Real Answers from Real Pilots

Future professional pilot

Hi! I just wanted to thank you guys for your time answering questions and posting on here. I’ve been following the career for a long time. I have spent numerous hours going through airline pilot life, other aviation forums, and reading numerous blogs. I have been interested in flying for a living for many, many years. Financial and spousal barriers prevented that for a long time…no support for me to do this. Now divorced and single…spousal support almost done (yay!), I’ve finally decided to take the plunge. I still remember my first time in a C-172 16 years ago. I was hooked. I still break my neck to watch anything moving in the air. I’m now 38 and although a part of me is nervous about being “older” and entering the profession, reading through these posts really encouage me to go ahead and do it. I have a 4 year degree and I’m an RN, so there’s always that to fall back on if the industry takes a hit. Anyways. I’ve been lurking this site for a while. Just wanted to take the time to thank y’all (yes that’s a real word lol) for your time on here.

Justin

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Justin,

Thank you for stepping out of the shadows for a minute and saying hi. Many of us have had obstacles but truly where there’s a will there’s a way. I started at 39 and LIFE IS GREAT my friend!

Any questions feel free.

Adam

Thanks for the response! If I think of anything, I certainly will ask. I’ve researched this industry for so long. A friend of mine said the other day…“I don’t think i know anyone that knows so much about something without actually being in it”. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I’m looking to start my training at ATP in the next few months. If there is one piece of advice you would give to someone coming in to the industry…what would it be? Thanks.

Justin,

The best advice I can give anyone getting into aviation is try to never forget WHY you wanted to be a pilot in the first place. Because you loved to fly! (and if that’s not the reason you may want to rethink). It boggles my mind how I’ll go to fly a trip and one day I’m sitting next to someone who believes this is the greatest job on Earth and the another day it’s someone who swears it’s one step away from indentured servitude! There will be long days, good and bad days and you may face some challenges along the way. You may exceed your expectations or you may fall short but in the end (hopefully) you’ll remember you’re getting paid to do something you love and that makes it all good. Make sense?

Adam

Makes perfect sense. I’ve loved anything that flies since I was a kid. The first time I flew in a Cessna and got to have my hand on the controls…I was hooked. Like couldn’t sleep the night before my next fight kinda hooked. I work long long days now as a nurse…12 hour days…sometimes 4 in a row, and I hate going to work. It pays really well, but i dread my days at the hospital. Thanks again for your response. I look forward to climbing into a flight deck for a living :blush:

Justin,

Usually I tell people that it is impossible to work most other jobs and be a pilot, but an RN might be one that you could occasionally do if you wanted to pick up a few shifts here and there. I actually just flew with a flight attendant today that was also an RN. While not the same as being a pilot the scheduling restrictions for FAs are about the same and she was able to handle both jobs pretty easily. Just something to think about…

Chris

Thanks for your reply. That’s kind of what I figured about the work schedule of being a pilot. I’d probably just work 2 shifts or so a month. Just enough to keep my license active. I’m looking around April/may start time on training. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Every time I’ve gone up in a GA plane, I just want to go up again and again lol. I appreciate all the input.

I have read a lot that commuting can suck the life out of a pilot. I’d most likely choose to commute at least until my kids are starting a life of their own. That’d leave me about 10 years of commuting life. I’ve read a ton on how the commuting system works. Just curious if it is as bad as most say. Maybe it depends on the airline and if the lines are commutable?

Justin,

No commute is easy, they just never are. That being said, commuting is really a mindset. If you accept that you are going to commute and that you are happy to spend the time doing it because the rewards exceed the costs then it won’t bother you too much. If you see yourself as “being stuck” in a place you don’t want to live then it will drive you crazy.

Ten years is a long time to commute. I would give serious consideration to moving to your base. If you do chose to commute try to find one that is only one flight, has frequent service between cities and preferably is served by large airplanes.

Chris

Chris,

Thank you for your input. That’s my dilemma. I’m divorced and my kids wouldn’t be able to move with me. Ideally I’d ultimately be based with an airline out of DFW, as I could easily get there from my hometown. Just something I consider and have been putting a lot of thought into.

Justin,

I am divorced and commuting to see my kids as well, so I perfectly understand your dilemma. I have taken to trying to group my visitation days into two or three blocks, that way I am not commuting every time I finish a trip. I have been able to reduce my commuting by about 40%, which has been a huge stress reduction for me.

Chris

Justin,

Chris has experience commuting and I do not as I’ve been fortunate to avoid it. The reality is the majority of pilots do commute at least at some point in their careers. As I said I never have but I have many friends that due. Apparently a big part of the equation is where you’re commuting from and commuting to. How many flights are there in and at? Is it a single leg commute or multi? Are there multiple airlines doing that route? These are things you need to look at.

Adam