Blue Collar Pilots

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GrummanBear, Feb 9, 2020.

?

Preferred Beverage

  1. Domaine de La Romanée-Conti Burgundy

    10.7%
  2. White Claw

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Budweiser

    35.7%
  4. PBR

    17.9%
  5. Unibroue

    14.3%
  6. Jack

    35.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    Eewwww, you drink Budweiser?
    :eek::eek:
     
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  2. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    Still better than PBR.
     
  3. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Debatable. PBR is just fine for those days when the temp and humidity is way up there. A thick stout is not what you want on a 97* day.
     
  4. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Only on special occasions like when the family gets new overalls or when our neighbors 15 year old daughter had a baby.
     
  5. Ken Whitson

    Ken Whitson Pre-Flight

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    I started flying lessons as a Navy E-3 while in training in Millington, TN. Paid for it out of my Navy salary; coming from my decidedly lower middle-class famiy in Dallas, there was no outside money available. The airport (Chas. Baker) was 7 miles away . I hoofed and hitchhiked over a period of 6 months or so. I was transferred just before I was ready for my flight test. Picked up the lessons again once I was estsablished in San Diego. Took the "nickle-snatcher" from North Island NAS and a bus to Lindberg Field for the lessons and (finally) the flight test. My first civilian job paid a massive $12,000 salary as A Field Service Engineer installing and maintaining blood-analysis instrumentation in hospital laboratories. Soon I was able to buy a used Grumman Traveler. After about 4 years with that one, I upgraded to a new Grumman Tiger. I stopped flying suddenly in 1983. Fast-forward to 2017, and I started flying again under the auspices of Light Sport. Given the dearth of Light Sport aircraft in my area, if I wished to fly, I would have to buy a (used) plane, so that's what I did.

    I believe that there are several take-aways from my story. First, if one has the desire, one will find a way. Secondly, one doesn't have to be "rich" or "well off" to fly or to even own an airplane. Thirdly, it's all about priorities in how how you choose to spend your money. For instance, our most "elegant" car brand was a Pontiac Bonneville, which we kept for 17 years. My wife and I were, at best, at median (or less) income levels over our working years. Yet, even in the early years, we found it do-able to not only own a plane, but to actually use it to go places. Fourthly, it's still all about priorities. If your only consideration is to fly in a plush brand-new $400,000-800,000+ airplane, yeah, you're gonna have to be in an upper-income bracket or have serious inheritance funds. But, if you can get by with less-than-the-bestest-and-latest-in-everything, you do have a lot more options. Fifthly, I once heard someone say (about life matters), "If money is your only problem, you don't not a problem."
    Regards.
     
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  6. Jsalter

    Jsalter Filing Flight Plan

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    Got my a&p, spun wrenches for flight time through my commercial rating. I had to pay for some of the CFI time but at a steep discount.
     
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  7. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

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    Setting aside the blue collar/white collar issue, I learned to fly while in high school. My parents couldn't afford to pay for it (nor were they willing to), so I got a job at a grocery store, then at the local computer retailer (CompUSA), and eventually landed a job at the FBO I was taking lessons at. Over the course of several years, I worked the front desk, the flight dispatch desk, line service, did test/repositioning flights for the maintenance department, demo/delivery flights for the sales department, some right-seat work on the charter side, and answered phones for the charter department. Eventually started flight instructing, which I did through college. Even in high school, I was working 25-30hrs a week at the FBO just to pay for my flying.
     
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  8. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    You guys got new overalls? You uppity bastages.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  9. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Line Up and Wait

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    Now, none of that is to say I didn't COME from "privilege." My parents were both semi-professional (read upper middle class). Their budget was divided thusly:
    One income went to maintaining the household (including a live in maid/nanny for me).
    The other income went to cars and booze (the ol' man raced SCCA before THAT "became a rich man's game").

    Alas, the silver spoon was actually plate, and became tarnished...

    So, I did it myownself.

    The world is full of broke folks pretending to be rich. And rich folks that wear overalls and chambray shirts ("blue collar").

    There's no pride or lack of it in either side... After all, we all put our pants on the same way.... No collars involved.
     
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  10. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Spun Out
    Yeah, bouncing and jumping around on one leg looking for a piece of furniture to grab to steady ourselves.
     
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  11. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    I know an engineering teacher who paid $18k for his son to go through a college program ppl. He wanted to move on and fly commercially. After he got the ppl and started flying friends he realized that the responsibility of carrying passengers was too much for him and he flat up quit. Only sharing because I’m not a big believer in spending $$$ to that tune on kids so they can chase dreams. Neither of my two daughters wanted to go to college right out of high school which was fine with me. The younger joined the Navy (currently stuck on Diego Garcia) and the older one works the front desk at our local TacAir.
     
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  12. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-Flight

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    Interesting, Kath. Six "summer" seasons in the mid-90's working at McMurdo was where I earned the funds for flight ratings also. As you say, no expenses incurred while there, and good time to study ground school materials. Debt-free, and single certainly made it a more viable plan, probably not for everybody. Off season at home (March - August) was spent working on a rating or building time in the local rental 172, nearly every single Hobbs tenth paid by myself. After about 4 years of that rotation, I'd completed my CFI, decided to stay north and become full-time professional aviator. Worked out for me, managed to make aviation a late-life career, and a reasonable living. ("Now I'm living in a van, down by the river.....!")
    As to the general subject of, let's say, folks of "normal" means, finding the funds for flight, I often tell new students that for most of us, we can maybe afford one semi-expensive hobby, might be snowmobiles, boats, 4-wheelers, aviation, but probably can't swing the finances for more than one of those at the same time. So, as an example, which do you choose, do want to take flight lessons this year, or upgrade your 2 snow machines?
     
  13. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Been flying helicopters professionally for almost 18 years. Wouldn't change it for the world.

    side note - Kenny Chesney has a song that reminds me of the blue/ white collar debate. It's called "The Life." It hit home to me several years ago when I met a man in the Bahamas that I now call my "Uncle Leon." Uncle Leon is 84 years young and lives the life I want to have when I retire. Many people over look what he has, but what he has is everything we all want...

     
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  14. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    Sounds like you and Kath have had some great adventures...
    I see you’re based out of Lander; I was born southeast of there on the Sanger Ranch...in fact, my mom shot at Chuck once when he locked us out during a blizzard. He used to use a plane to spot mustangs, and radio their locations to my dad and the other cowboys.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  15. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    As long as you are flying for An Airline it’s wasted money. Lose the medical and fall back on the education to earn a living and then I’d say it was a good investment.

    at the end of the day it’s subjective. I think that degree doesn’t make a better pilot. Just a more employable one. The more employable part is definitely a US job market bias that does not exist everywhere else in the world market. You don’t agree that fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  16. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    I sat there and scratched my head on how to snip and clip to make the Quote applicable to my questions and then gave up. :D

    When were you at Millington and why Chas Baker and not NAS Flying Club? I started flying with NAS as an E-3 as well ... back then a C-150 was $14/hr wet and an instructor was an additional $7. No matter how cheap that sounds, an E-3 pay still didn't buy as many hours a month as I would have liked. I soloed before transferring to NAS Miramar, where aircrew training consumed pretty much all my spare time and then back to back to back deployments, both East and West. It was another 20 years before I got back into GA and finished up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  17. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I don't disagree with you at all and don't understand why you think otherwise. My saying that my degrees were not a waste of time or money has nothing at all with what I do for a living. I got my SES two summers ago and had a wonderful time doing so. It didn't enhance my career or earning potential in any way. Was that a waste of my time and money as well? College was an absolute blast and I'm happy that I experienced it. That's all I'm saying.
     
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  18. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Sorry. Misunderstood your post. I’ll accept the ******* penalty flag on the field of play.
     
  19. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    Well, I've only ever heard of 3 of the 6 poll choices. Guess whatever class I'm in, it's not sophisticated.
     
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  20. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    How do I know what color my collar is?
     
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  21. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    You have to put a shirt back on...then, to make sure it’s clear to those around you, walk around with a popped collar
     
  22. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Since the beverage choices appear to all be alcohol, does that mean that it is assumed that all pilots drink?

    Since Army discharge in 1971 I haven’t consumed enough alcoholic beverage to even half fill a five gallon bucket.

    Could we have water or coffee as a choice?
     
  23. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    If you prefer water, I suppose the best choice would be PBR...coffee, then Black Rifle Coffee, which is close enough to Jack
     
  24. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not sure where I fall on the blue collar/white collar job discussion( I’m a teacher) but my story is a make it on your own type— or as much as one can realistically be because no one actually ever makes it anywhere on their own.

    Started taking flight lessons when I was 28 after going to school and getting my masters I saved up a bunch of money by living within my means and buying a place I could afford. I figured I wanted to try something I always loved, fell in love with flying by playing Flight Sims. No one in my family has any history with flying so I guess I’m cut from a different cloth. Went for the intro lesson and was hooked on flying ever since. 8 years later and I’m still loving every second. I never took a loan for flight lessons, paid with my credit card each time and paid that off in full each and every time. Other people go on exotic vacations each year and spend about what I do to fly myself around the Northeast going from airport to airport in my trusty rental. That’s exactly the way I want it— well one day I’d love to own my own plane but I’m happy with what I have for now.

    Aviation allows us to see the beauty of the areas we all live in in ways very few have the chance to do. It’s a prievlage I cherish.
     
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  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I don’t really do the blue collar / white collar thing, but if you’re looking for someone who was flat ass broke and learned to fly anyway, that was me at 19 and for many years after.

    College kid, sometimes stayed with my grand folks, other times at a seedy apartment with plenty of cockroaches, held three jobs including baggage thrower for Continental, package sorting for USPS, busboy, phone operator (when we still had those), dishwasher, intern Sheriff’s Dispatcher, and I forget what else. Two or three at the same time.

    Phone operator and baggage handling paid the best. So baggage by night and phone operator by day.

    I know for sure my first CFI “accidentally” forgot to Bill me for his time a few times. He had gotten to know my family and had come to dinner a few tones and I hung out at his place and borrowed books off of his massive aviation bookshelf and asked him stupid aviation questions. We’ve been good friends ever since.

    Yeah I was broke. Every extra penny went to airplane rental. That certificate took over a year for sure. I’d have to check the logbook.

    Anyway... I was so broke I rolled my Jeep into a ditch on a dirt road near the airport after a flight lesson, farmer helped get it upright. And then I drove it for years with the right side smashed in.

    My cute wife of 25 years used to climb across from the driver side to get in. LOL. Still can’t believe she put up with that. Haha.
     
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  26. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Hahaha - it probably all started with me misunderstanding your post to begin with. I think we're both on the same page.
     
  27. KRyan

    KRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This isn't exactly on the topic, but it's related . . .

    I'm kind of surprised that none of the Alaska guys have chimed in about this. I attended the Alaska Airmen's Show a few years back, and was surprised to see the number of "blue collar" folks up there that flew for their jobs. There are a lot of villages up there that need services like plumbers, carpenters, etc. but a person can't earn a living doing one of these jobs in the small towns/villages - here's just not enough local work, and the towns are far apart. The answer for a lot of these people was to live in one of the cities - Anchorage, Juneau, etc., and they fly to the "jobsite." I met a lady up there who was a hairdresser, and had her own plane. She had a "regular route" she flew where she would fly into a small village or town, do the ladies hair, and then fly home, next day it was a different town/village. Of course, it was more expensive for the people receiving the services, but that's par for the course up there.

    Being from the lower 48, I just didn't have any concept of a flying plumber, carpenter, hairdresser, etc., but for them, it was just like driving to work in the morning - they needed the plane to do their jobs.
     
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  28. Ken Whitson

    Ken Whitson Pre-Flight

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    Well, I've never been accused of taking the easy road. (Ref: picture at left-I was an Aviation Electronics Tech, destined to spend my days at an NAS shop or on a carrier, yet spent 4 years on a destroyer.) Best I recall is that I didn't get a lot of encouragement at the base flying club, plus maybe the only plane that they were flying was a Piper Tri-Pacer. Even to my untrained eye, it just seemed .....stodgy. The Aeronca at Baker was a real airplane.:cool:
     
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  29. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    All professional pilots are blue collar, anything to do with machines or devices is blue collar, including engineers. White collar is having to do with money, documents and management, basically bankers and office people. Somebody has to design, create, build, maintain and operate the stuff while someone else has to keep all the papers neatly filed, keep track of the money and act like they’re in charge. I’m blue collar, I drive old cars but one of them is a Ferrari because I don’t have to pay another blue collar worker to keep it running for me. I do however have to pay a few white collar workers to take care of all the niggly legal and financial aspects of my life. Fact is we both need each other.
     
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  30. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Over the course of years I have wore all the collars. :)
     
  31. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    That’s the truth...I was inspired to fly by a decidedly blue collar salt-of-the-earth pilot friend who still loves what he does after over 30 years flying. It was made financially possible, however, by spending a year seeking out the most dangerous and difficult tree work I could find, paid by primarily “white collar” property owners willing to take a chance on me. 20 stitches and two broken bones later...a little trainer and first-name basis at the local ER. o_O Now I’m basically living a high stakes childhood, climbing trees and playing with airplanes.
     
  32. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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  33. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Spike Cutler
    My primary flight instructor dipped, had a can he’d spit in while flying. This one time, really rough air...

    ...ick!
     
  34. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Cleared for Takeoff

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    These days just about all of my shirts are collarless; they're T-shirts!
     
  35. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I chewed for years , never spit. (real cowboys don't spit ;) ) Then one day I quit. Been 30 years
     
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  36. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Define paid. While these stories are great to read, some pilots always fail to mention how they actually “paid their own way” especially when it involves reneging on a promise or agreement.

    For example, an individual I’m familiar with assisted a credit-challenged PPL(A)(H) pursue his rotorcraft career through a training agreement.. The PPL got a CPL(H), CFI(H), CFII(H), and ATP(H) for only the cost of the DPE. Not to mention the use of a 269/369 to get the (H) ratings plus use of a C310 (fuel cost only) to build time. The only thing he had to do was honor the agreement. Instead, after the last certificate was in his pocket he waited for the owner to leave one day and left his resignation letter.

    So if there is a moral to finding success in pursuing aviation, show some integrity and backbone by honoring the personal agreements you make with other pilots, owners, or mechanics.
     
  37. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    What about real cowgirls?
     
  38. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    I don't smoke,
    I don't chew,
    and I don't dance
    with girls that do.

    :)
     
  39. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Grew up firmly middle class. Washed and waxed airplanes, cleaned the hangar, helped the A&P's at Plymouth Airport (MA) in the 1970's as a teenager... plowed my huge earnings (not) into flying lessons at the FBO Fight School. Received my ticket at 17, then reality set in as I had to pay for college...

    Fortunately I was able to fly in college (UMass) because my college flying club had a C-150 and the flying was cheap. I washed dishes (fired because "your heart isn't in it") and then worked at Burger King in order to pay for the $8/hour wet club plane charges. Great way to meet girls by the way, and believe me, I needed all the help I could get.

    After graduation... no flying. Couldn't afford it. Sold my biz and bought a plane a year ago after a 36 years absence from flying. Let's face it, flying is expensive in time and treasure.

    In my opinion, anyone flying today is a winner. Trust fund, poor house, doesn't matter. We need all the participants we can get no matter the background or how he/she got there. Everyone here should take a bow.
     
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  40. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    PBR is good for catching slugs in the garden...:)