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Thread: Newbie needs advice on what path to take

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Question Newbie needs advice on what path to take

    Hello everyone,

    After being in IT for my entire professional career (just 9 years but I'm still young) I'm starting to get a little tired of flying my keyboard & mouse.

    Just as a little background, my grandparents were an Alaskan pioneer family that moved to Peter's creek in the 50's. Both my grandfather and grandmother were very skilled pilot/mechanics that owned and maintained their own aircraft. My mother and aunt both became pilots in their own rights and continued the tradition of the flying Bellringers, and now I would like to follow in my family's footsteps by becoming a commercial pilot and mechanic.

    After serving for 6 years in the US Army Signal Corps, I have access to the Montgomery GI Bill and would like to use it to it's full extent.

    I have many questions and I'm sure that each answer will spark another question, but you have to start somewhere

    1 - What kind of demand is there for seasonal pilots/mechanics in Alaska for the Summer? I'm think I would like to be up there for 5 or 6 months a year from late spring to early winter.

    2 - Same question as #1 but for certified mechanics/avionics technicians.

    3 - I'm also considering the helicopter route, is there a difference in length of training with helicopters vs. fixed wing?

    4 - Assuming I were to live in Alaska full time (but 5-6 months is probably more likely) what kind of salaries would one expect starting out as a pilot or mechanic?

    That's it for me, I look forward to reading your replies. Thanks!

  2. #2


    Where are you located now? Do you have any pilots certificates?
    If you are employed stay there for now.
    If your a reserve check for military flying clubs in the area to get started.
    If not find a pt 141 school in your area and get started on your pilot
    certificates. Under the Montgomery GI you'll have to pay for your
    Private on your own. Then use your GI for Instrurment and Commercial.
    I don't know of any pt 141 that does Floats and is approved by the VA,
    I'm looking for one myself.

    For A&P schools go here and look around for information and schools

    I would recommend a Community College, visit and ask lots of questions,
    check with the local fsdo for information about any school (pilot or mech)
    you are the employer, get the most for your money. Ask about
    Vet discounts and programs to help pay for school.
    DO NOT PAY FOR A PROGRAM IN FULL, IN ADVANCE. IE silver state helicopters
    went under with students holding the bag with loans
    up to 60k plus
    Besides if you pay as you go you can stop anytime and not owe alot
    of money. I went to a place that gave a discount for buying time in
    10 hour blocks in advance thats ok as you won't lose as much if something
    happens to the company.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Smile Cochise College

    Thanks for the reply Pic. I live near Sierra Vista, Arizona (South of Tucson) and I don't have any certifications yet.

    I have done a bit of searching and the best bet looks like Cochise Community College (Through Double Eagle Aviation- They have flexible courses and have a special program where I can claim 100% reimbursement for the Private Pilot's program. Everything after that is only 60%, and AFAIK it's paid from month to month.

  4. #4


    I have heard good things about Cochise Community College,
    you can do all your training there(pilot and A&P).
    Get a Degree while your at it.
    If you do your IR with them be sure to go somewhere
    with real IFR and get some experience in the soup
    before you try it on your own.
    Get your A&P first, then trade work for airtime?

    Good Luck


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