Need Advice

Macele TX

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I stumbled onto this web site while looking for a message board pertaining to aviation. I am a huge aviation enthusiast. I am such a plane freak that I bought one at the age of 20. It was a 1966 Cessna 150F, and I loved every hail dent, and paint chip. I got it with the intension of using it to obtain my private and then commercial pilots license. But instead of using my meager earnings to take my test, I just used it to fly. I spent all my money, and time with my plane. Next thing I know my plane needed a major, and I don’t have the money for it. So I sold the plane. That day weights heavy in my heart still.

The other day I was thinking about my old airplane, and how much I regretted not getting my license. So I looked at my log book and added up my PIC time, and to my surprise I found that I had 280 hours…

I am now a 26 year old with only a high school diploma, who loves to fly more then anything. I know that I would have to start over, but I can’t help but think that I would be happy doing it for a living. What I need to know is can a 26 year old man do it? I mean can I make a living at it without a college education? Is time, experience, and safety all that are important to potential employers?

Thanks,
Macele Jones
 

bobbysamd

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Aviation Education Planning 101

Yes, you can make a living as a pilot with only a high school education. The problem is, you won't amount to much. You really need a four-year degree from an ACCREDITED college to amount to anything in this business.

A college degree is important for many reasons. Contrary to popular belief among many :rolleyes:, the airlines really do seek top people. People who are well-rounded and educated. A degree exhibits to the airlines that you take your education and career seriously. Not only that, the degree exhibits your ability to learn and to be trained. Finally, the bottom line is you will face stiff competition for what are really very few jobs. Your competition will have their degrees. Without a college degree, you can forget about being considered seriously by the majors, and by other aviation businesses as well.

I would do this if I were you. Go to college, ON CAMPUS, and then finish your ratings. I realize that it is tempting to finish your ratings and then think about college. The problem is, flying is too much fun, you'll get your CFI and work, and you'll never complete your degree.

Consider a college with an aviation program. LeTournneau University is a well-known aviation college in Texas. I believe that Texas A & M has a very fine aviation program. Or else, go to another college. Go year 'round. You can finish in three years. Then earn your ratings. You can finish your ratings in less than a year in the right flight program. Then, you'll be set.

I don't wish to reopen the aviation degree v. non-aviation degree debate. What matters is you have the degree. Good luck with your plans.
 
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jetdriven

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you can do it if you want it bad enough. flying at a regional isnt particularly financially rewarding, but when you hear V1-Rotate you know its all worth it. I was 21 when i made my decision.
i went to spartan school of aeronautics in tulsa ok. It cost me 40 grand (all on student loans) and 2 1/2/ years. I got all my ratings including flight instructor and got a 2 year associates degree.
bottom line is be sure thats what you want in your heart and go for it.
 

Draginass

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You absolutely won't be competitive for an airline job without a 4yr degree. The best/fastest way for you to do it is to go to an aviation college. Once you get you CFII you can earn some money instructing. Many of these colleges can put you into a fast track to a regional airline. You may think that it's a lot of money to go to college + fly training, but remember, that $100,000 or so you'll spend will be made back in your first 2 years flying for a major airline. I know you love aviation, but flying bankchecks at night for the rest of your life will get very old, very quick. You need to start thinking of aviation as a profession, not only an avocation. Think big and don't be afraid of hard work. You're a little old to be starting out, but not TOO old. Get started. Good luck.

Check out the following link for a list of aviation degree programs.

http://www.aapilots.com/public/flash/mentoring.asp?content_id=1280
 

Cornelius

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If you do attempt a 4 yr degree at a university that has a flight program, get a degree that isn't pilot specific. Maybe look at engineering or computer science. You'll come out with good flight training and with a degree that will be a good back up. My experience has been any 4 yr degree is all right. Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering would be your best choice. Its a tough program though and time consuming.
 

publisher

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idea

While I hesitate to reccomend specific companies or programs here, I think that if you loved it the way you said you do and you can afford it, you need to look at one of hte flight training academy programs to build your flying. You can then take a 4 year accredited program through distance learning....

One school that I know has a first officer program. While some on these boards will flame this as a paid for training deal, the fact is that there is some merit to being in an airline atmosphere and receiving your training where you can get multi engine turbine time.

The general concept is that by using this program, at the point you get your 4 year degree, you have a great deal of experience in the right type equipment.
 

ILLINI

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There are many ways to go about getting into aviation as a career and each one has its advantages and disadvantages that could be discussed for days. My advice would be to research them all and then make the decision that is best for you. The general consensus from this thread is that a 4 year degree from an accredited school is an absolute must to land a job with a major and even a regional down the road. Ask any furloughed pilot how important it is to have a degree (other than professional pilot or airport management) that you can use as a backup. I know too many people that got all their ratings first and then got caught up in instructing and never got their degree. Every one of them wishes they did it the other way now. In my case, financing my training was a major concern. I attended a university that had an aviation program and worked on both my 4yr degree and ratings at the same time. Because I was attending a university I could use government student loans (very low interest and flexible payment plans), grants and scholarships to pay for my flight training. It's not impossible to finish your degree in 3 yrs if you take classes year round. Good luck whichever way you go!
 

bobbysamd

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P-F-T and Distance Learning

I am going to disagree, respectfully, with Publisher. Get your degree ON CAMPUS. Distance learning works, but it takes a great deal of discipline and time. Most people I've met don't have the discipline to sit down and study by computer after working all day. If you go to college ON CAMPUS, that imposes the discipline you need automatically. Also, if you go full-time, or even take two to three classes per semester, you'll still finish faster. Also, there's something to be said about the in-classroom learning experience v. correspondence schools or studying at home. By listening, taking notes and interacting with your teacher and class, you use all your senses and learn more and better.

I'd be very careful about the pay-for-training programs. Some are outright scams. The pride aspect of them notwithstanding (meaning looking in the mirror every morning and asking yourself if you were hired on your merits or just because you bought the job), you oftentimes have to shell out big money up front before you are accepted. Then, there are no guarantees. You might be failed out of the program and lose all that money. Then, you might complete the program and the company that ran it may not be hiring. I read an article many years ago about some stockbroker or something who left his office job for some kind of P-F-T Air Midwest was running. He completed it, but it was a long time before Air Midwest put him on the line.

The important thing, as Illini stated, is to consider all options, get some informed advice, and do what's best for you. There is no shortage of advice or opinions on this board, including the .02 I've just written. Once again, good luck with your plans.
 
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enigma

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Yes you can

I went back to the top and re-read your question. The answer is that you can make living in aviation without a degree. You most likey will not ever get hired by a major, but this business changes so often, that todays conventional wisdom will be just history tommorrow. What you need to do now, is to decide in which area of the business that you want to work. Do you want to be a major airline pilot? Or a crop duster? Or an airambulance pilot? Or an army helo pilot? BTW, if you have the aptitude, you might well be able to get the army to put you in a helo (considering the current state of affairs) I'm not exactly sure, but I believe that the cutoff age is 27.

The career path you choose to follow will dictate the level of education that you must pursue.

I will personally suggest that you get yourself a college degree even if you don't decide to become a professional pilot. You will be glad you did. Heck, maybe you can even get into a career that will allow you to buy a 150 or your own GV. I wish that I had gotten into a field that would allow me to play with airplanes on my time, instead of having my life be controlled by other peoples schedules.

Good Luck

BTW, I have heard wonderful comments on Letourneau in Longview. I got a Associates from CTC in Killeen and would also recommend it.
 

Wiggums

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Re: P-F-T and Distance Learning

bobbysamd said:
I am going to disagree, respectfully, with Publisher. Get your degree ON CAMPUS. Distance learning works, but it takes a great deal of discipline and time. Most people I've met don't have the discipline to sit down and study by computer after working all day. If you go to college ON CAMPUS, that imposes the discipline you need automatically. Also, if you go full-time, or even take two to three classes per semester, you'll still finish faster. Also, there's something to be said about the in-classroom learning experience v. correspondence schools or studying at home. By listening, taking notes and interacting with your teacher and class, you use all your senses and learn more and better.
Sure, kids just out of college with no direction might need the discipline of a class schedule and professor hounding them. But a dedicated adult can finish faster, for less money, and still get a reasonably good education. Online classes can have as much interaction, similar to a board like this, more so then the economics class I took with over 400+ students.

When airlines don't care about the details of the degree, just that you have it, it doesn't pay to have anything fancy.
 

Macele TX

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thx

It looks as though I have stumbled onto a wealth of knowledge as well as a good message board. Thanks for your honest and straightforward opinions. You have given me a lot to think about.

I do want to fly more then anything, and I have made it my new years resolution to be well on my way to becoming a pilot by the end of this year.

Thank you all,
Macele
 

publisher

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Age

I just want to state that I really do not disagree with the on campus argument. If he had been 21, I probably would not have taken the same view I did.

However, lets say it takes a bit more than 4 years. That would put this individual at 30 with not appreciably more hours or expertise to do what his objective is.

The approach I suggested would likely make him a turbo prop pilot with 1500 turbine multi hours in an airline situation as he crossed 30.

There are a ton of other considerations, but this was the short version and why I went this way.
 

Macele TX

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Does location make a difference?

My old flight instructor told me that I was in a good place to learn to fly because I lived in north Texas. He said that Texas had more airplanes and more pilots per capita than anywhere, excluding Alaska. Is that true or are there better aviation hot spots? Also with the increase in security at large airports, I have heard that many companies are going to start relaying more heavily on their own aviation programs. What do you think that is going to do to the piloting profession? Do you think that larger numbers of smaller aircraft is going to translate into the need for a larger pilot workforce in the United States? Or do you think that is all just a bunch of main stream media rhetoric?

Thanks again!
Macele
 

publisher

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maybe

There is no question that Texas is a very active business aircraft area.

As to your other questions:

I expect that business aircraft will grow as more companies want the security, and time saving afforded by having access to their own equipment.

One thing that you need to sort of figure in. A commercial airliner may require 8 crews on average. Fractionals may require 5 crews per plane. A corporate aircraft may equal one. Therefore the mix in the big picture from a pilot perspective makes a difference.

The above are guestimates and examples only.
 

bobbysamd

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North Texas

North Texas is a GREAT place to learn how to fly. I learned to fly in Oklahoma City, not far away, so, I believe, I know. You'll experience a wide variety of weather, as you know, and learn to deal with it. You'll have days where you can fly your 180-hp wonder in safe IMC. You'll learn to land in crosswinds. You'll get great high-density airspace experience. You can fly up to OKC and practice shooting its plethora of approaches. You probably can do much of the same in DFW, at least at Love and Addison. Maybe you can get PARs at Altus and Sheppard; it's been too many years and I don't know if you can now. In short, you have the opportunity for a great training experience.

As far as the job market goes, I'll come right to the point. Despite the publicity you might hear, most of it is propaganda. There are really not that many pilot jobs to be had and there are tons of qualified pilots seeking them. That doesn't mean that you won't be hired. Just realize there is plenty of competition and be loaded for bear to face it.

Lots of luck with your plans.
 
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c.j.

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Well i know of some colleges that do offer aviation degrees. SWT offers that in their ROTC program if i am not mistaking, and so does Texas State Technical College in WACO, and also, San Jacinto Communtiy College down in Houston. Those are really the only ones i know of, and since you are in N.T. I would look into Spartan.
 

O2Hit

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Macele,

Happy Birthday!

One option for you if you live in Dallas county is Mountain View Community College. They have a good aviation program with pretty flexible hours. I did the associate thing with them at night while working and flying during the day and you can save a ton of money by taking the hours you get there and then transfering to some place to finish your 4 year degree. I second what Bobbysamd and enigma have said about Letourneau and they will accept the bulk of the hours you would get at Mountain View.

When I was instructing at Arlington, we use to fly down to Waco for practice approaches. They have a lot of good approaches and seem to enjoy working with instructors and students.

If flying is what you want to do then go for it. Dedicate yourself to your goal and stay focused for the next few years and you'll be in a great position for a reagional or jet cargo, then onward and upward from there!

I started flying at age 35 and though it was a long road switching carreers (work a week, fly an hour), i'ts a decision I have never regretted .


Good Luck........O2.
 

falcondriver

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I got my associates at Mountain View in Dallas. I quit my job and went full time. It's hard but worth it. I'm currently doing the ERAU online thing. I instructed for two years and drove Falcons for Cherry Air for a couple of years. I hate to say it but the four year degree makes a difference. You have to be dedicated to do the online thing( funny thing is I'm not, but I'm doing it).
Good luck
FD
P.S. Hey o2hit
 
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