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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 8th May 2023, 11:45
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$165,000 debt and no flying job. Advice?

I'm a little worried about my age (40s) and the accumulated debt I've racked up from flight training here in Australia. Recently, the GA Ready course has added another (almost) $5,000 to the total bill. It appears as though I'm not the only one and in Australia, we seem to be going down a similar trajectory as the United States with the student loan crisis. I've watched countless videos on YouTube and dozens of stories of students in the USA that have 10s of thousands, sometimes 100s of thousands of dollars in debt, and cannot get a "first job" in their chosen field and are working at Denny's to just pay for the interest on these loans!

As of the 1st of June, the Australian government is going to apply a 7% indexation to loans. The highest it's been in over 30 years. That means if any student pilot (or student in general) is servicing a $130,000 student loan from flight training. Their "interest" (indexation) will be just over $9,000! The total loan to pay will be closer to $140,000! That's around $760 per month just in interest. Yes I understand we have repayment thresholds but this is a silent financial killer as the indexation will keep adding up the total amount payable. It means not being able to get a house loan as a bank will factor in your student loan debt when they determine how much to loan you. I'll be honest and say that I never carefully thought this through and feel a bit of a death spiral of debt looming. I feel like I am not the only one. And worse, the lack of "first jobs" in aviation here in Australia means going back to a Call Centre job!!! There are dozens of freshly minted CPLers that I met in my voyage up North and NE and none of them can get a job except the rare one that slips through the cracks and gets checked to line on a C210 or something. I think for every 1 that gets a first GA job, there is another 10-20 that miss out. I wish this stat was passed through flying schools so everyone can make an informed decision before committing to a HUGE student debt.

This is partly a vent but also genuinely asking for ideas of how one can get a first flying job and at least get out of the Call Centre industry (for good).

G
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Old 9th May 2023, 04:31
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The issue that GL has commented on is now becoming known to a lot of flight students who took up the so called student loan. Please note it is not a Government loan but a loan of Tax payers monies.
Flight schools are very quick to sell the loan to potential flight students with the comment 'just pay it back when you get that first job rather than wait until you reach the
magic figure that the tax man then says pay up'.
What the flight schools do not spell out out is that not every student who gets a CPL is going to snap up a flight job in the short term.
GL has told us the true picture and that is that only a small number of new CPL pilots are going to get a flying job in the short term, others may be hung out to dry for months and not get a job. In summary there are more new CPLs than there are pilots jobs waiting to be filled.
Be warned.
R
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Old 9th May 2023, 04:47
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Can I ask.. what is a GA ready Course ????
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Old 9th May 2023, 05:24
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165K?? Smells like one of those half-baked FTA integrated courses to me.

Anyway, it's too late now for you to be worrying about your debt. Take a breath of fresh air and look forward with an open mind.

Personally I did a non-integrated CPL to ensure I came out with a total time close to insurance minimums then self funded and MEA IR and about 8 hours on a 210 off the east coast. I made some good mates along the way who got a start with a couple of operators which paved the way for me to get a meet and greet. There was a bit of a gap between end of training and my first GA gig. During that 10ish months it seemed there was no end in sight but looking back it really was a very small amount of time (others waited longer). I visitied Darwin a few times, then eventually moved there to door knock and go out on the piss with the other pilots.

Take it easy and enjoy your time, keep hitting up those operators with CVs, they'll crack eventually (It also helps when a line checked driver is also nagging the CP to give you a start).

So once you do get a start (and you will) just remember that in GA you can't gain points, you can only loose them. (I.e. Don't go being a brown noser, it's poor form and disrespects the profession and not to mention your peers, and dont whinge at all becuase squeaky wheels don't get any oil in GA ...I mean that both figuratively and literally ).

RE: Your debt; It wont be long and youll have the option to shoot off to the U.S. and earn more than enough to sort it out... but mark my words, if you stay in Australia it won't ******* happen.
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Old 9th May 2023, 05:27
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Originally Posted by SOPS
Can I ask.. what is a GA ready Course ????
Something like this I guess. Probably stuff you should already have covered with a good CPL school.
https://www.flycommand.com.au/ga-ready

Our Course Includes

- 5hrs flight training

- 2 x 1-hour pre flight briefings

- Briefing on Cessna 200-series aircraft systems

- Letter of recommendation signed by our Chief Pilot (provided you meet the standard)

- CV/Resume character reference

Flight training includes:




- General handling and emergencies

- Emergency gear extension
- Circuits (normal, flapless, glide, EFATO)


- Navigation and descent planning (Class G, D, C)
- Effective approach briefs


- Engine management (particularly important in hot climates)

- Leaning (LOP/ROP operations)
- General plane/passenger and cargo loading management

We maintain strong relationships with various GA operators. We've had dozens of pilots go on to operators and successfully found work thanks to our training and recommendation. Those operators include:



- Wrightsair
- Chinta Air


- Arkaroola
- Lincoln Air Charter
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Old 9th May 2023, 06:31
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If you're living in Adelaide then I'm presuming you're Australian? Why not just go to the US and get a job? There are thousands...

Last edited by rudestuff; 9th May 2023 at 08:36.
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Old 9th May 2023, 07:17
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Originally Posted by Cloudee
Something like this I guess. Probably stuff you should already have covered with a good CPL school.
https://www.flycommand.com.au/ga-ready

Our Course Includes

- 5hrs flight training

- 2 x 1-hour pre flight briefings

- Briefing on Cessna 200-series aircraft systems

- Letter of recommendation signed by our Chief Pilot (provided you meet the standard)

- CV/Resume character reference

Flight training includes:




- General handling and emergencies

- Emergency gear extension
- Circuits (normal, flapless, glide, EFATO)


- Navigation and descent planning (Class G, D, C)
- Effective approach briefs


- Engine management (particularly important in hot climates)

- Leaning (LOP/ROP operations)
- General plane/passenger and cargo loading management

We maintain strong relationships with various GA operators. We've had dozens of pilots go on to operators and successfully found work thanks to our training and recommendation. Those operators include:



- Wrightsair
- Chinta Air


- Arkaroola
- Lincoln Air Charter
.

Seems like a good way to remove money from people.
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Old 9th May 2023, 09:30
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Everyone is being robbed except the flying school owners. Us the taxpayers, the students that have been sold a non existant dream and chucked on the scrapheap with a huge debt before they have even begun.

It should have been scrapped when the owner of Soar went onto the rich list and then left the country, leaving a trail of destruction.

When is there going to be a royal commission into this complete rort of taxpayers money?

I'd like to know who is on this gravy train. Following the money could be very interesting.
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Old 9th May 2023, 09:36
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I believe the number of starters who actually get to finish these sorts of courses and get a job is around 5%. Also that the token starters fall off the course quite early on, make of that what you will. Recently I heard from someone who is working for a well known brand that of one cohort that recently went through, only ONE got a job with the same brand,

It should be required under consumer rights for this to be disclosed.
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Old 9th May 2023, 09:47
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Originally Posted by SOPS
.

Seems like a good way to remove money from people.
Discussed at length in previous threads, with the consensus being it’s a WOFTAM. Also plenty of advice about how entry level pilots improve their chances if they can offer other skills. Bus licence, good on the spanners, relevant second language, first aid ticket etc.
It’s not much help to the unfortunate OP here to know he’s been conned with rosy tales of how extra training enhances employability, but if only people did independent research before spending money on ANYTHING there would be fewer tales of woe.
My advice, for what it’s worth: At age 40 plus, with a bare CPL, your chances of an entry level flying job are not good, as you are up against 20 year olds with the same qualifications. Operators like them young and malleable.
Even if you do land a flying job, the pay will barely cover living in a remote area, much less servicing a large debt.
Investigate cadet programs, but not one where you pay! I am not even sure that such exists yet, but with the alleged pilot shortage at airline level, you never know.
Otherwise, get a heavy vehicle license, or learn to operate a combine harvester, or work as a deckhand on a trawler - in other words put aviation on the back burner for now, but pick a field associated with machinery, not the call centre…
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Old 9th May 2023, 09:51
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Easiest way to fix it is to make the airlines/operators foot the bill for candidates. There will be next to no waste then and they will work hard to keep their investments instead of treating them like a casual flow through workforce.
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Old 9th May 2023, 10:38
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There are dozens of freshly minted CPLers that I met in my voyage up North and NE and none of them can get a job except the rare one that slips through the cracks and gets checked to line on a C210 or something. I think for every 1 that gets a first GA job, there is another 10-20 that miss out.
The issue is, everyone from down south has much the same CVs. 150-200 hours. Diamond time is very common around the traps these days- useless to NT employers. Foxbat I think is another common type, again, not overly helpful to those up north.

What is a competitive CV? Time on 172/182/206/210. That’s the rare CV that came across my desk 25 years ago in charter. That person got the job.

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Old 9th May 2023, 11:51
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Originally Posted by SITTINGBULL
165K?? Smells like one of those half-baked FTA integrated courses to me.

Anyway, it's too late now for you to be worrying about your debt. Take a breath of fresh air and look forward with an open mind.

Personally I did a non-integrated CPL to ensure I came out with a total time close to insurance minimums then self funded and MEA IR and about 8 hours on a 210 off the east coast. I made some good mates along the way who got a start with a couple of operators which paved the way for me to get a meet and greet. There was a bit of a gap between end of training and my first GA gig. During that 10ish months it seemed there was no end in sight but looking back it really was a very small amount of time (others waited longer). I visitied Darwin a few times, then eventually moved there to door knock and go out on the piss with the other pilots.

Take it easy and enjoy your time, keep hitting up those operators with CVs, they'll crack eventually (It also helps when a line checked driver is also nagging the CP to give you a start).

So once you do get a start (and you will) just remember that in GA you can't gain points, you can only loose them. (I.e. Don't go being a brown noser, it's poor form and disrespects the profession and not to mention your peers, and dont whinge at all becuase squeaky wheels don't get any oil in GA ...I mean that both figuratively and literally ).

RE: Your debt; It wont be long and youll have the option to shoot off to the U.S. and earn more than enough to sort it out... but mark my words, if you stay in Australia it won't ******* happen.

Very encouraging message! I have looked at the USA but the issue it seems is getting a work permit (with low hours). I think that would come once you meet the minimum hours for an E3 visa, or similar.
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Old 9th May 2023, 13:10
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Susi Air

Or maybe not..
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Old 9th May 2023, 13:22
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Originally Posted by grant.lebronte

As of the 1st of June, the Australian government is going to apply a 7% indexation to loans. The highest it's been in over 30 years. That means if any student pilot (or student in general) is servicing a $130,000 student loan from flight training. Their "interest" (indexation) will be just over $9,000! The total loan to pay will be closer to $140,000! That's around $760 per month just in interest.

G
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.

Last edited by Clare Prop; 9th May 2023 at 15:56.
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Old 10th May 2023, 00:17
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I think you need a mentor.

There are plenty of experienced aviation professionals in Australia who have walked the well-worn path of trying to get their first job. Many of them are now employers or hiring managers. Trent Robinson in Darwin, for instance. Talks about mentoring new CPLs on his podcast Flight Training Australia.

Apart from a never give up attitude, I think you need multiple people encouraging you and barracking for your success, plus the ability to tap into their network might just get you that unadvertised opportunity, or to get your resume to the top of the pile, or even an interview with the chief pilot.

So maybe reframe your success criteria temporarily from 'get an aviation job' to 'get several quality aviation mentors to help me succeed'. Put your efforts into that, and surely the career will follow...
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Old 10th May 2023, 01:45
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Originally Posted by SOPS
.

Seems like a good way to remove money from people.
exactly!!
A commercial license used to cover all those “extras”. I would personally stay clear of any school that offers those as an extra, and find one that includes it in their CPL training.
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Old 10th May 2023, 02:15
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Originally Posted by MagnumPI
I think you need a mentor.

There are plenty of experienced aviation professionals in Australia who have walked the well-worn path of trying to get their first job. Many of them are now employers or hiring managers. Trent Robinson in Darwin, for instance. Talks about mentoring new CPLs on his podcast Flight Training Australia.

Apart from a never give up attitude, I think you need multiple people encouraging you and barracking for your success, plus the ability to tap into their network might just get you that unadvertised opportunity, or to get your resume to the top of the pile, or even an interview with the chief pilot.

So maybe reframe your success criteria temporarily from 'get an aviation job' to 'get several quality aviation mentors to help me succeed'. Put your efforts into that, and surely the career will follow...
But only if said mentor does not charge for his/her services!
Be afraid - very afraid - of those who talk it up, get your hopes up, then charge you, or refer you to somewhere that will cost. As others here have said, a good CPL training school should have already given you all the flying skills that you need for an entry level job. However, they are not in the business of grooming students for job interviews. So, you need to consider the type of personality GA employers seek. There's plenty of good advice here on other threads about how to prepare a cv, networking while pulling beers at the local pub etc.
As for interview technique, there's also free advice on sites like 'Seek'. It's unlikely that an entry level GA outfit will subject you to psych testing. Time to bone up on that when you have enough experience to have a crack at an airline gig. OTOH, if you did find a cadet program that was not going to cost you, some research and perhaps small expenditure on passing aptitude tests would be appropriate - AFTER you have an interview date!
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Old 10th May 2023, 02:30
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Originally Posted by Cloudee
Something like this I guess. Probably stuff you should already have covered with a good CPL school.
https://www.flycommand.com.au/ga-ready

Our Course Includes

- 5hrs flight training

- 2 x 1-hour pre flight briefings

- Briefing on Cessna 200-series aircraft systems

- Letter of recommendation signed by our Chief Pilot (provided you meet the standard)

- CV/Resume character reference

Flight training includes:




- General handling and emergencies

- Emergency gear extension
- Circuits (normal, flapless, glide, EFATO)


- Navigation and descent planning (Class G, D, C)
- Effective approach briefs


- Engine management (particularly important in hot climates)

- Leaning (LOP/ROP operations)
- General plane/passenger and cargo loading management

We maintain strong relationships with various GA operators. We've had dozens of pilots go on to operators and successfully found work thanks to our training and recommendation. Those operators include:



- Wrightsair
- Chinta Air


- Arkaroola
- Lincoln Air Charter
Curious that nothing says that the 5 hours flight training is actually in a C210 - but maybe I'm reading too much into this and someone could comment.
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Old 10th May 2023, 03:25
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Something like this I guess. Probably stuff you should already have covered with a good CPL school.
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.
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