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Flying an Intriguing Passion!!

Old 1st Sep 2010, 05:36
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Western Australia
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Flying an Intriguing Passion!!


There have been a couple of threads I have read of late.....which made me think of my experience within the whole aviation world, as a non flyer and older : "retired - wannabee".

From the other side of having no involvement in flying for a while now, thought this may be useful for those of you out there thinking of aviation as a career vs other options out there not flying related.

There is a lot of negativity about terms and conditions and the rat bags that are running the aviation world. Before the advent of Sept 11, I was travelling heaps around Aus (couple of flights a month) ( via Ansett) for work and had the opportunity of riding the jump seat heaps (student log book in hand always seemed to get me in!!!). Perhaps the corporate boys that run the shows should sit in a jump seat a few times a month, and see what pilots actually do when the weathers crap, breaking out of cloud at minima's - after a midnight departure out of Perth into Melb or Sydney or coming into Perth in a 747 when an engine showing some signs of shitting itself 3 hours out....and a few of the other things I had the privilege of watching a professional crew manage. Keeping in mind off course the passengers on board and the expensive piece of machinery the crew where responsible for. When shit hits the fan, no matter what the extent, two pilots are in charge and should be paid well for it (in my humble opinion). Given the investment the pilot has made in training and responsibility they have, and the way terms and conditions currently look and are heading - is a joke. Applies not only to the current LLC carriers but the humble flight instructor and everyone in between.


I was ( or thought I was) committed to achieving flying as a career. I have made choices in my life based on assessment of aviation and my goals to lead a balanced, happy and financially successful life.

I find the whole flying thing intriguing.

Briefly so I don't bore the shit out of you.....I'm 40 in a couple of months. Old fart too many of you whipper snappers out there. I wanted to be pilot from early teens. Loved anything too do with flying. (Used to sit on the fence at Jkt for hours watching the comings and goings - used to love watching and hearing the RFDs land - reverse pitch to slow down and all that sort of stuff). Got to year twelve graduation time I. 1988....started lessons did my gfpt. Ran out money / savings and due to having split parents, didn't have the benefit of parents willing or able too bank roll me. Hence ( keep in mind 1989 lots of negativity with pilot strike no jobs in ga cause all the jet boys where on the market trying to survive due to events well documented)... I decided the commerce degree was the way to. Will give me a solid and dependable qualification and background should mighty aviation not work out for me. Also thinking was should be able to earn some decent coin to fund said flying training.

Fast forward 3 odd years commerce degree in hand. Now we are rocking. Around 1993 it wasn't easy to get into accounting career....lots of grads and economy from memory wasn't particularly flash. However secured a job just before getting that piece of paper from uni.

Now I was rocking. Was back into flying once a week to do my pppl. Loved it loved it loved it. After a while hated accounting and taxation during the week, but could justify it based on weekends and flying through the WA country Side.

I reckon life is based on having some balance. Whilst flying was my passion, I had a gorgeous girl (who is now my wife some years down the track) and we had some other plans which thankfully worked out in terms of traveling Aus whilst both employed, build up some wealth etc. We also have two beautiful kids now 6 and 9 that came along after a few years of marriage.

During our travels of Aus I was lucky enough to have 2 months of and did some hour building out of Bankstown. Unfortunately weather was against me and my plans of cracking into cpl didn't quite work out. Fast forward a few months and back in WA and into CPL flight training. Had the better part of 6 weeks off and flew hard. Without going into the semantics of it, It dawned on me that at the age of 27 ish that the whole flying thing needs true and absolute commitment. Importantly whilst passion for the game is the driver, you must make sure you are willing and able to make the plans and sacrifices needed. I failed on a couple of counts. Firstly, I wasn't willing to throw everything into flying. I valued my partner and having come from a childhood of limited finances wanted to ensure that I didn't end up lacking in that regard. What I also failed to do was finance my flying properly. It was always done as the money allowed, causing lack of continuity and more cost and delay.

What really broke the camel's back for me was my CPL pre flight - flight test. I was around $ 4,000 in the red - borrowed, which was playing on my mind big time. The pressure was on me, and to be frank, I completely "- - cked" the test. I reckon I was a competent and safe pilot, but I allowed outside money pressures to get to me.

What followed was a realization. If I was going to make this work, then my commitment and planning needed more than what I was willing to give it. Keeping in mind, that once CPL was done, I wanted to get an instructors ticket and then MECIR (and a shit load more cost). Hence, I thru the whole flying career idea away and moved on...or so I thought. All I could see was some major commitment and financial duress, with no guarantee given my age, that t it would come together into a rewarding career.

So, moving on became involved in my own business (not accounting thank Christ) and now in a comfortable financial position a few years down the track. Whilst not rolling in $$$, I own my house (decent but modest), am able to drive a decent car albeit a commodore!!! (SS though), my kids in good school and still happily married. The finances have also extended to other passions - Kwaka Jet Ski that I get great enjoyment from thrashing in the wide blue ocean. Haven't been inside a bug smasher for many a year (but plan too at some stage - Aerobatics will be my thing).

A couple of years ago, before the GFC, I like, like a lot of other "retired -wannabees", saw the demand for pilots start to increase and questioned my past decisions. I contemplated long and hard about having another crack. On balance though, with at the time a 3 year old and 7 year old kids, felt that it wasnít the right decision as they deserve the best I can give them (not just money!!!).

However, for those of you out there, wondering what path to take, just beware the flying bug really never leaves you (hasnít left me anyway). Despite having a reasonable go at it, and being reasonably comfortable with my decisions based on hindsight and a bit of wisdom...there is still a little prick sitting on my shoulder - which raises the flying issue every now and again. It especially raises its nasty little head, when I have the shits on when business is a bit rough or life's is generally giving me the shits. (it happens to all of us from time to time, doesnít matter whether you push a pen, or fly a plane).

I reckon they would probably throw my application in the filing bin, but even now I contemplate putting in an application to the SkyWest cadet - "payship" for a job. I could afford the price of training and could survive living on crap $$$ for a few years, ( I would have to sell the nice car and the Kwaka - but that wouldnít bother me to be honest). This is even despite being relatively well informed on aviation and falling terms and conditions ....and even knowing a couple of aussie pilots (ex) who got to the lofty heights of flying private jets overseas and gave it away.

So to those out there considering the aviation conundrum - the moral of my story is:

* The flying bug never really departs you ( if it truly is something your passionate about).

* Plan your training and financing properly. Like me, I know of couple of people like me, whose ambitions where thwarted by the old PPP ( Piss Poor Planning) or letting blind passion overrule the head) in regards to what's achievable.

* If you enter into aviation for a career make sure your willing to commit everything to it......generally this will mean at any cost ( significant others, money and other goals you may have). I am not saying that you can't have other things, but you will find that other life plans and goals may be delayed for a long time, whilst you turn ambition into achievement. If your goal is to fly a shiny jet, not everyone will get there, so are you going to be happy at the age of 50+ flying something else and maybe earning money well below what you could achieve elsewhere?. Certainly true that money doesnít buy happiness, but it certainly can make life a lot more enjoyable!!!! Just as there are many cynical accountants out there, I have met a few dead pan cynical pilots as well.

* Whether you push a pen, save lives or fly a plane, every career path has its moments of doom and gloom and questionable futures & why I am doing this scenarios. It's human nature.

* Enjoy your flying. I still remember some great and challenging times in flying training. Having simulated engine failures and nailing various emergency scenarios practices, witnessing major fires in the wheat belt and the hills of Perth from 6000ft and numerous other cool stuff and experiences is still with me a few years down the track. Donít get caught up with the end result if you have high ambitions - you are likely to miss some great life and learning experiences through training and flying.

* Choose your training organization very, very carefully. I made a couple of mistakes in selection and went for the well trodden path. However, with hindsight I really feel it worked against me with costs which I donít think where warranted. Ultimately my responsibility for not working out, but just be careful on the motivations of the people and organizations you deal with.


Hopefully havenít bored the crap out PPRUNERS!!!!

flyingtake2 is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2010, 06:52
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Yep!

At the age of 15 did my "work experience" at YAMB, so without being able to fly F111's they put me in the Tower and I got to see a heap of great stuff. As well as get sick from the lunch one day

Somehow did Engineering and ended up here.....rest of the story is in some ways like the above.

The Bug bites and you are infected. A bit like HIV....you can live with it but not cure it.

I have been fortunate enough to do well and while not loaded, I can enjoy the art of aviation whether its for business (and its damned handy) or for family events, and have the other things some miss out on.

And PPRuNe can be online in the corner here all day!

J

PS....I have since I was young followed the words of a well known talented and controversial touring car driver......."Live Life - and Give it a Red Hot GO!"......same applies here.
Jabawocky is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2010, 08:56
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Mate,

It wont be just paying for your Instructor Rating, ME-CIR it'll then be META & Instrument Training Approval, the forking out never ends. (Very few employers will fork out for these extras).

If you love your wife (happy wife, happy life) and your home life, you wont go down the airline cadetship route. It is one of the most un-sociable jobs you can work. I've seen alot of marriages crumble through shift work issues alone.

Agree totally with your sentiments, especially the 'in your blood business' I've tried many times to cure this virus. The worst symptom of this virus is that it takes over all of your life to the point that you lose interest in other things, things that add balance to your life. Balance is the key

I'm about to let my ME-CIR and Instructor Rating lapse, mainly because I can't keep up with the constant (and illogical) change. I think the industry has gone beyond un-ethical and un-principled. (Flying wasn't ever my main job thank christ)

How to feed the habit? I'm thinking of taking up gliding

Good post mate, but don't be tempted into this industry, it will cost you less to buy a little bugsmasher and flog around or even build one.
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Old 1st Sep 2010, 11:45
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Join Date: May 2009
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Thanks for your post! I love posts like this!
Has anyone else had an experience like this?
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Old 1st Sep 2010, 12:25
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It was explained to me not long ago by an experianced captain who from what I understand has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his aviation Career.

"flying is the equivalent to being a drug addict". Once you get a taste of the addiction you want more..."

He is absolutley right, the fact that we spend $40 000 plus to get ourselves qualified in the first place, not even be guaranteed a job either... why???

Then once your in you start out as a casual working two jobs just to try and survive. Its not only a struggle to find your first single engine job but then you have to do it all again for your first twin engime job. You think once you reach your 500 hours multi command you think things get easier but you then go into a regional or even an airline where you succumb to 6 monthly base checks where if you fail you face losing your job... Its madness why on earth do we do it? THE ADDICTION

I have been flying for nearly 10 years now and I have had so many more downs than ups and I have had those days where you have done the same run for the 60th time in a row but honestly I wouldn't be in any other career? If I was dismissed tomorrow i would start again from the bottom in an instant because the addiction has taken a hold of me and I just love it.

I think the saying is "Better to be on the ground wishing you were up there than uo there wishing you were on the ground"..... CRAP I love every minute of being up there even when the weather is terrible and its all turned to and I am wishing I was down there... Its a story, its and experiance and its one hell of an adrenahlin rush.
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Old 1st Sep 2010, 12:46
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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Flyingtake2

If you really want to participate in the aviation industry - there is a viable 'life' as a part time instructor.

You can still hold on to your 1st profession - yet use it to fund your quals toward instructing.

It's really rewarding, and it's possible without wasting a fortune.

PM me if you wish to follow up.

happy days, poteroo
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Old 1st Sep 2010, 13:19
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Thumbs up Post of the year!

Thanks for sharing your story..

Not bored for a minute, and its nice to hear a bit of home truth that's not so loaded with negativity that it makes you never want to log onto this site ever again.

As someone who got into the game late, and slogged it out(and continues to slog it out) I get rare moments of doubt at the career change, but then my girlfriend will point at a photo she took of me flying and comment on how relaxed and happy I look, and I cant help but agree.I am rarely happier than when Im immersed in aircraft . And that was why I got into it."that little prick on the shoulder" got me too, and he never shuts up."when are we flying next, when will the rain stop, when will you get that CIR so we dont have to wait for the rain to stop" he sais etc etc etc.
Earning heaps of money was never an issue (which is quite lucky so far).

I wouldn't swap it for anything.Whether it be sitting on the top side of an inversion layer, or nailing a cross wind landing, or flying over the city at night, its( so far ) delivered all I ever wanted from it.

p.s flying take..not to play devils advocate, but Its not too late.I mean what are you doing posting on a Professional pilots forum if you aint gonna be one!

Hop to it...

Last edited by Homesick-Angel; 1st Sep 2010 at 22:43.
Homesick-Angel is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2010, 15:28
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Nice post mate and good to read, but I dont think you really did have the passion.

Those who truely have it will sell their 14 year old sisters virtue to get there. You put the needs of others first which makes you a top bloke.

Stick with whatever pays the bills mate, because this industry is going downhill fast.

I stuck with it and got in but I dont reckon I'll last til retirement. I'm already thinking of leaving it. I'm 37.

I am envious of those who can do it for recreation.
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Old 2nd Sep 2010, 12:59
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Stick with whatever pays the bills mate, because this industry is going downhill fast.
Its funny Waren but that's the advice I followed in 1978. The bloke that offered it retired in 2007 as a C&T captain on B747s with 25,000 hours.

I didn't lack the passion but, perhaps more importantly, I lacked the self-belief.

I am envious of those who can do it for recreation.
That's me, finally. Went solo in a Jabiru last week, first time as PIC since December 1978.

Is there a statute of limitations on first solo's? I reckon second time round felt even better than the first.

32 years is too long to live with an itch that needs scratching - but at least I can now scratch away (and my company's insurers say that its safer for me to fly myself between Territory centres than to drive; bless 'em) .
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Old 2nd Sep 2010, 23:02
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E&H
 
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I dont know flyingtake2...u seem to have navigated a minefield pretty well all things considered...I would love to be where u are in terms of finances. 22 years in the industry and financially nothing to show for it. I started when I was 27...look at what u have done this way. If u had smoked for many years and given it up because not only does it cost u money but it will eventually cost u your health would you think that you had done the right thing??? Of course you would... However even when you have given it up and know that what you did was the best thing possible you will still have cravings to light up again. My point is that you seem to have done the best possible thing for u and your family in your situation. The huge difference is that you control your addiction not the other way around. Well done I say...pity I didn't do it your way.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 06:02
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Thanks......

Thanks to those that read my long winded post. Like I said intruiguing passion this one....and truly appreciate the comments back.

Never had a mistress, but I reckon flying must be like having one....

you know you like it, it feels good, tastes good and keeps you on your toes, but on balancing up the pros and cons...you just know probably end up challenging at best....and down right soul destroying at the worst.....

Im going to Pm a couple of you over the weekend....I reckon I might have resolved my dilema with some of the comments!!!!

Anyone done any or has thoughts on doing some flying out of Bunbury Aeroclub - I dont even know whether it stills exists!!!!! Going to avoid JKT and want another option (and not Murrayfield either please).

Thanks again....!!!!
flyingtake2 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2010, 06:13
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The smoking analogy.....

M8 you hit a cord with that one. The onlyu problem is I am a dumb arse smoker :-) Gave up for a number of years, but started back on the weed......I guess that suggests something about my intelligence ..... or lack thereof!!!!

On a serious note - Appreciated the message behind your post, sounds like you question your past decisions but the other way around from my circumstances.....

No doubt about it ....as humans we are all good at questioning shit...dont know whether it does any of us much good at times. :-)
flyingtake2 is offline  
Old 3rd Sep 2010, 10:14
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E&H
 
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Well I use the smoking analogy because I used to smoke and know how hard it was to give up...as for regrets etc yeah I have a few but when it comes to "if I had my time over" scenarios their not worth the paper it's written on. What's done is done...besides nobody lives on the past it cannot sustain you. I am an 11 000 hour pilot and have done and seen more in the last 22 years than most do in a lifetime...but if there is one thing that I value most from aviation it is the self growth that it has given me and knowing myself.

I stopped enjoying flying so had a break for two years and went and did other things...best thing I ever did. My point is you seem to be able to make your own way in life and that is what is important. I don't agree with the many comments on PPRuNe about how you must sacrifice everything as if it's the only way to prove yourself in aviation (a kind of sad ritual)...in actual fact I think it is that very kind of thinking that haunts the profession and has done since it began...just read "fate is the hunter"

It's not all bad of course I enjoy what I do...but it seems to me that you end up where your supposed to.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 10:46
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I guess we all make our choices, mine was in the end a career of driving trains where they paid you for every qual you required, and during the 30 odd years of doing that raised the 2.3 kids, drove Fords & dabbled in Motor Racing with 3 Aust Championships wins, had to go in & out of the aviation scene (you can only afford so many toys) stayed in contact with all the aeroclubs I had flown with & against much advice purchased my own C172H for 40K from the local aero club. Net result is around 2K a year for the annual + avgas keeps the old girl in the air & I cross hire it to the club to assist in paying the insurance & hangar costs (damn sight cheaper than the motor racing) Did my CPL theory with Bob in Brissie but would love to do the instructor rating to retire in disgrace. We all have our druthers but I hope in the end we come to accept that in life the journey is the object rather than the destination.
cheers
A172
ps don't forget the aero club ball in Oct in YGLI
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 12:33
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flyingtake2 - check your pms.

RR
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