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Taking that first leap.......why is it soooo damn hard?


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Howdy Yall :)

 

I'v been thinking about starting my training for a little over six months now. I'v considered the Army Warent Officer program but decided to go the civilian route due to issues at home. I know its what I want to do! I currently work at the local hospital in the ER and when ever the Mercy Air MD900 lands I try like hell to get up to the pad to watch them land/take off. Standing in the rotor wash is like a drug........even if it happens to be pretty damn cold outside and i only have a pair of scrubs on lol. I always come away with a huge grin on my face and giggling like a school boy.

 

So why in the hell is it so hard for me to get my head around the size of the loan I need to get my CPL and CFII and start working? Did anyone else have this fear? I normally do my research before I buy something but this is HUGE! This is a life direction changing choice.

 

In any case I'v chosen Civic Helicopter flying out of Palomar Airport. I'v been down there and actually took a 1 hour tour with an ex-girlfriend in an R44 a couple years ago and recently went down there and chatted with one of there CFI's for a good two hours.

 

So anyone got any words of encouragement for a scared student to be? :)

 

PS sorry about the long rambling post lol

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Stay at the hospital, get an education, become a doctor, then fly all you want and keep it fun. Your family will thank you and you will be the envy of every pilot at the helipad.

 

I would like to know the reasoning behind your reply.

 

Becoming a CFI or undertaking any other skilled profession requires knowledge acquired through an educational process.

 

What if Viking does not want to be doctor? Or have a family to worry about at this time? What if his ultimate goal is to be employed as a helicopter pilot?

 

All too often, people put aside their dreams and desires "until the time is right" and never achieve their goals, woulda, coulda and shoulda don't give back lost time. Ask me how I know. I'm turning 40 in a couple of months and would give up my 6 figure salary in a heartbeat, if I could make a living flying helicopters and nothing else.

 

FLNS

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I would like to know the reasoning behind your reply.

 

Becoming a CFI or undertaking any other skilled profession requires knowledge acquired through an educational process.

 

What if Viking does not want to be doctor? Or have a family to worry about at this time? What if his ultimate goal is to be employed as a helicopter pilot?

 

All too often, people put aside their dreams and desires "until the time is right" and never achieve their goals, woulda, coulda and shoulda don't give back lost time. Ask me how I know. I'm turning 40 in a couple of months and would give up my 6 figure salary in a heartbeat, if I could make a living flying helicopters and nothing else.

 

FLNS

 

I'm 26 right now and I'v been putting my life off due to caring for my grandparents for the last six years. My mother has recently taken over those duties and I have my life back and I want to realize my dream. How long does it take to pay off your loan? Are you able to get it knocked out while still working towards 1000 hrs?

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I'm 26 right now and I'v been putting my life off due to caring for my grandparents for the last six years. My mother has recently taken over those duties and I have my life back and I want to realize my dream. How long does it take to pay off your loan? Are you able to get it knocked out while still working towards 1000 hrs?

 

Hey Viking I'm a new student and It's a tough undertaking so far, but I think that the payoff will be well worth it in the long run. As long as you are doing something that you will love to do. As for paying off the loan while you are being a CFI and getting it knocked out while working towards your 1000 hour mark. I don't really see that one happening. If you get a 60K loan and pay off 1K a month tha's five years not including interest, but If you can find a way to make it work I think that it will definately be worth it IMHO. Good luck.

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I think you got it right on viking, it's the massive loan that scares the daylights out of you for a while. so you keep truckin' on in your current state, mulling it over and over and over and over and over and over....you get the picture. Then finally you'll reach your breaking point, or have a lightbulb moment where you realize it's just what you want to do and who cares if it takes you 10+yrs to pay off the loan (if you're driven), or realize that if you died tomorrow would you be happy with what you did today? yeah. it took me about six months to get there, but i'm there. i have my medical appt next week, a call in to my cosigner to make sure she's still there with me, and it's all making my heart race with financial terror. You're normal! Welcome to the new revolution- privately trained, broke helicopter pilots. We should start a club... Just do your school research to make sure you don't get hosed. There is a lot of that going around. Talk to a LOT of pilots, esp younger ones who trained privately. Everyone wanted me to be a nurse (i'm a biochemist by university degree). Whatever, i'm a suck it up and walk it off kinda girl. I'll fly medevacs instead.... :D btw, i'm 29. 30 seems to be the magic number these days, so you're not far off i don't think...

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I am guessing your job at the hospital is a somewhat skilled job, so you are probably making more pay than you would elseware. Seriously CFIs don't make very much money while instructing, maybe enough for rent and food, but that doesn't leave much for the loan. Save as much money as you can at your current job, maybe get your ppl, and if it is still something you want to do, save more, or take a loan for the rest of training. Seriously though, you can work for 1 year and pay for half-to-all of your training, or you can take the loan and pay for it for the next 10-20 years. You could seriously buy a house with the amount of interest you will be paying back.

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Viking,

 

I absolutely agree with Slick... it sounds like you have a decent paying job. Rather than getting a huge loan and going to full time training, try to save up some money and reduce the amount you need to borrow. If you can continue to work and do two flights and one ground a week you should be able to get your PPR/H in about 6 months. That will run about $15k when all is said and done. Check and see if your present job has any educational benefits - many places do and it may help out some. It will take a little patience, but when you have your private you'll have a better idea of how much you like it and if it's the career you want. You may find you can continue on with your training while working. Say it takes 18 to 24 months to get your IFR/Com/CFI/CFII. It took you twice as long, but now you can become a full time flight instructor

and not have to worry about that loan, or at least have a much smaller one to deal with.

 

Good luck!

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You may find you can continue on with your training while working. Say it takes 18 to 24 months to get your IFR/Com/CFI/CFII. It took you twice as long, but now you can become a full time flight instructor

and not have to worry about that loan, or at least have a much smaller one to deal with.

 

 

3 years to get to CFI and 200 hours. But no loans to pay back. Not a professional pilot yet but am getting close...

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FlyNLowNSlow says"I'm turning 40 in a couple of months and would give up my 6 figure salary in a heartbeat, if I could make a living flying helicopters and nothing else."

 

That's the funny part.... "if I could make a living flying helicopters and nothing else."

It seems most of the posters have not even started flying and taking a huge loan or have barely started their education/training. Truthfully, your job opportunities as a CFI are slim and pay next to nothing. With a huge loan repayment you will live under the poverty line. If that seems fine to do what you want, go for it. I would like to not work at all and just fly helicopters for fun. Wonder why I can't do that. Maybe I should just take a loan.

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I used to do the same thing at the hospital I lived next to! Everytime that BK-117 came in I would run across the street to watch it land or depart! On days when I hadn't flown and I needed some motivation to go study, it would definitely get stoked for book work after watching those guys and gal operate! Anyway, if you want it bad enough you'll find a way. Good Luck!!!!

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Stay at the hospital, get an education, become a doctor, then fly all you want and keep it fun. Your family will thank you and you will be the envy of every pilot at the helipad.

 

Ahhh, the burnt out and grouchy club has a new member. Do everyone a favor, contribute something useful or don't contribute. The initial poster asked for encouragement and here you come with your flaming ridicule of the whole industry. Give it up.

 

Anyway....Viking: My personal reccomendation is to take the loan but keep working at the hospital, that way if something happens or you decide you don't like it at least you're still employed. Take lessons before or after work and study your butt off at home. Make some friends that are pilots (those medevac guys would be perfect) and tap their knowledge and experience. **Most** pilots love to talk with people who actually understand what they are saying. I can't stress how important contacts are in this industry. The helicopter community is very small, if you are a good pilot you can go a long way; if you are a bad pilot you will get shut down.

 

Good Luck to you!

 

P.S. The local Medevac companies in my area offer a ride-along program for first responders and emergency room employees. You might want to look into that since you work for the hospital.

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Amen to that tvman345!

 

Ahhh, the burnt out and grouchy club has a new member. Do everyone a favor, contribute something useful or don't contribute. The initial poster asked for encouragement and here you come with your flaming ridicule of the whole industry. Give it up.

 

Anyway....Viking: My personal reccomendation is to take the loan but keep working at the hospital, that way if something happens or you decide you don't like it at least you're still employed. Take lessons before or after work and study your butt off at home. Make some friends that are pilots (those medevac guys would be perfect) and tap their knowledge and experience. **Most** pilots love to talk with people who actually understand what they are saying. I can't stress how important contacts are in this industry. The helicopter community is very small, if you are a good pilot you can go a long way; if you are a bad pilot you will get shut down.

 

Good Luck to you!

 

P.S. The local Medevac companies in my area offer a ride-along program for first responders and emergency room employees. You might want to look into that since you work for the hospital.

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I'm almost in the same boat as you, Viking. I'm 22 and have my degree, but my apartment is right under (literally) somewhere heli's love to hover while they wait for SAT traffic to land (or something... maybe it's just God messing with me... either way, I have heli's hover over my apt all the time) and believe me, whenever I hear one I race outside like some 5 year old at a parade.

 

I've been researching the heck out of the helo industry and have pretty much nailed down exactly what I want to do career-wise, the hard part is making that first step, as you said. I figure as a CFII I'll be happy to make half of what I currently make working in a veterinary lab environment while paying off a really big loan that will follow me for a good decade or better, and I'm only borrowing half. I guess it all boils down to one simple question: How badly do you want it?

 

I'm no stranger to eating ramen and canned food for months at a stretch, so the whole being broke as a joke for a couple of years thing doesn't worry me too much. My biggest concern as a future pilot is more along the lines of landing that first CFI job and landing my 1000 hours to start work in the GoM. When you think long and hard about that, it makes taking out a 25-50k loan (and paying it off) look like a cakewalk.

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Ahhh, the burnt out and grouchy club has a new member. Do everyone a favor, contribute something useful or don't contribute.

 

 

He was contributing useful information. If someone posts on here only wanting smoke blown up his tailpipe then say so. But if they want opinions, well, this is the place. I suspect a huge percentage of people that start out wanting to be professional helicopter pilots never reach that goal. If someone is hesitating to take on massive debt to finance a career change he'd better keep his eyes wide open.

 

There was a columnist in Private Pilot magazine a few years ago, Tropical Ed, who flew both airplanes and helicopters for a living. He wrote a column once about the number of 40something professionals that wrote to him saying they wanted to quit their day jobs and become professional pilots. His advice: Keep your day job and fly for fun. Too many people give up good gigs, then stall on their career change.

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I would like to know the reasoning behind your reply.

 

1) $70k (plus a similar amount in interest if you finance) for 200 hours of flight time; then you have to get the next 800 hours yourself...at slave wages...in order begin to get a real paying job.

 

2) It is a small industry and if you don't get to that 1,000 hour mark and a paying job you have wasted about a $150k because there is nothing else you can do with that training.

 

3) The demand for pilots may have increased lately but that may be a temporary situation due to a booming oil industry and EMS operators willing to operate at a loss. When these conditions turn around, as they have in the past, the demand for pilots will likely decrease significantly. (Retiring VN era pilots is a marketing pitch by the flight schools...there will likely be no increase in pilot demand due to this).

 

4) Pay and working conditions are far from ideal. Retiring military pilots (who have pensions and can afford to work for low wages) and high time civilian pilots will continue to be abundant enough to fill the home-every-night kind of jobs (EMS, ENG, corporate). Those with less time will continue to spend ten years or more shuttling roughnecks back and forth in the gulf and working long hours for tips in the tour business.

 

Does that help?

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Ok well how much better of an option is the Army? Sign for 6 years after graduation get your training for free. I had one of the EMS pilots (22 year vet of the Marines) tell me that the military is the way to go and that 6 years is nothing when you come out and don't have a huge loan to pay off. My only problem is How many hours am I likely to have after six years of military flying and how well will that flight time and experience transfer over to the civilian world?

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Ok well how much better of an option is the Army? Sign for 6 years after graduation get your training for free. I had one of the EMS pilots (22 year vet of the Marines) tell me that the military is the way to go and that 6 years is nothing when you come out and don't have a huge loan to pay off. My only problem is How many hours am I likely to have after six years of military flying and how well will that flight time and experience transfer over to the civilian world?

hey man just so you know street to seat is pretty hard and there are no guarantees. If you are driven you can do it though. I've heard that you can start the WO application process before you actually sign up for anything. I can tell you more about regular army life though if you want more info on that. I recently got out after four years. Good luck man.

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hey man just so you know street to seat is pretty hard and there are no guarantees. If you are driven you can do it though. I've heard that you can start the WO application process before you actually sign up for anything. I can tell you more about regular army life though if you want more info on that. I recently got out after four years. Good luck man.

 

 

by all means please do. Any info is a good thing!!

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Howdy Yall :)

 

 

In any case I'v chosen Civic Helicopter flying out of Palomar Airport. I'v been down there and actually took a 1 hour tour with an ex-girlfriend in an R44 a couple years ago and recently went down there and chatted with one of there CFI's for a good two hours.

 

So anyone got any words of encouragement for a scared student to be? :)

 

PS sorry about the long rambling post lol

 

I just started at Civic on January 8th, and so far it is a great place to train. If you think you are interested, you should definitely go take an intro flight. Get ahold of that instructor, and shell out for an hour in the ship of your choice. One thing I have noticed is that flight training is not the same as a helicopter ride. Yes, it kicks MORE ass than taking a tour, but it was definitely different for me. I love the 902 that Mercy Air is flying too. I also like their Bell 230 that has been on the pad at Palomar from time to time. Awesome machines!

 

I would like to echo the sentiment of some of the other posters with respect to the loan situation. It is true that student loans for training are easy to get. Paying it back at the wages one could expect from a career flying helicopters is not as easy as it might sound. It could easily become a significant burden that could affect many areas of your life. In no way am I suggesting that you give up your dream. On the contrary! I just want you to be cautious about the lure of easy loans that will land you in significant debt. There are ways you can attain your dream outside of financing. The downside are the short term sacrifices you have to make in order to get there. You can do it though!

 

Best of luck to you. Civic is a great place with some great people! I flew 1.8 hours this evening, and got to see one of the most insane things out at "The Ranch" The ranch is a place east of Civic that is used for practice. It is a plateau with open meadows and is criss crossed with roads, and even has a landing strip on it. As we were working on hovering and air taxiing, I noticed what looked like 4 animals running across this meadow. As we got closer, we could see it was 2 coyotes chasing 2 deer across this meadow. Not something you see everyday! The deer in the rear apparently got tired of it, and wheeled around and chased back. About that time we were right on top of them, and decided to chase the coyotes a little bit. It was DAMN cool! Flying back to the airport at just after sundown was a treat as well. You will like flying out of Palomar!

 

Feel free to send a message if you want more information about Civic or about the instructor I am flying with. I dont know a thing about flying yet, but I do have a good handle on the whole career change research thing. I looked at it hard for two years before jumping in. If flying helicopters is truly what you want to do, you can make it happen.

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I also like their Bell 230 that has been on the pad at Palomar from time to time. Awesome machines!

 

Hey guys, hello from San Bernardino! Sorry for hijacking the thread but was looking for osme information. I was under the impression they operated Bell 222's (With the venerable LTS101 turbine) and 412's (along with the 900 that you spoke of). I know the 230 looks like a 222 and a 430 kinda, but was not aware Mercy had any. Thanks for any info!

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I didn't mean to take this off topic guys sorry. I believe the 230 was an upgraded version of the 222 and stopped production late 1980's. It was 2-bladed with Allison 250 Turbines, and not very many came out of the factory.

 

The 430 was spawned from the 230 kinda, but was on the drawing boards around the same time as the 230's, but had a 4 blade main rotor, bigger Allison 250 engines with FADEC and upgraded intrument panel from what I have heard.

 

Maybe someone can step in and clear any cob webs, back to the topic at hand.

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I didn't mean to take this off topic guys sorry. I believe the 230 was an upgraded version of the 222 and stopped production late 1980's. It was 2-bladed with Allison 250 Turbines, and not very many came out of the factory.

 

The 430 was spawned from the 230 kinda, but was on the drawing boards around the same time as the 230's, but had a 4 blade main rotor, bigger Allison 250 engines with FADEC and upgraded intrument panel from what I have heard.

 

Maybe someone can step in and clear any cob webs, back to the topic at hand.

 

I'll give you a heads up on the 430 as thats what I fly right now. You are right about it being an upgraded version of the 230. Basically the 230 version was built as a stopgap between the 222 and the 430. Only about 30 230s were built (thats what Flight Safety said when I was there for my initial a couple years back)

 

The 430 is still on the 222 type certificate. Its rotor system uses to yokes moutned on top of eachother and uses a bearingless/hingless system. The blades are extremely light and can easily be removed and carried away by one person.

 

The engines are upgraded Allison 250c40s (the same as in the 407) and the fadec is the same as the 407 as well. (at least that what 407 drivers have told me.) Unforunatelly they are still Allisons and tend to temp out when it gets hot. Also Bell derated the transmission so its limited to 1045shp.

 

The instrumentation got rid of the old steam gauges and replaced it with a dual IIDS system. Also was installed was dual EFIS tubes. This sytem takes a little time to get used to but once you are used to it you realize how easy it is to use. In reality it gives you a much easier way to recognize a problem since as soon as a gauge is in red or yellow it will let you know what is happening. This will help take some of the workload off the pilot. Sometimes I fly 350's and 206s and the old round gauges can be tough to read sometimes.

 

The cabin was lenghted with a plug but is pretty much the same as the 222.

 

It is an extremely smooth (probably the smoothest ac out there) helicopter to fly and very easy to fly as well. Biggest problems are the size of the cockpit and the lack of power in the summer.

 

Back to topic. To the original poster, you just have to go for it sometime. I went and started taking lessons about 12 years ago and have never regretted it. I had just finished high school and was bored in community college and looked up and saw a helicopter flying overhead . I had always loved flying rc helicopters and thought this is just a step up. I went for a demo flight and loved it. The price though was huge though for an 18 year old and back then there wer no loans available for flight training. Basically aviation was considered recreation and not a career. Without having a rich family to help me out I worked to pay it off. Every dollar I could afford after rent and food I put into flight training. Yeah it meant not getting done as quick as some others but I stuck through it and after a couple years I had finished. The best part was no debt. Several freinds had maxed credit cards, taken out high interest loans to get done as well. Getting through it was tough but was well worth it. Even if you go the military route it is worth it. My career has taken me all over and I've done lots of diff flying and have loved every minute of it. However if possible try to pay for flight training with work and not a loan. It will take longer but when you are done you wont have to use half a months paycheck to pay the loan off making CFI wages. Just look for ways to cut your expenses and it will happen. Good Luck.

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