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$165,000 debt and no flying job. Advice?

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$165,000 debt and no flying job. Advice?

Old 10th May 2023, 03:40
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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a good CPL training school should have already given you all the flying skills that you need for an entry level job
Trouble is how is a youngster able to determine what is a good CPL training school? An individual who joined a real outback operator (as in you couldn't get much more remote) rose to the level of chief pilot, left following marriage and started their own 210 introduction to outback flying course, I can only assume because of the lack of expertise evident in those coming into the outback company, which I might add was a company more than willing to give a kid with the signature still wet upon the license a go. Outstanding company, well maintained aircraft, and no I never had commercial dealings with them, going merely by what I observed.
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Old 10th May 2023, 04:56
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Originally Posted by Mach E Avelli
But only if said mentor does not charge for his/her services!
Absolutely, and I should have made this clear. A true mentor does it because they get satisfaction from giving back and seeing those that are some rungs lower on the ladder winning in life and their career.

I know there are plenty of people like this in aviation. Most won't advertise though, you'll have to ask them.
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Old 10th May 2023, 07:50
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A lot can be said for the old days of pilots meeting over drinks at the aeroclub, flyaway or BBQ, getting drunk and spilling stories of misadventure. The new pilot could get to know some of the older crew and get advice on many things from handling a 210 to tips on who to send the resume to avoid the queue. Sadly alcohol induced socializing is now considered a bad thing, and many old pilots need some social lubricant to get the lips moving. I won't take money for advice, but a few drams of the Scottish stuff will loosen the story bag and may even be necessary to motivate the memory cells.

That's what really needs to be pushed to CASA, regular piss-ups improve safety!
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Old 10th May 2023, 08:30
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Are there fewer and fewer outback commercial operators of SE aircraft than say 40 years ago?

Im guessing this is the case because mining companies now insist on twin turbine ops. In the old days, we were cheerfully doing crew changes in 210, 207 and 206.

Out of curiosity, are helicopter jobs easier to get a start on?
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Old 10th May 2023, 08:40
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Originally Posted by 43Inches
Hmm, if you can go back in time and learn at a good cpl school at least 30 years ago...

5 Hours flight time to learn how to fly a relatively small single engine aircraft... Wonder how long a Navajo endorsement is now?

They certainly should add a training component about operating in and around turbulent conditions, that might actually be useful.
Even back in the bad old days when many single engine types required a separate endorsement, I can’t remember having to do more than an hour’s dual when moving up a notch - e.g from Piper Cherokee 180 to Comanche 260, or C182 to C210. Twins took a bit longer, but I can’t recall any transition exceeding five hours, including night landings.
Five hours for a CPL to fly a 210 suggests either a woefully prepared candidate or a rip-off training organisation. Is CPL training now that inadequate?
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Old 10th May 2023, 08:48
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Some sound advice here already posted but I'll chip in with what I've seen happen as someone who came from a sausage factory and has seen/done the instructing/charter/rpt side from over east all the way through the centre of Oz.

Times have been tougher. Right now the job market is appearing to increase (for those who have hours). That will create suction, if it hasn't already at the bottom end of GA into entry jobs.

Who you know helps. Make friends. Don't be cocky. Listen to people and quietly form your own judgements - and keep them to yourself. The industry is very small. I've seen cocky 200hour pilots ruin their reptuations that quite literally followed them around this continent.

My single biggest piece of advice is persistence. Out of all the people I've met in this industry in almost two decades that never made it to their first job, or who later gave up and didn't make it further - it was a lack of persistence. Most never left the big smoke and refused to leave the comfort of sending their CV via email. Get out there face to face. Nobody is going to hire a sub few-hundred-hour pilot based on an anonymous CV at the moment.

Unless you're the odd spud who genuinely struggled with your training (lots of repeats and your hours blew out drastically) then you will get there. I've seen pilots come and go who were quite mediocre and slow learners, but they kept at it and got there. The right attitude helps a lot. Attitude will get you further than raw skills, in GA anyway. You'll see people jump you, and you might even jump people. Deal with it. The indusry isn't fair.

I have not seen a single pilot get to where they wanted (or close to where they wanted) who never gave up. The industry will fluctuate in your favour and against. Right now, it's swinging in your favour, however first jobs have never been easy to get for 95% of people, no matter how big a "pilot shortage". As I said, the only people who I never saw get their first jobs (and there's literally dozens) never really tried. I know that sounds generic.

Try surround yourself with people who have gotten a foot into starting level jobs in GA. Distance yourself from anyone else who might be struggling to get a job especially if it is their fault - ie they're not trying hard enough and just whinging from home about how crap it is rather than giving it 110%.

Take what you read on pprune with a grain of salt. The advice in this thread so far seems genuine and legit and it wont be the cushy easy answers you want. The first P in pprune stands for pessimistic, so when you come across the really negative shit on here just ignore it. In fact, once you land that first job and kick off your career in GA I recommend you stay off this forum for a very long time. I almost quit this industry during the GFC when I was looking for my first job because I frequented this forum regularly and it was an incredible downer listening to people talk about what a shit career you're digging yourself into.

Find the right people. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
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Old 10th May 2023, 09:25
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GL I feel your pain. From my experience this is the toughest part of any flying career, that coveted first job. Most of us have been through this and only the most dedicated survive. I am at the end of my career, and it has been a fabulous ride with no regrets. How to help you along the way?

1. Regrettably a basic CPL is not enough you need either an Instructor Rating or IF/MEA.
2. You need to be known about the traps, try and get any job on an airfield to pay your way.
3. Grab a few mates for a flying trip on a cost sharing exercise. Be careful with this one and follow the legal definition of cost sharing.
4. Network socially through any flying organisation.
5. Sounds like an overkill but look neat and tidy, the industry is still very conservative at the hiring level. No 'Shit Happens' tee-shirts!
6. Neat logbook
7. PM me if you like, I have a few friends flying professionally based in Adelaide, one with his own light aircraft who knows the industry well.
8. Never give up. Book staples held my shoes together for four years. Makes me laugh thinking back, I walked with a clicking sound, so keep a sense of humour.
9. You will make it if you want it badly enough. Try and get some time on an aircraft the operators are using up north.
10. Finally, be safe don't take risks by flying anything anywhere. Sadly, in aviation circles your reputation is formed by accidents or incidents not achievements.

Good luck to you.



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Old 10th May 2023, 09:27
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Five hours for a CPL to fly a 210 suggests either a woefully prepared candidate or a rip-off training organisation. Is CPL training now that inadequate?
My first big single was the PA32R Lance. 1.2 hour of dual for the instructor to guide me through how something can glide worse than a brick, and how to get the brick into a field under you. Then a few circuits to ram home the need to keep the speed and power up on approach and not develop nasty sink rate, of which 2 circuits were with 6 on board to demonstrate it's woeful field performance at max weight. The rest was a lengthy chat over a coffee and later some beers on the finer points of weight and balance, planning and systems and stuff. The instructor never touched the controls and it was more a test drive with some objectives than a checkout. Then off I went with 5 mates and sped flat out at 500ft hugging the coast at 160 kts for a scenic/hoon flight (oops that should read the next day, not after having some beers).

I think the main thing I took from the checkride, don't get slow, especially when low. Don't try to fit it into small airfields, especially with load, allow plenty of margin and also, do everything to avoid having an engine failure, as space shuttle glide performance doesn't give you many options.
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Old 10th May 2023, 10:38
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Lay out a good looking, clear CV, written on one side of A4 paper.

Include any technical qualifications and exam results, and your basic employment facts and dates. Include voluntary work and anything that shows that you go out and try to make things happen or help people rather than playing computer games in your bedroom, (not saying that you do).
Think about the person reading it and make it easy and quick for them to assimilate and put your CV on the 'Keep' pile rather than into the waste bin.
Advice varies on this, but I included a photo, (of me smiling naturally, wearing a collar and tie and looking pleasant).

Print it on nice watermarked paper.

Post it to every operator you can think of - find out the name of the person responsible for recruitment and address it to them by name. Include a covering letter.

Repeat the above every 2 months or so - the Employer's CV pile will get dumped in the bin every so often, so you need to keep your CV appearing on their desk. But not too often, and don't try to speak to the Chief Pilot in person, they don't appreciate it.

Emails are easily missed amongst an in-box full of several hundred others, but an actual paper envelope and CV on "posh" watermarked paper arriving at the Chief Pilot's desk will, at least be read.

If you hear anything about a company possibly looking for a few pilots. Print out your CV again, put it in an envelope, drive to the head office there and then, and ask reception if they would kindly pass your CV on to the Chief Pilot.

Improve your licence if possible and affordable; e.g. relevant type rating, Instrument rating etc. Back in the day, I spent my last £3,000 on a Shorts 360 type rating, which several UK operators flew at the time.

Good luck (I did all the above and was eventually successful).
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Old 10th May 2023, 11:21
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$165k debt, canít get a job and have to throw additional $$$$ at a bullshit GA ready course to polish up after getting the CPL is absolutely ridiculous.

Itís not surprising that thereís a chronic shortage of pilots.

I recon my CPL including multi engine, night and IFR ratings and ATPL theory costed me about $50k back in the early 90s.

I had the luxury of self sponsoring my training as I was a JAFA and done the training part time and it took about 3 years. Held a PPL for a few years before I got my CPL and had over 300 hours when I got it and had C-210, V-35 and a bit of twin time and had passed all my ATPL theory subjects when I done my CPL flight test.

Lots of old school stuff and a lot of guts, risks, financial pain, hard work and beers to get through the first 1500 hours.
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Old 10th May 2023, 11:28
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1. Move to Kununurra.
2. Get a share house with a bunch of Pilots.
3. Get a job at the pub/airport
4. If your not a toolly spud youíll have a job within 6 months.

While your waiting for a flying job to open up enjoy the spectacular gorges, hikes and adventures to be had.
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Old 10th May 2023, 11:46
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Originally Posted by aussieflyboy
1. Move to Kununurra.
2. Get a share house with a bunch of Pilots.
3. Get a job at the pub/airport
4. If your not a toolly spud youíll have a job within 6 months.

While your waiting for a flying job to open up enjoy the spectacular gorges, hikes and adventures to be had.
Agree, I got my first job in Kununurra and also my nickname - Plugga! Thanks to GBJ👍
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Old 10th May 2023, 14:49
  #33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
These loans have always been indexed to inflation, I know this was fully disclosed when I applied for HECS, I hope this was fully disclosed to you?

Also that the money taken out of your pay is held on to by the tax office until the end of the tax year before being applied to your loan balance, so is not paying down the loan with each payment you have deducted? You can only pay the loan down more often than once a year with voluntary payments.

You'd be better off taking out a bank loan to pay off your HELP loan, if you can find a bank that will take the risk (unlikely as a few years back a lot of people were taking out these loans then merrily declaring themselves bankrupt). The only good news is that the debt dies with you so your estate doesn't get burdened with it...the taxpayer does.

Doesn't look so attractive now hey. Self funded is the best and cheapest way to go.

Yeah. In hindsight it would have been best to probably take the bank loan and/or work a job and save to self fund. This is a horrific position to be in.
Yes, I was aware that indexation has always applied to student loans but the dilemma is indexation for 2023 is forecast to be 7.1% - a 30+ year high from previous years. It's all over the media and how this indexation rate is going to hurt a lot of students, especially those with big loans like myself. A $100k loan just cost $107k in a blink. In year 2, the loan balance becomes $115k (assuming the same 7.1% or so indexation for 2024).
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Old 10th May 2023, 16:05
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I understand, I have a HECS debt myself. I'm making extra voluntary payments to try and stop it growing too much. The rate has been low for a long time but inflation has always been a risk factor for these loans.
Self funding is always the best way to go.
I get resumes from people in your exact situation all the time. It makes me so angry how people are being lured onto these courses with nonsense about pilot shortages, there is no shortage of pilots at entry level and never has been, even before the HELP loans flooded the market even more.
I feel very strongly that this should be stopped so that there aren't so many people in your horrific situation. Unfortunately there are too many people on this gravy train and it will keep on happening, unless you and your cohort talk to your MPs and tell them what you have been through.

I wish you all the best of luck.
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Old 10th May 2023, 23:54
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Originally Posted by boigu_bitch
1. never put a photo of yourself on a cv. 2. why would you not want to speak to the chief pilot? Must be done very differently over in the UK

2. Yes you want to, but do Chief Pilots really welcome lots of wannabes with minimal experience they don't know phoning them up all day and trying to sell themselves and pitch for a job? I tried it just the once and the guy was most unpleasant about it. So I went elswhere.
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Old 11th May 2023, 02:58
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
2. Yes you want to, but do Chief Pilots really welcome lots of wannabes with minimal experience they don't know phoning them up all day and trying to sell themselves and pitch for a job? I tried it just the once and the guy was most unpleasant about it. So I went elswhere.
No, we don't.
I think the people that give this advice are actually trying to get rid of the competition by ensuring that the other person will get a reputation as a pest.
I don't appreciate being interrupted in meetings or briefings by someone who didn't have the basic manners to make an appointment.
In 30 years I have never employed anyone off a resume. However there have been rare times when I have had someone polite enough to make an appointment and who has impressed me enough that I recommend them to another employer, and that is how some of my staff have come to me, y word of mouth.
Networking without being a pest is something they should teach at flying school as part of the CPL course.
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Old 11th May 2023, 06:14
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
No, we don't.
I think the people that give this advice are actually trying to get rid of the competition by ensuring that the other person will get a reputation as a pest.
I don't appreciate being interrupted in meetings or briefings by someone who didn't have the basic manners to make an appointment.
In 30 years I have never employed anyone off a resume. However there have been rare times when I have had someone polite enough to make an appointment and who has impressed me enough that I recommend them to another employer, and that is how some of my staff have come to me, y word of mouth.
Networking without being a pest is something they should teach at flying school as part of the CPL course.
There were two ways I recruited pilots.
One was by advertising when we needed them. Those who correctly and succinctly addressed the selection criteria got an interview, and from there some went on to a more technical evaluation such as a simulator check.
The other was by observing how individuals conducted themselves around the airport - were they good with customers, cheerful with staff, diligent about their own aircraft cleanliness, neatly dressed but not posing?
I had a " black list" for serial pests who phoned more than once, or submitted endless resumes that failed to meet basic advertised requirements, or which displayed poor grammar. I did make allowances for grammar if it was obvious that the applicant was not a native English speaker, but took the hardline that anyone who didn't spell check and edit an application would probably be a bit slack in other areas.

Harsh, but about 95% successful.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 11th May 2023 at 06:26.
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Old 11th May 2023, 11:57
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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The 2 steps to getting the elusive first flying job :

1 Networking and persistence is everything
2 See step 1

Good luck!
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Old 11th May 2023, 14:48
  #39 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
I understand, I have a HECS debt myself. I'm making extra voluntary payments to try and stop it growing too much. The rate has been low for a long time but inflation has always been a risk factor for these loans.
Self funding is always the best way to go.
I get resumes from people in your exact situation all the time. It makes me so angry how people are being lured onto these courses with nonsense about pilot shortages, there is no shortage of pilots at entry level and never has been, even before the HELP loans flooded the market even more.
I feel very strongly that this should be stopped so that there aren't so many people in your horrific situation. Unfortunately there are too many people on this gravy train and it will keep on happening, unless you and your cohort talk to your MPs and tell them what you have been through.

I wish you all the best of luck.
I appreciate your response! There's been a few trials in the USA where students have sued the prospective schools for allegedly falsifying marketing statistics to lure them in and leave them with huge student loan debts (and no jobs in the field they studied for). One case, a law student with $170,000 of debt was suing the law school (I believe she lost the case). Another 9 or so graduates were suing a New York university for something similar.

A class action lawsuit or Royal Commission, or something similar, needs to look at the aviation sector in Australia - specifically the way student loans are handed out willy-nilly with a very low probably of gaining employment in the field at the end (10% or less).
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Old 11th May 2023, 14:52
  #40 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
No, we don't.
I think the people that give this advice are actually trying to get rid of the competition by ensuring that the other person will get a reputation as a pest.
I don't appreciate being interrupted in meetings or briefings by someone who didn't have the basic manners to make an appointment.
In 30 years I have never employed anyone off a resume. However there have been rare times when I have had someone polite enough to make an appointment and who has impressed me enough that I recommend them to another employer, and that is how some of my staff have come to me, y word of mouth.
Networking without being a pest is something they should teach at flying school as part of the CPL course.
Great inside information! I appreciate that...
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