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Training – How did your Family cope?

Old 14th Apr 2010, 18:13
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Little Hayfield, UK.
Age: 48
Posts: 5
Training – How did your Family cope?

Knocking on the door of 40 and knowing ‘I should know better’ despite those nice pink Glasses, I’ve signed up to a Distance Learning Course and intend to fly!
I’ll be honest, on several occasions I’ve fallen out of love with the ‘Wannabe Forum’ particularly (having put myself in many shoes and weighed the ‘ups + downs’) as some of the pragmatic less encouraging comments often muted on here deserve considerable thought.
Yet, there is the occasional good news snippet where the tenacious just keep, keep trying and get that first job or those that just happen to know someone who knows someone get a break, and of course those who just get lucky, anyone of these could be me!
I’m attempting to evaluate both the best practical training route for which there is plenty of reference material already here but also request how the more experienced audience’s families coped during the practical commercial training?
My good lady suggests going abroad & do it in one hit and will bring the kids out during holidays and hopefully we’ll remain Mr + Mrs……
The little ‘Id’ in me agrees wholeheartedly and all the nice bits of flying in the States when I was single some time ago flood back, however they may well cope admirably without me but I’m not so sure I would without them…well the kids at least!!!
My thoughts are to stay here in the UK and either commute daily to one of my local schools from here in Manchester, or return home at the weekends from a school further afield, but…

Does this upset the training continuity or become a welcome break?
Despite best intentions, does daily life intervene?
Does the subsequent lifestyle suit?

All thoughts would be very welcome, thank you in advance.
Izzys & Archies Dad is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:34
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Somerset
Posts: 418

Hi, I thought I might try to answer your queries as a while ago I was in a similar position to you. I left the military in Jan 2007 at 40 years of age after 22 years as an aircraft engineer. I had been offered another 5 years of steady income in the military but I rejected it. I had done enough time to qualify for a big pay off and decent immediate pension deal and during my last couple of years I was spending 7-8 months of each year in Iraq away from my family. If I had stayed in I would now be spending 7-8 months of each year in Afghanistan. The pay off that I got from the military paid my training fees and the pension kept money coming in and late 2006/ early 2007 the employment prospects for newly qualified boys and girls were good.

I trained at a good modular school in the UK and finished everything in May 2008, just as we were entering recession and operators were going bust…..rotten timing. Since then I have had a couple of interviews but no solid job offer, I considered doing an instructors course but the market is full of unemployed instructors chasing no jobs at all. I have since gone back to my original profession as an engineering contractor which keeps a good wage coming in and allows me to keep my MEP and MEIR current while seeking that elusive first flying job.

Before you go committing large sums of money get a Class 1 medical (initial medical has to done with the CAA at Gatwick) you won’t be able to do any commercial training without a class 1 medical.

One thing that you didn’t say in your original post is whether or not you currently have a job, if you do have a job then you can do your PPL, Night Rating, Hours Building and ATPL written study part time while working. As I’m sure you’re aware the employment prospects for freshly qualified frozen ATPL holders are bleak (massive understatement) and even if things improved right now it would take many months (years) for the airlines to hoover up all the qualified, rated and experienced pilots currently on the dole before they look at freshly qualified boys and girls (unless they’re willing to pay to fly which is a different discussion).

Once you’ve got the ‘basics’ done you can get a CPL, MEP and MEIR on a full time basis in about 6 months (allowing for bad weather) and you can start these when you see definite improvements in recruitment. By doing this you will have stayed in employment and bringing in money for the maximum amount of time during training. Please please please do not borrow money to fund your training, no reputable lender will lend big sums of money without risking your family home as security and if you miss a payment on a loan from the type of people who will lend unsecured then you will rapidly end up ‘sleeping with the fishes.’

As far as money goes, choose a reputable school, add up the prices for the courses and add a realistic contingency of 20% (not everyone passes everything 1st time or in the minimum flying hours) the prices that the schools quote are the minimum that you will pay. Do not pay large sums of money up front as even reputable schools can go under with your money (HGFC at Wolverhampton for example).

Try to do your training in the UK rather than abroad and convert over here, I did a JAA PPL in US and was surprised how different and more difficult flying in UK airspace was compared to the states.

Finally make sure that your wife is on side, have a big honest heart to heart with her and discuss the positives and negatives. My wife was extremely supportive and I have not had to borrow money to finance training even so the rigours of training and lack of employment after qualification have caused some massive rows in the past.

I’m now working (albeit not flying) and I’ve probably now made enough money to pay back everything that I spent on training but its not been easy.

The ultimate decision has to be yours but make sure that your family are included at every stage and listen to their fears. Whatever you decide to do I sincerely wish you every success and please feel free to PM me if you want to know more specific stuff.


magicmick is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:50
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: N.S.W, Australia
Posts: 32
Great question Izzys & Archies Dad,

To fill you in, I am 25 and have just finished 7yrs of study which included a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL-2.5yrs), Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR-1month), Air Transport Pilot Licence Theory exams (ATPL-about 13months as I self studied and got lazy in the middle) and a Bachelor of aviation (BAvn-3yrs)all here in the land down under.
I took 2.5yrs to do my CPL as I was working at the same time to pay for cost of living and also part of the flying (folks lent me a bit after I got to PPL). I used to fly on the weekends for the first part up to about PPL which I think was fine as u need time between flights to reflect and study and plan etc. Then towards the end of my CPL I started taking days off work to fly 3-4 days a week. During PPL your flights are shorter so u feel like your getting less hrs each week than a CPL student which is true as your practicing basic stuff that doesnt require long nav flights of 3 hrs or so. but once u get the PPL your flights get longer so u will do more flying hrs per day than in the past....if that all makes sense?
Doing it in one block if possible im sure is great as u get it done real fast but this isnt always possible. The only thing I can say is that At the very start I was only flying 2 times a month which was a waste as u got a bit rusty easily at that early stage in flying. as a result I stopped for a bit til I could do it each weekend...then it was game on and here I am now...hehe
I did the MECIR as a full time one month course which was great as it is lots of work and to be fresh made it easier.
At the end of the day u have to work out the ideal versus the practical.
If u have any other questions u think I can help with dont hesitate to ask...thats what the PPRuNe is all about.

Hope the ramble helped.

Jorocketoz is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2010, 12:38
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,114
I was a relatively late starter at 35 when I finished the training and landed my current job. I was lucky, right time right place and the market was booming 3 years ago. Type rating paid for and all of that good stuff. Its worth noting that even during this boom period that many of those at my school didn't get a job. Those that did tended to have them lined beforehand or had good contacts.

My Mrs was pregnant at the time of me completing the ME/ CPL/IR and I landed a job straight out of school so I was under pressure from all sides.

All the training was a blur to be honest. Sat in a room in front of a computer (CBT) for weeks surrounded by books. Then into a sim in the small wee hours finishing up around 2am most mornings (training gets the worst slots) to then go home for a few hours sleep and study up some more for the next days sim ride. I know I was a bugger to live with for the 3 months or so I was training. To be honest it continued probably for the first year and a bit until I was more comfortable with the work. Along with most guys I know we are still hitting the books regularly but the workload is much more manageable. Now I would say I am supplementing my knowledge rather than trying to fill massive holes in it!

I was lucky in that I was and am based where we live. Others aren't so lucky and have to commute which can put a big strain on relationships. There were many nights away however. They were good for me during the training as it allowed me to hit the books but needless to say there was someone at the end of the phone that wasn't so happy.

Perhaps the first thing you should be doing is to draw up a list of potential employers. The CAA has a list of all of the AOC's. The IAA has the same for Ireland. PPJN is not always accurate but will give you some information to get started on. Start researching where these operators get their pilots from, which schools, MCC courses etc. Any referrals schemes into these airlines? Did you have to be sponsored? What is the profile of their recent recruits in terms of age and background?You can discount many straight off the bat as they don't take on low houred wannabes or maybe prefer ex military. Others only want pay to fly cadets. Others want a type rating self funded. Some will want local people, others have language requirements.

You should also consider the type of commercial flying that you wish to undertake. As you say the instructor option is pretty much dead in the water at the moment. In the past this has often lead to referrals from the CFI into jobs flying things like biz jets, king airs etc. Assuming you were ready to go in your 40's then the airline business might not be the best place for you. With ICAO extending retirement ages and already long times to command you might find yourself as a career co-pilot sat next to a captain in their 30's who has another 30 years till retirement. Other airlines of course have a different demographic so its not always a fair generalisation. FR for example had one of the quickest times to command in the industry but now their growth forecasts are cut as is their fleet expansion. With no one else hiring I can't see many of their pilots moving on so their time to command will surely be on the rise.

Best of luck.
potkettleblack is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:19
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: brisbane
Posts: 393
I know the prospects seem fairly bleak in Europe but the Pacific and Far East has weathered the GFC very well and none of the Airlines (in Oz at least) have laid off pilots. The point I'm trying to make is that we seem to be emerging from the GFC crisis and recruiting is really swinging into action. Whilst the Airline jobs will be predominantly be taken by very experienced G.A pilots that does mean there will be a considerable number of G.A jobs needing pilots. I know it is fairly difficult to get a Visa to be employed within Oz but there are a lot of little pacific nations who will be looking for drivers as they lose theirs to Oz,Hkg and NZ. Do the training at home(particularly if able to maintain paid employment) and then cast your net a little wider and you should prove successful.
When I started my training at Sydney Tech(Commercial subjects), the ground instructor(a wizened ole Qantas pilot) made the comment that out of the forty of us in the class that perhaps two would get a job with the airlines. I have to say that true to his words only two of us made it to the aforementioned.
My journey to the left hand seat of a 737 took me on the path less travelled and I feel the better for the experience. I have worked throughout the pacific,Europe and finally Oz.
If you really want it then go for it and don't give up.
It is the best job in the world and with only 12000 hrs under my belt I still love every minute spent flying.
Good Luck!
greenslopes is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:49
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: >>>My profile has been hacked by a stupid 20 yo moderator<<<...somewhere where people don't speak english! don't point at my mistakes unless you are at ICAO level 7.
Posts: 86
another wanabe in the long line of unemployed pilots.

be realist, airlines dont want pay pilots anymore.
if you find a job, it s going to be paid so low, than your family will explode in thousand will probably divorce.

is that what you want?
flyhelico is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2010, 01:37
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: brisbane
Posts: 393
flyhelico, what a negative post.
No-one would be naive enough to suggest that the aviation road is not strewn with a few pot holes. Yes it is bloody tough, and yes it will be difficult for your family. It needs to be a decision the whole family makes.
Perhaps it means just flying privately to satisfy the flying bug.
ICAO released a report(sorry can't remember title) where combined with Boeing and Airbus the aircraft orders V pilot numbers reveals a very real shortfall of employees across all licenced areas of Aviation.
Yes for all the nay sayers.....we've all heard it before.
I agree aviation is extremely cyclical(pun intended helo) and we are at present in the bottom of the recent downturn triggered by the recent GFC. So where better to be than with a CPL when the majors drag all the experienced ATPL holders into their fold.
The grass may not always be greener but with a positive tilt you may be able to find the silver lining to the darkest of clouds.
greenslopes is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2010, 09:11
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: manchester UK
Age: 49
Posts: 165
Hello Izzy and Archies dad!. I have just been through and to an extent, experiencing the very same dilemas. I spent two years in Madrid doing the ATPLs and flying hours. I now have two young children and time is running out to get the CPL done and the IR. I have decided it is not worth pursuing at the moment due to the large financial loss i will face if i go Back to doing it full time. Suppose my point of it all is , if your finances can cope with it, i would choose a school here in the UK and come home at the weekends. Certainly with summer looming you will have more chance of getting the courses completed quicker.

The job market is dire at the moment, there is no denying this, but contacts and networking play a big part in getting a job, luckily this is something i have quite a lot of. If time is on your side, then use it. Multiflight in Leeds are offering weekend CPL and IR courses, could this be a better option for you?, i know i am considering it. Whatever you decide, its a tough time trying to complete flight training and have a normal family life. I wish you luck and if you are also ever considering flying some hours with someone , give me a shout. My missus is actually from Little Hayfield and we spend a lot of time up there visiting her parents!.
hughesyd is offline  
Old 17th Apr 2010, 16:38
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Abu Dhabi
Age: 43
Posts: 5
I will do it

Hi I&A's Dad,

I am one more person from this group of "3X and more", who is planning to start his ATP(A) Itegrated Course this October.

Something about my background:
I am 32, and I have a M.Sc dergree in Telecommunications. I have been working for the past 6 years for a big International Company as a Sales Engineer/Manager, with last 3 and a half years spent here in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi). Great job, brings a lot of cash inflow, but - just a job.

I managed to save some money, and with a little help from my family, I will be able to fund my Integrated ATP(A) training back home in Serbia, and a Type Rating (if neccessary in the worst case).

Now back to the point. PPRuNe is a great forum. No questions about that. But, (with the capital B), what I noticed (since I am a relatively new user) is that you can get a lot of negative posts and negative thinking, with all my due respect to the fellow PPRuNers. Generally, nobody garantees anything in life, whichever road you take. No risk, no success. Fortune favours the brave. Name it, it is true.

So, go ahead full steam, where ever your quest takes you! Show top quality during your traning, get excellent exam marks, network as much as you can (even during your training), be ready to "kick" HR doors directly, be ready to go all the way up to the chief flight person if you need to, and believe me, if you are good, nobody will turn blind eye on you.

Remember that this is one life that we have, and we should use it to the full extent! In case that things do not turn out the way we wanted, do not forget:
it is ONLY money after all, and we still have our careers to fall back to, and most important, one day, if you do not make it into the skies as a Captain, you can at least tell to yourself "Yes, I have tried it."

Good luck, God Speed !!
milanius is offline  

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