View Full Version : Poor Pilot $$
9th Aug 2012, 03:38
I'm a private pilot just got my instrument rating. I'm going to get my commercial rating next summer. I apologize if my question has already been answered, but it is this: Am I the only poor pilot out there who is scratching his head, saying, "how the hell am i gonna pay for all this?"
I own a small restaurant, so yeah basically i'm running a non-profit over here, and what I really want to do is fly part 135 someday. My credit card will definetaly be maxed out by the time i get my commercial. Then it's CFI, ME, CFII, Part 135 Certification (question: does that exist?), type ratings, etc, etc.
Look, I know that my financial problems are not of interest to this forum. But seriously, how do you PAY for this stuff?
So, here's my question: is there any way to get flight training financing that i don't know about? Or student loans or something? I already talked to my bank, so that's a no-go.
I'm just sitting here at 150 TT, reading about how it takes 1500-2000 TT to get the kind of job i want. It's my understanding that i won't be able to even get a decent job flying until i have like 500TT. At my rate i'll be about 94 years old before i have that kind of time.
It seems like every other occupation, if you're willing to go into debt, someone will finance your education. I'm thinking doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, etc. Am i making a mistake to get my commercial rating, is this really a rich man's game after all that i've found myself in?
Much thanks in advance to anyone who can shed light on these questions. I do appreciate your time very much!!
9th Aug 2012, 06:02
Here is an example on what ATP say on their website:
ATP flight instructors receive a very modest base retainer fee, plus additional flight-hour pay and bonuses that correspond to students' on-time, first-time checkride pass. Instructors can earn between $1,800 and $3,000 per month.
At the ATP Scheduling Center and Instructor Proficiency Program in Jacksonville, FL:
$1,500 per Month Retainer
While at your assigned Training Center:
$750-$1000 per Month Retainer (varies by training center), PLUS
$100 On-Time, First-Time Checkride Pass Bonus for each student, PLUS
$7.50-$12.50 per Flight & FTD Hour (varies by program), PLUS
$15 per FAA Exam Proctored
Housing Available at Training Centers
for $300 per Month (furnished, no lease required)
So i guess is try to get the commercial, then CFI, II and MEI and starting working for a school and make your dues. I was hitting 80-100 hours a month wen i was teaching and i was earning 20$/hour.
I know a few guys that was working really hard and hitting the max they could, 8 hours a day 7 days a week, that is 224 hours a month (of course subtract a few for cancelations, maintenance, weather etc...) but your could be doing really good :) and get your 1500 hours in just 1 year. The biggest problem that i see is hitting the 500XC not the TT, but then again ATP XC is different so always take your students to different airports.
9th Aug 2012, 06:40
Am I the only poor pilot out there who is scratching his head, saying, "how the hell am i gonna pay for all this?"
No you are not the only one asking the question. It gets worse, after paying out the huge sums of money required to get all the necessary training, you still do not have the experience to land a job. And when you do get a foot in the door it will be at very low pay. It does not make financial sense to go into debt for a poor paying career with a lousy outlook.
How to pay for it; well how about Army, Air Force, Navy or the Marines? Otherwise, you need to come up with a pile of cash. As the old joke goes; want to end up with a million dollars in Aviation? Then you will need to start with several million (Or somethinng like that, I never was a funny man).
Am i making a mistake to get my commercial rating, is this really a rich man's game after all that i've found myself in?
If you enjoy flying then fly for enjoyment, forget about doing it for a career. Perhaps become a CFI and instruct on the side. This industry has been devastated, and the future does not look bright either.
Sorry I don't mean to be a downer, I really don't, but the industry is in deep trouble. Here is a link to an earlier thread I started related to this question:
9th Aug 2012, 07:41
Sell the restaurant, especially if it isn't making you money. Use the cash to finish training.
There are loans out there for flight training but if you can do it without loans then even better.
Have you considered joining the military or national guard (not as a pilot). You can qualify for the GI Bill which pays for flight training. If the military isn't for you, then I don't recommend this option but if you think 4 years is reasonable then financially you can make it work.
9th Aug 2012, 08:52
I know of a Ryanair (it's a low cost airline here in Europe, kind of like Southwest - they fly 737s) who worked for 7 years in a supermarket saving every penny for flight training (his pay I guess was around $7-$8 per hour).
In my situation, I have to bust my ass working a huge amount of hours every week in a house removal company ("moving company" in US English?) to fund everything. Its tough going but slowly and surely I'm progressing.
Selling the restaurant sounds like a good idea to me too. Never give up :ok:
9th Aug 2012, 11:50
I feel your pain, im trying to juggle a few numbers to see how i can fund it also. I own a share in a family company which I would like to really cash in but I will have to see, I dont want to build tension among us but it might be something I have to do. I have no advice really.... just work hard I suppose...!! I will be following this thread to see what everyone else suggests... best of luck..
Genghis the Engineer
9th Aug 2012, 11:53
Sounds sarcastic?! The typical american bends first his credit card, as next step tries to get a loan and finally starts thinking where the cash for the next five days comes from?:ugh:
To be fair to the average US citizen, that is how their governments have managed their economy for the last 30 years - how should your average Joe be expected to know any better?
You're not the only one... :)
I can only afford to do this because I have effectively 'paused' my life for the past six years... and have a CV that has got me a 'half decent' engineering job.
Single, no flash car, no holidays, few nights out, living with relatives and being relatively frugal. To be honest - it's crap and has been an immense test on my character. At times, one can get very depressed when you look around to see the situation ahead of you, with respect to recruitment and the paying of Type Ratings - something that effectively forces me out of the running.
Furthermore, seeing everybody you have trained with either finished training or flying for a living will crush you too...
The only difference between my friends and I - upbringing and parental outlook.
If you don't have the resources, you have to make the sacrifices. :uhoh:
9th Aug 2012, 22:43
Well I'm pleasantly suprised- I thought most respondents would be condescending. There's so many good ideas, thanks all. I really can't sell the restaurant, it's a family business thing (goaroundagain you feel my pain!). Can't join military, well i guess i could, but i'm 31 years old by the time i'm out i'm 35... and this isn't the first time i've thought about all this, just the first time i reached out for some anonymous advice (sort of).
I always knew this was gonna be an uphill slog. And i've only just begun!
The ATP thing, Johnny, what hours range do you think they hire instructors at just out of curiosity? I never considered a 141 school- i was taught at a part 61 so that wasn't even on my radar. My flight instructor is "free-lance" if you will so i guess i just thought most instructing jobs were like his.
Northbeach you've touched on my biggest fear: so i've figured out financially how to get PPL, IR, COMMERCIAL, on my own. But to get the experience i need to land a job that's where there's a big hole that I can't figure on. Does anybody hire someone just out of their commercial rating (parachute, gliders, etc.) or is that just unheard-of? If not I flight instruct. But even a CFI cost what, like $3-5000?
Poose can you tell me more about the type rating situation? Have you actually had to turn down a job because you couldn't afford the type rating?
Zondaracer do you mean a regular bank loan or is there a flight training loan specialist out there somewhere? I've done searches on the web and haven't been able to come up with much...
I'm very appreciative of all the responses, you guys rock!
I'll figure it out, right?:ok:
10th Aug 2012, 04:25
Unless someone else paid for your training (military, airline cadet, rich family), you're wealthy in your own right, or had the good fortune to be part of an aviation embedded family then everyone has had the same issue.
The short answer is to work like a demon, don't spend money on anything not related to flying, and save like Uncle Scrooge. Meanwhile use the money saving periods to study for the next set of theory exams. When you have sufficient funds for the next round of flying training, choose a time of year when there is likely to be favourable weather, take time off and fly intensively. Repeat for each step up the training ladder.
Here's link to a thread detailing what I and others did http://www.pprune.org/questions/45915-what-did-you-do-before-becoming-pilot-pay.html
You're in the US so look at the different types of flying jobs there are. It's not all Part 135 & airlines! Dropping skydivers, power/pipe line inspection & flight instruction are a few common ways that people gain experience. Also some of the freight companies and, of course, the regionals take people as First Officers with relatively low experience. Expect low pay initially while your experience is low but increasing as you gain enough experience to move on to better jobs.
10th Aug 2012, 13:02
As far as the loans, I took a look and it looks as if Sallie Mae was the big provider of flight training loans and they stopped back in 2009. Honestly though, to do it without debt would be the best way. Go check out a local national guard unit. The commitment is one weekend per month and two weeks per year. The new post 9/11 GI Bill covers all of your flight training if it is done in conjunction with a degree program and an approved 141 program. ATP was approved via Mountain State University.
As far as getting hired, flight instruction is usually the first stepping stone for MOST pilots in the US. Guys get hired when there is demand with just over 250 hours. ATP in the past gave hiring preference to guys who did their program. Another beginner job is aerial survey/. From there the jobs open up with experience... 500hrs skydiver pilot, 1200hrs pt 135, 1500hrs pt 121 etc...
13th Aug 2012, 02:43
Thanks zonda and tinstaafl. I appreciate the help.