Cheapest way to commercial?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Gwt9678, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Gwt9678

    Gwt9678 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi All,

    Currently been flying for about a year, and am trying to take the plunge to professional flying. I'm 28 and have a career in sales right now, but I know that this is not what I want for the future. I have about 50 hours now and will be starting my instrument training at the end of the month. I'm looking for any and all advice on getting to a commercial as quick and cheap as possible, as I am self funding everything right now. I bought a cheap C172 for time building, so that works out well for me. Once I have that ticket I intend to work as a CFI with one of the large flight schools, then off to the airlines! Any and all tips are appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You said "any and all tips" so here it goes:

    quickLY and cheapLY are more correct in the context used. Also, what is an appreciarec?

    Now I'll attempt to be helpful: there is less expensive and there is faster, but rarely do the two cross paths. Since you've purchased a plane and (I assume) work sales full time while doing this you should view it as a career change. Many have done it. And as I recall @AggieMike88 is in that process now. I'm sure he'll share his thoughts and experiences to date with you. Send him an IM.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  3. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Having your own cheap 172 is a great start. I don't think there's some silver bullet here - just go hammer out the ratings with a CFI you like.
     
  4. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It seems you are already on the right path. The cost difference between an old 172 and a G1000 C172 can be very significant, and I have seen students get unnecessary hung up over avionics. We have seen people in this forum say "I want to eventually fly jets, so I need to learn to fly with a G1000". Nothing could be further from the truth. Cheap airplane and cheap gas is the first place to start, which it seems you already have. Next thing is to find a CFI who is not out to build hours at your expense. Find a retired professional who is looking to kill time, and I don't necessarily mean retired airline pilot. Find someone who has been active in GA. Students who are studious and do not need to be spoon fed are actually to pleasure to teach. When I have such students, it feels wrong to charge them for instruction, because they pretty much teach themselves, and I often end up learning a thing or two from them.
     
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  5. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Correct... After completing my 52nd lap around Sol, I am in progress of switching from helping run the family auto salvage yard to professional aviation.
     
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  6. Gwt9678

    Gwt9678 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks everyone! Seems like my ideas are pretty straight forward. I have a good CFI I'm working with that has a reasonable rate, and we have 2 other guys at about the same process as me, so we all should be able to act as safety pilots and build hours together. Now it's just a matter of flying every minute I have free to get those hours in!

    appreciarec is what happens when autocorrect fails and I forget to proofread :)
     
  7. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Another resource for the point where you are at is @DavidWhite

    His story was that he started when he was a teenager, got his license on the first day he was permitted by age. Then flew the heck out of a beat up white 172 while to get the required hours and experience for his commercial license. Then shortly after that got hired by a commercial aviation operation that didn't need high time pilots. And continued to grind hours to better commercial aviation jobs. Then went to Alaska for a year or two.

    Now in his mid 20's he is flying for either a part 121 or part 135 op.

    And a big difference between David and some of the other youngsters we encounter these days.... he recognized that his dream required hard work and dedication to get there. He never demonstrated the attitude of entitlement so many kids have today. He left time to enjoy himself, but then it was back to pushing that boulder uphill and achieving his next milestone.
     
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  8. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    Don't forget that somewhere in those objectives you want to become a good pilot. Cheap, fast instruction may not contribute to that. I would also argue that dual-given contributes only marginally. Flying freight, bush piloting, etc. are probably better choices.

    One thing that sticks with me is a quotation from the (deceased) right-seater on Colgan 3407 on the CVR saying something like: "I flew more IFR on my first day in this job than I flew during my entire training."
     
  9. idahoflier

    idahoflier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In addition to your instrument training, flying another 150 hours in your C172 is probably the cheapest route you will find to build time. Having said that, at 28, you may want to consider pursuing a pilot slot at a guard or reserve unit...
     
  10. tlglenn

    tlglenn Line Up and Wait

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    Btw, if you're going to be flying a lot without a specific purpose other than building time then I suggest going to Pilots n Paws or another similar website and use your flights to help others.
     
  11. Gwt9678

    Gwt9678 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the info everyone! Yes, pilots n paws is likely in the future, especially once the instrument rating is done so I'm not as much of a slave to the weather.
    I have considered the freight or entry level type scheduled jobs too. I'm based outside Atlanta so it's a unique opportunity with a lot of low time jobs available.
     
  12. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Not sure if this has been said earlier, but although a commercial grade certificate entitles you to make money as a pilot, an AT (Airline Transport) grade is generally the certificate needed.
     
  13. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I was just looking at many of the job listings for these types of flying jobs. On the list I was viewing, nearly all of the freight 135 employers were wanting 1250-1500 hours to be admitted to the interview room. And many wanted a certain amount of AMEL and instrument time too.

    Not well defined in the aviation world is the concept of "entry level" employment with regards to a segment you would make a career out of. I have not yet found any space where, like the industrial or business sector of the USofA economy, a young buck can enter a company at the minion level, work hard, and eventually advances to the corner office.

    This doesn't mean there are zero low time employment opportunities out there. Just that they appear to be few and far between and likely not advertised.


    For the moment, @Gwt9678, plan on flying your 172 as much as you can to gain valuable experience, especially on cross country flights to different airports. Work on your skills of pilotage, radio, navigation, dealing with emergencies, etc. Obtain your instrument rating as soon as you're ready, then get out and fly a bunch with that.

    The big thing you need now is experience. With that comes the time into your logbook. Also with that comes the wisdom from your successful activities and your mistakes.

    And start making lots of useful contacts in both your local and regional aviation community. Through these you can uncover all sorts of beneficial activities and opportunities that will serve you well as you progress toward your goal.
     
  14. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    The reason for those minimums is because they’re the IFR 135 PIC minimums. You’re worthless to the company if you can’t do the job you’re interviewing for.
     
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  15. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    Back in the day, I read up on the experience requirements for Part 135 VFR and hit up a friend who owned a 135 cargo operation as soon as I had logged 500 hours. "Come back when you have 1000 hours" he said. It is the insurance companies that dictate experience minima, not the FAA.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  16. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    Double check the requirements so you don't have to re-do any flights. Maybe use your cfi as a guidance counselor to help kill two birds with one stone when available.
     
  17. John perkins

    John perkins Filing Flight Plan

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    Can you tell me the difference in time needed for AT grade? Compared to commercial grade. Thanks.
     
  18. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Having your own 172 is a good first step,on achieving your comm. ,IFR ratings fairly economically.
     
  19. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I did it so long ago that I can’t remember all requirements. I believe it’s 1500 total time.
    Back when I did it, you needed a class 1 medical just for the privilege of taking your logbook to the feds, where they would go through it with a fine tooth comb. If all requirements were met, they gave you the sign off for the written.
    I’m pretty sure those days are long gone.

    In general, the ATP certificate is an instrument checkride with less margin for error. About 1/2 I think... ie within 50 feet vs 100, or one dot glide slope (1/2 dot??) vs full scale. That could have changed as well.
    It’s usually a fairly easy ride simply because at that point in your flying you have sharpened up your skills naturally to that level.
     
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  20. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    250 commercial
    1500 atp
     
  21. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I know your main objective is building time. Don’t forget to have fun too. Idk if you have a significant other or not, but flying a couple hours for a “date night” can be rewarding in multiple ways ;)
     
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  22. John perkins

    John perkins Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks
     
  23. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    cheapest way?.....marry a rich gal with a Citation X.
     
  24. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I'd bet goooood money that could be a LOT more expensive in court.
     
  25. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Well, not for you.
     
  26. Mitch817

    Mitch817 Filing Flight Plan

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    I can't second this last part of what Mike says enough.

    You've already got your plane, it doesn't get much cheaper than earning your ratings in your own airplane. Go out and fly now. You need a wide range of exposure to weather and different fields and conditions... Pick your goal and work on it every day. Even if it's just opening a study guide, cracking the textbook, or watching a video, do something to further your goal every day.

    AND...

    You need your network.... Start building it now and it will pay dividends for the rest of your career. I wouldn't get nearly as much stuff done in aviation if it wasn't for the friendships and relationships I've built up over the years. Be on that first name basis with your DPE, keep in contact and ask for advice without becoming a pest. Try to maintain relationships with any of your good CFIs(again see the advice to ask advice without becoming a pest), hang around at airports and go to locally sponsored fly-ins and meet people. You'll get to know ex military, ex airline, current airline, hobbyists, warbird pilots, GA pilots, people with a passion for aviation and generally some of the best people to talk to on the planet.

    Mitch