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Swinburne Degree Course

Old 6th Mar 2022, 08:00
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Swinburne Degree Course

Hi all,

I am 37 years old with 3 young kids and looking at going part time with my job and enrolling in the CPL degree course at Swinburne, or potentially a Diploma course with a flight school.

I recently attempted the CQU degree course, flying was going relatively well but unfortunately with the various covid lockdowns I decided to take a break until I was certain lockdowns would be over.

I'm leaning towards this course as I think I would benefit from the university environment.

What I am curious about is if there are 'older' people in this course usually and if anyone has an idea on the standard weekly schedule. As a parent I am wanting to see if there is the possibility to commit to being available with school drop etc...

Appreciate any information available.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 08:47
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What is your end goal? (ie come back in 5/10 years whatís the aim) and how far did you get with any flying you have done?


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Old 6th Mar 2022, 09:35
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Itís pretty hard to work/have a family life. I found to be there 5/6 days a week (2 full days of uni classes, 3 half days of ground school with flying around that) I struggled with doing night shift once a week on the weekend!
A degree isnít required is most cases if youíve finished high school. FEE HELP is available at a lot of flight schools now if thatís why youíre looking at a uni course.
Another thing I found when I went through, CAE (flight school for Swinburne is very airline focused training) you donít go on dirt strips/ learn to fly in crap weather and when I went into GA I was as green as they come when it came to flying into remote communities!!
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 09:44
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Originally Posted by PoppaJo View Post
What is your end goal? (ie come back in 5/10 years whatís the aim) and how far did you get with any flying you have done?
Ideally long term a career as a commercial pilot. I know age may be a barrier to break into long haul but to be honest I'd be happy with a domestic flying career.

I managed to get to first solo, as well as a few other subsequent solo touch and go flights before lockdown #6.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 10:54
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Chopz

Hi Chopz,

Apologies, I am at work and should not really be on the computer so will have to be brief.

Make sure you have a good understanding of Part 141 and Part 142 schools.

Swinburne being a Part 142 operation able to provide a CPL in less hours, although it is far more rigid. You will be flying a more rigid syllabus.

A Part 141 school will require an additional 30 hours of solo to obtain a CPL and will also have GST (unlike a 142 school).

The 141 school will however offer alot more flexibility as far as navigation routes, ability to carry passengers after the ppl while you build hours (possibility of cost sharing to offset cost). Easier to change between schools, and stop and start training as funds permit. To be honest, i feel the 141 school may suit your needs better.

Im sorry i am out of time but go forth and do your research before you commit to anything. it appears that flexibility and ability to complete training over a longer period may suit your requirements. i.e. a Part 141 school.

If you have a family, make sure you have a realistic expectation of costs, and understand that the basic CPL isnt enough to get your career going.

Sorry im so brief, but hope it gets you doing the research required for the best decsion, cheers.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 10:58
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Originally Posted by Bumble_Pilot View Post
Itís pretty hard to work/have a family life. I found to be there 5/6 days a week (2 full days of uni classes, 3 half days of ground school with flying around that) I struggled with doing night shift once a week on the weekend!
A degree isnít required is most cases if youíve finished high school. FEE HELP is available at a lot of flight schools now if thatís why youíre looking at a uni course.
Another thing I found when I went through, CAE (flight school for Swinburne is very airline focused training) you donít go on dirt strips/ learn to fly in crap weather and when I went into GA I was as green as they come when it came to flying into remote communities!!
Very good to know. I never finished high school however have a diploma in paramedicine so am capable of learning.

During our first big lockdown when libraries were closed I was working full time and studying full time with no quiet place to escape so it was extremely challenging with 3 kids at home trying to be home schooled as well.

I've looked into cadetships and a range of options but unfortunately most are geared to the younger school leaver and not to anyone who has a family. I totally get that the first job may also not be totally great but at the very least there is an income of some sort.

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 10:59
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Originally Posted by glenb View Post
Hi Chopz,

Apologies, I am at work and should not really be on the computer so will have to be brief.

Make sure you have a good understanding of Part 141 and Part 142 schools.

Swinburne being a Part 142 operation able to provide a CPL in less hours, although it is far more rigid. You will be flying a more rigid syllabus.

A Part 141 school will require an additional 30 hours of solo to obtain a CPL and will also have GST (unlike a 142 school).

The 141 school will however offer alot more flexibility as far as navigation routes, ability to carry passengers after the ppl while you build hours (possibility of cost sharing to offset cost). Easier to change between schools, and stop and start training as funds permit. To be honest, i feel the 141 school may suit your needs better.

Im sorry i am out of time but go forth and do your research before you commit to anything. it appears that flexibility and ability to complete training over a longer period may suit your requirements. i.e. a Part 141 school.

If you have a family, make sure you have a realistic expectation of costs, and understand that the basic CPL isnt enough to get your career going.

Sorry im so brief, but hope it gets you doing the research required for the best decsion, cheers.
Hi Glen,

That is super helpful! Really appreciate the guidance and definitely gives me something to consider.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 14:15
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Join Date: Mar 2020
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Sorry OP,
I think just blatantly saying that you'd be happy with a domestic carrier is a bit of a stretch I am afraid. I think you'll find yourself in a very big hole (financially) and perhaps its too long in the game and with the family etc to start out. You'll need a few thousand hours to get a domestic gig and the money to get to that level isn't really all that conducive to family life/ mortgage and all that stuff.

What would your first job be? are you willing to drag your kids to live on Elcho Island or Halls creek so that you can satisfy your dream to fly- albeit in a single piston? Have a long hard think- I think you may be getting sold a bit of a lie at your flight school and the truth is that the sacrifice required to make being a pilot worthwhile is something that potentially has already passed.

If i was in your position id consider making it a hobby rather than a career change.

Thats my opinion and I'm just trying to be honest. I hate flight schools and there swindling ways, they will lie and sell you the world and all you're really left with is a big fat debt, Just ask them how many of their CPL's actually get jobs- the answer will be very few. Ive seen loads of fresh CPL guys come and go and after 12 months of trying (sometimes more) they end up giving it away. Its not because they are poor pilots- its because there a re so limited opportunities for the low hour guys.
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 14:38
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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You have a family mate,

Get a job that pays you enough you can fly for fun on the weekends and just enjoy life.

You chase this dream and head north and your family life most likely will suffer...
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 15:49
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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On most of these points you are correct Glen ...but GST is not always applicable to a Part 141. See the following tax office private ruling:
https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/view...99991231235958
The smart 141's know how to get a ruling like this........
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Old 6th Mar 2022, 20:12
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Originally Posted by Skippy69 View Post
If i was in your position id consider making it a hobby rather than a career change.

That's my opinion and I'm just trying to be honest. I hate flight schools and there swindling ways, they will lie and sell you the world and all you're really left with is a big fat debt, Just ask them how many of their CPL's actually get jobs- the answer will be very few. Ive seen loads of fresh CPL guys come and go and after 12 months of trying (sometimes more) they end up giving it away. Its not because they are poor pilots- its because there a re so limited opportunities for the low hour guys.
Spot on, Skippy, P69 too..

Chopz, Have a look at the Australian Airline Wages Comparison thread for a bit of an idea as to what you'll be on in 5-10 years if you make it to one of those operators. It's not exactly pretty. EFA 737 Captain - $161K, Effo $101. QLink Q400 skipper? $92K and $62K for the minion. Rex Saab driver? $94-115K in the left seat, or $60-70K in the right.

Then ask yourself can you afford to pay your loans back, pay the mortgage and support the missus and kids on that sort of coin? In most cases, the answer is "no". If the answer is "yes", follow that up with "How's family life going to go in Kunner's or some other backwater while I compete with every other new CPL for that first job?"

I gave it away as a career when I saw the reality of what I've written above, and got a good paying job that I enjoy that lets me fly for fun on my terms, in my own plane whenever and wherever I please. Whale watching down Victor 1 with Mini-me? Check. An after-school sunset lap around the Hunter Valley? Sure beats doing homework...

I don't regret that decision, but I would also say that if you are committed, have the financial and family backing to do it, your age is going to be a bit of a barrier, but not the end of the world, as you're likely to be seen as someone with a bit more common sense and life experience than an 18yo old CPL, so go for it! But go into it with your eyes open and a realistic expectation of what lies ahead or you run the risk of losing a lot...
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 05:04
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Join Date: Mar 2021
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The Jetstar cadetship has reopened for applications, might be a good option for you. You do the Associate degree of aviation so it will only take 18 months.
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Old 7th Mar 2022, 11:57
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The reality that others seem to be missing because they’ve conveniently forgotten the evil, addictive drug like pull that aviation has - is if you’ve got the bug you’re probably gonna give it a shot.

If you are going to give it a shot then understand the process. You don’t sound like you’re blind to the realities to me..

But…

The big Uni's , despite what some will say , aren’t all bad - it can come down to the luck of the draw as to your instructor - something you can choose if you pay as you go at a smaller operator.

I don’t think the degree is worth a thing for you as you’ve already studied - hours and experience are still the main currency in hires. Saying that , it will give you a structure (and a quiet place) to smash the subjects. Something that is hard with the fam - particularly the ATPLs - someone may correct me here, but Id say it works out to 20+ contact hours for the schooling and then the flying several days a week - both on different sites as you probably know

FYI I was also a late starter- I did a TIF at around 30, payed my own way over 5 years to a PPL , ran out of cash and sold my soul to the lords of fee help and a Uni - but a year later I had a CPL and an instructor rating something that would have taken five more years (auto spell made this instructor ranting - not far from the truth)

By the time I’d finished training id payed about 80-100k to earn about 38k in my first single engine instructor job - yep - an insane addict.

I made a choice for my young family to instruct and to do so in big schools so I could stay local, earn a wage no matter how puny, smash hours quickly and leave the bin chickens up north to the young bucks - a part of me wishes I’d done some time up north, but the rest of me knows I’m way too soft.

I fought my way through the toxic rabid world of flight schools where 20 year old know it all instructors regularly took metaphoric sh1ts on one another (and me) to get ahead - but eventually I had all the tickets . Some time later I lost all patience with instructing and moved on so I wouldn't become one of those instructors. (Note: for a few years I really enjoyed it!)

I then moved on to scaring the shit out of myself in crapped out old twins (about 65-70k) and then slightly bigger and better ones with turbines 110+k - that was my progression over about 5-6 years as a commercial pilot. I don’t see myself as a (big) jet jockey but never say never. Saying that, I like what I’m doing and that counts for a lot - to me.

I’ve managed to stay in one capital city for my entire career thus far . Staying put slowed me down but only by a year or so when I could have got on to turbines a bit earlier up north.

It is financially (and spiritually) hard at times along the way, and if you’ve not got another income earner in the house it may be impossible at times.

You’ll feel like you’ve never got enough of any type of hours and you’ll think you’re ready for the next thing about 6-12 months before the powers that be do - then you won’t care anymore and you’ll get the jobs you want because you’re genuinely competitive (no matter what - all they wanna know on hiring is can they spend time with you and not wanna punch you in the face - Plenty seem to get through this policy though...)

There were a few seniors like you in the uni courses but mostly they were kids.

I guess the overall gist of this weird late night rant is you’re not too old , but If you go hard it won’t be 7 years til you’re pulling a good wage (2 years training + 5 years getting the hours and working your way to reasonable coin )

If you take covid out of it, and I’m not sure we can yet I think the short to mid term outlook for the industry isn’t too bad. But the above will tell you optimism isn’t always a good thing.

good luck.

HA


Last edited by Homesick-Angel; 7th Mar 2022 at 21:24.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 02:28
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I think there is some great advice here.

If you have the will to work your way up through GA, you and your family will be eating ramen and changing schools every couple of years.

Doable? Sure.
advisable? Not really.

Honestly, I'd wait until qantas and/or Jetstar release their cadet program again. See if you can get into that and circumvent the GA route.

The amount of people that get themselves into crazy fee help debt and decide to ultimately do something else is pretty high, and lots of these are single high school graduates.

​​​​​​
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 06:29
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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1) Get high paying job.
2) Save every cent that you can until you have enough to complete CPL plus maybe an ag or instructor rating.
3) Do as much theory as is possible while doing (1) and (2).
4) Find a decent flying school with a good reputationÖ most likely in a regional town. Rather than capital city.
5) Complete all flying training. Consider a CPL(H). Start looking for work.
6) And here is where the misery starts for a 200 hour CPL holder.

But under NO circumstances do one of those dodgy Aviation degrees being offered at former hairdresser colleges. They are beyond worthless and very, very few GA employers are interested.


But all that being said, donít give up. Money and conditions are crap for pilots, but there is pretty good job satisfaction especially in helis.

If itís a degree that you feel you need, go do a regular STEM degree at an established university.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 11:04
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Melbourne
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1. get your class 1 medical
2. study and pass all 7 cpl theory exams
3. go flying (expensive part)

..and in this particular order..
Doable from personal experience of a 49yo.

Good luck
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 11:29
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Join Date: May 2019
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Aviation is the one disease where no one is actively seeking a cure. I understand the urge, but I hope for your sake it passes
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 15:47
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Hi folks,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. There are of course various different opinions and ideas as to the best way to proceed and it gives me a few things to think about and assess.

I have to say that HA hit the nail on the head when he referred to aviation as an addictive drug. It is just that. I am also a big believer that I would rather regret having tried and failed rather than regret not attempting. I think if I try and fail there is no unknown, if however I don't try at all I know that I will always wonder what potentially could have been.

So I will take the plunge somehow after considering all the options on offer and work out what will be best.

I really do appreciate every bit of advice or input you have all given.
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Old 8th Mar 2022, 22:41
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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I think Lucille has it right - don't do an aviation degree - they are really quite worthless in the grand scheme of things. Some other degree, STEM or otherwise, would be more valuable should you not land the elusive pilot gig or worse still get the dream job then lose your medical for whatever reason or even end up "stood down" for an extended period.
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