Should I pursue a career in aviation

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Jack Welles
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jack Welles » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:53 am

kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:05 pm
I have respect for those who have been able to achieve success in the aviation industry hence asking for the input.

Not sure why people take the time to post comments like yours but thanks for your time anyway.
:D don't get sniffy. If all you wanted was for people to say "Ra-ra-ra, go for it, Nike all the way." then should have have asked for that, but you didn't, your original question was wide open. And it is a social media forum ...

Anyway by getting some input from another angle can only help for you to come to a considered decision. In fact, your (positive or negative) response to the "negative" comments may very well give you the answer you're looking for!

Whatever you decide, I wish you well into the future :smt023
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jean Crous » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:01 am

I have to say, the "negative comments" are also of use. Opinions are just that , opinions, till you start to apply them, then they turn into advice.
Rarely does job satisfaction and good pay end up together, sure there are those individuals that have both. One has to decide for oneself which is the more important issue , at this present time and the foreseeable future.
As for you wanting to do a career change at this stage and age, first establish exactly WHAT is the motivator for this. A point to remember with an aviation career, your medical is key to having that flying job. No one has their health status guaranteed , loose the medical and the job goes with it. Therefore the advice to have something to fall back on is sound advice, but you are already covered on that score.
Good luck with your choice, and what ever it is, give it everything you can !
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by mythbuster007 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:15 am

A wise man once said : 'Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.' ”

Good luck!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Cherokee6 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:40 am

kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:13 pm


I am hoping it will be a job that will pay as well if not better than finance, allow me to emigrate, travel and have a sense of accomplishment and making a difference.
To address these parts of your questions:

1. Pay better than finance? You say you’re already highly qualified and have a great career on track in finance. In that case, the time and money you lose by starting a new career in aviation is going to come at significant opportunity cost and no doubt you already understand the power of compounding... so on this count, a career in finance wins.

2. Allow you to emigrate? Yes, aviation can do that. But then a highly qualified finance person can already emigrate very easily too.

3. Travel? Yes, aviation will certainly do that. But after a lifetime of traveling for work, I can tell you that there’s “travel” and “travel”...

4. A sense of accomplishment? Certainly can be found in aviation, yes.

5. Make a difference? Hmmm... that’s tough. Truth is, airline pilots are largely seen as glorified bus drivers these days. Rescue pilots or bush pilots or EMS pilots might score higher. But then they don’t earn so well...

Other considerations:

- if family are important to you then honestly, career in aviation is not ideal. The money in aviation is best towards the top of the chain as a captain for an airline, flying long haul. You’ll be away from home a LOT. You will miss birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals. Among those pilots, divorce rates are extremely high and relationships with parents, children etc. are difficult to maintain. This is a huge downside to the career. It matters more as you get older.

- if health is important to you, then airline flying is a poor choice. This is a terrible lifestyle for the body. Long hours, interrupted sleep, poor quality food and difficulty with creating regular exercise routines.

- the numbers game (he/she with the most hours wins) is an anomaly specific to the aviation game. Basically, once you’re employed at an airline, all you have to do is keep on flying and building hours. Seniority (and therefore opportunity and salary) is based purely on numbers as opposed to merit. IOW, it’s not the best pilot who gets promoted. It’s the one with the most hours at the airline. So if you are more talented or do a better job than your colleagues, it makes no difference- the chain of seniority is all that matters. It’s quite bizarre and for many, quite frustrating. If you’re the kind of person who is happy to just watch the years tick by and wait for the numbers to slowly climb, then you’ll like it. But if you are someone who likes to determine their own fate, or wants to do better than their colleagues in return for greater reward, then it’ll frustrate you. I’m not saying that it’s a cake walk - being an airline pilot carries huge responsibility and you’re always being tested, but it is still the only field that rewards loyalty over performance.

Here’s a fact for you: a large percentage of airline pilots really hate their jobs. Probably just as high a percentage as the finance people who hate their jobs. A good friend of mine has just retired from 747s and he absolutely loves flying (aerobatics in particular) but he would rather be absolutely anywhere rather than on the flight deck of a 747. The novelty of rank and the perception of glamour fade very quickly, while the downsides which I have mentioned above grow in impact over time.

If you want a happy, healthy life, then think long and hard.

On the other hand, for those who really have the passion, there is absolutely no other career to even consider. :)

Good luck!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by ABW » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:58 am

It’s all about deciding what lifestyle you want and remember the only way to financial prosperity is to stay married to the same original wife. Many an airline pilot are nicknamed ‘wedding cake’ and are on there fourth! School fees in retirement is a no no!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by richard C » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:58 am

A good friend of mine was an avid motorcyclist, and owned a well-known motor-cycle shop. His advice to me was: "Be very careful of making your hobby your career".

I want to just point out that there is a completely viable alternative - that you retain your financial career and the fruits of your success there, and that you pursue aviation as a hobby.

You fly when you want, where you want, and with whom you want. You can do any kind of flying you choose, aerobatic, nav rallies, $100.00 burger Sunday expeditions. You can amass ratings, earn your IF and your Com - and all strictly on your terms, while living in a stable relationship at home, and with financial security.

And you can pack it in whenever you chose, or start a family, and you don't live in the constant fear of failing a medical.

A lot of pilots who enjoy flying the most do not do it for a living.

It's worth considering as an option, that's all.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Fransw » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:12 am

richard C wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:58 am
A good friend of mine was an avid motorcyclist, and owned a well-known motor-cycle shop. His advice to me was: "Be very careful of making your hobby your career".

I want to just point out that there is a completely viable alternative - that you retain your financial career and the fruits of your success there, and that you pursue aviation as a hobby.

You fly when you want, where you want, and with whom you want. You can do any kind of flying you choose, aerobatic, nav rallies, $100.00 burger Sunday expeditions. You can amass ratings, earn your IF and your Com - and all strictly on your terms, while living in a stable relationship at home, and with financial security.

And you can pack it in whenever you chose, or start a family, and you don't live in the constant fear of failing a medical.

A lot of pilots who enjoy flying the most do not do it for a living.

It's worth considering as an option, that's all.
Wise words!...
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Vogoff » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:01 pm

kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:05 pm
I’m an all or nothing person so when I commit and go for it, I am in for at least a R480k cost commitment amongst other financial commitments I currently have.
A wise person once told me: life is what happens when you are making other plans.

If you want to focus on a goal I believe it would be better to dream lower. As we get older we have more responsibilities we need to juggle, and there are more compromises we need to make.

Aim for your PPL. Enjoy the experience and the lessons you will learn. Meet your goal, and you can then commit to a CPL as steadfastly as you committed to your PPL.

(Maybe not the best advice from someone who got his license as a student, scrimping and saving and begging so he could afford to go flying every weekend. But even with hindsight I wouldn't do it any other way.)
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by excolonial » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:05 pm

Some excellent advice all round, I would not ignore those who suggest you take a more conservative approach, or that perhaps you should at least get well on your way towards your comm before you leave your current career. This is assuming many things. For example if your current job is poorly paid with few or no prospects for advancement then you have very little to lose by going all in, if not then why burn your bridges. Conversely there is something to be said for the all in approach which will force you to leave no stone unturned in your quest for success in a very competitive and unforgiving industry.

I personally know of someone with wealthy parents who had a rose tinted view of aviation. They had the whole thing up to comm paid for, and actually managed to complete the training and land a job. This individual found out that they didn't really love flying, warts and all, on short finals during some bad weather - much to the delight of the surprised left seater. They never piloted an aircraft again.

The dream of flying and the reality are quite different. In my case as a young man I wanted to join the RAF. Having done some flying training at a very young age I realised that I was probably not going to cut it in the airforce, mostly due to lack of confidence and drive at that age. Even with those 2 very important attributes, there is a very strong possibility I would not have made it.

At the very least do your PPL and be honest with yourself about whether you have what it takes to succeed, then go for it.

I came back to flying seriously nearly 20 years later as a hobby and I am really enjoying it now, and I am more realistic about what is involved than I was as a misty eyed youth.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Airwayfreak » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:09 pm

So Kayleigh, are you regretting posting this on Avcom yet ? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Volo » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:11 pm

richard C wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:58 am
A good friend of mine was an avid motorcyclist, and owned a well-known motor-cycle shop. His advice to me was: "Be very careful of making your hobby your career".

I want to just point out that there is a completely viable alternative - that you retain your financial career and the fruits of your success there, and that you pursue aviation as a hobby.

You fly when you want, where you want, and with whom you want. You can do any kind of flying you choose, aerobatic, nav rallies, $100.00 burger Sunday expeditions. You can amass ratings, earn your IF and your Com - and all strictly on your terms, while living in a stable relationship at home, and with financial security.

And you can pack it in whenever you chose, or start a family, and you don't live in the constant fear of failing a medical.

A lot of pilots who enjoy flying the most do not do it for a living.

It's worth considering as an option, that's all.
Your post describes my life - I have been flying in a private capacity for more than 50 years and still fly and enjoy my flying .
By a twist of fate I wrote and passed my commercial licence 49 years ago and was due to join a friend in the crop spraying business and as fate would have it I was a week away from joining him when he was killed in a crop spraying accident and that life choice was then not open to me for various reasons .
I often wonder what would have been . I have observed friends and acquaintances that did go in to the industry . For some it worked and others I am not so sure . Almost all of them never continued flying beyond their airline or carrier retirement age .
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Mustang » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:06 pm

Kayliegh, if I could do it over again I would have worked for a salary and have done PPL & CPL as soon as possible at a young age. I was working in the East Rand at the time and could have travelled to a nearby airfield easily to do training.

At 45 years of age now, I completed my PPL just over a year ago as a hobby because my passion in aviation remained. I am not in a hurry to do CPL because I am earning way more now than I would be as a low hour CPL or instructor. For now I just enjoy flying with friends, family and in my business as practical experience progressing at a slower than normal but steady pace towards CPL training in future.

If you have the passion to go into aviation and willingness to work hard I have no doubt that you could make a success out of it as a career at your age. You will perhaps have to do the Instructors rating also to build hours faster and work much harder than the youngsters around. I think there are also other opportunities utilizing the tourism industry that can be negotiated with some smaller charter companies to your financial benefit while building hours with them as a CPL. You have to think out of the box here.

If you want it, go for it!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by southside » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:49 pm

I believe you need to have the passion from the get go (childhood years) if you want to make it a career. I would rather do something I love and earn less than do something I hate and earn more. Very few people actually end up doing what they are passionate about.

I think your main issue is about whether or not you can have the same financial lifestyle with an aviation career as you do now with your current proffesion, as apposed to being in the financial position to now become a professional pilot while knowing that you will earn significantly less but it does not matter because that is all you have always wanted.

Yes bills need to be paid. But what have YOU always wanted?

Let's say you get a CPL, get 500 hours and maybe a Van rating, you may get a contract job that pays nice $ but you sacrifice your lifestyle being in deep dark Africa. The people in that position are working towards the pointy end of a jet that they have always dreamed of.

When you where a kid, where you playing with toy aeroplanes and building runways or where you playing with dolls or toy cars like most other kids? When your friends wanted to go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon would you have rather gone and stared at a Dash 8 sitting on the tarmac at the airport, loving the sound of the APU and the smell of jet fuel? Did you always look up at the sky when an aeroplane flew over while the rest of your friends didn't even notice or care? Did you lie awake at night before 10 years old thinking about how amaizing it would be to be on the apron of an airfield as a pilot, after landing in a Dash 8 from wherever, doing the walk around before the next pax board for the return flight, while you look at the fence and see a young kid standing in the same position you where once in behind that fence, wishing they could be allowed airside, and come check out the cockpit knowing full well security would never allow it. How many times did you ask the hosties on board an aircraft when you where a child pre 9/11 if you could please go check out the flight deck? The list goes on.

My point is that it needs to be engrained in you with a deep passion for it, from a young age. It should not be about the money. Once you climb the ladder of seniority, the money will come. But like all things, you have to pay long hard dues before you see financial rewards.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I would rather be a pilot in the beginning stages of my career, not earning much but doing what I love, than being in an office hating life, but being able to afford a trip to Europe every December.

As a final comment, I am not trying to put you down, I am just looking at it from the way I see it, my opinion. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by kayliegh.adrianne » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:22 pm

ABW wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:02 am
Do your articles and get the best CA qualifications possible. Emigrate on those and look for a wealthy individual/Corporation with an Aviation department. Begin by saving them thousands. Once you have there trust they will fund your flying and provide you a career as a Corporate pilot. Provided you have the right boss/owner you will be cared for for life. Good luck and go get.
I do have my CA (SA) qualification, not sure what I am doing wrong but with regards to emigration it does not seem to open many doors. So I also obtained my management accountant qualification with CIMA which is UK based and internationally recognised as I assumed this would help.

Contacted a bunch of recruiters and they will only represent me if I have a visa. But I need a job to apply for a visa. Do you see my problem? :lol:

Anyway guess that is a topic for another forum. Thank you for the idea - will keep it in mind! :)
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by kayliegh.adrianne » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:24 pm

Jack Welles wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:53 am
kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:05 pm
I have respect for those who have been able to achieve success in the aviation industry hence asking for the input.

Not sure why people take the time to post comments like yours but thanks for your time anyway.
:D don't get sniffy. If all you wanted was for people to say "Ra-ra-ra, go for it, Nike all the way." then should have have asked for that, but you didn't, your original question was wide open. And it is a social media forum ...

Anyway by getting some input from another angle can only help for you to come to a considered decision. In fact, your (positive or negative) response to the "negative" comments may very well give you the answer you're looking for!

Whatever you decide, I wish you well into the future :smt023
I agree - I was not only looking for the "go for it" comments but just to clarify, the comment I referred to was not constructive at all :)

Anyway, as you said, it is a social media platform so no hard feelings. And I am certainly appreciative of all the feedback and will take both the good and bad into account.

Happy landings and good luck to you too

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