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new to the forum and new to helicopters


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hello all! just wanted to introduce myself and see if I could get a little help with direction. I'm new to helicopters but have always had a fascination with them. I am currently looking to into obtaining my pilots license and hope to one day get paid to fly. I'm in the Northern Kentucky and have been looking at Higher Ground.. the guys I talked with up there seem to be decent guys... anyone been through or currently going through their program? I realize that the helicopter industry is not a walk on industry as far as getting a job and am not going into it with that attitude. I figure it's better to be unemployed in an industry you enjoy than be struggling through in one you do not! So a little back ground on me... I've grown up in and around the construction industry... primarily residential. Right now it's a dead market and with a wife and two kids plus a third one on the way, it's an industry I don't want to spend any more time in. I've spent a lot of time looking into other options as far as work and something I would feel some sort of fulfillment through and the only thing practical I could come up with and be able to enjoy doing for the rest of my life is flying helicopters. My wife and I have talked about it a lot and are both comfortable with the financial investment needed to get all my licensing to be able to fly commercial and have my CFI as well. My big question is for those of you who are going through it now or have recently.. It seems like the three options are to A) go through a college and pull student loans to cover schooling and flight training... B) Try to get loans to cover just the flight training and skip the 2 to 4 years of college or C) pay for it out of pocket... I don't have $65,000 on hand to pay for it out of pocket so that kind of cuts it out.. so out of option of college with loans or loans without college what are you guys doing and how much trouble have you had pulling loans that large for either? Thanks for the help guys! And again I realize that going into this industry does not mean I'll come away with a job.. but I'd rather do it and give it a chance than not and always wish I had!

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I'm not being negative here, or trying to tell you to stay out of the pilot business. But I am being fiscally conservative and my advice is to not borrow money to chase this dream. With 3 kids, a construction background (same as me) and a really crappy economy, I just can't endorse borrowing more money when any real income from this business is probably 2-3 years minimum after you get your ratings.

 

That said, the helicopter business thrives on the oil/gas/geology business which is skyhigh right now. I think we are just starting to see the re-investment in exploration and opening old wells which will keep a lot of ships flying.

 

We all know how you feel and the thrill of flying...but....if you want it bad enough, sacrifice for it now, save some money and then go out and do it with cash. Once you are ready to start we can all give you a lot of advice how to get thru those ratings with a lot less money spent.

 

Sounded like you wanted some advice, that's mine!

 

Good luck out there.

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Three kids, and you want to enter an industry who's starting pay, for the first few years,(if you can find a job!)is around $800/mo.?

 

I hope your wife makes really, really, really, good money! Also, keep in mind that a loan for training will yield a monthly payment close to that of buying a Cadillac (fully loaded), especially if you defer payment while in school!

 

Don't borrow money for training! If everything doesn't work out PERFECTLY and IMMEDIATELY, that loan will drag you down for the rest of your life! And bankruptcy won't make it go away!

 

If you really have to do this, join the Army.

:mellow:

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Welcome to the addiction KG.

 

I echo above. My advice would be to self finance pay as you go to get your private first. That will get you flying and give you time to realistically see if you want to make the commitment. It will cost 10 to 15 K and don't take out a loan. I can't imagine supporting a family of 3 and starting out as a CFI with a 65 K loan in this economy, but if you want it bad enough anything is possible. It seems around 20% success rate in getting employed after CFI rated with this economy.

 

I self funded half and took out a second mortgage on my home for the other half. Thank goodness it's a good interest rate because in 4 years I've really hardly taken down the loan. I've been a lucky one and worked in the industry at least seasonally since licensed.

 

Trust me I am a very optimistic and positive person. If you mount a campaign you can make it out the other side as an employed pilot, but be realistic about what that will take. Save ahead and pay now to avoid pain later.

 

Though you may see this impermanence

and sorrow of change

yet laugh with joy

for this perceived loss

is but creation's ongoing

constancy

 

Happy Easter

Edited by Whistlerpilot
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C) pay for it out of pocket... I don't have $65,000 on hand to pay for it out of pocket so that kind of cuts it out..

 

 

So if you don't have money to pay out of pocket now... how do you expect to ever pay back any money you'd borrow when this industry doesn't make enough to even pay a single guy to live off the income and pay the loans back?

 

The answer is you save your money until you can afford to enter the industry. If you can't wait for that I have no sympathy for your failure in aviation.

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I second the joining the army idea. It may not seem like the best thing to do when you have a family, but at least you have a guaranteed job, and you know your family will be staying in the same place for at least 3 years. that is more than can be said about the civilian heli industry. Plus, you dont even have to join active duty military, you can do Warrant Officer Flight Training and go straight into the the reserves one weekend a month after getting your training. No degree required, but it helps alot to get accepted.

 

If your interested you should check out the military forum, its almost all about WOFT. If you have a felony, are over 30, or have any medical conditions I wouldnt count on it though.

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I second the notion to consider the national guard, granted you can find one close to home that may have open pilot positions.

 

You will have a guaranteed paycheck every month, health/dental coverage for you and your entire family, housing allowance every month, roughly a 7 1/2 year commitment including time spent at flight school, can have the military pay a good portion of (if any) loans you have racked up, plus you can qualify for education benefits should you desire to pursue more schooling down the road.

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hey guys thanks for the responses. I have no problem hearing straight forward advice either so I appreciate that as well! My biggest concern with going Army is that It does not give me a guarantee to be able to fly if I enlist. That said it is something my wife and I have been looking into and talking about. As far as the civilian rout I would love to not pull a loan. paying it off I'm not as concerned if I can get a long term loan though. coming up with $65,000 in a year or two is a little more challenging than over 15 years or so! My hope though is to start flying sooner or later and start working on building hours and finding a job. My plan while doing this is to still be working in the construction industry or another field to help supplement income... I kinda look at it as going to school full time and working a full time job.. or two :).. I have been thinking about focusing on my private license for now and get it out of the way ( hopefully be able to pay for all of it out of pocket or borrow from family) and work my way up. again please keep the advice coming. Also for those of you who are pointing out the low income of starting out in the helicopter world you should try the construction industry right now :)

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You don't have to enlist before applying for WOFT. At least as far as I understand. it is called "High School to Flight school" or "Street to Seat". Of course I have only looked into it from the angle of active duty-WOFT, so you would have to look into it more. Or just look into it on this Forum site, there is a TON of good info about the WOFT program on here.

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gary-mike is correct. A flight slot is 100% guaranteed. you would apply for WOFT and if you got accepted, would go directly to basic, then warrant officer candidate school, then flight school. If you failed any of those, you would have to serve your commitment as an enlisted soldier. you shouldnt worry about that though, if you get accepted you should have no problems. If you dont get accepted then you can simply walk away, in fact you could walk away even if you do get accepted if you decide it isnt for you. Unfortunately the national guard doesnt support the program for whatever reason, so active duty or reserves are the only option.

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gary-mike is correct. A flight slot is 100% guaranteed. you would apply for WOFT and if you got accepted, would go directly to basic, then warrant officer candidate school, then flight school. If you failed any of those, you would have to serve your commitment as an enlisted soldier. you shouldnt worry about that though, if you get accepted you should have no problems. If you dont get accepted then you can simply walk away, in fact you could walk away even if you do get accepted if you decide it isnt for you. Unfortunately the national guard doesnt support the program for whatever reason, so active duty or reserves are the only option.

 

Not quite true. They can do that to you, but most likely they will just send you home.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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As far as the civilian rout I would love to not pull a loan. paying it off I'm not as concerned if I can get a long term loan though. coming up with $65,000 in a year or two is a little more challenging than over 15 years or so!

 

Closer to 100-120k over a 15-20 year loan unless you get a really good interest rate. Probably a $600-$700 per month payment. Very difficult to make on a starting pilot salary unless you have a healthy second income. The Army would be a great option for someone with a wife & kids.

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yeah that's why I'm looking at doing double duty... one job to pay for the loan and another to pay for my bills! My wife's biggest concern with the warrant officer rout is the 12 month+ deployments throughout my enlistment time. anyone on here currently in and able to touch on this more? Also anyone know the potential on getting stationed at Ft. Knox?

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Look into the National Guard's 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade, stationed at Frankfort, KY. Wouldn't deploy as much as an active unit, especially now that Iraq is just about over with. All of the active duty units are taking over rotations in Afghanistan, letting the national guard units settle back down in the states.

 

Frankfort, which I'm sure you know, is basically on the east outskirts of Louisville. The unit flies H-60 Blackhawk medevac helicopters. Something to check out :D

Edited by RagMan
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Hello guys, my first post here, though I've been lurking for about a year.

 

I have been thinking about this Army warrant officer training for awhile. I turn 32 this June, so if I do it I'd have to move fast on it.

 

My question for you, after you've learned to fly through the military, what do you need to do to get a civilian pilot's license? Do you just have to do the check rides and written tests? or does the FAA give you a pass on that once you have documented your military flight experience?

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  • 1 month later...

If this is something you want to do, and are certain about, you have to make a wise and well thought out decision.

 

To bury yourself in 20 years worth of debt, may solve your problem now, but will cause you more problems later down the line. If you decide to pay cash, you will not incur ANY interest. In the long run you are saving money. While this may take longer, it will definitely be far more satisfying and rewarding, and A LOT safer financially.

 

I understand that you want to get out of construction and become a pilot. If you ARE going to take out a loan, keep working construction, plan your flight training around work, and start paying down the interest ASAP! This to me is far safer, then boldly leaving your current job and pursuing a dream. At least this way, you still have a safety net!

 

We all share the same dream, to be able to fly for a living B)

So I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you make the right decision for you and your family!

 

-AZ

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Kentuckyguy-

I was in a similar situation as you. Contractor,wife,no kids though. I had reached a point where I was starting to realize that it just wasn't going to work to try and support a family in the future in an industry that is so hit and miss. I looked around at many schools and did my homework as to what would work for me and my wife. I ended up at a local flight school that would allow me to still run my contracting company while paying to fly. It seemed like it took forever to figure out just how I was going to pay for my certificates but the day it all came together, it was such a relief. People are going to have their input and their thoughts on how they would do it, but just do what you think would work for you and your family.Good luck with everything and keep us posted.

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Kentuckyguy-

I was in a similar situation as you. Contractor,wife,no kids though. I had reached a point where I was starting to realize that it just wasn't going to work to try and support a family in the future in an industry that is so hit and miss. I looked around at many schools and did my homework as to what would work for me and my wife. I ended up at a local flight school that would allow me to still run my contracting company while paying to fly. It seemed like it took forever to figure out just how I was going to pay for my certificates but the day it all came together, it was such a relief. People are going to have their input and their thoughts on how they would do it, but just do what you think would work for you and your family.Good luck with everything and keep us posted.

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