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Advice from career pilots to a budding CFII

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#1 downrightaft



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Posted 29 November 2016 - 09:22

So I'm considering switching careers and pursuing helicopters. This switch has weighed very heavily on me and I've read all the forums and posts applicable. avbug's post about loking back in 30 years hit me right in the feels.My situation is a little unique although I know many of you have gone through similar. Just looking for some career pilots to weigh in.


I earned all my ratings with the GI Bill so I have no flight schools debts. After the GI Bill funds were cut, I ended up not landing a job at my flight school. I got hired in a non-aviation field and I make really good money, benefits, and lots of perks (vehicle, gas, bonus, etc.) but it's not flying and I really don't care about it. It provides financial stability.


Flying is my passion. I've never really found one in my life until i found flying. Not flying is painful but also no financial stability is painful.


My question to you guys who know the industry is:


Do I forego the money, imminent purchase of a house, and secured future, for a life in aviation. I know I have about 2 or 3 years making peanuts before I start making a decent income.


In my shoes, would you do it? Knowing what you do about the industry. Knowing the risks.


I know how I feel about it. Just looking for some industry insight.


Cheers and fly safe!


Those Vietnam pilots should be retiring any day now.

#2 LionHeart


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Posted 04 January 2017 - 00:09

I have been in your shoes. I left a job making enough money that it was something I never had to worry about. I was a broke flight student for 2 years and even 'broker' as an instructor for 2 years. I still haven't been able to buy a home, not to mention many other sacrifices.

I am now to the point where it is time to get that first 'Post CFI' job, and am fortunate to have prospects. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't second guess the decision to pursue my dreams over practicality and stability. I questioned it many times. Do I have regrets? Sure. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

If it really is your passion like you say, the answer should be easy, even if the path to get there won't be. I hope this helps and good luck.

#3 Spike


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Posted 05 January 2017 - 12:40

This business can be doom-n-gloom when speaking of financial stability. While I too suffered and sacrificed in my early years, in the end, this business provided me with a reasonable stable living. This is only because of the decisions I made during my career and a little help from a few people along the way. I live in a 5 bedroom house in a private community, fairly nice car, getting ready to put one of 2 teenagers in collage and a killer retirement package.  In the end, it’s not how much you make that counts. It’s what you do with what you make that does count.  In the long term CDM, or Career Decision Making, can be just as important as ADM... That is, feeling safe in your career is just as important as feeling safe in the cockpit…  

Edited by Spike, 05 January 2017 - 12:41.

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#4 zippiesdrainage


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Posted 13 January 2017 - 13:08

Doom and gloom is right. Look at the constant flux of the industry and look at the companies that come and go. It's a fantastic job and a terrible career field at the same time. How many times have I read horror stories of where dream jobs become nightmares because of poor management and you suddenly find out you can't make it work either because of a toxic atmosphere or it suddenly going out of business. EMS is by far the most stable it seems, but even the most successful bases still bubble behind the scenes with rumors of base closures or tension with management. It's a fickle industry. Most companies are a single crash or bad manager away from closure.

"A mind that is stretched by a new experience, can never go back to its old dimensions"- Unknown

#5 RockinRob


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Posted 16 February 2017 - 10:35

That is your decision to make, and nobody on here has any authority to tell you how to live your life.


That being said..... 


Is it hard? Yes

Did I have to move around and spend time away from home/family? Yes

Is it fun? Yes

Worth it? In my humble opinion yes

Would I do it again? Absolutely


I have had some of the hardest times, and some of the most rewarding experiences of my life chasing down this crazy dream. In the end its all about your priorities and decisions though. If you do take the plunge, go after it with everything you have man.


Although.... I never had the benefit of a "stable" well paying job before this in the first place, so it's a little easier for me, since I'm used to living on peanuts and barely paying rent. (I was a lifty at ski resorts for years through school and before I finally got my break of that first CFI job)


Fly safe

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