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JT_76

Questions for the pilots out there

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I'm 31 and seriously considering a career change into aviation because I've always wanted to fly since I was a little kid. I've had glasses since I was 12 and couldn't fly in the military so I basically put it aside and went on to other things. I never really considered the civilian side of things until recently and I need some guidance.

What's the best course of action? Go to college and get a degree in aviation? Private lessons? Other? I know you have to have shit loads of hours to fly commercial airliners or any other kind of bigger planes. What's the usual career track for someone and how much money can you plan on making? What about job satisfaction? Thanks for any info and any other suggestions you have.

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First step: visit your local optometrist and flight surgeon to ensure that you can pass the (FAA/Transport Canada/or whatever the heck they call the civil aviation authorities in your country) commercial pilot medical exam.
Secondly, sign up for the private pilot course at your local flying school. Once you complete your private pilot license, take additional courses on float flying, night flying, multi-engine, instrument, etc. flying.
Fly jumpers for a year or two at minimum wage, then graduate to flying the midnight mail, cargo, sight-seers, commuter prop jobs, bigger turboprops, small jets (i.e. executives), larger jets, etc.

Aternatively, you could enroll at one of the aviation colleges that specialize in fast-tracking young pilots to fly - as co-pilot - for commuter, feeder lines affiliated with major airlines. Your knowledge will be narrower, but it will be exactly what the minor airlines want to see in new hires.
Oh! And don't expect princely wages during your first five years.

The good news is that many senior airline captains are now retiring, opening up promotions for everyone in the pipeline. This looming shortage of pilots is also slowly forcing airlines to treat young pilots with more respect, realistic duty times, better maintained airplanes, etc..
Be realistic about wages too. Only the most experience senior captains earn a quarter million dollars per year. Those positions are rare and getting rarer and rarer every year. Also wage increases are not keeping pace with inflation. As engineers train electronic boxes to do more and more, pilots fly less and less and airlines less and less are willing to pay princely wages.
You can earn a decent living as a pilot, and it can be a very satisfying career, visiting strange and exotic lands, meeting exotic people and flying them to even more exotic destinations.

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Fly jumpers for a year or two at minimum wage...



You guys have to stop posting that jump pilots get paid. We do not want to give any of our pilots any ideas that people actually get paid for more than just their free flying time!!!;)

Good luck JT!!

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Paid?
Hah!
Most jump pilots are lucky if they get bread and water!
I remember one time when I had to threaten to shut down the airplane - on a busy Sunday - to get a mere sandwich!
The best part was the horrified look on the student's face when I pulled out a foot-long submarine sandwich, as we climbed through 500 feet!

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There is a huge shortage of Helicopter Pilots due to all the vietnam era guys retiring. I took out a loan for all of my schooling and finished in one year. After school I instructed until I reached 1000 hours which took another year then came to the gulf of mexico to fly to the oil rigs for the oil companies. I have flown out here for one year and made 60K my first year and only worked half the year. I am now moving back home after only one year in the gulf to do EMS lifeflight in my home town. Since I started a year ago flying in the gulf the pay has went from 45k to 51k start out and plenty of workover to add to that. The pay will continue to rise as the people to fill the cockpits continue to become less and less. Check for yourself at www.justhelicopters.com

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I'm 31 and seriously considering a career change into aviation because I've always wanted to fly since I was a little kid.



I'm not a pilot, but I've sat right next to one several times... :) I've also looked into it, briefly, and here is what I think I know:

First off, I agree with riggerrob. The first thing is your medical. Talk to a couple of local flight schools to find out about the doctors in your area, then go see one. If you can't get an FAA medical, you can't get the kind of pilot's license that would eventually allow you to make money.

If you just want to fly for fun, there is a new-ish thing called "Light Sport Aircraft" that is supposed to be a little easier to get into. The medical is kind of like a skydiving waiver - basically you sign a piece of paper that says "I certify that I'm not going to drop dead while I'm flying." You are restricted to small airplanes (like a two-seater Cessna 152) and daytime flying in good weather, but you can get in the air. I'm pretty sure that an LSA license doesn't let you do anything for hire, though.

The FAA has some info on their Web site about becoming a pilot. Some flight schools have an "intro flight" for $75 or $100 that is kind of the same idea as a tandem - you go up with an instructor and he shows you what being a small plane is like. (If you've jumped, you already know some of this.) Another idea is to go to your local general aviation airport and find out where the pilots hang out and talk to them. The jump pilot at your DZ might be able to give you his or her perspective, and introduce you to other local pilots. Sometimes a group of people form a club and jointly buy a plane or two - you probably won't be able to get flight instruction through them, but they do tend to have meetings occasionally, which might be an opportunity to talk to some local pilots. The Experimental Aircraft Association has local chapters; going to a meeting locally might be another good way to find a nest of pilots. The EAA also puts on the big fly-in and airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which is happening a little later this summer; you're not that far away and I'm sure you could find out all kinds of stuff about becoming a pilot up there.

Eule
PLF does not stand for Please Land on Face.

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I'm pretty sure that an LSA license doesn't let you do anything for hire, though.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Correct, but LSA is the quickest and least expensive way to get flying on your own. Think of LSA as the first step in learning how to fly.
The following year, you can add a Private Pilot License.
The third year add an IFR (blind flying) rating.
The following year add a Commercial Pilot License - that will allow you to fly jumpers, etc.
Note: if you have enough dollars (to fly every day) , you can learn all that in one year.

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The EAA also puts on the big fly-in and airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin,

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Oshkosh can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers.
Kind of like sending first-jump-students to Qunicy/Rantoul/Lost Prairie/any DZ hosting the USPA Nationals, etc.
Hee!
Hee!

EAA also hosts smaller, regional fly-ins in other corners of the country.
I think Sun and Fun was in Florida in April or May.
The Northwest Regional Fly-in is in Arlington, Washington, usually in early July, a few weeks before Oshkosh.
Most EAA Chapters also host casual, Sunday morning, fly-in breakfasts once or twice a summer.
For exact dates and times, visit web sites hosted by your local EAA chapter.

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Don't know if you'd still consider the military, but the Army just increased the age limit for civilian Warrant Officer applicants (Rotary Wing Aviator) to 33. Some types of refractive surgery are covered by a waiver that gets you into a test protocol they're running. That's what I'm in the process of doing right now.

http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warrant/

Hope that helps ya. :)
"Fuck that. I'll take a good ass-pounding over a bj any day." -- pyrotech

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Don't know if you'd still consider the military, but the Army just increased the age limit for civilian Warrant Officer applicants (Rotary Wing Aviator) to 33. Some types of refractive surgery are covered by a waiver that gets you into a test protocol they're running. That's what I'm in the process of doing right now.

http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warrant/



Hope that helps ya. :)



I heard all waivers have been lifted?

Pilot shortage I would guess.........................


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Oshkosh can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers.
Kind of like sending first-jump-students to Qunicy/Rantoul/Lost Prairie/any DZ hosting the USPA Nationals, etc.



Well, I didn't say he should do his first solo cross-country to OSH. A n00b might not be all that comfortable with two planes landing on the same runway at once. :) I just figured that there are lots of ways to work in the aviation business, and you could find out about a lot of them in one place in Oshkosh. Also, he doesn't appear to be that far away (~6 hours by car.)

Eule
PLF does not stand for Please Land on Face.

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do ground school at a junior college, its very cheap compared to ground school at a flight center

thats what i did and my ground school teacher was a CFI so when i was done i started flying with him (faa permits them at the same time if the instructor was the same)


good decision too mate :D

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I've flown for 32 years which include 18 years at a major airline and 15 years of flying fighters for the Air Force. Aircraft flown include A-10, OV-10, A-37, F-16, C-130, B-727, B747, and B 757, plus some cats and dogs. Total time is a little over 10,000 hours.

My question to you is "Why do you want to fly?"

The career has changed dramatically in the last few years and I'd boldly say, "It ain't what it used to be".

Here's what you can expect if you are going to pursue an airline career. Lots of expensive training to be minimally qualified, followed by indentured servitude to some unappreciative slave driving asswipe who thinks you are an over paid prima dona and will treat you accordingly. If you're very lucky after a few years of that you'll make it to the major airlines where you start over again at the bottom of their seniority list.

Do you like working weekends, holidays, all night long? Have you flown much in horribly shitty weather with an aircraft that is barely legal?

Do you want to spend more than half of the rest of your life sleeping in shitty airport hotels, eating in crappy resturants, getting shaken down by security every day (at least once)?

I flew 747s for a little over six years. In some ways it was the best flying I ever did. Most of what I remember was living six years in perpetual jet lag. Waking up in the middle of the night, sleeping in the middle of the day, not being sure of what day it is, etc. (much like being a skydiver during boogie season)

For a time the money was good. In the last couple years I've lost 50% of my income and my pension is frozen. Of course the company wants to help me make up those lost wages by allowing me to work a couple extra days a month (increased productivity).

In hind sight I've had a pretty good career, but I'm not sure I"d recommend it to a new guy/girl. If you're halfway smart and are willing to spend that much money on training, I'd say look at other options.

Despite some of what I've said, it can be fun.

Good Luck, keep the greasy side down.

MH

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Second on Meux's post...

Unless you're super gung ho, unattached, and willing to move far and often, flying privately may be the way to go.

On the other hand, getting a Commercial single and flying for a DZ may keep you happy for a long time. But realize, getting to the point where you can fly for a DZ will take upwards of $15g, likely more.

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I've searched around for this and have not found anything. Maybe somebody can point me in the right direction.

I hold a CASA PPL, and want to switch over to FAA PPL (Yes, I'm American).

Is anybody familiar with the process for this?

Thanks!

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PART 61—CERTIFICATION: PILOTS, FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS, AND GROUND INSTRUCTORS
Subpart B—Aircraft Ratings and Pilot Authorizations


§ 61.75 Private pilot certificate issued on the basis of a foreign pilot license.
(a) General. A person who holds a current foreign pilot license issued by a contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation may apply for and be issued a private pilot certificate with the appropriate ratings when the application is based on the foreign pilot license that meets the requirements of this section.

(b) Certificate issued. A U.S. private pilot certificate that is issued under this section shall specify the person's foreign license number and country of issuance. A person who holds a current foreign pilot license issued by a contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation may be issued a private pilot certificate based on the foreign pilot license without any further showing of proficiency, provided the applicant:

(1) Meets the requirements of this section;

(2) Holds a foreign pilot license that—

(i) Is not under an order of revocation or suspension by the foreign country that issued the foreign pilot license; and

(ii) Does not contain an endorsement stating that the applicant has not met all of the standards of ICAO for that license;

(3) Does not currently hold a U.S. pilot certificate;

(4) Holds a current medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter or a current medical certificate issued by the country that issued the person's foreign pilot license; and

(5) Is able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.

(c) Aircraft ratings issued. Aircraft ratings listed on a person's foreign pilot license, in addition to any issued after testing under the provisions of this part, may be placed on that person's U.S. pilot certificate.

(d) Instrument ratings issued. A person who holds an instrument rating on the foreign pilot license issued by a contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation may be issued an instrument rating on a U.S. private pilot certificate provided:

(1) The person's foreign pilot license authorizes instrument privileges;

(2) Within 24 months preceding the month in which the person applies for the instrument rating, the person passes the appropriate knowledge test; and

(3) The person is able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.

(e) Operating privileges and limitations. A person who receives a U.S. private pilot certificate that has been issued under the provisions of this section:

(1) May act as a pilot of a civil aircraft of U.S. registry in accordance with the private pilot privileges authorized by this part;

(2) Is limited to the privileges placed on the certificate by the Administrator;

(3) Is subject to the limitations and restrictions on the person's U.S. certificate and foreign pilot license when exercising the privileges of that U.S. pilot certificate in an aircraft of U.S. registry operating within or outside the United States; and

(4) Shall not exercise the privileges of that U.S. private pilot certificate when the person's foreign pilot license has been revoked or suspended.

(f) Limitation on licenses used as the basis for a U.S. certificate. Only one foreign pilot license may be used as a basis for issuing a U.S. private pilot certificate. The foreign pilot license and medical certification used as a basis for issuing a U.S. private pilot certificate under this section must be in the English language or accompanied by an English language transcription that has been signed by an official or representative of the foreign aviation authority that issued the foreign pilot license.

(g) Limitation placed on a U.S. private pilot certificate. A U.S. private pilot certificate issued under this section is valid only when the holder has the foreign pilot license upon which the issuance of the U.S. private pilot certificate was based in the holder's personal possession or readily accessible in the aircraft.

You have to first go to your local FSDO and have them request verification of your foreign license from the issuing countries civil aeronautics department. Once they get the verification, you fillout FAA form 8710, take it to the FSDO, and away you go.
"Harry, why did you land all the way out there? Nobody else landed out there."

"Your statement answered your question."

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A Cessna 152 does not qualify as a LSA. Yes it has two seats, but it has a max takeoff weight of 1,670 pounds, which is over the FAR limit of 1,320 pounds for LSA land. You need at least a FAA 3rd class medical to solo a 152 in the US. Cessna is talking a lot about making a LSA in the future, but right now there are a number of other aircraft that qualify.

Besides, if the OP is considering a career in aviation or even serious about learning to fly and have the time, money, and desire, IMHO you should skip the sport pilot and just go straight to the PPL. If you went to a college or something like that you could probably also do the instrument, commercial, and more at the same time.

If you're impatient you'd probably want to get to at least the commercial stage ASAP, so an accelerated program may be the way to go for you. Flying an average of maybe once a week I took about a year to get my PPL. YMMV.

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Just a note: If you're halfway serious about flying, and staying safe at it, plan on flying one heck of a lot more than once a week. At a minumum, three times; four to five times per if you'd like to get through your training in minimum time. Flying any less than three a week will result in slower learning and more money out of your pocket. A private license should take no longer than eight weeks if you do it right; six weeks if you're serious.

(Just mentioning as an insight, nothing else implied)

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A Cessna 152 does not qualify as a LSA. Yes it has two seats, but it has a max takeoff weight of 1,670 pounds, which is over the FAR limit of 1,320 pounds for LSA land.



I thought one of the small, production (not necessarily current production) Cessnas did qualify for LSA. Clearly it's not the 152; do any of them qualify?

Eule

(edited to fix broken markup tag)
PLF does not stand for Please Land on Face.

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I remember hearing that the Cessna 120 was a candidate a long time ago, but it's gross weight is also too high. I don't think there are any cessna LSAs.

There are a bunch of aeroncas, luscombes, and pipers that meet the LSA requirements.

Dave

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