Anyone out there with a family gave any advice regarding how to progress through GA.
I've got a few mates who are working as SE instructors and are struggling to move up to twins etc. these guys have wives and kids so moving isn't really an option. One of them is thinking of chucking in the towel as its been a long time without getting a bite from multi-engine gigs.
almost married & have 4 kids and a wannabe pilot (still miles away from CPL, but slowly churning through it)
But yeah planning on going bush at the end of it all with a fresh CPL. but would love to hear how someone in a similar position to myself did it. ie: did you take the family with you? etc.. Could be helpful for these guys asking this question too!
Yep you're going to have to move. If they go to a bigger country town or Darwin would be fine for a family. Moving to an Aboriginal Community is probably not an option.
In all honesty though quitting may be a good option. I do not see how anyone could start with Low Time with a family in this industry unless you are very well connected. Once you bust out of BS GA it becomes easier but there is still very little money in it. Look at what you get as a FO in a Regional. You will also have to factor the cost of moving. Most guys ensure that their possession fit into their car so moving is easy, but the cost of moving families around is a killer.
It depends how much you want the career. You really have a couple of main options - go flying for a living, or do something more profitable and fly for recreation. As soon as you say that moving (or anything else) is 'not an option', then you are effectively ruling yourself out of the chance to progress.
You could be one of the fortunate ones who really enjoy teaching others to fly, and simply stay doing that. You could jag a good flying gig where you are, and stay in it. I know a couple of people who have literally fallen into a basic job and stayed there, with the employer deciding to keep upping the ante aircraft-wise so that while they started chasing cows on a basic SE piston Day VFR 172 etc they have ended up in the same company but now poling a corporate jet or ME turbine.
Despite a lifetime in GA, I started the 'fly for a living' path pretty late in life; I was late 30's, married with kids in a capital city on a good income and a pretty cruisey job, but I yearned to fly for a living.
Did CPL, moved to a regional town, kept the other job going while I started down the well-trodden GA pathway of casual SE CHTR and crap (but award) rates. After a few years, and several town moves I had progressed to ME CHTR, then a ME turbine, then a full-time ME CHTR gig, then regional airline flying, before finally scoring my lifetime goal career. All the experience gained in doing the bottom-rung stuff in the bush has helped me get to where I am now.
15 years, more house / school moves than I want to think about , long-suffering spouse & kids (including enforced separations for months at a time), but we stuck together through the turbulence and are now enjoying the rewards.
How bad do you want it and is the family going to support you? Good luck however you decide.
Jamair, a truly inspiring story for someone in my situation. Thank you for sharing! I'll be early 30's by the time (and money) I have my CPL so its nice to hear a story like yours. Im keen to do whatever it takes!
Yup, it's a toughy, and one close to my heart. Dare I say, a lot depends on your other half, and how much they are genuinely prepared to sacrifice in support of your dream. I believe that we don't make sacrifices, because it's what we chose to do, and we get the rewards... but they certainly have to. Mine was very supportive when we first met, and I had just got my CPL. I was still supported when the little one came along, but the 5 - 10 week stints away for FIR, ME-CIR, ATPL etc... placed quite a burden on the other half. Some cope, others don't.
I was lucky enough to do some part-time instructing in the city where I lived, whilst earning money in my other profession. I had planned to go full-time there, but my luck ran out when the school closed.
Simple mathematics suggests that it's very difficult to uproot the 'unit' and raise a family on a SE GA income (unless you have some savings that will tie you over for a couple of years, OR, OR, OR...).
There was a job I went for (I believe I came #2 out of about 130 applicants) where accomodation was provided, and they were looking for a couple/family, so the partner could do office work. Perfect, but unfortunately few and far between.
I was 33 when I started instructing a few years ago, but I have since thrown in the towel. For me and mine, a line had to be drawn somewhere. I feel I got a lot of the hard work behind me, and wasn't far off where I needed to be... but my time was just running out, and for *me* it was clear the time had come to tend to family life in the conventional sense.
Anyway, that's just how the cookie crumbled for me. It definately can be done, as many here have pointed out, and many others that I know have done...
For what it's worth, here's the bullet points for my story:
Dropped out of high school 6 weeks before end of Year 12 (to play in a band);
Got married at 22 (wife was 19);
Had our first child two years after we got married (now have three in total);
Decided that playing music wasn't my future, anymore than the succession of dead-end day jobs to fund it (not to mention regular periods of unemployment in between);
Started taking flying lessons at age 24, & obtained my CPL at 28;
Decided that I would never put the family through the trauma of living in the backseat of a car whilst I drove around the Top End in search of a crappy job flying single-engine VFR for peanuts, so decided to stay in the Big Smoke & do an instructor rating;
Spent the next 10 years climbing the greasy pole as an instructor, clocking up multi-hours teaching IFR, & getting the odd charter & airwork gig here & there;
Stumbled into a job as an A330 (sim) instructor with a major airline at age 38;
Scored a B737 gig with a major airline at 39 (that was five years ago), & have been flying A330's for the last year.
So... From a dumb-ass high school dropout who got married too young, got his CPL ten years too late, who never did the "rite of passage" up north - & still managed to end up flying widebodies with a major airline in spite of it all - it can be done. All it takes is an incredibly supportive wife & kids, years of hard slog, & a bit of divine intervention.
'Bunglerat' yr story hit home with me a fair bit as I too did similar things as some of yr bullet points but lost the wife & kids along the way due simply trying too hard working 3 jobs to get where I am 2day. I paid a HUGE price to be a pilot, was it worth it? Looking back with hindsight NO it wasn't but I made my bed & now I lie in it wondering almost everyday "what if"! I love flying always have since a small boy but I doubt I'd do it again as a career.. Having said that we each have our reasons as to why we find ourselves here talking about the past the trail to the so called 'success' trying to give an insight to a fellow aviator whom might one day be faced with the numerous stories of pilots good & bad. There's one fear if you wanna call it that that a person with dreams of flying faces during his/her life and that's your siting on that mythical rocking chair after a long career in a field other than aviation thinking........"if only I had done what I now dream of"
"J_56" despite all the stories here all the advice only your mates will know what's truly deep down inside them with regards as to what to do.
I wish them well on a journey that's not easy,not even stable but a family IS the most important precious thing anyone can have.Not having a career in aviation is one thing but losing your family 'cause of aviation is a LOT worse!
Sorry to hear that, Wally. I certainly don't need to be reminded that it worked out well for me, but that's not to say there weren't times when stubborn pursuit of the dream almost took my marriage to the cliff's edge. Life's good now - both at work & at home - but if I had to reset the clock, would I put myself & my family through it all again? Well let's just say I'm glad it's not a scenario I have to contemplate. Once was enough.
Ex 'Griffo' I'm happy for you that it didn't turn to poo with yr family. So many older pilots have had at least one failed marriage, it's a mugs game that's for sure!:-(
'Griffo' I think you'll find that J-56 isn't the actual one seeking answers for himself, ( well that's the way it reads to me anyway) it's his mates that he's asking on their behalf but that could be a ploy so as to not attract direct attention to himself, you know how ruthless some Prunnies are in here
Thanks for the replies. I was 'lucky' enough to to it a few years ago - got a job to get the elusive multi time, but had to pack wife and kid to move (or rather I left, then my wife packed herself, kid, house etc to come meet me)
We lasted only about 18months until second bub came along, then made the move back to be closet to family. Luckily the few hundred hours I got were enough to land me a job back home.
The reason I posted here was to see if anyone had good/bad experiences doing a similar thing. From my point of view I loved it. The job I moved for had some interesting flying and was with a good bunch of guys, most importantly it felt like the career was progressing again. My wife, on the other hand, had a harder time. She left her job and was spending most of her time with our daughter. As tends to be the case I was away for most of the day as well as the odd overnight. We survived, but it was definitely a hard period
I have a few mates who are now in a similar position to where I was a few years ago (single engine instructing with little hope of multi time, without paying for a META) who have families with kids. These guys either can't fund anymore flying or can't move for one reason or another and are thinking of throwing in the towel.
It's good to see the responses from guys who've done it.
These guys either can't fund anymore flying or can't move for one reason or another and are thinking of throwing in the towel.
I understand exactly how they feel, as I (& many others) have been there. That said, it's an endurance event, & it's not always the Ace of Base who gets the golden opportunity, but the stubborn & determined buggers who are still there after the rest have given up & walked away. Your mates obviously have a bit of soul-searching to do, & I appreciate that everyone has their threshold, but the bottom line is they've got to decide just how badly they want it. If it means walking away from flying on a temporary basis & securing a "regular" job to save for their CIR or META (as I did), so be it. The resourceful & determined types look for solutions rather than barriers to their progression. However, as Wally mentioned, nothing is worth sacrificing a wife & family for. On that note, the most important question in this whole exercise is not how far your mates are prepared to go, but how far will their families go. Nevertheless, I'll reiterate one more time: Solutions, not barriers. If it matters that much, they'll find a way. If not, they won't.
For what it's worth Johnny_56, there are some strategies for your mates to look at that might not get immediate results, but improve their prospects over time. Like the salesperson that makes cold calls...if 1 call in 100 yields results, making two hundred calls will double the chances of results, 300 calls will triple the chances. One thing is for sure...if these guys don't invest time in relationships outside the home, their chance for being noticed goes down.
Keep in contact with people. Don't burn bridges. Most jobs in GA come through contacts - hangar chatting, etc. That hasn't changed. One of my recommended sources for new jobs is through the boss. Most good bosses want to see good employees advance and succeed. Yep, it can be hard work that comes easy to some people and is a real struggle for others, like myself. Help someone move an aircraft. Clean an aircraft in a well travelled area that encourages conversation with passer-bys. Chat with the engineers. Converse with the refueller. Work on the attitude. Have a strategy for navexes where the student can be tasked with checking on weather or local facilities while the instructor gets an easy introduction to the local characters. Take the students for hangar walks ostensibly to discuss features on other aircraft, but also as a way to meet other people.
Use the family as a benefit rather than an excuse. Most employers I know have empathy and get a thrill from helping someone with a family compared with single employees. Employees with a family are usually far more reliable and responsible than a single person of the same age. They can usually multi-task and plan their activities better as well.
One thing is for sure...if these guys don't invest time in relationships outside the home, their chance for being noticed goes down.
But here is the kicker for guys with a family you don't have the time to be hanging around airports and/or the pub to try and meet someone who might get you a 'chance' with a operator. If you are married with kids basically you have to be with your wife and kids if you're not at work. If you start spending all your spare time hanging around the pub or the hangar after work your family ain't going to last. Flying is a hard enough on family life already you can't realistically be spending extra time hanging around.