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What did you have to give up?

Old 10th Aug 2010, 00:01
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: In the doghouse
Posts: 493
What did you have to give up?

Something that came to mind the other day through another thread was how much I had to sacrifice to get my CPL, and It got me wondering what the rest of you went through to get yours.

I came into aviation pretty late in life, and in fact it was a career change, so the first thing was to stop doing what I had always done, and this was no easy task with my friends (and my head) telling me I was crazy-too old-not finished where I was-insane to let go of the career Id built etc etc etc.In the end I said bugger it Im gonna do it anyway.Just making the decision to go for it was probably the hardest bit.

I didn't want it to take five years so:
For a start I had to sell my car to pay for some of the training and replace it with a car that most people including the police mistook for an abandoned wreck, move out of my house and back in with Parents(at 30 years of age-fortunately their pretty cool), Take loans, max credit cards, work two jobs, one at night while trying to self study full time and quite a lot more that is too boring to write about.

Strangely, it didnt and doesnt feel like I gave away too much??!!.Id probably do it all the same way again (except this time with rich parents and a fat stock portfolio). I will say that I recently sat down and roughly added up how much it all cost... I... will.... never.... do.... that.... again..
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 00:30
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Location: Kerikeri, New Zealand or Noosa Queensland. Depending on the time of year!
Age: 80
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Mine was a straight forward process. I took my monthly income, subtracted essential living costs, then divided the balance by the hourly rate of aircraft hire. Then did that amount of flying - everything else was completely put on hold until I had gained my comm and first flying job.
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 00:48
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sydney
Age: 40
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is it worth it?

Just chipping in on this. At 30 I am taking my first steps into getting my license (very first, effects of controls lesson was done on Sunday). It is something I have always wanted and but never had the funds for. Now I have decided its time, and I will work my way through the cost regardless, even if it means limited hours and some financial pain. I originally wanted to go the CPL route, but from what I can gather the money isn't there that would allow me to do a career change and the upkeep seems prohibitive.

The thing is, now that I am just looking at doing a PPL, I wonder if it is worth it. My parents, wife and anyone I talk to about learning to fly come back to "its a bit expensive isn't it?". My thought was once I get it it will be something my family can enjoy too, but it seems like being at the point where I could hire a 6 seat single (if at all possible) is a long way off, the cost is steeper than I thought and never mind their fears of flying in a small plane. The range of photos on the DG&P photo thread though do inspire me to do it though.

So, the question is, is it worth it if I don't have some way to subsidise the costs or truly make use of my skills? Any words of motivation out there or ideas for getting more out of the expense?

P.S. I am not really interested in RA just for the sport of it
SgtBundy is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:05
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Auckland
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its definately worth it.

hi, I had a few hiccups through my PPL and the day I sat the test all be it the second one I will ever forget it. Afterwords it is abit of a blur but I think back now and it was definately worth it all. I'm on my way to my CPL now and there has been a few hiccups too but I love flying. The feeling you do get when you get to go on your own, there is nothing like it. There is alot of money involved, but you only live once. Why do something you dont want to do and spend your life saying what if??
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:07
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: DownUnder
Posts: 11
Great topic Homesick Angel.

It is refreshing to read about the passion and the difficult decisions that need to be made upon entering Aviation. I am also currently a wannabe career changer (not from IT) and the journey has thus far has taken two years and the CPL seems no closer. However, I will not lose sight of the goal and the attraction of this industry for me are the constant challenges and the learning which is infinite. The reward of self improvement is worth the cost we are all ultimately willing to pay.

I am turning away from a rewarding career which involves travel to all parts of Australia and beyond, and perhaps replacing it with another career which involves a vast amount of travel, just not three months away from loved ones. Up the frequency but reduce the duration I say. With reference to friends suggesting that you are crazy, it is not them living your life and I am from a crazy industry in the world of entertainment.

I give up time to make things happen and that is hard work. I have discovered that if you do not regularly make the time, rust sets in and your skills both at the controls and mind processing do suffer.

Fortunately my wife is fully supportive of this endeavor (plus no kids!) and from what I have read lurking around PPRuNe, that the support of your loved ones can make or break the decision that we have made.

The finances are a reality of Aviation, therefore research of your FTO's is crucial to decipher $hite from Chanel. I am giving up opportunities to invest in more tangible assets, however, I am investing in my own life experience which will ultimately lead to a new career. It is up to the individual on how to calculate the Return on Investment.

At the end of the day, the skill set gained IMO worth what I am giving up as I am being genuine to myself (maybe selfish) and I will not look back in 10 years time with regret as to what might have been.

I fear that I would be giving up more if the opportunity passed me by.

Art of Flying is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:13
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Back again.
Posts: 1,140
Damn! I thought I had to sacrifice. My parents had to put off their vacation to Hamilton Island for another week each year to get the extra lease money and cut back on the gardening help to bi-weekly to get me through. The managers of their car yards offered to help out with cash donations and I sold a few heifers from the property everytime I needed to get a flight test done. The accountant had a hard time too searching for all the deductions that were available from the ATO. All in all, it was tough going, but well worth it.
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:23
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 25
Don't Forget the "Opportunity" Cost

When changing jobs to go flying, you can't forget to take into account what you would have earned if you stayed put. Best case scenario and not taking into account wages increases if you stayed put or went flying.

A 30 something professional considering the Advance Cadet Scheme.
Today earning $82K
Training costs $105K ($85K + 3 months lost wages)
Junior Pilot for 3 years $55K
Level 1 FO for 1 year $84K
Level 2 FO for 5 years $92K
Level 3 FO for 2 years $100K
Captain after 11 years $154K

The break even point if accepted today is approximately June 2024...

Try explainging that to your loving and understanding wife...
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:28
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 25
IF you don't make Captain

Further to my last post, if you remain an FO and never make Captain.

Break even is around September 2031
Omega471 is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:33
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 2,156
Sgt Bundy.

Took my first lesson at 27, not dissimilar to you but back then I was considered to be an extremely late starter! Also, initially I wanted to do it for the sheer love of it. You know, model aircraft as a Kid, always looking up, longing for something that I felt was out of reach. At 26 I went to TAFE to complete my schooling and became friends with a guy who held a restricted PPL (as it was back then) and an aerobatic rating. That changed my life! HOOKED!

Mate It's like heroin, only some would argue, more expensive! After 2 years of private flying I realised that I would never be happy with the limited amount I could afford, and I just HAD to do it for a living. If I had any clue as to the difficulty and uncertainty of it all, I may have given up. Fortunately I persevered, and have no regrets. Well, mostly no regrets!

What did it cost me?

In a nutshell:
  • Every spare cent I had for 4 years.
  • Loss of any normal social life, working 2 sometimes 3 jobs.
  • My ski-boat!
  • An end to annual holidays.
  • Any chance of affording a mortgage.
  • My Marriage (fortunately no kids).
And that was just up untill my first full-time flying job!

Was it worth it, on balance yes. It's why however, that I am incensed at the efforts of Airline managements (you know who they are) in continueing to erode the conditions of professional pilots, when by and large these [email protected] have absolutely no idea what we have gone through!
KRUSTY 34 is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:37
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: rangaville
Posts: 2,281
how much I had to sacrifice to get my CPL
They are not SACRIFICES boys and girls they are CHOICES

My choices were made with little advice on the state of the industry, the disgraceful pay and the way pilots behave when making decisions that will affect the newbies following them. Oh well, lesson learnt.

I haven't gone close to a return on the investment made and the opportunity cost is probably a significant amount paid off a home or investment property. (That's what my friends were doing when I was spending money on flying).

No regrets though, if I hadn't learnt a financial lesson through this process it would have been somewhere else! An enjoyable mistake!

You need to go into this with your eyes wide open and plenty of advice, understand the choices you are making.

Remember, they are your own CHOICES not SACRIFICES
Jack Ranga is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 01:54
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Under the wing, asleep.
Posts: 375
What did I give up???

My flying career.

Work for a bank now. Funnily enough it has given me the option to pursue more enjoyable flying. I do miss flying the bigger faster machines though.
Wanderin_dave is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 02:23
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 144
Did the same thing..

Gave it up at the CPL/MCIR level to continue with IT. I now fly for pleasure and have a share in an aircraft, so the addiction is still there.

I simply refused to accept the T's and C's operators were offering. I get the feeling if more guys felt like this, the industry wouldn't be in the condition it's in.

boardpig is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 02:28
  #13 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
I did my PPL in the UK in 2006 then emigrated to NZ. Didnít fly for 2 years due starting a family, moving, job etc etc etc but knew from the first time I took to the air it was me.

Decided I couldnít do what I was doing for the rest of my working days and the thought of not changing things and staying put depressed the cr*p out of me.

I self studied all the exams and passed the NZ PPL in 6 weeks and have since self studied and passed all the CPL exams. Iím working full time and flying part time Ė evenings, weekends & holidays. Iíve got the hours now so itís into CPL revision ans prep for the flight test. After that an instructor rating and maybe even a job

My family are very supportive, my wifeís 100% behind me and doesnít care about this Ďbreak evení bollox. Itís clichť but true Ė youíre only here once so why spend your life doing something you donít want to just so you can Ďbreak evení!!!! A sad existence, regrets and a whole bunch of Ďwhat ifsí is all thatís at the end of that route.......

I've got no regrets and I never will - if it doesn't work out for whatever reason at least I gave it a shot and it won't be one of my life's 'what ifs'........

go for it, youíll regret it if you donít!!!
Old 10th Aug 2010, 02:29
  #14 (permalink)  
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Fly-by-Desire is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 02:38
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: in a bubble
Posts: 78
Slighty off topic - but interesting for those of you who have not seen it. Makes me wonder if it's really worth it every day...

YouTube - ‪Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' - Pilots on Food Stamps‬‎
onezeroonethree is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 02:57
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
Age: 45
Posts: 34
Like most of you, I wanted to be a pilot since I was 3. For many reasons, I didn't start till I was 27, but when I had the choice to have a crack at it, I chose (quite rightly pointed out by Jack Ranga) to leave behind a few things:
- Small IT company;
- Small fishing boat;
- Big sports bike;
- Small fiance (I'd be lying if I didn't mention this was mildly mutual);
- Many hobbies (Camping, Scuba Diving, Travel, Fishing).

Up to PPL level, I did it as a weekend warrior, but didn't like the lack of consolidation, and so for my CPL, FIR and ME-CIR I saved up, took time off from an IT Contract position each time and did it in a block.

The IT work funds the passion, but then you've got a foot in each industry, and it's hard to give up the cash... especially when the wife (and 2 y.o.) remind you that the $32K spent last year on flying could have been for a house deposit. At least they haven't left me yet! That's until I let them know which outback town we're moving to to build some hours!

It sometimes does get tough, and there are times when I think 'why am I doing this' (It's the hardest I've ever had to work)... but it only takes getting in the air (albeit for $714/hr in a C310), for all those thoughts to go away...
And you know what...? Perhaps with a few minor changes, I'd do it all again. I don't think many are in this game without a love and passion for it... There are not too many other reasons!
Nadsy is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 03:24
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: My house
Posts: 133
Omega471, I hate to burst your bubble but you will never advance beyond "junior pilot" with the Jetstar cadetship as you will only get your ATPL if you buy the command hours required. They will not give them to you. Also don't expect to be employed with them after the 6 years. Factor that in!
travelator is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 03:33
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 58
Don't let anyone fool you, the sacrifices start after the CPL not before...
MadMadMike is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 03:34
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sydney
Age: 49
Posts: 63
What a thought-provoking topic...

I got hooked at 35, and had such a bad experience I didn't fly again for two years....but it niggled at me, every day. Life got in the way, but eventually, I cleared a space and went for it. It was a difficult path to PPL (three schools, eleven instructors!) but what I lacked in talent I made up for in determination.

Post PPL, I decided I couldn't stop, that I needed to know more, and went on to CPL.

Here's what it "cost" me:

- sold my small business (a book shop) to pay for the CPL
- sold my house in a beach-side suburb and bought a cheaper one, (under
the flight path) so I could live off the difference
- gave up my social life and in the process estranged myself from some old
friends (those who glazed over at constant av-talk)
- sold lots of fabulous (and now unnecessary) frocks and shoes and replaced
them with headsets, gps, and maps
- for the next rating, will have to sell my car

But, here's what I've gained:

- a private pilot's licence
- a tail wheel endo
- the ability to hire an aircraft and fly anywhere in Oz
- a regular column in an aviation mag
- new friends, whose tolerance for aviation topics equal mine

None of it is a "sacrifice" as every part of the learning has been amazing.
I'm not waiting for life to start, I'm living it.
girl with a stick is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2010, 03:41
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NZ
Posts: 17
The best way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large one. With that in mind if your dreams of flying include sitting on a fat captains salary then keep dreaming. The hours are long, the pay is absymal and it plays havok with your social life.

After getting my PPL in NZ I left my job to train full time. Got a CPL, a MEIR and an instructor rating and a sizeable loan to boot. In just over two years I have gone through five different jobs in five different cities. I've been fired for asking for minimum wage, made redundant twice and had to leave my last job because (even with a second job) I couldn't afford the cost of living (if I can find a way of not having to pay rent or feed myself I'll be golden ). And somewhere in amongst all that, flying also cost me my wife and is affecting my relationship with my son.

At present I'm still looking for another flying job and I'm hoping that this time it'll last more than 6 months. Would I do it all again?....

You bet I would! Being a commercial pilot is a lifestyle, not a career (for me atleast) and I can't see myself doing anything else.

Ipecac is offline  

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