Commercial Pilot Career?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Krs17, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. Krs17

    Krs17 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello everyone,

    My boyfriend is currently considering pursuing a career as a commercial pilot. He's very serious about it and wants to get started ASAP. We've had conversations with admin at the local flight school and they want him to do an associates degree along with the flight training so that he can apply for a student loan to fund the whole thing. In total it would be ~ $80,000 in loans.

    This number makes me nervous as I would need to co-sign for him to qualify. I have a stable job with no outstanding debt. However, I don't want to spend my life in debt and worry that this would hurt our/my chances for car or housing loan in the future (I'm 27 yrs old he's 26).

    He's incredible hardworking and passionate about the industry, but I need to hear some real perspectives on the industry and job outlook before I commit to this as well.

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    Never get a degree in aviation if your goal is to be a pilot. Get a degree in something to earn a living when the layoffs come.
     
  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    What kind of commercial pilot? Airline pilot? I’d recommend getting a bachelors degree. It’s very difficult to get hired without one. It can be done but you better have an extremely impressive resume. The other option is going to a regional that has a flow to a major airline so you can bypass the degree requirement. Get your ratings as cheap as possible and build your time as quickly as possible. Ask make sure he can pass a first class medical since he’ll need that for the rest of his career. Hope he has a long and successful career!
     
  4. Krs17

    Krs17 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you for your response! Airline Pilot is his goal but he does plan on doing regional initially or transport. He already has his first class medical, I'm the one dragging my feet on committing to the loan needed to fund everything... It's good to know the Bachelors degree can be needed.
     
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  5. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Q: would you gift the current significant the funds in cash outright?

    This isn’t a career question/prospect, it’s a financial obligation decision. Do you want to be on the hook financially for a lot of stacks of high society regardless of the outcomes in your relationship or their sucess in the program?

    Regardless, there’s a whole bunch of furloughed airline pilots operating contract Amazon delivery vans right now and until business travel (and international travel) resumes, it’s going to be a long row to hoe to get into an airline cockpit.
     
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  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While that is true, if one is starting from scratch now, chances are pretty good one would be in a position to take advantage of the hiring “boom” when it starts up again.

    In other words, I would rather start my journey in a downturn and be in position to catch the upturn than start in the boom times and be ready to get hired just as things are starting to go South.
     
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  7. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    *fervently rapid-punches backspace key* Ah screw it....

    upload_2021-1-25_18-0-40.png
     
  8. JuggyJet

    JuggyJet Pre-Flight

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    It is not my intent to kill the romance. But, if you were my daughter, I would tell you absolutely not to co-sign anything for a boyfriend.
     
  9. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Line Up and Wait

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    I will be blunt. Worst idea ever. If your boy friend can’t qualify on his own for his loan, then he needs to fix that before he starts flight training. And if his credit score is that low to begin with, good luck getting a job post graduation at companies that use credit scores as back of the background check. Perhaps you don’t fully understand the legal implications of what it means to co-sign a loan. In short, it means you pay if he doesn’t. So if the school turns out to be crappy, if he quits because of one reason or another or just disappears, the minute he stops paying on the loan, you get the opportunity to do so. I’ve seen this horror story play out way too many times but usually it’s the parents co-signing a loan for a child. In the military, it was surprisingly the opposite, young service members co-signing loans for what would turn out to be deadbeat parents. Then come the collection companies and eventually the judgments and then the repo man shows up looking for the service member’s cars and anything else of value in order to satisfy the judgment.
     
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  10. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What Greg said is perfectly accurate! Getting started when there is no market for your skills gives you the advantage of experience when the market for those skills improves. You need a 4 yr degree, and then the "apprenticeship" to put you in the top prospect for hiring.
    The apprenticeship in this case is flying experience. Takes a few years of flight instructing (where you really learn how to fly), then maybe flying night freight, then some shady other outfits, then maybe cooperate, before airlines. Corporate and regionals may be a career, instead of major airlines. It usually takes years to get there. Then plan to be very health conscious. Preemployment health screening is extremely rigorous. Even things like driving records, and possibly even FICO scores may come into play. I have seen it so many times over the years. Get your experience while no one else is. Then your the one qualified when the hiring begins. And it can't be emphasized enough, you want to be in the beginning of any hiring boom. Seniority has control of EVERTHING in your life, private and professional.
     
  11. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    As my former classmates sings:

    If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.

    Just sayin.
     
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  12. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    And there is no need to spend 80k at a big chain part 141 flight school to have a pilot career. Have him spend way less and get his private at a small local flight school and see how he does.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I agree. No ticky, no laundry!

    Edit: Maybe I should leave this here also:

     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  14. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Something I would like to also say. I applaud you for asking, at least your thinking before signing on the dotted line. You and your boyfreind can do this. You can make it. But many don't. Do you feel confident enough in your relationship to put him through 10 yrs of medical school? That's the commitment your thinking about. And then the divorce rate is extremely high in the airline business. AIDS........ Airline induced divorce syndrome. It's real.
     
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  15. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are very right to be nervous. I don't know you and your boyfriend, but if you don't agree to co-sign what will he do.??
     
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  16. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    The OP reads like the beginning of a bad horror movie. Everyone in the audience is yelling to themselves “Don’t do it!”
     
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  17. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    I agree although I expect the furlough lists to be long and distinguished.
     
  18. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    On a personal level, I don’t think boyfriend is enough to commit to that much of a loan.
     
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  19. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This. If you guys breakup, you're f-+ked. Sure he may be the love of your life now but take it from a guy a bit older- it can all go to hell at the drop of a hat. So, I wouldn't recommend you doing that, but nor should he be forcing you to. He's young, has time to stand on his own two feet. I went to aircraft mechanic school and wrenched for a few of my ratings. He can find a job at the airport like line service(I did that first), pump gas, save money for training, make connections. If he's passionate about it like I was then he'll drive a Zamboni floor cleaner in hangars, bring ice/coffee/newspapers to private jets and remove the blue juice(**** water) without hesitation. So, I think he needs to figure it out on his own, not rely on you. The worst debt to have is debt from someone else(and all debt sucks). If he threatens to leave you/drops a sob story, well, maybe he ain't the one.
     
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  20. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    There are a few regionals that are starting hiring now and in a few months. Although I expect it to be a little more competitive than what they were hiring from 2016-2020. Delta is bringing back 400ish pilots. The more experience you have, the better. Better to get in now and build time in the lull than wait until the boom.
     
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  21. Krs17

    Krs17 Filing Flight Plan

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    I appreciate everyone's concerns, I am fully aware of the obligations when cosigning. I have a post grad degree and paid off all my own loans.
    Unfortunately, my boyfriend has no one in his family who can cosign. I'm really looking for insight to the industry and career prospects or alternative financing suggestions.
     
  22. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    The biggest issue is if he hasn’t explored all the ways to get both his ratings and degree. No aviation degree is required so he could go to Harvard or the local community college. For the best pilot jobs a bachelors is generally all but required in the US... but below the majors less so and many make a good living without a degree or work on one along the way while working.

    Secondly you don’t have to get your ratings from a big commercial school (under what’s called 141 rules). I bet you can get all your ratings for half the money and pay as you go at a local independent flight school (part 61)

    My fear is he heard the slick pitch from ATP or similar, and sure it’s one way to go. But if you’re a self starter it’s far from the only way to go. Avoid the instant gratification, and big bill, it’s a luxury and surely not the only way to get there. Taking the other way will ensure he wants it along the way. Work and pay for the ratings as you go.

    Oh and PS on these forums you’ll find pro pilots and private. Probably more private. So you’re not quite asking in the right internet neighborhood. Check out airline pilot central forums.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  23. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    That’s good to hear. Definitely a quicker rebound than I expected. I hope it continues at a reasonable pace.
     
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  24. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    I agree whole heartedly. Never co-sign a loan for anyone. Especially an educational loan.

    be very careful about schools that charge “pay up front”. More than one flight school has failed/closed and walked away with $$$ leaving students to pay the loan for services never recieved.
     
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  25. Krs17

    Krs17 Filing Flight Plan

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    Ahhh thanks for the hint on the group, it's definitely better than nothing though!

    He's been talking to a small aviation school but it is part 141 and I think he's not realizing entirely that their salaries and wages depend on convincing people to attend the school and as well intentioned as they seem aren't unbiased.
     
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  26. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    hate to be blunt but you are a fool if you go into 80k in debt chasing this industry. After getting his ratings he will be working making 30k a year for at least two years either instructing or flying aerial survey. Then what happens if hiring is frozen again like now? 2 more years of 30k per year if you are lucky. Then you get your first job at a regional or flying sic in a private jet making 45k per year if you are lucky. My point is you will be struggling to pay that loan off for a long time!
     
  27. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    With all due respect to everyone here, asking any private pilot about airline careers could be worse than nothing! I’m sure this group is a mix of pros and non. This isn’t a flying question this is an industry and career question. And being a pilot doesn’t teach you much about the industry. Working in the industry does. I was a private pilot a long time and now am in the industry. You don’t know what ya don’t know. Does he have any mentors?


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  28. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    I would consider cosigning a loan with one of my daughters, but they are the only two people in the world I would do that for. Don't cosign loans, it's a good way to put a lot of resentment into a relationship.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  29. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    If he wants to be an airline pilot for a first tier company a four year degree is a requirement.

    whether or not you should co-sign loans for his school is you personal business and I will not comment. No one but you can decide if that’s ok. My wife and I do not have any separate liabilities or assets. That’s a lot like a career in aviation... it’s a way of life and it’s not for everyone. Good luck!
     
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  30. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Do not co sign the loan under any circumstances. Not only are you at risk for paying it all back but it will impact your current credit rating as outstanding debt. You should also be asking yourself why he can’t qualify on his own given the low credit requirements for student loans. That same poor credit he appears to have will hinder opportunities for a good flying job. He can get the ratings and build time without the loan. He is also going to need a 4 year degree for the better jobs and some of the majors like Delta have a preference for a masters degree.
     
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  31. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    My advice is...

    ...Never co-sign a loan. Not for anybody.

    ...Don't borrow money for anything other than a mortgage.
     
  32. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Pay as you go. He works a regular job, then does training in the evening paid by his pay-check, and maybe supplemented by yours because you love him. Forget the loan. If it’s worth pursuing, then there’s no rush in doing so. He can earn his CFI then teach to gain his remaining hours.
     
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  33. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    :yeahthat:

    I shouldn’t get involved and comment on this, but I’m going to. It’s bad business to mix money, especially of that magnitude, with someone you’re not married to, much less engaged with. I know it’s probably not on your radar, but the reality is, the two of you could break up tomorrow, and you’d get stuck with the loan. I know you want to support him and see him follow his dreams, but you’re not his fiancé or his wife and you’re not his family, by blood or by law.

    If he can’t float this on his own, than he needs to find another way besides creating a liability for you, who’s otherwise financially stable and without debt.
     
  34. guzziguy

    guzziguy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Loans are unnecessary.
    The school wants him to go for a useless AA degree so they can get their grubby hands on the Student Loan money.
    An AA is worthless and serves ONLY the school's aims.
    Many believe (and flight schools foster this belief) that student loans are necessary because learning to fly is 'so expensive.'
    Learning to fly (as all things aviation) IS expensive. And it BECOMES MORE EXPENSIVE when we put an artificial deadline on completion of the training. I'm sure the flight school has advertised that they can train him to be a commercial pilot with multi engine ratings and instructor in "only 9 months!"
    Yeah? And then what? Eating bologna sandwhiches as you instruct students who constantly are trying to kill you on a daily basis? All the while, sending out hundreds of resumes a month just hoping to get an entry level job and PAY THOSE LOANS.
    Your boyfriend (co-signing for a boyfriend? Are you ****ting me?) is actually in a very good position right now. The market is depressed so he's not 'missing out' on any job opportunities at the moment. This means there is no pressure to complete training in "only 9 months!"
    The smartest way to go would be to get a decent job during the day and pay for lessons as he is able. I am doing this now for my Instrument Rating. I work a day job and in the evenings I pay for my lessons as I go (I have no delusions to fly commercially).
    This strategy can be done, my cousin who flies charter Phenom jets did exactly this way. He has no student loans to worry over. yes, it takes longer, but as I said, there is no pressure to hurry up and finish BECAUSE the market is so depressed at the moment.
    YMMV
     
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  35. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I wish I could like this more than once. I may have appeared a bit crass when I commented earlier but this was the point I was after. There is not even a commitment to staying together but there is the question of making a commitment for taking on the responsibility of paying back 80 large? I wouldn't even have entertained the conversation.
     
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  36. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    @Krs17 - If you search this forum for the topic of borrowing for flight training you'll find the collective is somewhere around 99.99% against it. Adding in that the loan is not for your own flight training accounts for the other .00999% of the advice you're getting here.

    A little bit of Judge Judy will straighten you out on mixing finance.

    But, since you said that's not what you came here to ask, I'd suggest the 26year old work his way through training by WORKING. Should be able to earn enough to train through CFI by 30, and then do instruction for money and time building.

    If you want to help him financially along the way, do it by letting him sleep on your couch and keep the dinners out down to once a month. (How old fashioned am I?)

    If everything goes perfectly you'll be married to a pilot with no debt. If anything goes less perfectly, you'll have escaped with your bank account and credit rating unscathed.
     
  37. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    And when you tell him you're not going to do it (because that is the right decision here), don't let him turn the conversation into a 'you don't love me' issue. If he can't handle that decision that's even further proof that you shouldn't have co-signed.
     
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  38. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I came through the civilian ranks but looking back, I wish that I had investigated going the National Guard route. Tell him to get his bachelors degree, he’ll need it if he wants to fly at the majors, and while he’s in school, join the Air National Guard. That way once he graduates, they’ll be familiar with him and his work ethic and hopefully he can get a pilot slot.
    I think that between the civilian guys, guard guys, and active duty guys, we all agree the guard may be the best route.

    And DO NOT co-sign a loan for someone unless maybe it one of your children. (And then I’d have to think about.)
     
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  39. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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  40. JuggyJet

    JuggyJet Pre-Flight

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    In my generation, it took us (including our spouses) no kidding serious dedication and commitment to make it to the major airlines. After doing anything and everything, I finally made it to the dream airline of mine. At that time, it was the best in the industry. New hires had all kinds of backgrounds. And, we all had to pay for our housing during the initial training, and were paid only $20 hour. But, we couldn’t have been happier. After making it to the major industry, we endured the battered industry through 911, 2008 Economic Crisis, and now the COVID crisis. Only thing kept us going was/is commitment, dedication, and love of flying. Your boyfriend is asking you to commit your hard earned money and financial future for his career. What did he commit to you so far? I really wish you and your boyfriend the very best in the future.
     
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