I don’t know how large of a job market there is for pilots but it would seem to me that it would be silly to go spend time and money to get a pilots licinse and then have to compete for a limited number of jobs against much more experinced people. Any one have any idea how much of a demand there is for pilots? I can’t imagine it is really high.

I was also obviously wondering about the pay. Does it pay enough that you can make a living doing it? I would imagine that it does the bigger the plane you fly. I would also imagine that those are the harder jobs to get and require a lot of hours, not a job a rockie is going to land fresh out of flight school.

Any one have any idea of how long flight school would take or how much it would cost. In the adds I was reading it seemed to very a lot. Which I would imagine would be in line with what kind of licinse you end up getting at the end. Which leads to the next question. What kind of licinse or certification do you want to get?

On these schools is it basicly the bread and butter of here is how you fly a plane or helicopter? Or is it the type of thing where you really need a collage degree that requires taking a bunch of boring classes that really have nothing to do with flying?

Which would be a better idea going into fixed wind or helicopter? It would seem to me helicopter would probably be less affected if we were to cut the size of the military but, it would be much harder to find a job. It also strikes me as the type of thing that would almost certinaily mean relocating to get a job.

Is this the type of thing where it is real hard to find a job to the point where say if the only place you can find a job is in say CA you better be moving there?  :vomitI really would rather not move back to CA or some other crap place.

Thanks any one for any input or ideas.
Doobie Doobie Doo...

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    Kaso

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 06:51:08 pm »
    As a non-pilot (but someone who's whole family works around and flies planes, both civilian and military) my first question would be about your health.  Can you pass a physical?  A very rigorous physical?  For a commercial license, you will need to.  Are you severely overweight?  Are you diabetic?  Do you have damn good vision?  How about high blood pressure?  These all matter.

    As to the pay, it is supposedly not as good as everyone thinks it is - but that's just what I hear. 

    Smaller airlines do hire relatively inexperienced pilots...



    Kaso

    Penguin

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 07:29:06 pm »
    Can you pass a physical?  A very rigorous physical?  For a commercial license, you will need to.  Are you severely overweight?  Are you diabetic?  Do you have damn good vision?  How about high blood pressure?  These all matter.

    I don't know about passing a physical. That is a good question I hadn't though of. I have a bad leg. The eye sight might get me I wear contacts. Not over weight, or dibetic though. Good on the blood presure as far as I know.

    As to the pay, it is supposedly not as good as everyone thinks it is - but that's just what I hear. 

    Smaller airlines do hire relatively inexperienced pilots...

    I have heard the same things about pay. Thanks for the information.
    Doobie Doobie Doo...

    Kaso

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 07:35:14 pm »
    I'm not sure what the requirements are for eyesight/correction.    I do know that the blood pressure and diabetes will DQ you...  The leg should not be an issue - pilots sit in a seat.



    Kaso

    Penguin

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 10:25:47 pm »
    I'm not sure what the requirements are for eyesight/correction.    I do know that the blood pressure and diabetes will DQ you...  The leg should not be an issue - pilots sit in a seat.



    Kaso

    Well you still need that to run the rudder pedals. Though that shouldn't be a problem it isn't that messed up.
    Doobie Doobie Doo...

    Avenger29

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 11:40:46 pm »
    Pilot here.

    In short, non mil flying gigs suck until you get lots and lots of experience.

    Quote
    I don’t know how large of a job market there is for pilots but it would seem to me that it would be silly to go spend time and money to get a pilots licinse and then have to compete for a limited number of jobs against much more experinced people. Any one have any idea how much of a demand there is for pilots? I can’t imagine it is really high.

    This is EXACTLY what you are doing when breaking into aviation for pay. Now, how determined are you and what are your end goals exactly?

    What kind of flying for hire are you wanting to do? Airline, small aircraft, government, crop spraying?

    You have to get your ratings on your dime. You cannot legally earn money by flying for hire without a commercial license. To get there is going to cost quite some cash. Yeah, there are lots of flight schools and such that have rosy advertisements. They need students. Keep that in mind...

    When you get your commercial license you can legally earn money, but that's no garantee of a job. Lots of pilots, not a lot of jobs out there. If your aim is to become an airline pilot, it sucks until you get seniority and time in.

    Quote
    Smaller airlines do hire relatively inexperienced pilots...

    Not so much anymore.

    You have to earn so many hours with your commercial certificate before you can be hired by an airline (I think Congress made it so you have to have something like a ridiculous 1500 hours before you can become a right seat lever flipper and button pusher for marginal wages). Many of your second officers (copilot) on airliners start out flight instructing after getting their commercial certificate and CFI and do that for a while to get the hours.

    My instructor followed that route. She went, oh, 25k or so in the hole on student loans (I don't know how much she spent out of pocket) for an "aviation degree" and the ratings from a university up in Ohio, then got a job flight instructing for something like $8 an hour (and you don't get paid unless you are flying or teaching ground school) and then got hired on with Comair as a second officer in a regional jet. As far as I know, she has not really advanced.

    There is also a multitude of certifications you may need to get before being hired for a given job, such as instrument rating (plan on getting this one for sure), multiengine, type certificates, etc. There are some sweeeettttt jobs out there if you've got the right experience but you ain't getting there without paying your dues.

    In short, flying for hire is hard to break into. It's going to take a good bit of dedication and money spent to get somewhere. Outbreak did it, he was a flight instructor IIRC and now of course he's on the .mil side as a C-130 navigator.


    You don't need a college degree. Legally what matters is the certifications and hours as meat in the seat. What employers want is something different, they may want to see a degree or not.

    Helicopters for hire is dominated by the ex .mil pilots. They got their ratings and huge amount of hours from the fed .gov. You would be competing against guys with thousands and thousands of hours in advanced aircraft while you are paying about $250-300 per hour for a single engine little itty bitty helicopter. You won't have the turbine time, either. It's doable but not realistically doable if that makes any sense (in comparison, a SE trainer fixed wing aircraft is going to be $100 per hour or less to rent, while the equivalent helo is rather expensive)

    It ain't cheap, that's for sure.





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    Daylight

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 12:01:55 am »
    Not a pilot, but related to one.

    Unless you can get someone to pay you and log hours, it is a long and expensive route to get a job.  There are some high paying gigs, but they are tough to get.  As stated above, the wages most flight instructors earn are competitive with fast food preparation.  Getting a paying gig requires hours, licenses, ratings, and type certification.  A college degree is not usually required.  Rotary wing (helicopter) is even more expensive to pursue.

    In India the airline typically hires future commercial pilots, and then teaches them to fly.  Many actually come to this country for ground school.  Fuel prices in the US are typically lower than in Europe, which is one of the reasons flight students from Europe move here for training.  (My uncle used to rent rooms to Swiss helicopter students.)

    If you love flying, it may be worth the time, hard work, and poverty.  Those things you will have in abundance, but you may also have an interesting career.
    Washington"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is. "
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 02:06:22 am »
    TL;DR

    I'm a military aviator, active duty. On the civilian side, I hold a Commercial License with multi-engine and instrument ratings.

    First, entry level pay for pilots is absolute s___. Like below poverty line, sleeping in the airplane or the pilot lounge type of s___.

    Second, the money required to acquire the training to become an entry level commercial pilot is extreme. Back when I did it, $30k wasn't out of the ballpark if you attended a pilot mill type of school. Nowadays, with gas costing what it does (upwards of $5 a gallon for avgas, easy) estimate upards of $50k.

    Third, flying isn't as easy as it looks. It requires an incredible amount of random and rapid access knowledge. Intimate knowledge of the aircraft, the airspace system, the rules of flying, etc.

    I'm definitely not saying it's impossible. If I could do it, almost anyone can. But don't even think that it's easy, cheap, or the money will be good, or that pilots get a lot of tail. Those are all pure myths these days.

    As for the wars winding down and military pilots getting out, I wouldn't worry about it. The pilots I know are either fighting to stay in, or fighting to get out of flying all together. Many are burned out on flying after 10+ years of continuous flying. If they wanna keep flying, they're staying on the mil side. If they're getting out, most aren't looking for flying jobs.
    TexasOutbreak

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #8 on: August 01, 2012, 02:10:21 am »
    One other thing:  if you ever want to carry passengers, you need to have a reassuring midwestern accent or confident but clear Texas twang.  No one wants to ride on an airplane if the pilot sounds like Rocky or Pauly Shore.
    Washington"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  But, in practice, there is. "
    - Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

    Just like any other man, only more so.

    Coronach

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    Re: Some questions for pilots.
    « Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 10:40:39 am »
    There was actually a study done that showed that in many professions, having a slow southern drawl made you seem less capable and intelligent (lawyer, doctor, etc). The ones in which this was NOT the case were jobs in which high stress decisionmaking was crucial (pilot, military, law enforcement).

    It's a really funny dichotomy, which makes little sense when you break it down, but is completely realistic.

    Mike

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