Is anyone here a pilot?

Discussion in 'Community' started by JesseJames, Dec 25, 2004.

  1. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    I was wondering if there are any career pilots on these boards. If so, what do you fly and how much time accrued.
    Also, what do you think the job outlook is for incoming pilots just starting out?
    General aviation pilots are more than welcome to share their thoughts.
  2. micvog macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    Private pilot, less than 100 hours, mostly in a Cessna 172. I might try going for my IFR, but still saving the $$$ (not to mention needing the extra hours).

    No clue about the career outlook.
  3. AoWolf macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2003
    Daytona Beach
    Working on my sport license like 3 hours. :) Just starting to get into it.
  4. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    No, and after seeing 'The Aviator' I never plan on being one :).

  5. bubbamac macrumors 6502

    Dec 24, 2003
    I fly 737s for a major US airline.

    I've got around 7000-8000 hours, I don't keep close track of it anymore.

    I've been in the airlines now for 10 years, 5 at a regional (when they still were) and 5 here.

    As far as my work goes, I love it. It's the best job anyone could ask for (my opinion). I'm told "here's a jet, fly it across the country, we'll pay you for it." Wow. I never get tired of the flying part, and after a week of vacation, it's still positively wonderous on that first take-off.

    The lifestyle is definitely NOT the glamourous one from TV. Lots of late nights, early mornings, studying, sleeping in the airport, cold fast food, and the odd scaring the **** out of yourself in an airplane. In the 10 years I've been with the airlines, I've been home for Christmas 2 of them. My first Thanksgiving with the airline (regional), I spent by myself, in a hotel room, and had a Snickers bar for dinner, with Famous Amos cookies for dessert. No lie.

    After 10 years in the industry, I'm home about 16 nights out of the month.

    The pay isn't what you'd expect, either. After a 4 year degree, plus $30,000 in training costs, and 2 years of flight instruction at about $8000 per year pay, I got my first job at an airline - for $13,000/year. I first crossed $20,000/year the year I turned 30. Now, I'm paid about 10% more than my father was 25 years ago for the same job - unadjusted for inflation. I'm now facing an approximate 20% pay cut from that, due mostly to management mistakes, and government fees preventing my company from going under.

    The airlines are a notoriously poorly run industry, which is highly cyclical in nature. About every 10 years, the bottom falls out of the market, and all of the airlines bleed money. That means they furlough, or lay off, employees, as well as ask for pay cuts and other concessions. We're in the middle of that now, and I came within a hair's breadth of losing my job a couple of years ago. Look at the USAir pilots. They have furloughed pilots with 18 years with the company - and those pilots likely will NOT get their jobs back at USAir. All of the pilots there have lost most of their retirement, and about 1/2 of their pay. This, at one of the best paid airlines in the industry just 5 years ago.

    Don't forget the medical certificate. I get checked once/year, at my cost. There are conditions that can down you for a signifigant time, and quite a few that will ground you permanantly. Oops. No more job.

    And, of course, the FAA looking over your shoulder. They can take your license, too.

    Did I mention that the TSA - the ones doing security at the airports - can take your license as well? If they do, they can't tell you why, because to tell you would be a "security threat." So, you're left with almost no appeal, because you can't even know what it is you're appealing.

    Whew! Didn't mean to hit you with the gloom and doom so hard, but there's a lot of it here. You need to be aware of it before you start.

    Would I do it again? Absolutely. I love my job. In about 3 hours, I'll be strapping on a brand new, 170,000 pound jet with some 50,000 pounds of thrust, and flying it across the country. On the way, I'll get to see things that most people in our country never get to see.

    I can't imagine anything I'd rather do.
  6. juicedus macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2004
    in a van down by the river
    I'm a private pilot; under 100 hours in a cherokee 180. Once I graduate I'm going to start working on my IFR and multi-engine. I love flying but I just haven't had enough time or money while I've been in school.
  7. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    I have about 4500 hours, flew in the navy for 9 years, flew some DC-10 cargo and now fly for a Corp outfit 10 minutes from the house. I spend 2 nights a month on the road and fly 2 days a week. Make more money than most of my buddies at the airlines after all their pay cuts. Have turned down interviews at SouthWest and Fedex since 9/11 so that I can stay home and be with the kids more. The only reason I am still a pilot is because it pays more that digging ditchs right now. I am trying to get out of the industry and as soon as a 6 figure realestate deal/job comes through I am out.

    It is a very unstable, unforgiving industry. While I have never failed a medical, never had an incident, accident, or flight violation, the thought of one hangs over my head 24/7.

    I always say there is 1 way to do it right and a million ways to screw up.

    Fly for fun if you can, get a real job too.

    After the bright shiney performance of Comair and Usair this week, it is embarrasing to be in the industry at all. But as the Unions and airline management squable on how to totally destroy the industry, it has made my job more secure, corp aviation is booming!

    Happy New Year
  8. JesseJames thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Thanks guys. Especially bubbamac and stubeeef for that sobering insiders view of the industry.
    I've always been iffy about choosing to do it for a living. But I definitely want to get into general aviation. I want my private license and eventually my IFR. If all goes well, maybe multi-engine. Lots of money for what may seem like a risky hobby to a non-initiate, but most just don't understand the passion.
    I always look up when a plane motors overhead.
    I say to myself that the day I stop looking up is the day I need to hang myself.
    I hope you guys stick around these boards. I'd like to start like a Pilot/Mac-user group on it. It'd be cool. Kind of like hanging out at the FBO lounge.

    Happy New Year!
  9. zyuzin4 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    Eugene, OR

    same here pretty much, but i trained in the Archer and I might start my Instrument before I graduate
  10. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Got my private, got accepted to Embry Riddle, and then flunked my Class 1 medical two months before I was to start...

    Turns out I like flying general aviation anyway, and I would have been graduating a year after 9/11.

    I have four good friends who fly for the majors - all worried about their pensions, their pay cuts and new, rigorous schedules. Kind of glad it didn't work out, but I still look with envy when the big planes fly by.

    At least I do aerial photography now and get up quite a bit.
  11. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I had a cousin that had a private pilots license. He would take me up occasionally, it was a lot of fun. I also worked for a funeral director for one summer. He had his private pilots license and also owned his own small plane. It was used to transfer medical patients on long distance trips. Of course also to pickup bodies.

    I can understand your love of flying and wanting to fly. When I was in the Air Force, always admired those that had their wings. At some point I set my mind on earning my wings. Due to my height and eyes would not be able to fly. My chance came when I joined an Air Evacuation Squadron in the reserves. It was my ticket to flight nursing school. Just passing a Class III flying physical still wasn't all that easy. It was a very proud day when I earned my wings.

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