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Okay so I'm accepted and registered for classes at Dowling College for the aviation management program with a minor in professional pilot(fixed wing). My finances are getting a bit tight so I will not be able to afford both my helicopter flight training as well as dowling tuition. Im about a month away from my rotorcraft PPL check ride. Im kind of lost as to if I should continue my flight training and get my associate degree on the side. I'm really split down the middle as my fight school will hire me once I have my CFI, although Dowling will give me a bachelors degree with a fixed wing up to CFII then I can get my rotorcraft ratings afterwards.....

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If you know for sure that A) your school will hire you and B) that you want to fly helicopters, I say the choice is clear. If you want to try your chances at fixed-wing, go the other route. I don't know for sure, but I'd imagine fixed-wing is much more saturated than helicopters.

 

I'd post a longer reply, but I've been driving for 15 hours.

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yeah, im just worried about later in life, and i definitely need the 30 more credits for NYPD in case I want to go that route so I was debating just doing the bachelors degree at dowling. Im eventually going to do my fixed wing either way, actually thinking about doing the whole fixed wing private to instrument then the heli instrument add on

Edited by cryesis
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I say pick whichever aviation discipline is more likely to get you a job. Once you have a flying gig, you can always get a transition. What are YOUR realistic employment opportunities with a FW CFII and a bachelors?

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Not much other than having the college credts for the PD. What would really help me is if there was a college that would give me credits for my flight training......just credits I don't need a degree just 30 more credits and I qualify. Anyone know of a place that would do that? The credits don't have to be able to transfer to another college. I guess I'm just hesitant to be the first one in my immediate family without a bachelors degree, it does't help that my parents are really pushing the degree since they seem to think it matters more than flight hours :rolleyes:

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IMHO, it's hard to get a flying job without a pilots certificate. I agree with the thoughts along the line of go with what you want to do. If its fixed wing, go for it, if it's rotary, then do what it takes to afford it.

 

I have a good friend that I met in flight school who is a natural helicopter pilot, he could hover and do a pattern on his first helicopter flight (this was after his fixed wing training). All he could talk about was how much he loved helicopters and how much he wanted to fly them, but he went for the fixed wing side first. 5 years later and he still dreams of being a helicopter pilot but can't afford to do any more training on his fixed wing salary.

 

I take him up with me whenever I can, but he is still a long ways away. So... My two cents are to get the certificate and a job, you can still slowly work at the degree later.

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By your explanation, it would appear to me you have a goal prioritization problem. Prioritize your goals and you may have an easier time deciding what to do. However, know this; Helicopter operators want helicopter time. With that, adding on to FW certificates won’t get you where you want to be helicopter-wise regardless of your employment prospects… Again, prioritize.

 

Furthermore, pilot careers don’t last a lifetime but degrees do. So, listen to your parents and get the degree. But, if you are interested in a Police Officer career, a Criminal Justice Degree would make more sense than the Aviation Management Degree. That is, as a pilot, Degrees are not necessarily required for career advancement –as a pilot. As a police Officer, Degrees help immensely with career advancement.

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Wow spike that was pretty much hitting the nail on the head and I've decided to prioritize my flight training and finish my associates degree in criminal justice slowly but surely. Now just to decide if I want to do my fixed wing ppl and instrument or just helicopter instrument, eventually I want to be dual rated and from what I've heard instrument is better in fixed wing.

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Wow spike that was pretty much hitting the nail on the head and I've decided to prioritize my flight training and finish my associates degree in criminal justice slowly but surely. Now just to decide if I want to do my fixed wing ppl and instrument or just helicopter instrument, eventually I want to be dual rated and from what I've heard instrument is better in fixed wing.

 

Instrument is easier in fixed wing, I'm not sure about better. One great benefit to fixed wing instrument is that you have a much higher chance to get actual instrument time instead of all simulated.

 

You may get lucky and be able to line up some great contacts during your rotor CFI that have airplanes. I got lucky and ended up getting my fixed wing ratings for almost just the price of fuel because I met and trained a few guys who owned planes.

 

Just a thought :-)

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Now just to decide if I want to do my fixed wing ppl and instrument or just helicopter instrument, eventually I want to be dual rated and from what I've heard instrument is better in fixed wing.

 

A perspective…. Just like so many others, when I decided to become a pro-helo-jock the flight school I attended convinced me to acquire a SEL certificate. They told me I could build time cheaply in order to get to the 150 hour mark for commercial helicopter certification in addition to the benefit of the “dual rating” aspect.. The program was basically 50 hours helicopter with 100 FW. Not knowing any better, I listened…. In the end, I gained private helo and FW certification which subsequently drained my cash…. It took me another 10 years to save enough cash to finish my helo certification….. Over the last 30 years I’ve only touched an airplane a couple times…..

 

While being duel rated is a good goal to pursue, in the beginning, it won’t increase your helicopter marketability (if flying helicopters is a primary goal). In fact, it may hinder it unless your plan ends with approximately 200 hours of helicopter time. Why 200 hours? This is the benchmark of other entry-level CFI candidates which you may be competing with. I say “may” in case your “job-in-hand” doesn’t pan out or, the school doesn’t generate any interested helicopter students… Simply put, being unexpectedly throne out into the marketplace with few helicopter hours will put you in a void which will be extremely difficult if not impossible to get out of. At least not without additional fundage…. Plus, I know a couple guys who went all the way, meaning initial helo/FW CFII certification. They all ended up as FW pilots…..

 

If your primary goal is FW, then this perspective is moot……..

Edited by Spike
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An aside on the criminal justice, I was looking at a career as a beat cop before I went military and every agency I spoke to and my three uncles in law enforcement told me get a degree in anything but criminal justice. They would rather business or accounting because criminal justice degrees are a dime a dozen... As far as flying goes though, pick your passion fixed or rotary and throw your all into that.

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An aside on the criminal justice, I was looking at a career as a beat cop before I went military and every agency I spoke to and my three uncles in law enforcement told me get a degree in anything but criminal justice. They would rather business or accounting because criminal justice degrees are a dime a dozen...

 

This is true. . If the Police Officer career was his only goal then I’d suggest the same. However, the Criminal Justice Degree (by his explanation) is a back-up plan. Why seek a degree in a discipline not even remotely related to his goals? IMHO, he has enough on his plate and while it’s ambitious to be a “jack of all trades” it usually works out to be “the master of none”……..

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I went for criminal justice because the local community college gave me 9 credits from high school twords a criminal justice degree. I think for now I'm going to stick with flight school and figure out if I want the fixed wing rating now or later. As for funding I am fortunate enough to have the support of my parents to fund flight school so I don't anticipate running into any problems there if I do the fixed private and instrument then go back to helo

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What Spike said about fixed wing helping towards rotary is true. My fixed wing time hasn't helped one iota towards making me more marketable in rotary wing. I'm including fixed wing instrument time as well towards not being helpful. This has even been true for me in pursuing dual rated opportunities.

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