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Author Topic: RL Pilot's life and career  (Read 9850 times)

Offline ezzeqiel

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RL Pilot's life and career
« on: February 01, 2013, 10:50:14 PM »
Hey everyone...

I noticed there's a lot of Real Life pilots in this game, so I wanted your opinion on pilot career and lifestyle...

I'm finishing a 4year college degree, so I'm now debating whether to do that (accounting/bussiness), or to start with the 200 flying hours in order to start the pilot career... I know major carriers are now increasingly seeking for college graduated pilots, so the degree should be more of a plus than lost time...

As if I love flying or not, I was one of that many little guys that went to the airport every weekend just to watch planes landing and taking off, I buyed every aviation game I ever saw (even Airline tycoon 2 =S), I own several gemini jets and phoenix in my bedroom, and I love everytime I fly as a passenger, and everything that every people who loves planes does...

So, would you (pilots), recommend this profession ? how's the lifestyle ?... is it rewarding enough ? How hard is it to reach the top ?? (I wanna fly those incredibly amazing 787s or 350s)... How hard is to mix a pilot life with having a family, and children ?... What if you have to make a 12hs trip with an incredibly annoying captain ??... Do airlines take care of their pilots ?... do you have any particular advice ? Would you prefer flying planes or do bussiness and earn more money ???... etc etc...

Basically I'm debating whether to fly planes (which I love), and earn decent money, or do bussiness (which is more like a chore), and earn a considerable higher ammount of money...

I already read some blogs online, but any personal opinion about the profession would be very very useful to me...

Thanks !!

Greets !...

Offline Jetsetter

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 04:38:26 PM »
Based on the experiences of the 50% or so of my school that was there to get a pilots license, I'm still glad I never elected to go that route. I don't know where you're from, but I write from the American perspective.

To start with, weigh the cost of your training. Now a school offering a degree is probably not the option that most people go, but I know aspiring pilots graduating with most of their ratings but with 100K of student debt. Having your ratings generally doesn't mean much either, because of airline minimums for hours. Even if you don't go the full school route, you'll still be charting tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I'm north of 10 grand, and I don't even have my PPL.

So what will you be doing unless you have unencumbering financial support? Towing banners, flight instructing. You're not going to even see a CRJ for a few years. If you can't find a way to get paid to fly, then you're left with using the income from another job to try and support something that is probably up there in cost with drug addiction.

So what happens when you finally gain enough hours to command an RJ? You get taken on by the regionals. Mesa is known for taking bright eyed new pilots and exploiting them for around 18,000 dollars a year. That's enjoy your s***ty 89 Oldsmobile for the next 5 years kind of money. Some of the regional pilots, you know, the ones operating multimillion dollar pieces of equipment that fly through the air at hundreds of miles an hour, use food stamps to make their meals at home.

So what comes after dredging through the regionals? Your actual career. The majors, or what's left of them through the continued consolidation that marked recent years. You get to restart at the bottom of the seniority list, once again flying to the places that no one else really cares to at the crappiest times of day. You're making some money, but still probably a half of what you would be making if you had stuck with business. Want a promotion? Wait your turn, you're filling the shoes of the person above you who retired or died. Your family is antagonistic towards you being gone half of the month. Your job is in question every 9 months when you do your recurrent. Your union represents you, and generally have to pay due diligence to the activities of the collective. Your pension is gone, it was needed to pay one of the other costs, and bankruptcy means the airline can shed their obligation to you.

Yeah, you can get to the 787, but its going to be 20 years of damn hard work, if you don't get merged and stapled to the bottom of a seniority list again. But frankly, you're a pilot, you're to some extent a replaceable commodity. There's thousands of other people who want to get in the cockpit, and if flying is your life, then you'll probably leave the same legacy as the guy that drove the crew shuttle bus, with the difference being your bus is bigger and you have those awesome looking epaulets.

I understood relatively early that being a pilot was far from the glamour of the 50's and 60's, and I subsequently got my degree in aviation business administration. While I'm miserably unemployed (READ: CAN I HAVE A JOB, SOMEONE?), I know from my internships that being given the opportunity to show you are worth more to a company than simply moving metal from A to B is invaluable, and for every pilot job, there's probably 5 or more people behind them in supporting functions. You can think creatively, gain proficiency, and work to an audience that can appreciate what you do. 

Offline Silentlysailing

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 02:43:01 AM »
I'm not a pilot, but have had the chance to fly by a friend of my father who was a 767 Captain, that owned his own personal Bonanza. My father also worked for Delta for 38 years as a mechanic and has seen many of the changes. I wish I could say follow your dreams but in my case I had to follow what was reasonable and that I could afford.

I've been a truck driver even though I got a bachelors from Texas A&M (Economics). As stupid as it sounds, these fields are getting more comparative IMO. Plus as you get more experience you get to make more decisions on the routing and fuel locations. I had to drive altitude sensitive loads even, and plan routes based on altitude, most common, bags of potato chips lol. Plus where I worked we had letter services, don't know why they didn't just call them letter checks. You do pretrips, like a walk around on an aircraft. Some stuff even you have to do via radio where I know of some convention show drivers, where they had to radio trucks into the docks. Personally I've been lucky in never having to blind back into a building.

Starting wages seem similar and it is hard to get hired on by most companies without experience but the training is a lot cheaper. With experience you can move up to the larger oversized and heavy haul making well over $100,000 a year or to more specialized like intermodal/ports or cross border. However most truck driving involves being away from home for long periods till you get experience and can run regional or local.

As far as being a pilot, I know my university offered discounted lessons, not as a degree but as an extra curricular. Another thing to look into would be the military for becoming a pilot. Or finding a basic job at a flight school where you can get discounted lessons and learn while you work.

So my honest opinion is check out all the options, and balance passion vs what can be afforded at the time.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:45:05 AM by Silentlysailing »

Offline ArcherII

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 03:35:19 PM »
Hey there. In Argentina, college degrees are not as important as in USA if you want to become an airline pilot. To apply for LAN Argentina, Aerolineas Argentinas, Andes, Sol, Macair etc you need 900hs and First Class Commercial Pilot License (PC1), that only exists here (typical), and a big hook.

The usual career is to become a Private Pilot and start to build hours until you're at 200-500. At 200h you can become a Commercial Pilot, which here is not as important as it looks as nobody would hire you with such low-time for a Part 135 (non-scheduled ops, charter, medevac, cargo, corporate, etc) - EXCEPT you have a golden hook hidden. Main reason is insurance companies. So you end up begging for hours here and there in a very slow paced process. It could be made by towing gliders, carring parachute nuts, banner-towing, Lo-Jack surveys or doing "Bautismos de Vuelo" in your local Flying Club.
That stage is the filter usually as if you end up not having enough passion, then I guarantee that the road will be so tough that you'l feel it's not worth the hassle. So the main mental attribute here is passion for flying, love for the airborn feeling and desire to progress. If you have that, you can become what you are wishing for. I waited 9 years for my first flying job and I'm loving it despite having unfulfilled debts yet. And I'm not flying for an scheduled airline.

The 200-500 region covered, now comes the after-500h stage. With 500h you can become a Certified Flight Instructor. That license is a hour-building machine. Once you got that license, go to a nearby Flight School and show your Resumé (preferable over a Flying Club as the're sadly fading away because ANAC doesn't care about them). You will be flying 80h a MONTH. Period. That's how it works here. So then you can get the PC1 at 900h and apply for the airlines IF they're hiring.

Market for pilots here in Argentina is slim. Only two majors (if we can call LANar and ARSA majors - they have a total of 70 airplanes in all). And everybody want to work there, so there's the bottle-neck. Not enough jobs for everyone (like in USA, Europe...).

That was the most common career path here.

Having said that, in Latin America there's (still) a big shortage of pilots. Fliyng Schools here tend to instruct people from countries like Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and when they reach 200hs they apply for the airlines (little known names like LAN, Avianca-Taca, Copa, etc). I've known guys with 200hs getting off a C152 (which they could barely fly) and go to Miami to have a 767 rating! True story.
So that's another path for you, but mind you that you will not enjoy the flying as you'd do in a C182 over the mountains or in a Piper Cub doing TO-Landings. If you're passionate of flying, finding yourself checking at the displays while the airplane flies itself right up to touchdown would be quite unencouraging. Yes the paycheck is great and all, but what we do is not mainly for the paycheck.

I always encourage new pilots to enjoy flying while they can, give your family a beautiful ride, depart from an airstrip and go to another and have Mate and facturas, feel the beauty of feeling free as a bird. You won't feel exactly that in an airliner.
Sure it's great to fly at 460kt at 36,000ft in a shiny jet and all, but your responsabilities will be big, and sometimes no time for sightseeing. I have a frined flying for AR and when I asked him whether he liked flying in or out of Rio de Janeiro he told me that he didn't know, that he was with concentrated in his instruments the whole arrival and departure, because you ought to.

That's why IMHO you need to enjoy it while you can, and then those beautiful experiences will enable you to be an airline pilot and actually enjoy the ride. 

Offline Infinity

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »

Basically I'm debating whether to fly planes (which I love), and earn decent money

That link has been broken years ago. I don't know how it is in Argentina, but in Europe and America pilot salaries are ever spiraling downwards now and have long reached levels which, in some cases (yet none too few, sadly), require social security aid.
Taking the pitiful state in which the argentinian airline industry is, especially AR, I would not be rash to spend a ton of money on a career path that might prove a dead end.

You must think about the fact that some day in the not too distant future, you might want a family or something along that line, and being an underpaid pilot does not well combine with that.
There are still some very attractive pilot positions available, in every part of the world, but they are now very, very few and obviously, as a result, very sought after.

If you want to become a pilot to fly a big long haul airliner, forget about it as soon as possible. Most jobs are on the short haul. If you couldn't stand that for all your life, don't do it. It's very likely you will stay on a small aircraft forever. Most pilots now are very lucky to get their hands on a 737 or A320 job.

If you were in Brazil maybe things would look brighter, but with that crappy economy Argentina has...

Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 07:18:44 AM »
Thanks very much for the replies guys..!

I know that working in a job you love should be awesome, but if I can't make decent money, it may not be worth it...

I'll go around and speak with some flight schools, to see how are they doing...


Also, I'll go for sure for the private pilot license (40hs), and see if flying is really worth the effort ;).. then I'll be able to decide...

Offline alexgv1

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:07:56 AM »
If you have the passion, then the money will not be the problem as long as there is a roof over our head and bread on the table. So I would say do not let it deter you if you really want to do it. Although the biggest problem is getting the money to start training, maybe working in a high paid salary and saving up is the best option (depends if you have the patience  :laugh: ).

To put things in perspective, financially, in the UK pilots have now become the highest paid job in the country (despite Euro crisis). This means average salary is even above that of CEO.
CEO of South Where Airlines (SWA|WH)

Offline Infinity

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2013, 01:42:16 PM »

I'll go around and speak with some flight schools, to see how are they doing...



Do that, but remember they all are primarily interested in your money and your personal welfare is to them a distant second, if any.

To put things in perspective, financially, in the UK pilots have now become the highest paid job in the country (despite Euro crisis). This means average salary is even above that of CEO.

What's your source here? It's very difficult to believe with all the FlexiCrew contracts out there.

Offline alexgv1

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2013, 03:30:19 PM »
What's your source here? It's very difficult to believe with all the FlexiCrew contracts out there.

Read it in a newspaper last novemer, possibly the Telegraph.

You will be hard pressed to find a pilot on under £20k here. To give perspective, even a low hours Ryanair F/O can earn up to 45k, cadet pilots at BA and FlyBE have starting salary of £22k and £28k respectively. Plus not to mention all the silver foxes on six figure salaries.
CEO of South Where Airlines (SWA|WH)

Offline Wing Commander Chad Studdington

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 01:24:15 PM »
I like the fact my job has a higher wage that a pilot!  ;D

Offline Jetsetter

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 04:24:51 PM »
Read it in a newspaper last novemer, possibly the Telegraph.

You will be hard pressed to find a pilot on under £20k here. To give perspective, even a low hours Ryanair F/O can earn up to 45k, cadet pilots at BA and FlyBE have starting salary of £22k and £28k respectively. Plus not to mention all the silver foxes on six figure salaries.

I don't believe that, and the British press have a terrific ability to report the opposite of the facts.

http://www.pilotjobsnetwork.com/jobs/Ryanair

I see 26,000 pounds after four years and the abolishment of a high level FO pay grade. I've seen UK internships make more than that a year.

And the six figures at the top of the ladder are seriously the last few years before retirement, 30 years away, if they'll even exist by then.

Offline alexgv1

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 05:31:46 PM »
Nobody has to believe it  8) Darwinism took a long time to catch on

I'm sure money isn't the motivation for most people with a passion for flying at any rate.
CEO of South Where Airlines (SWA|WH)

Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 07:23:56 PM »
I like the fact my job has a higher wage that a pilot!  ;D

I don't think you'll like it anymore the next time you'd find yourself in the middle of a heavy storm aboard a 70tons metal tube at 10.000 meters above the ground going at 800km/h, and you start wondering: Are this two guys in the cockpit well trained ?? Did they sleep well last night ?? Are they capable to do the job ?? Are they happy in the company they work for ?? Are they doing their jobs reluctantly ??

Offline sergio

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 08:30:11 AM »
1) that was interesting to read. what about ATC and electronic communicatins engineer?

2) what about preparation in estonia academy? FYI - in estonia there are no airplanes in airforce, and just one airline, which is or was going bankrupt. about 10 airplanes.
i mean - i know that cheif engineer from indonesia at sea doesnt know even how to start the main engine, the seaman from nigeria or cabo verde - doesn know anything. will the graduates of the estonian air academy be the same? or is it just impossible to prepare a person substandart?

wbrgds

Offline EYguy

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 03:44:08 PM »
I can tell you that a Lufthansa captain with 15 to 20 yrs of experience and rated on smtg big like an A330/340 or B744/748 earns around 320,000€ gross/year. Pilots at SWISS earn a bit less in absolute terms, but taxes are lower in Switzerland, and in the end the net monthly salary is perhaps above the one of a capt at LH. The hard thing is getting into those companies...

Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 01:10:44 AM »
Thanks again to all that replied... (I'm surprised this is still "active")

So I update this thread... I went to pursue my dream, and I can tell you guys, from the moment you grab the airplane controls, you know there's nothing else in the world you would wanna be...


I can't describe how beautiful flying a plane is (actually flying it, not as a passenger)... it's a mixture of adrenaline, joy, fear, respect, excitement, proud... all in the same moment... I really really enjoy it...


Now, I can tell you this.. any carrier could pay me a million or the minimum wage... I'll be still happy doing what I like... I won't trade it for a boring office job for any salary... (yes, of course I'd trade it for a 50.000.000usd salary, cause with that I'd be able to buy my own airbus, but we talk about real salaries :P)...

(thanks for the data EYguy, of course it's always nice to know big carriers current salaries ;))

And special thanks to ArcherII ;)


PS. I'll update with some pics if I ever get any

Offline Mr.HP

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 02:04:36 AM »
I can't describe how beautiful flying a plane is (actually flying it, not as a passenger)... it's a mixture of adrenaline, joy, fear, respect, excitement, proud... all in the same moment... I really really enjoy it...


Congratz to you. It was my childhood dream to be a pilot, too. But I was not in the condition to pursue it  :-\

Offline ArcherII

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 03:06:46 AM »

And special thanks to ArcherII ;)


De nada che!

Hopefully we can cross our paths one day.

Offline ezzeqiel

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2013, 12:18:19 AM »
Congratz to you. It was my childhood dream to be a pilot, too. But I was not in the condition to pursue it  :-\

Sorry to hear that... I don't know your situation, but I'd say it's never late, and there's always the possibility of flying just for hobby (maybe on weekends in a nearby aero club ??)

I hope I could make my way into the big leagues, but it's a though ride...

De nada che!

Hopefully we can cross our paths one day.

Hojalá nos crucemos en LAN, y no en un fumigador :P... Anyway, flying is flying... whether it's a brand new jet or an old 80' prop (like FC ones :P)

Offline Infinity

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Re: RL Pilot's life and career
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2013, 08:30:20 AM »
I can tell you that a Lufthansa captain with 15 to 20 yrs of experience and rated on smtg big like an A330/340 or B744/748 earns around 320,000€ gross/year.

No. That is a time long gone. Today, Lufthansa Captains top out at 210k € gross, and it is questionable whether somebody joining now will be able to enjoy this when it comes to it.

 

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