Greetings and thanks for taking the time to read my message.
Like most, I’ve always had a dream of becoming a pilot and I guess I came by it honest being that my mom is a retired flight attendant who began her career before I was born. So, you could say I grew up in the lifestyle and have a unique perspective on what to expect as a pilot. I plan on beginning ATP no later than 2019 in the 40hr ME Fast-Track program with credit for PPL. I’ll be mid-30s at the time I begin at a regional.
My main concern is stability because I’ve witnessed the aviation economic downturn first-hand after 9/11. Bankruptcy, voluntary/involuntary furloughs, concessions, call backs where normal lingo in my house for several years. Regional airlines seem to be more susceptible to fluctuations in the industry and I have this nightmare of experiencing a furlough or bankruptcy early in my career all while on the hook for a $60k loan from Sallie. This comes as my current career field in higher education is very stable and offers numerous opportunities for advancement. So, where do you see the regional airline industry in the next 5-10 years? I know a couple of the legacies are absorbing more regional flying, while regional carriers are scaling down or eliminating 50-seat flying. The reason I ask is that I’m at least five years away from beginning at a regional and it’s tough to say what will happen.
Other questions/concerns I have are:
- How can a pilot maintain a healthy lifestyle while on the road? Is it feasible to maintain lifting/exercise regimen while in and out of hotels?
- Also, many of the regionals contract for two or three different legacies. Are pilots assigned to fly under a specific legacy or are pilots able to fly American metal one day then switch to United, all under the same regional name, for example (hope that makes sense)?
- I heard the reserve lifestyle is either feast or famine when it comes to flying. Is there any consistency on what to expect?
I promise I’m not a pessimist, but I want to be prepared for anything. Being a pilot is really the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, and now I have the opportunity and nest egg to realize my dream. Any thoughts on my plan or the industry in general would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.