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Reality Check

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Just like most people on here I have been inquiring about training schools, how to get started, how many hours to get a job, how much do you get paid etc. All of my questions have been answered and for that I am truly greatful to all that have responded not only to me but others as well.


Now to the Reality Check for me. I took another R22 intro flight with California Aviation in Riverside and had a great time, really relaxed (should be after 3 different schools) no problems with the controls yada yada yada. After the flight I pulled my younger 21 yr CFI aside for a heart to heart no BS about how long he has been a CFI, how long to get his 872 hrs, high and low monthly salary, basically get down to the brass tacks.


When I heard that he had been flying for 1.7 yrs I said ok, sounds good. HOWEVER when he said on a "good" month he flys 60-70 hrs $1400 and hes had "bad" months at 10 hrs $200 before taxes!! Needless to say I almost choked. I couldnt even afford 1 bill, my mortgage :( Not to mention that he is living with 3 other CFI's in a 2 bedroom apt. He came straight from high school did some odd jobs until he could get financing and basically had no bills.


Me, I'm 34, married, no kids, Im a Regional VP for a Financial Company for 14 yrs, Mortgage, truck, credit cards the basic settle in and enjoy your current lifestyle type of bills. Now that I have come to the grimm reality that I dont think a career is "feesable" for me. Im thinking I should apply that $46K to my Private & Instrument ratings and use whats left for some serious stick time.


I have the utmost respect for any and all that have taken or will be taking the steps to begin your career early and continue on to obtain that brass ring in the heli industry. To all of those active pilots, THANKS for giving all of us something to strive for everyday.


IMO no matter if you fly for living or fly for the love of it, we are all professionals. It takes a professional to be a pilot no matter which course you take.


Thanks again!




This was my trip yesterday, gotta love those CRAPPY smog days!


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We have a few things in common. I'm 41 and settled into a comfortable lifestyle with a decent job, 2 kids and a wife that likes the malls. But I'd be miserable sitting in the office for the next 25 years. I've had my fixed-wing PPL for several years and just a couple of months ago picked up my helicopter add-on rating. And had the time of my life doing it. My plan is to save up a few dollars over the summer, flying an hour or so a month, and head back in the fall to work toward a CPL. The next fall work toward CFI. Where I train is almost 3 hours away so there's not much hope of instructing for a living. But by working toward my goals:


1. I'm having a blast flying.

2. It keeps my mind occupied.

3. If no opportunities arise I won't be dissapointed, but should things change and an opportunity arises I will be poised and ready.


Now, if I could just find a partner for an R22....

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