View Full Version : Am I crazy to consider a career in aviation.
2nd Sep 2012, 22:36
I am 27 years old and I am currenlty working. I have held a PPL for a few years and currently own a single engined light aircraft. My current job has lost its appeal and I believe a career change is required. The only thing that is keeping me in my current job is the pay (over £40k rising to £50k+ in the next few years).
Unfortunately, like most people on here, I have truly caught the flying bug (I fly whenever and wherever I can) and it is what I dream of doing for the rest of my working life. To add further complication, I have just got married and so my career decisions will not only effect me. If I do decide to take the plunge, it will be in 3 years when I am 30 and wil probably have a young family in-tow. I am lucky enough to have the available funds to pay for a MECPL and IR and a MCC (modular), but probably not a TR as well.
My dream job would be flying large twins (Such as Islanders or twin otters) either for a regional airline or for aerial survey work. I am also interested in the larger airlines but feel I enjoy the GA world too much. I would prefer a job mainly operating in and around the UK with limited nights away from home (My current career take me away from home far too often).
So my question is, Am I foolish to leave a stable and secure job to pursue a flying career?
Could I percievably earn £40k+ flying the smaller aircraft types or should I aim for a career in the airlines? (I am not purely motivated by money but I feel it would be very selfish of me to sacrifice my wife's lifestyle in pursuit of my dreams!! :ouch:)
What are the chances of a low hour 30 year old ex-military officer (not-pilot) non-TR'd pilot getting a job in an industry full of youngsters?
Apologies for the lengthly question and thanks in advance for any advice.
2nd Sep 2012, 23:49
You can provide well for yourself and the people you care for by continuing to do what you are now doing. Why give it up for aviation?
Become a flight instructor and teach flying on the side as time permits, or just keep flying for "fun".
My dream job would be flying large twins (Such as Islanders or twin otters) either for a regional airline or for aerial survey work.
Move to Canada.
3rd Sep 2012, 07:38
I do intend to train whilst in my current job and only leave once I have a fATPL. Unfortunately I have to hand in my notice 1 year prior to leaving and once I've handed my notice in, there is no going back!
I can't afford to be unemployed and I would be taking the risk of handing in my notice and then over the course of my last year in work, not being able to find a job in aviation. I am also concerned that many companies wouldn't employ me as I might not be able to start straight away.
Dan the weegie
3rd Sep 2012, 09:06
Buy a share in something fun, keep flying for the fun of it do 100 hours of flying - make sure you actually go places rather than just local flights and beating up the runway at your local field/bacon butty run. After that 100 hours if you still feel like you want to be a professional in a year, then take a look at the market then. You will have lost nothing as if you want to be a GA pilot then you'll be going modular for definite and that will require you get 100 hours of flying post PPL and doing a bit of touring will get you some genuinely relevant experience.
3rd Sep 2012, 09:42
If you are in the military (what service?) use your various learning credits and funded leave for study where you can and build up your licences via the modular route. There are many military flying clubs around the Uk where you can do a lot of the training and hour building very cheaply. You can then look to leave later in life with the cushion of a pension and all your licences in the bag when (if) an upturn occurs. Whatever you do, don't just walk out the door of a mil career right now would be my advice. It's what I have done, PM me if you want to speak in more detail.
3rd Sep 2012, 11:14
Crazy to consider it? No. As long as you consider all the facts.
There are thousands of people who have done what you are considering who have not found flying jobs yet, some have gone back to the job they were doing before training, some are unemployed, others work as waiters, or wash cars etc. When you complete training, you join a very large group of unemployed low houred pilots who cant get flying work.
Instructing for say 12k a year would be a good route, its then a natural progression to turbo-props. Although I know people who have gone down this route, ended up selling the family home, moving family into a caravan, and still cant get a job on turbo-props.
So, consider away, but it would be crazy to consider giving up a good secure job to persue it. And it would be crazy to consider doing it without having a job to go back to if/when you cant get work flying. And in the current market, its safe to assume you wont get a flying job for several years after training.
3rd Sep 2012, 11:20
I have already done over 100hrs post PPL and I own a Jodel 150 Mascaret. Since I own my own aircraft, I fly for cheap (~£55ph wet) and I will fly about 100 hours p.a. If I do leave the Army in 3 years, I will have around 500hrs PIC. I have looked at ELC since I am in the higher band (3x£2000 grants) but the Army is alot stricter than the RAF, they would not let me use them for my PPL as it 'didn't benifit the Army'. As it stands I can only use them for flight training in my last year in the Army or post leaving. I will definately use them for flying, possibly towards an ME IE. I am not a fan of the Military flying clubs as they are often lack the fun of civvy clubs and it is harder to just 'turn and fly because the weather looks nice'. I enjoy flying from the civillian clubs as the people are really friendly with a plethora of backgrounds. I also prefer the clubhouses!
Blagger, thanks for your advice and I will PM you later. i do not want to leave the Army unless I am very confident I will be able to find work and find work that will eventually pay a competitive wage. I have an excellent opportunity in the Army to train to become a chartered engineer but I am concerned that the longer I put off a career in aviation, the harder it will be to find work. Also the planned changes to the forces pension are making further service less attractive!!
Do some of the smaller operators (Eastern, loganair, Skybus, Direct Flight etc) favour a more mature and settled pilot who is not motivated by the thought of the larger jets and not using the Airline as a stepping stone over the young thrusters who dream of flying 747s over the Pond?
Dan the weegie
3rd Sep 2012, 11:42
Jacks from my experience the smaller carriers are less focussed on a specific type of person or from a specific background than the locos but getting an interview seems to be hard work.
Getting an interview and/or a job is still very hard work and seems to take about a year or two before you get a call.
I'd personally say it's risky at the moment, you have the hours and you've been doing a lot of flying so you know if it's for you but the risk is still enormous. Right now is very volatile, there is growth in Eastern Europe and Russia, India, Africa and the far east but it's very static in the UK and there are still airlines reporting losses. Your training will take a couple of years though so perhaps take the ATPLs and take another view once you're done with them, you don't need to move on if the timing isn't right.