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Thread: Future pilot checking in...

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Default Future pilot checking in...

    Howdy folks, I thought I'd check in here since I'm getting into aviation. I just completed 7.5 years on active duty in the army, and I'm now in school full time at UAA. I'm in the Aviation Technology program and plan to be a pilot for my next career. I don't want to work for a big airline. My preference will be in - state only. I suspect that will get me home more often.

    I'll read what you all have to say. Hopefully I can glean some wisdom from the experienced pilots here.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    dont sell yourself short on the airline career, your timing may be good for the so called "shortage", the natural progression is private, instrument,commercial,airline transport,CFI, then scare yourself in the bush flying 207's,then sit in the right seat of a twin working for chump change, then move to the left seat to build PIC time, Pen Air and ERA are respected smaller airlines that offer good careers in state, depends on your final career goals.
    "f/64 and be there"

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    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    Also check out my friends website "oddball pilot.com" he offers great info for pilots who dont want to go the airline route.
    "f/64 and be there"

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! Ultimately, my goal is to find a niche I can fill in the aviation industry up here and start my own business. I'll fly for someone else until I learn how things work first though. I'll take a look at that website....

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    EMoss, that website is a phenomenal resource! I'm listening to one of the podcasts now. Somebody rep EMoss for me will ya? Seems I already repped him too recently....

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsoldier View Post
    . Somebody rep EMoss for me will ya?
    Got him for ya,...and myself also,...that is a Very Cool Website

    Interesting thread here, Good Luck on your new career,...

    If I had it all back,...your course here AKsoldier, might have been mine, sounds like a Full On, "Blast of a Life"

    (seriously appreciate also, all those years you laid down, carrying guns in the deserts of the world, for us all)
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I by no means want to rain on your dream, but having some experience in aviation I can say this. Alaska would be the last place in which I would try to start an aviation career. I have a good friend that is a First Officer for United and he and I met when he was my CFI. I watched him go through the entire process, I also chased the dream until I lost my medical. Be prepared for a long process with very little income in it. To even be remotely competitive to find a paying flying job you are going to need a couple thousand hours. My friend often flew for free and loaded freight just to log multi engine time. Had to pay thousands of dollars to Flight Safety for type ratings to get a First Officer (FO) job paying less than he made waiting tables. All the while he is one failed medical away from being unemployed.

    With Alaska's weather and flight time cost, building time and experience will take longer and cost more. IMHO you would be much better off living near one of the major training areas like Arizona of Florida and get your training there and try to build time as a CFI or flying jumpers or pulling gliders. Once you get a couple thousand hours then get some time in Alaska and continue on with your plans.

    You will have an up hill battle completing with the military pilots that get out with thousands of multi engine and jet time, But it can be done. Most pilots will also have college degrees so getting that done will help as well.

    Good luck, just do your research and have realistic goals.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I by no means want to rain on your dream, but having some experience in aviation I can say this. Alaska would be the last place in which I would try to start an aviation career. I have a good friend that is a First Officer for United and he and I met when he was my CFI. I watched him go through the entire process, I also chased the dream until I lost my medical. Be prepared for a long process with very little income in it. To even be remotely competitive to find a paying flying job you are going to need a couple thousand hours. My friend often flew for free and loaded freight just to log multi engine time. Had to pay thousands of dollars to Flight Safety for type ratings to get a First Officer (FO) job paying less than he made waiting tables. All the while he is one failed medical away from being unemployed.

    With Alaska's weather and flight time cost, building time and experience will take longer and cost more. IMHO you would be much better off living near one of the major training areas like Arizona of Florida and get your training there and try to build time as a CFI or flying jumpers or pulling gliders. Once you get a couple thousand hours then get some time in Alaska and continue on with your plans.

    You will have an up hill battle completing with the military pilots that get out with thousands of multi engine and jet time, But it can be done. Most pilots will also have college degrees so getting that done will help as well.

    Good luck, just do your research and have realistic goals.

    Steve
    Steve, I appreciate the insight. I don't have the option to go out of state to build hours, so I'm pretty much stuck handling that here. I already have a potential job offer as a CFI once I finish school though, and I'm not adverse to holding two jobs to make ends meet. I already know it doesn't pay well at first, so I've been preparing financially. Re-financed the house, so my mortgage is under $900 and most other debt is paid off. The rest will be soon.

    I don't need to be rich, as long as I can pay what few bills I have and put food on the table I'll be happy. Flying is and has been a dream of mine for a long time, so the enjoyment of the occupation will make up for the small paycheck.

    As for the degree, that's the nice thing about the AT program at UAA. It comes with a BS in Aviation Technology.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Flying as a bush pilot in Alaska can be very rewarding for several reasons. Flying as an airline pilot can be monetarily rewarding, but can also result in hours of high-flying-straight-line boredom.


    I have friends who do both. They live in Alaska, have their own airplanes that they easily afford because of their respective high salaries flying big jets. They commute free of charge via jumpseat privileges to their respective areas of employment i.e Texas, Hawaii. They have a really easy schedule with lots of time off and are then able to use their own planes for fun in Alaska and in some instances as airtaxi pilots in their own planes with lease arrangements.


    The only planes I have ever flown in 33 years (some of it seasonal) of Alaska flying, were single-engine recips on wheels skis and floats. I don't regret those years at all. I had lots of interesting adventures, formed lots of lasting friendships, performed absolutely essential flights in support of remote settlements, villages, or simply one-person or single-family cabins. I flew supplies, mail, groceries, explosives for mining operations, barrels of fuel for remote helicopter ops, fish from commercial fishing boats to processing areas, parts to broken down commercial fishing boats, tourists to bear viewing areas, scientists to research vessels, geologists for aerial surveys, hunters and fishermen, done search and rescue missions, medivacs, and and many many more kinds of missions over the years. I have seen more of Alaska than people who have lived there for decades (except for other Alaska pilots). Most of it was truly interesting and adventurous. Some of it was really scary.


    With your military service, you can utilize your GI bill for much of your flight training after you first acquire your private pilots license with your own money. So the expense for your flight training should be pretty minimal.. I would recommend that you study the book stuff first and pass your private written test before you begin taking flying lessons. You will get a whole lot more out of your initial flight training by having that knowledge under your belt first. After that, the GI bill should take care of most of the expense for your flight training toward your commercial license and instrument rating. From there you could get a multi-engine rating if desired, but most important is to obtain a flight instructor and instrument flight instructor certificate (CFII). After that you can build time giving instruction and get paid for it. Ground instructor would be a good rating to have as well. An A&P ( Air frames and Power Plant mechanic) license would make you even more valuable as a potential employee.


    I would recommend taking your initial training in a tail-wheel airplane because it truly enhances your rudder skills (as opposed to a nose wheel airplane). You could also take some of your private and commercial training in a float plane and get an "airplane single-engine land and sea rating" right from the get go.


    Do the research. Pass the private written. Checkout your GI Bill educational benefits.


    Best of luck to you

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    Monguse,

    I really appreciate your response. It's good to hear from experienced pilots who have done what I want to do. I am using my GI Bill for school. The post - 911 version is a great benefit. Since the Aviation Technology program at UAA includes an academic degree, the GI Bill actually covers even the PPL. This is the only program I have found that covers the PPL, and I suspect the academic degree is the loophole that enables coverage of the PPL. I already have enough credit hours for an AA degree, so the 36 months of school I get from the GI Bill will cover all of my school and flight training. I'll finish wish a BS in Aviation Technology and commercial certs including IFR, CFI and multi - engine.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    wow sounds like you have a great plan and a great opportunity, I would run with it!! it took me seven years from CFI to the Airlines, it was a great adventure- now i really enjoy my job. things to keep in mind as you move up the ranks: ( things that have bitten my pilot friends)
    1. get your degree
    2. dont get a DUI
    3. avoid accidents (obvious but listen to that voice in your head "should i turn back" or " wow i have never seen that before")
    4. dont burn bridges- your student or first officer may someday be your chief pilot
    "f/64 and be there"

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMoss#83 View Post
    wow sounds like you have a great plan and a great opportunity, I would run with it!! it took me seven years from CFI to the Airlines, it was a great adventure- now i really enjoy my job. things to keep in mind as you move up the ranks: ( things that have bitten my pilot friends)
    1. get your degree
    2. dont get a DUI
    3. avoid accidents (obvious but listen to that voice in your head "should i turn back" or " wow i have never seen that before")
    4. dont burn bridges- your student or first officer may someday be your chief pilot
    Thanks again for the advice! I'm a much better student than I was back in my high school/early college days, so the degree is a given. I actually study now. There will never be a DUI in my future, and I generally get along with everyone. I don't recall any flaming bridges in my past. I'm just impatient to get started with the flight training part of my education. I'm currently finishing up some required General ed for the AT program.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Emoss and I were on the same path at the same time, even flew together a bit, I completely agree with everything he says. You do have a great plan, so definitely stick with it!
    We both fly the big iron, but still fly the little machines because they are so much fun! Keep following your dreams!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    Emoss and I were on the same path at the same time, even flew together a bit, I completely agree with everything he says. You do have a great plan, so definitely stick with it!
    We both fly the big iron, but still fly the little machines because they are so much fun! Keep following your dreams!
    Thanks! I'm still plowing through oddballpilot.com, by the way. I have the day off so I've been listening to podcasts from there all day. Maybe I need to take one of you experienced pilots out for some coffee someday and bug you with questions....

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Member Redlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsoldier View Post
    Howdy folks, I thought I'd check in here since I'm getting into aviation. I just completed 7.5 years on active duty in the army, and I'm now in school full time at UAA. I'm in the Aviation Technology program and plan to be a pilot for my next career. I don't want to work for a big airline. My preference will be in - state only. I suspect that will get me home more often.

    I'll read what you all have to say. Hopefully I can glean some wisdom from the experienced pilots here.
    My best friend is a private pilot that went back to school in his late 50's and got his A&P and is working to get his AI. With all the crack ups in Alaska, there would never be a shortage of work. He has been making pretty good money ever since and is building a taildragger Cessna 150 for our "Supercub-on-the-cheap".

    And, I'm off to ground school class myself.

    Best Regards.

  16. #16
    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    And here is what you get to stare at for hours!! wow look at all the pretty colors!! SEA-ANC
    "f/64 and be there"

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    AKSoldier, Congratulations on serving your time honorably and moving you and your family on to the next stage of your life. I'm going on 24 years of active duty and I've long held that after someone faithfully serves their contractual obligations to the military, they should get an award, a hearty pat on the back and all the assistance we can give em' to be successful on the outside. Instead, we try and guilt them into staying or call em' quitters, etc. Anyway, happy for you and hope your plans work out. If you were down in WA I'd give you your tailwheel endorsement and the keys to the Cub for $10+ gas as is the standard deal for my Soldiers who finish their PVT certificate on their own time. www.Silverwingflying.com The family and I are coming up for the first week in April to hide in Talkeetna and a day in ANC for a pre-deployment vacation. Mike-

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    Quote Originally Posted by stearmann4 View Post
    AKSoldier, Congratulations on serving your time honorably and moving you and your family on to the next stage of your life. I'm going on 24 years of active duty and I've long held that after someone faithfully serves their contractual obligations to the military, they should get an award, a hearty pat on the back and all the assistance we can give em' to be successful on the outside. Instead, we try and guilt them into staying or call em' quitters, etc. Anyway, happy for you and hope your plans work out. If you were down in WA I'd give you your tailwheel endorsement and the keys to the Cub for $10+ gas as is the standard deal for my Soldiers who finish their PVT certificate on their own time. www.Silverwingflying.com The family and I are coming up for the first week in April to hide in Talkeetna and a day in ANC for a pre-deployment vacation. Mike-
    Thanks Mike, and thanks for your service as well! Enjoy your visit, and let me know if you need anything while you're here. Matt

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

  19. #19

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    I think Alaska is a great place to train/live if you want to be a pilot. I know several people that have done just that and are making good money in the bush. But your body will only load so many 207's and caravans before it gives in to old age. Not to worry you still have some time left. Young low time pilots can get in right seat of a 208 do all the loading/fueling and log 70-100 hours in two weeks. Pay sucks but you have two weeks off a month and time racks up quick. If you want your own company find a way to get your A&P/IA license it is worth its weight in gold. The big guys are picking up pilots now entry level is opening up. As time go's buy you will find flying plans someone else loaded is fun too. When you have gray hair the tall tails sound better if they start with There I was above the brooks range, than there I was 30 miles north of Phoenix.

  20. #20
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
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    Hello AKSoldier,
    Thank you for your service...I would be happy to chat with you anytime you wish...I have been flying since I was 19...Civilian, Military, Instructing, Search and Rescue, Heavy Iron international and yes even small airplanes up here...There is NEVER a reason to not chase your dream...If you truly love what you do the money you make (or don't make) is second...I am MUCH older now made next to nothing when I started but have never regretted my career choices and now my children are considering an aviation career path...

    Some of Sid's points are valid: but never question your dream, keep your eye on the goal...In the words of one of the greatest hockey players in the world...You can never make a goal from a shot you never took...Go for it...The Sky is NOT the limit...

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