Career Choice Advice

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by benflick, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. benflick macrumors 68020

    benflick

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #1
    Hey guys, I would like a little bit of advice on how to persue my lifelong dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot. I am only 15 but I figure I'd rather be aware of What I need to do. I live in cincinnati and plan on staying so the airport I would most likely work from would be CVG (about 20 minutes away). CVG is mainly delta which is disappointing because delta sucks, but there are other airlines. I would like to know what classes in high school (if any) would better prepare me. I would also like to know if any of you are pilots or know about the career and if you could give me some info. Thanks alot, ben:D
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    While in High School, take as much math and science as you can. Once done, you can look into the military route, or a private one (flight school).

    One I'm familiar with is Embry-Riddle University.
    Here's a link to a flight school rating article http://www.bestaviation.net/.

    Good Luck. :)
     
  3. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    Find out if your school has any type of aeronautics classes, they will come in handy if that is what you decide to do. I second the math and science, you'll need them.

    Not trying to recruit at all, but the Army will take helicopter pilots right out of HS, but that is far different than fixed-wing. That's free flight school and interesting experience.
     
  4. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #4
    I would change the thread title to include "Commercial Pilot ..." to get more attention from people. There are at least a couple of pilots around based on some posts I saw about flight applications.
     
  5. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #5
    Learn another language unless you are planning to flight only within the USA and some Canadian cities.
     
  6. wheelerw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #6
    Actually, the international language for air traffic controllers is English. If he where to fly a commercial plane from USA to any other country he would only need to know English, but knowing another language is still a good thing.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #7
    I agree with nanofrog completely, maths and science are obvious starting points. Likewise, English, as pointed out by wheelerw, is the language of aviation, internationally. Learning other languages is always a good idea. Read extensively in the field of aeronautics, too. It never hurts to have a sound theoretical grasp of your area of interest.

    If there is a private flying school anywhere near you, I'd also suggest a few lessons whenever it is legal for you to think about doing so - maybe ask for them as birthday, Christmas presents (they are not cheap). I'm not sure of the legal age limit in the US before one can receive flying lessons, but the age for car driving licences is pretty relaxed. That would give you a sense of what it is all about, and also of both the thrill and the potential dangers, as well as alerting you to safety procedures to be followed.

    Many people want to be pilots when young, and most change their minds for various reasons. A good friend of mine - a vastly experienced and highly qualified pilot - was killed earlier this summer when his engine cut out. He managed a perfect - textbook perfect - gliding landing, but the plane flipped over an unseen crater, (it was covered by tall grass) killing him. We consoled ourselves that he had saved his passenger, and was doing what he loved and excelled at.

    It is an incredibly rewarding and wonderful life, but challenging and demands respect for yourself, your machine, your environment and your passengers (if you have any). Good luck with it.

    Cheers
     
  8. sanPietro98 macrumors 6502a

    sanPietro98

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    May 30, 2008
    Location:
    28.416834,-81.581214
    #8
    Apply to this University: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

    www.erau.edu

    This school is all about aviation and aerospace. There are two campuses, one in Daytona Beach, FL and the other in Prescott, AZ (both have year-long good flying weather). It is a fantastic school and at least half of the students are "student pilots" (e.g., Aeronautical Science majors). Even if you don't want to be a pilot, but want to work in aviation, they have other degrees such as Avionics Engineering, Aviation Computer Science, Physics, etc.

    Although not a pilot, I majored in Aviation Computer Science and minored in Air Traffic Control and Space Studies. But there were never any shortages of chances to fly -- even for a Comp. Sci major.

    This school is world-reknowned in the aviation community.

    Class of '95!
     
  9. benflick thread starter macrumors 68020

    benflick

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #9
    thanks alot for all of the replies, any idea of annual salary?
     
  10. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #10
    Go to a local, state school and get a degree in whatever you want. Spend your summers doing flight training at a local flight school (you can start working on your private pilot certificate at 16 if you wish). Going to an expensive "aviation college" gives you no advantage over the guy who learned at the local field and with a degree in something besides aviation you have a backup plan in case you suddenly can't pass your flight physical. Jetcareers.com is a great site for learning what you will need.

    You don't just jump into the captain's seat in a 757. If you're going for a career in flying, it won't be about the money. It will be because no other career path will satisfy you. The average career will go like this:

    Start as a flight instructor to build hours ($20,000 - $30,000/yr)
    After 1,000 hours or so, apply to a regional (like Comair) or small cargo operation ($18,000 - $24,000 in your first year)
    After spending a few years at the regional and several thousand hours, you begin to have a shot at being hired by the likes of Delta or a corporate jet operator ($30,000-$40,000 in your first year, with the possibility of six figures by the time you're 45 or 50).

    Salary depends on what equipment you fly (bigger planes equal bigger pay), whether you're the captain or first officer, and most importantly, how long you've been there. Will Fly for Food is a great site for finding out airline pay.

    Also, remember that if you want to fly for airlines you'll be furloughed and/or laid off several times over your career, and that spending your entire life in Cincinnati will not be a likely possibility.

    Aviation is a career you have to be absolutely infatuated with to get any enjoyment out of it. If it's what you love, go for it!
     
  11. dilailamams macrumors member

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    Aug 21, 2008
  12. benflick thread starter macrumors 68020

    benflick

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #12
    i completley agree with you, and in no way is my career choice about money whatsoever.
     
  13. nnfaris5 macrumors member

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    Aug 21, 2008
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #14
    Yes. Of course you can. The friend I wrote about in my earlier post on this thread wore glasses,- was a superb pilot - and had trained in the US over twenty years ago, flying himself across the Atlantic to Ireland in a twin-engined plane he had bought when he qualified.

    I agree with adk's post completely. There will be lean periods, possibly unemployed periods (the chap I knew also went through that) alternating with extremely - even exceptionally - busy periods (in recent years, airlines squeeze a lot more out of their staff, and flying has lost much of the reputation for glamour that it once had as a result); it is a career to be considered only if it is a passion; the monetary rewards will be uneven unless you go to the very top of the profession. Go for it if that is what you really love. Cheers

    Cheers and good luck.
     
  15. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #15
    Yes. You can be a commercial pilot as long as your vision can be corrected to 20/20. If you are legally blind or have cataracts, you're out of luck. I've heard rumors that getting LASIK surgery can disqualify you as well. The US military requires naturally perfect vision.
     
  16. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #16
    I'm not an airline pilot, but I fly on the corporate side, and the path to get here is essentially the same. Also, my wife flies for a major. She likes to say that she's the bus driver, and I'm the limo driver. :)

    I can't really add a whole lot that adk hasn't already mentioned. He's right on the money. It's a hard industry, and it'll make you want to pull all your hair out sometimes, but I've never once regretted it. If you're genuinely passionate about it, go for it.

    That said, don't stress too much about what you need to be doing in high school. The math needed to fly is very basic - multiplication and division is about as hard as it gets. You can get more hardcore into the physics and engineering of aviation if you'd like, but that won't translate into how well you do in the cockpit. Point is, enjoy high school and don't stress about what you need to do for flying. You'll have plenty of time to learn more later. Have your parents take you to Borders (or wherever) and pick up a book on becoming a Private Pilot. Start reading. Hang out at airports and talk to people. Pilots love to talk about flying. Just have a good time. You're 15, and have plenty of time. :)

    The next big decision you have is regarding college. First of all, don't skip college. Get a four year degree. You'll find some people that'll say the airlines don't require degrees and therefore you should just focus on flight training after high school. Please don't do this. Most pilots have a degree, and flying jobs are hard enough to come by. There's no sense in starting out at a disadvantage. And like adk mentioned, you'll want something to fall back on if for some reason you lose your medical. Plus, college is simply friggin' awesome!

    I won't get into the Riddle discussion, as I don't want to speak for those that went to Riddle. All I'll say is that I personally went to Texas, got a couple of degrees in Physics and Computer Science, and flew on the side. I don't regret it a bit, and seem to be doing okay. My wife went to Riddle, and she's a major airline pilot, so she's doing okay too. She'll readily admit however - if we both lose our jobs, she's a lot more f'd than I am.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that you're 15, and don't have to do anything but enjoy things for now. There's nothing pressing that you need to do at the moment. Get your parents to pay for a flight lesson for your birthday, Christmas, or whatever. Have fun! It's great that you're asking these questions so soon, but you have time.

    Hope this helps!
     
  17. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #17
    Wrong. I know several pilots that need glasses ...

    For the military, you cannot have LASIK, but PRK is fine.
     
  18. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #18
    Are you flying any now? Make sure you LOVE flying first.
    As others here can atest, it can be a very up and down ride. I was a Navy Pilot for 9 yrs active and have flown DC-10 cargo for Gemini Air Cargo, and was a pilot for Krispy Kreme (who my brother in law now flies for, and in the same jet), and for Cook Medical.
    Being a corp pilot means rolling with the punches, but so does an airline pilot. Airlines go out of business, renegotiate pay and benefits, layoff, etc, and corportate pilots worry about mergers, cause the flight departments are the diffenition of synergy.
    While I loved some aspects of flying (military mostly) I don't enjoy civilian career flying. I left 3 yrs ago, make nearly 50% more money and have more control of my life and time.
    A flying career can be rewarding both in personal satisfaction and pay, but if you don't love it, and your part of the 80% non-major airline pilots, you may not enjoy things so much.
    I have many friends getting out of the business.
    Sorry to be a bummer, but I want you to know the ins and outs first.
    Take some lessons, take some courses, read and ask questions just like you are now.
    good luck
     

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