I recently found this site and have to admit that the information found in here has been very helpful. With this in mind, I have a few questions related to making a career switch (just like a lot of people).
A little bit of background about me should help clarify where my questions are coming from. I’m a 28 year old software engineer in Houston, TX with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. The pay is quite good and work is mentally stimulating for the most part. I’m also pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech (my company helps pay for tuition).
My dad was a crop dusting pilot and I’ve always been fascinated (obsessed) with aviation. I fly RC planes as a hobby and often find myself day dreaming being in a cockpit instead of stuck in Houston’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. Due to family circumstances I didn’t pursue a career as a pilot earlier in my life even though I definitely wish I would have (I realize I’m not too late). Additionally, I’m married with no children, my wife works full time, and neither of us have student debt. I’ve discussed the possibility of becoming a pilot with her, and even though she’s not 100% with it, she has expressed her support; she even gave me a discovery flight as a birthday gift; best 60 minutes in a long time!
When I was 17 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had an orchiectomy (removal of a testicle) performed. Luckily I fully recovered and haven’t had any issues since. Knowing that pilots have to submit themselves to a yearly checkup, I have wondered whether my past medical history would cause any troubles for me in the future.
Now that you have a little knowledge on my situation, could you help me clarify some questions?
- Is a prior diagnosis of cancer (more than 10 years ago) and successful recovery cause for denial of a first class medical certificate?
- Should I expect a lot of problems caused by my history with cancer?
- To someone else (maybe my wife?), it could sound crazy to give up a well paying job and rack up $80K in debt in order to take $24-$36K a year for the next two-three years and hope to become a major airline pilot. Do you have any tips in making my argument more convincing (to my wife)? She also worries about pilots not being home enough.
- In how many years can a pilot expect to be making a “good” ($50-$75K), “better” ($75K-$100K), “excellent” ($100K+) salary? With this question, I’m trying to get as many guidelines as possible in order to convince my wife that this would be an investment for the future.
- Is it realistic to obtain a CFI job in your own ATP Flight School location?
- My wife and I are thinking on moving back to South Florida. For job prospects, is Houston or South Florida a better location?
Thanks a lot for taking the time to read my questions and I look forward to hear your responses.