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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 18th May 2023, 16:46
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I feel for the OP as he's tried to do some diligence but got caught by the perception versus reality. The old CAA aka Department used to send out a warning with their VFG etc that there are far more pilots than jobs. I thought was rather honest of them.
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Old 18th May 2023, 17:21
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Originally Posted by redsnail
I feel for the OP as he's tried to do some diligence but got caught by the perception versus reality. The old CAA aka Department used to send out a warning with their VFG etc that there are far more pilots than jobs. I thought was rather honest of them.

Very correct Red. However that was in the old days when the CAA or the Department worked with the industry, not actively against it at every turn.
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Old 18th May 2023, 23:35
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Although I feel for the OP and the others who have been sucked in by schools selling the dream. However schools have always been selling the dream, only most people paid up front yet many invested this money and never ended up with a job. The real problem though is that previously there were less mass schools so the trickle of new CPLs made their way around the country to hunt that elusive job, now it’s a torrent. This coincides with there being less jobs as technology removes the need for some traditional piloting pathways. I started my journey in the mid 90s and thy were talking pilot shortage then, thirty years later it has not really materialised.
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Old 19th May 2023, 08:27
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How can you possibly run up a bill of $165k just to end up with a CPL? Genuine question.
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Old 19th May 2023, 09:05
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Originally Posted by prickly
If I was in the position of hiring a newbie pilot it certainly wouldn't be one irresponsible enough to run up a $165,000 debt with no or little chance of repaying it in the remainder of their working lives. Talk of legal action on the basis of being deliberately misinformed only confirms that decision
Plenty of Pilot jobs around at the moment.

Year 1 SE Piston: $50K income - $500 repaid
Year 2 SE Turbine: $60K income - $1,500 repaid
Year 3 ME Piston: $70K income - $2,800 repaid
Year 4 ME Turbine: $85K income - $4,650 repaid
Years 5 - 7 Jet FO: $130,000 income - $35,100 repaid
Years 7 - 13 Jet CMD: $210,000 income - $126,000 repaid

13 years to pay off $165,000 HECS debt. So an 18 year old finishing the uni course at 21 could be on $200+K a year as a 35 year old and HECS debt free.
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Old 19th May 2023, 09:16
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The bank of Mum and Dad pay for a lot of these young airline pilots to get where they are.

If not directly, usually with free rent and some help along the way.

It’s hard for those who hooked up and got married early.
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Old 19th May 2023, 12:59
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Originally Posted by Ollie Onion
How can you possibly run up a bill of $165k just to end up with a CPL? Genuine question.
I did explain this. It was a RPL/CPL/ME IR/G3 FIR package, along with a GA ready course + MCC.

So no, it's not $165,000 for just a CPL.

Grant.
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Old 19th May 2023, 15:58
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Originally Posted by aussieflyboy
Plenty of Pilot jobs around at the moment.

Year 1 SE Piston: $50K income - $500 repaid
Year 2 SE Turbine: $60K income - $1,500 repaid
Year 3 ME Piston: $70K income - $2,800 repaid
Year 4 ME Turbine: $85K income - $4,650 repaid
Years 5 - 7 Jet FO: $130,000 income - $35,100 repaid
Years 7 - 13 Jet CMD: $210,000 income - $126,000 repaid

13 years to pay off $165,000 HECS debt. So an 18 year old finishing the uni course at 21 could be on $200+K a year as a 35 year old and HECS debt free.
dream run!
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Old 19th May 2023, 16:35
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You only needed a PPL and CPL.
Out of interest how much was it to get to CPL?
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Old 19th May 2023, 20:58
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Originally Posted by aussieflyboy
Plenty of Pilot jobs around at the moment.

Year 1 SE Piston: $50K income - $500 repaid
Year 2 SE Turbine: $60K income - $1,500 repaid
Year 3 ME Piston: $70K income - $2,800 repaid
Year 4 ME Turbine: $85K income - $4,650 repaid
Years 5 - 7 Jet FO: $130,000 income - $35,100 repaid
Years 7 - 13 Jet CMD: $210,000 income - $126,000 repaid

13 years to pay off $165,000 HECS debt. So an 18 year old finishing the uni course at 21 could be on $200+K a year as a 35 year old and HECS debt free.
The gap between reality and fantasy is wider than I thought, and it's everywhere. Not to mention the debt will be $265,000 after 13 years

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Old 19th May 2023, 22:20
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Originally Posted by prickly
The gap between reality and fantasy is wider than I thought, and it's everywhere. Not to mention the debt will be $265,000 after 13 years
​​​​ Using the Vet Student Loan (VSL) system, you're automatically charged a 20% loan fee. $10,000 becomes $12,000. VSL is interest-free. However, the repayment calculations are attached it to the currency index, so in reality, what you pay back can vary. ​​​
………..
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Old 20th May 2023, 00:22
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Originally Posted by grant.lebronte
I did explain this. It was a RPL/CPL/ME IR/G3 FIR package, along with a GA ready course + MCC.
I would've expected that mob who advertise the "GA ready course" would be able to get you at least some sort of casual gig to recuperate the costs and give you the taste of the industry.
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Old 20th May 2023, 00:26
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https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/Study-a...exation-rates/

It is interest free but is indexed according to CPI, currently 7.1% and all the payments taken out of wages are only taken off the loan by the ATO once a year. It can grow rapidly and far more expensive than paying up front or using equity in your house.
The repayments will vary with your income and be adjusted at the end of the financial year then and only then are a years worth of repayments put towards paying off the loan, so it has been growing at 7.1% for a whole year. If you look at the link above you will see how it was a good deal until 2022 when it jumped from 0.6% to 3.9%, then jumped to 7.1% for 2023. Who knows what is in store in 2024, but I can't see it going back down to 2021 levels for some time, if ever.
This is all disclosed when you apply for any kind of HELP loan, but the idea of "free flying" is very appealing if that is what people want to sell or believe.
The only way to pay down the loan more quickly is with direct, voluntary payments.

Last edited by Clare Prop; 20th May 2023 at 02:54.
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Old 20th May 2023, 01:19
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Machiavelli:

in short, yes, CPL training is inadequate.

No (or little) Cessna time - the most commonly used aircraft in GA.
nav exercises over the same routes, one of which is the CPL test.
no dirt strips.
no drum refuelling.
no MTOW flights.
no flights on less than full fuel, so no fuel calcs in flight.
no maintenance training.
Limited landings in crosswinds.
no flights in 8k viz, much less special VFR.

living at home for longer also means a freshly minted CPL May have limited life skills - worst one that I know of wanted more uniforms because he didn’t know how to use a washing machine. His housemates (remote base) had to teach him how to wash his clothes, and how to cook something other than toast / cuppa.

At the same time, insurance and CaSA (and common sense) require that a pilot be able to demonstrate that they can do a manouvre consistently….flapless, short field, steep turns, stalls, EFATO, emergency procedures, use of checklists. That is a lot to accomplish in one hour..

I would estimate that the average cost of getting a freshly minted CPL checked to line to fly a scenic in a Cessna 100 series would be in the vicinity of $10k.

WARNING - THREAD DRIFT

There is a lot of slinging off at pilots who “follow the magenta line” but let’s have a look at what’s happening in flight.

Prior to flight, Pilots were always required to access weather (now provided in the ever so user friendly GAF and Grid Point winds), NoTAMS, fuel calcs, and W&B.

Part 119 (from memory) introduced in December 2021, requires pilots to save this information, and a flight log showing FOB and actual time vs ETA - three months after the flight. If the W&B is not produced on a method which is an integral part of the aircraft, then the W&B must be stored for six months after the flight.

tell me - what is the possible safety benefit gained by saving this information.for 3-6 months after a flight? What is the purpose, other than to provide the prosecutor with all the information he / she needs in the event of accident or incident?

So have a look now at what is happening in a single engine, single pilot scenic flight…..a low hour pilot in an ageing 206 or 210 over Jim Jim Falls or Wilpena Pound or the Horizontal Falls does not have his / her eyes out of the cockpit, looking for the 4-6 other aircraft who are also in the vicinity….No Instead, they will have their head down, looking at their EFB, making sure that they have recorded the Actual Time and estimated FOB on a flight log which - after the safe conclusion of the flight - has no proven safety benefit.

Add in tighter operating margins which means that a day flightseeing trip or a charter MUST be done in X.Y hours, or risk running at a loss…so yes, the newly minted CPL will be glued to the (boss approved) magenta line.

What does the future hold?
the forced introduction of a safety management system - which comes with the cheery advice that a small GA organisation should be recording 50-100 safety occurrences per year. If not, they may be investigated for “not having a culture where staff promote safety”.
Imagine what damage to a business that an entitled CPL who fails to progress on the fleet can do in that environment…..

What many in GA is also waiting for is the announcement of maintenance, and whether there will be any maintenance approved for a pilot to complete.
if the predicted move to “manufacturers only maintenance” occurs, then this will mean that ALL maintenance must be performed by a LAME…
get a flat tyre on a remote strip? Fly in a LAME…
Doing a freight run that might get back after dark but got a blown light? Get the LAME to change the bulb.
now, LAMEs are many things, but one thing they are not is cheap.
Just have a think about the damage to the businesses bottom line will be if only a LAME can do these things…that sound you hear will be the hangar doors sliding closed on any remote operator who does not have a LAME on the airfield.

To course correct back to track (thread)…fewer operators means fewer jobs. However, fewer jobs will not mean less training. Taxpayer supported training will continue to be a valid business model.

Edited to add: I don’t know of too many 20 year old Chief Pilots. Senior Base Pilot, maybe, but not Chief.




Last edited by outnabout; 20th May 2023 at 01:31.
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Old 20th May 2023, 03:19
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Originally Posted by Clare Prop
You only needed a PPL and CPL.
Out of interest how much was it to get to CPL?
Around $82,000 not including the loan fee of 20%.

Yes, I understand that only a CPL is required but I decided to do the G3 FIR when my first visit to the Top End was not fruitful. My secondary struggle has been to try and land a G3 position but the CPs I've spoken to about flight instructor positions (that have been advertised), are not interested in taking on Grade 3s (a conversation for another day). Nonetheless, the flight training was a lot of fun but it is just one long string of disappointments. Side note: How is one to become a Grade 2/1 (which is what the advertised flight instructor positions ask for) when one cannot get a Grade 3 position to earn the stripes for such advertised positions. Catch 22.

Appreciate your input.
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Old 20th May 2023, 03:25
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Originally Posted by Bosi72
I would've expected that mob who advertise the "GA ready course" would be able to get you at least some sort of casual gig to recuperate the costs and give you the taste of the industry.
To be fair, I did receive a little over 5 hours for the GA ready course. Yes, it cost a fortune (I had to take a personal loan). Unfortunately, there is a class FULL of the GA ready students and from what I'm told, all of these GA ready courses are completely full (mine certainly was and, I had to go on a waitlist to do my GA course). So another problem is a new flood of GA ready course graduates in the market, all of which are $5,000 or so out of pocket. I never heard of the GA ready course until I was based in the Top End and met some younger pilots that said it was the "bare minimum" to get a job.

I read in an unrelated thread where someone joked about not having "moon landings" in their logbook to score a job. I feel the sentiment of that poster's sarcasm. I honestly feel like I need a spaceship endorsement with 2 moon landings to even have a shot. Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, in my exact position.
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Old 20th May 2023, 03:46
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Originally Posted by grant.lebronte
Unfortunately, there is a class FULL of the GA ready students and from what I'm told, all of these GA ready courses are completely full (mine certainly was and, I had to go on a waitlist to do my GA course).

there you have it. there are tons of fresh CPLs who graduate from east coast and DO pack up the car and head up north, hand in a couple of resumes, wait a month in a share house pulling beers at the beachfront, cave in and do the GA ready course (even though they don't really believe in it and have maybe even heard of the owner possibly being a nutcase). After spending many months in Darwin myself I even ended up asking said owner for a job instructing on my G3 ticket. left completely shaken up as the "chat about my skills and attitudes" felt more like a chance for him to re use interrogation tactics he learnt on a course once during his stint as a GSO.

yet people still want to repeat that "there are jobs up north and with the right attitude and if you stick around long you will get them". yes, that is what someone who has had a clear or good run through the industry will say. one who moved up as a fresh 20 year old and got posted out remote after a month of waiting, and had the time of their life on Groote/Elcho etc. but there's a bunch others that just leave the territory/WA demoralised, dejected, depressed etc. then you get boomers on this forum saying "if you did your CPL and other tickets on a VET loan you deserve not to have a job" and some even make a grand statement about your character "do you even care about flying? did you sign up to your $100k course just to dress up in epaulettes? I bet you steer like sh*t and fly like a spud". super toxic and I bet this type of judgement comes from characters who have spent their whole life in aviation. never done a day labouring or in a sh*tty customer service job. have no idea how easy their past 30 years in aviation has been. gets smoke blown up their a** every day by sh*tting on every possible thing they can, like other flight schools and operators and how people fly their planes and operate their engines.

some characters in the industry are pathetic which has resorted to me withdrawing from a lot of discussion in aviation. too many people who don't know what they're talking about proudly making big statements. too many people pushing others down rather than pushing them up. not to mention literally every operator up north shafts there employees in one way or another. they get to do that because there are hundreds of girls and guys go up each year believing that all it takes is the drive up to find a job, when in fact it takes a lot of networking and knowing the right people, or the sheer luck of turning up on the doorstep of the operator when all the planets have aligned, they are there, there are in a good mood and no one else has seen them before you with a better resume.
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Old 20th May 2023, 03:49
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Originally Posted by aussieflyboy
Plenty of Pilot jobs around at the moment.

Year 1 SE Piston: $50K income - $500 repaid
Year 2 SE Turbine: $60K income - $1,500 repaid
Year 3 ME Piston: $70K income - $2,800 repaid
Year 4 ME Turbine: $85K income - $4,650 repaid
Years 5 - 7 Jet FO: $130,000 income - $35,100 repaid
Years 7 - 13 Jet CMD: $210,000 income - $126,000 repaid

13 years to pay off $165,000 HECS debt. So an 18 year old finishing the uni course at 21 could be on $200+K a year as a 35 year old and HECS debt free.
Meanwhile, on the railways:
Year 0-0.5 Trainee Coey $75-90K depending on operator
Year 0.5-2 Coey / Driver-in-training - $90-120K
Year 2-3 Qualified Driver $120-200K+ depending on operator.

Upfront costs? Zip. Maybe $4K if you want to do a safeworking course and a Cat 1 medical to show a potential employer you're fair dinkum.

When I'm earning as much or more than the tech crew flying me to work - without a degree and a hundred-thousand-dollar "investment" in training either - there's something seriously wrong. But flying schools have always pushed the 'shiny-jet-syndrome' and 'pilot shortage' mantras to the detriment of their students. I get that they're fundamentally running a business and a fool and his money are soon parted but at what point does someone hold a hand up and say, "Hang on a minute, is this really the most prudent course of action?", either financially, emotionally or career-wise?

Does anyone know if AOPA or similar have done any number-crunching on how many CPL's qualify each year vs how many are actually employed as a pilot within 12 months of their flight test?
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Old 20th May 2023, 04:06
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Yes there should be some kind of statistics going back to the department that is splashing all this taxpayers money around.
VET is supposed to fulfil an industry need. Therefore any money being made available for pilot training should be where the real demand is, ie people with a proven track record in the industry needing to get some ratings to improve their prospects and fill the gaps much further up the ladder, including at the senior instructor level; not pushing more and more fish into the stagnant pond at the bottom of the ladder.

I believe this was the original intent of it.



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Old 20th May 2023, 12:36
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Side note: How is one to become a Grade 2/1 (which is what the advertised flight instructor positions ask for) when one cannot get a Grade 3 position to earn the stripes for such advertised positions.
Well, in my day (1988), you didn't do a G3 course unless you had a job offer at the end of it - even a job offer as a casual who had to sign up their own students.
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