Flying career for daughter

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timberwolf8199

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I had a young man in my church who made similar comments. I asked him at the time if he was sure that he wanted to be a pilot for his profession or if it would be better to keep it as a hobby. He was determined he did and went to Florida for school. After one semester he was back and had decided commercial piloting wasn't for him. He's now a real estate agent who flies for fun (He and his wife just had a baby girl; named her Piper :))
I was always good in school, enjoyed aviation, and enjoyed working with my hands. I got a degree in aeronautical engineering and loved every minute of it. Today I work as a mechanical engineer, aircraft are a hobby, and I have no regrets.


Your daughter gets straight A's and said she wants to do something with aviation...that doesn't necessarily mean a job as pilot. Is she mechanical, book smart, creative, etc? What other interests does she have? Find strengths that line up with interests and see where that points. Don't rule out other jobs like A&P or crash investigator (SVSU Steve?) just because they don't require being a pilot. These aren't office jobs yet they are still in aviation. Likewise, if she really enjoys it, maybe it's best not to turn it into a job. Keep it as a sideline and work in a related job/industry doing something you're good at/enjoy.
 

Mark Z

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Find a mentor/instructor who likes to share. It's all about hanging around with the right folks who take interest. Success breeds success; she won't have any problems reaching her goals but you have to put yourself in the environment where opportunities knock. If she were close I'd have her solo my Champ by her 16th birthday and furnish the fuel.
 

Rockiedog2

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It's a rocky road; I, like others here, have been there.

The college degree/military produces the best resume' by far, especially for the majors. At my airline the vast majority of new hires were from that career track. I was fortunate to get accepted into USAF pilot training and actually made it thru w/o much trouble. I had a couple hundred hours and a PP certificate before which is always a big help and recommended if you can swing it. But like already mentioned you gotta "be in the military" to get that resume'...I was young and dumb and excited and actually volunteered for Vietnam the first tour; but didn't have any choice the following two. That's when reality set in. I told my kids to avoid the military at all costs short of going to prison. Why?...cause the wars we got now are micro managed by the politicians outa Washington. And we all know what kinda respect they deserve/get. If we got another world war yeah let's all saddle up and go. But to have your life controlled/threatened by some politician...naw, no way. Ask the guys who are on their 5th/6th/7th deployment. They're missing their kids growing up. So yeah I'm down on the military route, not because I don't respect the military(I definitely do, especially the officers/EM below the staff level) but for the reasons already mentioned. OTOH, if the military life appeals to you, and you don't mind giving up control of your life; sure have at it...it's definitely a respected and honorable profession. Just be sure you got all the info you can get before committing.

My airline hired a lotta civilian background pilots too...I flew with a number of them who did the aviation degree/pilot training route. They were actually more savvy in the operational environment cause they had been out on their own making the daily decisions of a PIC at some Part 135 or corporate job while the military guys were normally "bound by the decisions of the command post" type thing. The military in my experience tried to eliminate as much PIC judgement as possible with procedure and at my airline PIC judgement trumped all. I would closely investigate the Embry Riddle/Delta State University type schools and if I could afford it and liked what I found out I would favor that route. Then of course you gotta pay your dues starving/instructing/ corporate/commuter/whatever you can get to build time.

Because aviation as a profession is such an iffy thing, I would go for a degree I could make a living with maybe engineering/accounting etc something you can actually get a job with. That will fill the first square that the majors/military are looking for... a degree. And in the meantime, do whatever aviation related I could to learn and qualify myself while in college, like a PP certificate with the idea of pursuing aviation after the degree. That way we're prepping for whatever eventually works out in the future. There's several ways to go about it it just depends on what the individual decides will work best for him.

It was mentioned that some don't like the airline life after getting into it and finding out what it's really like. I liked the time I was in the cockpit but that was only a small percentage of the time at work...75-80 hours flight time per month/350-400 hours trip time per month. If you like dead time in hotels over Christmas and disrupted sleep schedules you'll be much happier...I knew every pan handler in downtown Oakland by first name. Not all good by any means...but I was lucky as hell, never a day of furlough, rapid seat progression, coveted company. I wanted out but realized how lucky I was to have it and it was probably the best I could do...so I hung in there and it all worked out. Retired at 58 and been able to do everything I wanted to ever since. That's hard to beat.

It's a crap shoot but if you wanta fly roll the dice and get to work at it.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Only four careers in aviation are in demand: commercial airline pilots (big time demand), and to a much lesser extent... air traffic controllers, helicopter pilots (any), and AG crop duster pilots.
What is your source on that? The gov makes forecast about the industry as well as numerous consultants in the private sector and they don't seem to reflect your claim. Or in simple terms, why do I get A&P job solicitations in the mail on a weekly basis? Don't these companies offering huge employment incentives know there is no future in aircraft maintenance? I get aircrew mailings as well, though not nearly at the rate I get A&P offers. BTW, I used to work for an ag operator. I know a little bit about that industry and there ain't no overwhelming demand for ag pilots.

So a young person wants to be a lawyer. S/he strolls into a glass front law firm and says "where do I sign up for the lawyer apprentice program? I'll need a 4 yr scholarship for a pre law undergrad degree then another 4 yrs of law school." Let me know how that works out. Some careers and occupations actually have prerequisites to entry. Much to the dismay of the entitlement generation, those prerequisites have to be earned.
 

Pops

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My grandson started early, I gave him his first flying lesson at about 10 years old. He was like me, all he ever wanted to do was fly since 5 years old. His is also an Airforce brat. At 15 years old he would spend the summers with my neighbor barnstorming his Stearman over the eastern part of the U.S. He would sell tickets, fuel the airplane, help people get in and out of the airplane. He did that for 3 summers. After high school he enrolled in college for a degree in Aviation and got a job as a line-boy at a large airport. After getting is Private license, different aircraft owners at the airport started asking him to go on trips. Got go over an hundred free hours of turbine time that way from aircraft owners that were also flight instructors. After getting his instructor rating, he was instructing in all of his free time between school and working at the airport. Then he went working full time instructing until he was old enough to take the ATP test. A few days after taking the test an airline called and ask him to fly to NY for an interview. Flew for the airline for about 3 years and didn't like it, was offered a job flying in the flight dept of a large company. Now just turned 30 years old and had 7 type ratings. When he is not flying for the company he is still flight instructing in his free time and loves his job. Do to the people he met in the airshow circuit for those 3 years, he had time in AT-6, P-51, B-25, PBY, etc. Now has time in over 60 different aircraft.

IF your " want to" is large enough, you will find a way.
 

BobbyZ

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So far there's been some good advice but the one thing I didnt see is to get her flying ASAP.
It is the one thing that wont go to waste and the earlier she starts the better off she'll be later on NO MATER WHAT ROUTE SHE TAKES.

I know it's not cheap but there's options like glider clubs and the like out there that can get her seat time on a budget and I'm pretty sure some of the time counts towards a CPL.

If done right she could easily have her Instrument rating plus some of the 250 hours needed towards her CPL by her sophomore year of college.
This way she can also go to a real school instead of a Pilot mill and during the summers she can earn hours.She could instruct or fly banners all summer and build time so that she has that much more than the next guy by the time she graduates.

I think the one thing we all would agree on is to get flying ASAP.The more hours she gets in the meantime the better off she'll be compared to the next guy later on.I know it takes a lot of time,money and luck but if she's dedicated and pays some dues she could have her CPL around her sophomore year.Then she could have a blast stacking up hours flying banners for the summers(or instructing etc).This way when she graduates she'll have a stack of hours that will separate her from the rest of the pack.

Now if she decides to go with the military the hours and any ratings will help her there too.

Last but least is if she ends up going for a different career the things she learns while learning to fly now won't be lost.They will follow her forever and in a very good way.I personally cant think of a better way to teach a young adult personal responsibility and independence.The critical thinking skills and situational awareness that are drilled into our heads while learning to fly tends to help improve our judgment.As a father myself I have to say that no matter how good they've been taught,a few more things to help in this department will never hurt..............Plus it's fun ;)


Pops beat me to it
 

Pops

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I was married young and had 3 children by the time I was 24 years old. Growing up very poor and marrying young I never had any extra money for flight instruction. I was building and flying model airplanes since I was 8 years old. Stopped by the hobby shop and saw a notice about a meeting to start an EAA chapter. I went to that meeting and met several people. About 2 weeks latter, one of the men that I met called me and ask if I would work on the weekends helping in the ground crew at a large sailplane club ( he was one of the flight instructors in the club). After working for several weeks, I was told that the club was going to pay me for my work by giving me free flight instruction in one of their Super Cubs if I paid for the fuel . I also went with several sailplane owners to contest and worked in the ground crews there. So much fun, I would even pay to go.

If nothing else, I would go to the nearest small airport and start being an airport bum and ask if I could help wash and wax airplanes with the owners for free. Someone will always take a free hand. Do it as much as possible, someone will feel sorry and start asking you if you want to go flying with them and some if these people will have an instructor rating and ask you to get a log book and start signing you off for the time they let you fly. Where is always a way, just keep on trying.
 
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skier

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So far there's been some good advice but the one thing I didnt see is to get her flying ASAP.
It is the one thing that wont go to waste and the earlier she starts the better off she'll be later on NO MATER WHAT ROUTE SHE TAKES.

If done right she could easily have her Instrument rating plus some of the 250 hours needed towards her CPL by her sophomore year of college.
One kid that was doing flight training at the school where I got my private had his CPL before he left for his freshman year. I never heard how it ended up working out for him.

Sounds like what I could have written... except it wasn't my Dad, but an airline pilot I was talking to at the airport who said more or less the same thing. I had already pretty much decided I didn't want to be an aerial bus driver, anyway
For me it was the A&P I was working for as a summer job. Ended up going to school for aeronautical/mechanical engineering and have a blast at work (most days) working on aircraft components.
 

Vigilant1

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Some other thoughts:

- Of a general nature: This article by a professional career advisor makes some insightful points I think most young people can use. It is unconventional, and the typical young person would probably not accept it, but it takes 5 minutes to read and might help a light bulb come on in a few years.
"Do What You Love. . .and Starve?http://www.martynemko.com/articles/do-what-you-love-and-starve_id1380. "
Two points of many in the piece:
The irony is that the small percentage of people who do make a living in “do-what-you-love,” “follow-your-passion” careers, are, on average, no happier than people in less sexy jobs. Here’s why. Plenty of “cool careers” sound better than they turn out to be. Actors, for example, spend very little time acting. They spend most of their time trying out, sitting around waiting for their turn at rehearsals or on movie shoots, etc.

More important, not only do salaries in “cool” careers tend to be low, employers in those fields know they can get away with treating their employees shabbily because zillions of other capable people are panting for the opportunity to work 60 hours a week for $27,521 (with no benefits) rarely getting praise in exchange for the good feeling of knowing they’re playing an infinitesimal role in saving the spotted owl or whatever, even though they may never get closer to an owl than to a pile of accounts receivable statements.
. . . if your job is mundane, for example, marketing manager for the Western Widget Company, the employer knows there aren’t hundreds of competent people champing at the bit for your job. So, to keep you, the employer is more likely to offer decent working conditions, reasonable work hours, kind treatment, opportunities for learning, and pay you well. Those are the things that—much more than being in a “cool” career-- lead to career contentment.
- College: It's not necessary to get a four year degree to make a comfortable living, but it helps, and it gives options. Almost every teenager wants every minute of their education to directly apply to their life ("when am I ever going to use this calculus? This is stupid!" "what job would I get where they care if I understand the US Constitution?"). But employers use a college degree as a fast and cheap (to them) way to decide which applicants to consider for jobs that have higher requirements (technical work, writing, jobs requiring independent fact-gathering and analysis, etc). It's just a way to know that the applicant has the perseverance to stick with something rigorous for 4 years, that they are responsible enough to work on their own to get things done, and that they probably have some basic reading and writing skills. A high school diploma used to serve this purpose, but no longer does, and some degrees from some colleges may not either. There are plenty of very smart, motivated folks who never went to college, but they aren't considered for many of the desirable jobs in many companies because folks with college degrees are available. That's just the way it works.

- If she doesn't want to attend college now, and doesn't want to "sit behind a desk or in a cubicle," and she wants to earn a comfortable living, then she probably wants a skilled trade. Really, that's what most flying jobs are, but because of the perceived excitement of an aviation career (see Nemko's article, above), the pay and working conditions in the flying biz are not attractive for the first decade or two, and the cost of entry is high. She could afford to do it as a hobby instead (much more fun, IMO) if she learned skills in another area that pays better. If only she knew someone who owned a business and could teach her both a trade and how to run such a business. . .gee, that would be tremendous. Such a person would get a motivated and trustworthy person to help expand their business, and she'd get something invaluable every parent wants their child to have--the ability to make it on their own. That would be fantastic . . . ;)
 
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Direct C51

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I don't regret that path I took, and would highly suggest something similar. I'll never make $200k a year, but I have about as easy a life as a pilot could get. My path was as follows.

- Enlist in the Army right after high school as a mechanic or crew chief in Army Aviation.

- Apply for Warrant Officer Flight Training right away. I was selected with just over 2 years of enlisted time.

- Excel as an Army aviator earring as many ratings, hours, and as much PIC time as possible. I had over 2000 hours, 1500 PIC, and was an experienced test pilot all in my initial 6 year service obligation.

- Get out once your service obligation is over.

- Get a civilian medevac job once you get out.

My path has some pros and cons. I didn't have to pay for training, pay has always been good, and I've got great experience and training. I'm now 30 and have a well paying flying job in which I'm home every night and don't have to work very hard at all. I never had to try to get by making $25k a year as a CFI. I did have to spend about 10 years in the Army, which means sleeping in tents, deployments, and the general unpleasantness Army life can be. I'm glad to be out, but I don't regret it at all, and wouldn't change a thing.
 

Little Scrapper

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Really amazed at the comments, thank you so much.

Imy currently talking with my daughter about your comments. From a father's perspective here's my take, and worry. I will be honest, it's eating at me.

It's a rare gift to be a academic as well as a unbelievable artist. She is both. I believe her heart is in the "art" side of life and I think she's trying to shove it away based on fear. She's smart, she knows about the starving artist scenario.

At 15 she's an accomplished photographer. Her art is currently traveling around the country from school to school. She gets chosen to do murals at school out of 1,500 students. She's incredibly happy when she's in creative mode. I have numerous customers who are professional photographers and I've shown them her work without her knowing and they are blown away at what she's doing. She started photography at age 11. She saved every penny and buys her own equipment, expensive equipment that she studies and knows how to use. It's really neat how all her friends ask her to do photo shoots and they are amazing when she's done. She's sold her prints at a show, although it wasn't much people bought them. Kinda cool.

We'll go driving and she'll have me stop while she does her photo thing. Does this sound like a commercial pilot path? I'm not so sure.

I told her I would send her to photography school and even help her start a business. She convinced herself not to because of all the starving artists. This is the result of her reading online.

Money is important but if your not happy money doesn't solve that problem.

Thanks for hearing me out on this guy's. I'm not sure what to do or think but I think I'll just keep encouraging her to follow her heart and listen to her gut and being her photography taxi.
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Victor Bravo

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You might have just answered the question for her... aerial photography.

If she's better at photography than most other pilots, then chances are she will be able to take better, or more artistic photos using her gift for artistry AND a knowledge of flying, piloting ability, etc. Even if the money-making end of this is industrial or other "business related" photos, she will still have an opportunity to use the equipment and skills for more artistic shots when the opportunity arises.

She would need to figure out a niche, or some quality level, that you average drone operator cannot match. This may be possible because a piloted airplane can fly higher, or in different airspace than an average commercial drone owner staring through their VR goggles.

Air Cinematography is another opportunity. There are companies here in Hollywood that do that for the movies and TV. Probably pays well for the small percentage of people who are truly talented. The aerial cinematographer on the aviation movie "One Six Right" is a guy named Kevin LaRosa, and being an helicopter aerial camera geek allows him to own a pretty nice P-51.

On another note less artistic in nature, a commercial pilot license and a written test will qualify you for being a drone driver for General Atomics and other companies. Depending on which company, some of the buttons they ask you to push on the drone joystick may be less pleasant than others. Other companies (Border Patrol) may use their drones for just watching, with the unpleasant button not being used.
 

Rockiedog2

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Lots of photographers are far from starving artists. The big time in that field is real big. And lots of the average wedding type photographers do very well and are happy with their choice.

My daughter was a natural pilot; the eye/hand, the intellect, all of it. The right stuff. When she got about 15 she asked about the airline pilot life. I told her about the time away from home and uncertainty around the holidays (and the good stuff too). She thought about that a while then said "I don't think that's right for me...the mom thing". End of that. Great choice. She's blowing and going in the corporate world and happy with her choice. Even tho she would have made a great pilot she didn't have the burning desire that I feel is Prerequisite One.

The moms at my airline managed to make it work somehow. Often the husband wasn't available either...I knew a number of them who went to South America and interviewed at length and brought back a nanny with them who became a member of the family. Lots of unique problems with an airline career but if you really love to fly you'll find a way to make it work
 

bmcj

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Really amazed at the comments, thank you so much.

Imy currently talking with my daughter about your comments. From a father's perspective here's my take, and worry. I will be honest, it's eating at me.

It's a rare gift to be a academic as well as a unbelievable artist. She is both. I believe her heart is in the "art" side of life and I think she's trying to shove it away based on fear. She's smart, she knows about the starving artist scenario.

At 15 she's an accomplished photographer. Her art is currently traveling around the country from school to school. She gets chosen to do murals at school out of 1,500 students. She's incredibly happy when she's in creative mode. I have numerous customers who are professional photographers and I've shown them her work without her knowing and they are blown away at what she's doing. She started photography at age 11. She saved every penny and buys her own equipment, expensive equipment that she studies and knows how to use. It's really neat how all her friends ask her to do photo shoots and they are amazing when she's done. She's sold her prints at a show, although it wasn't much people bought them. Kinda cool.

We'll go driving and she'll have me stop while she does her photo thing. Does this sound like a commercial pilot path? I'm not so sure.

I told her I would send her to photography school and even help her start a business. She convinced herself not to because of all the starving artists. This is the result of her reading online.

Money is important but if your not happy money doesn't solve that problem.

Thanks for hearing me out on this guy's. I'm not sure what to do or think but I think I'll just keep encouraging her to follow her heart and listen to her gut and being her photography taxi.
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One thought for her photographer side... a friend of mine with camera skills spent 20+ years riding with the Canadian Snowbirds taking air-to-air and ground publicity shots for each of their performances. He did this as a civilian.
 

skier

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Lots of photographers are far from starving artists. The big time in that field is real big. And lots of the average wedding type photographers do very well and are happy with their choice.
Many wedding photographers (in the right area and ones that are talented enough) can book years in advance and can be doing 1-2 weddings each weekend for >$4000 per wedding. It isn't an easy gig, but you can do very well in that field, if you have what it takes.

If she's interested, she may even be able to find someone that would let her be their assistant for a wedding (carrying lighting/equipment, helping with posing, etc) to see if it's something she'd be interested in as a career.

Air Cinematography is another opportunity. There are companies here in Hollywood that do that for the movies and TV. Probably pays well for the small percentage of people who are truly talented. The aerial cinematographer on the aviation movie "One Six Right" is a guy named Kevin LaRosa, and being an helicopter aerial camera geek allows him to own a pretty nice P-51.
Speaking of One Six Right, did you see the new film, Living in the Age of Airplanes. I don't know who the cinematographer was for it, but it looks to be beautifully shot.

[video=vimeo;101896187]https://vimeo.com/101896187[/video]
 

Little Scrapper

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Many wedding photographers (in the right area and ones that are talented enough) can book years in advance and can be doing 1-2 weddings each weekend for >$4000 per wedding. It isn't an easy gig, but you can do very well in that field, if you have what it takes.

If she's interested, she may even be able to find someone that would let her be their assistant for a wedding (carrying lighting/equipment, helping with posing, etc) to see if it's something she'd be interested in as a career.



Speaking of One Six Right, did you see the new film, Living in the Age of Airplanes. I don't know who the cinematographer was for it, but it looks to be beautifully shot.

[video=vimeo;101896187]https://vimeo.com/101896187[/video]
It's ironic, but I bought it last week. The images were great but the film was horrible. Not nearly enough airplanes. At times it didn't even seem like an airplane film.

But yeah, the photos and cinematic scenery was great.
 

TFF

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My take is she seems like she will figure it out. She has interests that requires her to be independent. That is the kind of person who will go and do what they need to on what they pick. You also dont have to pick right away. Make what you can available to her, and she will take it from there. Getting a leg up is great or experiencing and deciding its not right is part of the big journey.
 
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