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Sounds like a bad time to consider this as a career?


ACE1987

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Just curious everyones views on that? Ive been doing a lot of reading on these forums and some other places, and asking some questions, and it seems like right now would be a horrible time to consider this, no matter how bad you wanted it. Things ranging from the market being flooded with new GI Bill pilots making it hard to catch a CFI job, among other things. Is it really that bad as Ive been reading? I cant think of one positive thing Ive come across, and Ive been doing a lot of researching on the various topics. I mean, dont get me wrong, I still plan to pursue it, but I was wondering what others thought on the timing?

 

Just curiousity is all.

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It's as good a time as any. The question for you is how badly you want it for a career.

 

Your answer will determine whether it's a good time for you, or not.

 

If not, then it will probably never be a good time for you.

 

If yes, it's your time, then you're in for some dedicated years and some lean times, and that wont' change no matter when you begin.

Edited by avbug
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I had a similar experience when I first started thinking about going through helicopter training. The more places I visited and the more old timers I talked to had mostly negative things to say and some even tried to dissuade me from using my GI Bill for helicopter training. It was kind of surprising to me because these were pilots with what I considered a dream job. While I always paid attention to what the experienced pilots told me, I learned to not really focus on the negative aspects.

 

To some extent I thinke every person is different in how they weigh the factors to make a decision to start helicopter training. To me it didn't even seem like a decision. I've always known I wanted to be a pilot from a very young age, and after flying in a helicopter I knew my focus would be on that aspect of flying. From there it was just a matter of figuring out when and how to finance and pursue that desire. I still haven't "made it", as I'll just be completing my CFI and CFII in the next month or so. All things considered it does not seem like there's much hope for me finding a job in the next couple months, but I'm still going to put forth the effort, focus on the things I can control, and stay positive.

 

As far as not hearing anything positive about starting training right now, I can only speak for myself, but anytime I'm able to get into a helicopter and go fly that is enough of a positive for me. Even if I am unfortunate enough not to find a pilot job somewhere a couple months from now, I still get to go fly a R-44 for an hour tommorow and that's pretty awesome.

Edited by rjl2001
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If its something you want to do, then go for it. Its not like it will change in 2-3 years. So you either want to do it or you dont. I dont foresee any major booms in the helicopter market any time soon. So I think what you are seeing is what it is. So what I mean is, if you decide the time isnt right, then you will probably never do this for a career. Sort of like that old saying "We are waiting until we can afford to have kids...." Believe me... that day will never come :D

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There was only one "good" time to enter the field: between 1965-1971. During those years, Uncle Sam would cover flight training in exchange for some time in uniform. It's been said many times that the Viet Nam era helicopter pilots are retiring. Consider this another of those statements, if you want.

 

HEMS isn't typical of the industry as a whole, but I think it's indicative of a trend- Three of the four pilots at my HEMS base are Viet Nam era. Even if that rule isn't universal, a significant share of the industry's pilots are in my (Viet Nam era) age range. Do the math. It might even be too late for a zero flight time guy to start now, my estimate is 5 years from the start to EMS pilot qualification, almost none of my contemporaries will be flying in 2018. Their seats will be filled, but the seats those new EMSers are filling will be open...

 

Is this a "bad time"? Yes- it's always a "bad time". The odds are, and always were poor; and the risk reward ratio is awful, even for the "successful". My hunch is that this is the second best time in 50 years to a low-time pilot.

Edited by Wally
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  • I think a lot of the negativity is from people who have an unrealistic perception on hiring practices. They think the GI Bill is an automatic ticket to being a professional pilot. They have dreams of going from training right into flying a high performance turbine. It just doesn't work that way. Companies want experience not just some ratings. You can go to school for a couple years and get enough hours to maybe get your foot in the door at being a CFI. Getting those ratings and becoming a CFI takes hard work and sacrifice. The pay and benefits you have enlisted in the Marines are better that what a CFI has. I had several former CFI students at Rucker who got tired of living off of food stamps as a CFI so they joined the Army. With a high number of students pushed through after 9/11, they'll be on the streets soon looking for jobs as well. So it's safe to say you'll have some challenges ahead if you want to fly for a living by taking the route you talk of. It's not negativity, it's just being realistic.

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In my meager few years I have to echo the "its never been a good time".

 

If you need justification then say to yourself "I want to do this" and do it.

 

Now with that said, all your concerns are rational and thought out so don't take me wrong here but at the end of the day if you really want it then you have to take the leap of faith.

 

I asked and thought similar things before I started and the best advice I ever got was right here on this website. That is this - pay cash for our Private rating then decide if you want to go pro. You will NEVER regret getting your Private license but you may regret going all the way to COMM.

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asked and thought similar things before I started and the best advice I ever got was right here on this website. That is this - pay cash for our Private rating then decide if you want to go pro. You will NEVER regret getting your Private license but you may regret going all the way to COMM.

 

Ah yes! Thank you for helping me reframe this problem. I'm having a similar issue as OP. I'm considering this as a career and I recognize that I'll simply have to want it bad enough to make it, but I don't know yet (with my very limited experience), whether commiting to it is the right thing for me.

 

But I need not look at flying helicopters as having to immediately decide whether or not I want to go for my CFII. It for some reason never occurred to me that I could and should just commit to getting my private license without bothering myself with the larger question of, "Is this right as a career?" I'm sure I'll find out over the course of getting my prrivate license.

 

I'm glad I came here. I can afford a private license at the moment, plus it's the very thing that will either spark my interest for good or show me that my future lies elsewhere. Thank you thank you for pointing out the obvious.

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Its always a bad time to consider this as a career! Even during the "great pilot shortage" of about 8 years ago, it was a bad time! There will always be more pilots than jobs! It will always be next to impossible to land that first job!

 

Becoming a career pilot is like becoming a career actor. Everyone wants to do it, some will make it, most won't, but nothing will happen unless you try,...just be smart about it! HAVE A BACK UP PLAN!

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Life is always about back up plans, thats for sure. When I was trying to get in to LE, nothing else mattered. I didnt have any training or experience to fall back on because I was still pretty young.

Now that I am flying in LE, if something happens that I cant fly, well, I am still a cop, so that is my back up plan. I would just go back to being a road guy unless the issue was something serious enough to medically retire. Where I am now, I am basically in a career within a career. When the time comes that I retire from LE, I plan to stay flying as a civilian. At that point, my built in back up plan of being a cop will be gone. So now I am looking at what my new back up plan will be when that time comes. Teaching credential? Maybe get an A&P? Ehhhhh... I dont really have the ability to attend school full time for two years so probably not. Maybe get into some type of admin position that could use an aviation background. I would be looking for something if I suddenly ended up walking out of my medical appointment grounded by some rare condition. I would still have my retirement, so its not like I would need anything that made a ton of money necessarily.

 

Now that I fly full time, my thoughts go to "OK.... this is awesome, but what will I do if this ends tomorrow?" I dont stress about it. But I found that once the "mission" of being a full time pilot was fullfilled, I had time to start thinking about what would happen if it ended. As a new pilot trying to break in to the industry, you can only handle so many goals at once. So if you are going to college, get something you can fall back on as a degree. You would essentially be killing two birds. For those who are just working on their ratings. Get that goal finished up, then give some thought to "OK, Im here, Im making a living now." Take a breath, enjoy it for a little bit, then start thinking about a back up plan just in case.

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Thanks for the responses. Ive already decided I wanted to pursue it, just wanted to hear some thoughts. I mean now is the time in a personal level if I am ever going to try it, I have nothing to hold me back, as far as kids, wife, ect.

 

Thanks again, guess Ill just be going for it and see where it all ends up.

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My attitude is pretty simple:

I see helicopters flying in the sky. They are obviously piloted by helicopter pilots. It is thus possible to be a helicopter pilot. I want to be a helicopter pilot. Therefor there is no reason I can not do the same.

 

All careers have their set of issues to deal with. The more you like what you are doing the easier it will be.

 

I finally got a CFI job offer. It took some time, but I am very excited.

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Well, I think now is better than a few years ago, like in 08/09 when the SSH debacle was fresh. The industry is still reeling from that tsunami of sorts, but it is definitely headed in a positive direction. There is tons of work available for qualified pilots, and I mean tons. Look at jsfirm if you dont believe me. But to get those qualifications, ie experience, its going to be tough. Its going to be a long bumpy road. But, its totally attainable.

 

This industry is a brotherhood, (including a strong female population), so at the entry level, your networking skills are going to play a major role. Jobs for CFI's are thin, and hard to come by. But they are there for the right individual. You need to do some very dedicated due diligence on where you will do your training, cause that will be your very best shot at post graduate employment.

 

And pay cash, up front, for everything. Don't ever put money on account, or take out loans. That is the single most valuable piece of advice anybody before you can provide.

 

Be a good person, have a great attitude, and fly safe, and this will be a fun and rewarding career. And when you get to where you want to be, pay it forward. I wouldn't be where I am at if it weren't for the friends I have made along the way that have gone to great lengths to offer help and guidance!

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