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Old 10-25-2012, 04:41 PM   #46
klaviator
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Commercial SEL and helicopter. MEL ATP. Flying pays the bills but when I want to have fun I going riding
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:16 PM   #47
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Flying is fun, no doubt about it, often times more fun than riding. But for a dollar to dollar comparison, bikes easily beat flying. Bikes seem to offer the most "flying like" experience and similar skill set of most anything else I can think of. For those who started flying in GA and got to 400+ hours and became bored with "droning around" in a Cherokee, which is sort of like riding a 1975 CB500T down the interstate, then perhaps you ought to try something a little different, like an instrument rating. Its greatly increases the utility of the airplane and is, if you do it correctly, very satisfying. If not done well, then it will, sooner than later, be exceptionally frightening (and hazardous). "Serious IFR" (within limits) in a light aircraft is much more challenging (and perhaps rewarding) than doing the same sort of IFR in a turbine aircraft. Of course its expensive - that old rub. Just an idea.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:52 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
Flying is fun, no doubt about it, often times more fun than riding. But for a dollar to dollar comparison, bikes easily beat flying. Bikes seem to offer the most "flying like" experience and similar skill set of most anything else I can think of. For those who started flying in GA and got to 400+ hours and became bored with "droning around" in a Cherokee, which is sort of like riding a 1975 CB500T down the interstate, then perhaps you ought to try something a little different, like an instrument rating. Its greatly increases the utility of the airplane and is, if you do it correctly, very satisfying. If not done well, then it will, sooner than later, be exceptionally frightening (and hazardous). "Serious IFR" (within limits) in a light aircraft is much more challenging (and perhaps rewarding) than doing the same sort of IFR in a turbine aircraft. Of course its expensive - that old rub. Just an idea.
Good analogy and I absolutely agree with you that Instrument flying is challenging, it's a whole 'nother world compared to doing touch and goes and making laps around the pattern. I only got about 1/3 of the way through the Instrument course at a 141 school, and logged some under the hood and actual time; but I still wouldn't consider it "fun". Flying actual IFR in anything but stable air can be downright scary in a 172, but you do feel a sense of accomplishment getting the thing on the ground safely. It's kinda like riding over a mountain pass when it's raining and 30something degrees out.

As for paying the bills as a Pilot, unless you got into the field a long time ago, it's REALLY hard these days to actually make a living flying. I was devastated when I couldn't get a clean medical (Color Vision Deficiency), I did get a SODA by identifying the light gun signals from the tower, but at the time the Majors wouldn't consider hiring a color deficient pilot even with a SODA. In the end it worked though, I pursued a science major instead of flying and got on as an Engineer with a NASA contractor after graduation. 2 of my good friends from college are "Airline Pilots", these guys are 33 years old and still flying right seat in Regional Jets and make less money than a waiter! One lives in DC and can't even afford a car!

Until the old timers finally get to that mandatory retirement age the high paying captains jobs will be few and far between. This was supposed to happen by now but ALPA lobbied the government to get the age bumped up.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:35 AM   #49
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I'm one of the near to be old timers and you should have heard the "kids" screaming for us to retire, quite rude, especially because they too didn't realize they'll be having to work until 65 instead of 60. (When the time comes they will probably propose extending the age 65 rule...) I'll be brief, the "high paying" airline jobs are pretty much gone. Wages are down 30-50% in the past 10 or so years. Couple that with its also very difficult to avoid being furloughed because of real or engineered bankruptcies. Some pilots at one particular airline have faced 3 furloughs in 10 years. So the money is way, way down, and what's left in the time to try and make it up is interrupted by several year lay offs. If the carrier goes completely bust then you go elsewhere and start right at the bottom. The way the system works now is positively diabolical. Generally, an airline in the US is not a career I'd be recommending...at all.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:54 AM   #50
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Got my SEL at a 141 school. Got my high performance and complex endorsement so I could fly the company's Debonair. Now we've got a freshly re-built Bonanza, but I haven't had a chance to fly it yet.

Flying for fun has taken a back seat to other things like paying bills, but will hopefully get back into it some day.

I've got a friend who bought himself a PPC a couple years ago. Looks like tons o' fun, and I've thought about picking one up. Might have to start thinking harder about that . . .
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:02 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
I'm one of the near to be old timers and you should have heard the "kids" screaming for us to retire, quite rude, especially because they too didn't realize they'll be having to work until 65 instead of 60. (When the time comes they will probably propose extending the age 65 rule...) I'll be brief, the "high paying" airline jobs are pretty much gone. Wages are down 30-50% in the past 10 or so years. Couple that with its also very difficult to avoid being furloughed because of real or engineered bankruptcies. Some pilots at one particular airline have faced 3 furloughs in 10 years. So the money is way, way down, and what's left in the time to try and make it up is interrupted by several year lay offs. If the carrier goes completely bust then you go elsewhere and start right at the bottom. The way the system works now is positively diabolical. Generally, an airline in the US is not a career I'd be recommending...at all.
Sad but true. I'm at my third airline in two years and just praying all the talk about hiring next year actually pans out. It's not even 121 flying that's risky, look at the NetJets pilots put on the street, CitationShares, Flight Options et al. I wouldn't recommend this career to anybody, get a real job to pay the bills and fly on the weekends for fun instead.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:22 AM   #52
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Oh yeah, the Fractional's, like everything, were hit too. Seven years ago it was the place to go to be - quite a few dismayed 121 pilots went there. I was suspicious, it seemed to good to be true, and lo and behold..... After much thought and observation, of over 30 years in aviation I've sensed that: 1. pilots seem to have a gold rush mentality. 2. Generally, don't think of themselves as a group or trade, but rather individually, or at least think of themselves only within their carrier 3. Their union, principally ALPA, have become incompetent, naive, and impotent. (see "B" scales, giving up scope each and every contract so they get short term gains against long term erosion, the inability or refusal of the union to even attempt to change the railway labor act clause that airlines are essential industries that are virtually impossible to have a job action against). I used to think the problems with flying as a career was the crazy economics of aviation (razor thin margins) then greedy upper management, both of which are true but now I lay the blame on pilots themselves. Of course that is sort of one those uncomfortable truths that doesn't win me many new friends. Sorry for the thread-jack.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:26 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
Oh yeah, the Fractional's, like everything, were hit too. Seven years ago it was the place to go to be - quite a few dismayed 121 pilots went there. I was suspicious, it seemed to good to be true, and lo and behold..... After much thought and observation, of over 30 years in aviation I've sensed that: 1. pilots seem to have a gold rush mentality. 2. Generally, don't think of themselves as a group or trade, but rather individually, or at least think of themselves only within their carrier 3. Their union, principally ALPA, have become incompetent, naive, and impotent. (see "B" scales, giving up scope each and every contract so they get short term gains against long term erosion, the inability or refusal of the union to even attempt to change the railway labor act clause that airlines are essential industries that are virtually impossible to have a job action against). I used to think the problems with flying as a career was the crazy economics of aviation (razor thin margins) then greedy upper management, both of which are true but now I lay the blame on pilots themselves. Of course that is sort of one those uncomfortable truths that doesn't win me many new friends. Sorry for the thread-jack.
I think there is a lot of truth to that, and flying is so highly romanticized that there is always fresh meat on the table.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:48 AM   #54
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The allure of piloting is a holdover from the olden days when it was new, exotic, and somewhat hazardous (or perceived to be). To swing back to the "problem" with pilots; pilot's are reluctant or are unable to deromanticize the career because instead of the "aura" (that frankly no longer exists) they haven't the ability to accurately and publicly portray the skills, knowledge and responsibilities required. In part, this is why they are stuck with terrible pay and working conditions. It is true that there are a lot of mundane aspects to flying that to outsiders look like they are low skilled and that is easy work. Well, when I see people in other professions sailing through something that looks easy, and yet, when I try it.....
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:53 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
Oh yeah, the Fractional's, like everything, were hit too. Seven years ago it was the place to go to be - quite a few dismayed 121 pilots went there. I was suspicious, it seemed to good to be true, and lo and behold..... After much thought and observation, of over 30 years in aviation I've sensed that: 1. pilots seem to have a gold rush mentality. 2. Generally, don't think of themselves as a group or trade, but rather individually, or at least think of themselves only within their carrier 3. Their union, principally ALPA, have become incompetent, naive, and impotent. (see "B" scales, giving up scope each and every contract so they get short term gains against long term erosion, the inability or refusal of the union to even attempt to change the railway labor act clause that airlines are essential industries that are virtually impossible to have a job action against). I used to think the problems with flying as a career was the crazy economics of aviation (razor thin margins) then greedy upper management, both of which are true but now I lay the blame on pilots themselves. Of course that is sort of one those uncomfortable truths that doesn't win me many new friends. Sorry for the thread-jack.
I agree completely. Oh well, I'm off the fly the redneck triangle.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:55 PM   #56
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I thought it would be a career. I never made it and quit at 30. It was time to join the real world, start paying for a house, and save for retirement. The flying 'jobs' I had never paid the bills well enough to quit my day job. Flew a baron some, mostly hauling checks. I don't get checks back from the bank anymore so that job is gone. My heli time was all OD green.
Fifteen or so years later I feel I made the right choice. I see my wife and kid every day. Only one house to pay for, no places to crash here and there needed. Only one car to pay for, no old wrecks sitting at various airports in case I need them. Some of the guys I learned with have done well. Some have learned another trade. Some are still struggling and just getting by.
One day I would love to own a plane and start flying again. Not for money, for fun.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:30 PM   #57
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Speaking of fractionals, Avantair has furloughed all of their pilots for a short bit and have the whole fleet grounded.

This certainly isn't what it used to be. And I'm only on my first type...
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:46 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
The allure of piloting is a holdover from the olden days when it was new, exotic, and somewhat hazardous (or perceived to be). To swing back to the "problem" with pilots; pilot's are reluctant or are unable to deromanticize the career because instead of the "aura" (that frankly no longer exists) they haven't the ability to accurately and publicly portray the skills, knowledge and responsibilities required. In part, this is why they are stuck with terrible pay and working conditions. It is true that there are a lot of mundane aspects to flying that to outsiders look like they are low skilled and that is easy work. Well, when I see people in other professions sailing through something that looks easy, and yet, when I try it.....
One of the large problems I saw in the rotorwing world, which is still pretty dangerous, was a willingness by pilots to take unnecessary risks. Not only does this damage the industry by raising the risk bar for pilots who would like to be professional and go home at the end of the day, but it impacts the public's perception of the safety of helicopters. A lot of the low timers I flew with will fly anything anywhere anytime, just to get hours. Once on preflight during a checkout with a senior instructor at a new outfit I was going to instruct for (It was a newer operation run by romantics and I had about twice the time of all of their cfi's combined but was still low time myself), I found the fastener securing part of the tail rotor control rod assembly was loose. Like 1/2" of play loose, and he said it wasn't a problem and we should take it up. I'd driven an hour and a half to make this flight, and had flown the same machine before and it just never felt right, I walked away. If one is willing to do so in a low stakes checkout flight what are they going to say when a big gig in big machinery is on the line?

I still look up and strain my eyes and ears every time I hear blade slap trying to identify the machine by sound before I can see it. I hope to fly again for fun someday and my financial situation since I left the game is almost to the point where that is a possibility. I smile knowing there will be no repercussions if I call no go on a flight for whatever reason.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:26 PM   #59
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Worked on helitack crews with the Forest Service, loved flying, so I burned up the GI Bill, got as far as CFI. Worked for a roofing company that had a plane (Beech Musketeer), got about 450 hours, quit and flew ultralights (Quicksilvers) at Kitty Hawk Kites for 6 months. Got married, went back to the roofing company until they sold the plane. That was in the 70's and 80's. Couldn't afford to keep it up on my own, so I tried a flying club at Kirtland AFB (I work on base) but the restrictions were pretty severe. That was the end of it.

If I got back into it, it'd be a foot-launch powered paraglider. What's keeping me from doing it is the fact that it's usually too windy and rowdy to fly one around here.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:43 PM   #60
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I've flown a 152 and a 172, but not legally.
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